Mayrhofen is a resort packed with activities and places of interest, so much so you might just miss a few. There are many hidden gems that could be easily overlooked without some insider knowledge. Having spent my summer here these are my top five suggestions for things to see and do whilst on holiday in Mayrhofen. Don’t worry if you can’t fit it all into one week it’s the perfect excuse to come back again on another holiday.
ONE – The Stillup Valley
The Stilluptal is a privately owned valley filled with stunning beauty. From the hundreds of waterfalls cascading from hanging valleys, to the wild flowers growing at the sides of the trail, this valley is one not to miss.
Formed by glaciers 11,000 years ago, the U-shaped valley is breathtaking. As the glacier receded, it left behind nutrient deposits that make this a very lush and fertile area, perfect for farming. As you walk along the riverbed trail you’ll pass meadows filled with grazing cattle, the air filled with the sound of cow bells. You might even spot a golden eagle circling above.
The valley is also home to over 500 species of butterfly. Not on any public bus routes, this magical place is off the beaten track making it a wonderful secluded spot to unwind and enjoy an afternoon stroll.
TWO – The steam train
It’s not about the destination it’s about the journey. This nostalgic way to travel down the valley is a must for train enthusiasts. Grab a window seat or sit in the convertible carriage, but whatever you do don’t forget your camera.
THREE – Paragliding
Here’s one for thrill seekers looking for a completely different view of the valley. Take a tandem paragliding tour and get unparalleled views and an experience you will never forget. Guests come from far-and-wide to partake in the spectacular sport. The shape, size and weather conditions of the Zillertal make the valley a perfect mecca for paragliding.
FOUR – Ice caves in the Hintertux
Nature’s ice palace, the Hintertux Glacier is a fantastic day out. Located at the top of the Zillertal, 3,250m above sea level, there are stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Don your safety equipment before entering the labyrinth of naturally occurring ice chambers under the glacier.
The mystical, glacial blue vestibule chamber is the first point of the tour. The turquoise colours provide an amazing visual experience. When the sunlight enters the chamber, the entire space is bathed in shades of blue, as only blue colour tones are reflected in the ice.
Successive chambers are full of ice crystals in all manners of shapes. Varying moisture levels and changes in temperature cause constant changes in the size and form of the ice crystals. A distinctive feature of the crystal chambers is the floor, which is a frozen glacial lake.
The highlight of the tour is visiting the “Ice Palace” situated 25-meters directly under the ski pistes. The perfect ice formation is an awe-inspiring 15-meters high. It will simply astound you! Is there a more creative architect than Mother Nature?
FIVE – Klettersteig at Schlegeis dam
Located at the end of the valley, Schlegeis dam was created in 1965 to supply the hydroelectricity to the area. The dam is an impressive sight. At over 70-meters high it offers wonderful panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
But why just look at it when you can climb it? Klettersteig is a unique activity that has you scaling the damn wall. With your safety equipment on, you are ready to get started. The route of metal hand and foot holds take you from the valley floor to the very top of the dam.
This experience is not for the faint hearted but it will be a story you will tell over-and-over again. It’s a very fun and safe experience.