Cities, towns and villages
|1 Zirl (Zirl)|
|2 Völs (Völs)|
|3 Innsbruck (Innsbruck, Rum, Thaur)|
The capital of Tyrol and largest city in the Alps.
|4 Igls (Igls)|
Mountain town and ski resort near Innsbruck
|5 Hall in Tirol (Absam, Hall in Tirol, Mills)|
|6 Wattens (Baumkirchen, Fritzens, Gnadenwald, Kolsass, Terfens, Volders, Wattens, Weer)|
Home to the Swarvoski Crystal Company
|7 Schwaz (Stans, Schwaz, Vomp)|
|8 Jenbach (Jenbach, Wiesing)|
|9 Brixlegg (Brixlegg, Kramsach, Münster, Radfeld, Rattenberg, Reith im Alpbachtal)|
|10 Wörgl (Angath, Bad Häring, Angerberg, Kirchbichl, Kund, Langkampfen, Mariastein, Wörgl)|
|11 Kufstein (Kufstein, Schwoich)|
The current distinction between Upper and Lower Inn Valley along the Melach corresponds to the old border between the district courts Sonnenburg and Hörtenberg. The Lower Inn Valley was first referred to as the Notitia Arnonis by Archbischop Arn from Salzburg in 788. Roman Emperor Conrad II awarded the Lower Inn Valley between Melach and Ziller in 1027, the named in Valle Eniana, to Bishop Hartwig of Brixen, which delegated the territory in 1165 to the Counts of Andechs. In 1248 the Lower Inn Valley eventually became under control of the Counts of Tyrol. The section west of the Ziller Valley was only annexed in 1504 after the War of the Succession of Landshut by decree of Emperor Maximilian I.
|Lower Inn Valley|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The Lower Inn Valley lies in the transitional area between the drier inner alpine valley climate of the Upper Inn Valley (German: Oberinntal), and the rainy climate of the northern Alpine foothills in Bavaria. It has more rainfall and has more often a cloud cover than the Upper Inn Valley and its side valleys. Mist or high fog banks are common. Rainfall decreases westward in the valley, for example at Innsbruck Airport yearly rainfall averages to 883 mm, whereas Kufstein at the German border receives nearly 50% more with 1293 mm per year. In winter, the few degrees temperature difference between the west and east of the valley occasionally make the difference between snowfall in the west, and rain in the east.
The only airport in the valley is 1 Innsbruck Airport. From the airport, take bus to 2 (Main Station), a ticket costs €2.40. From the Main Station, all other destinations in the valley can be reached by train.
The Lower Inn Valley Railway (German: Unterinntalbahn) traverses the valley from Kufstein to Innsbruck where it splits in the Arlberg Railway and the Brenner Railway. It branches off into the Brixen Valley in Wörgl as the Salzburg-Tyrolean Railway. There are direct connections with Bozen, Munich, Vienna, and most other major cities in and around the Alps.
The Inn Valley Highway (German: Inntal Autobahn), A12, is part of the European route network. It runs from the German-Austrian border at Kiefersfelden and Kufstein via Innsbruck where it intersects the A13 Brenner Highway to Italy. In Zams it transitions into the S11 Arlberg Expressway (German: Arlberg Schnellstrasse). The trajectory runs nearly parallel to the Inn river for most of its course in the Lower Inn Valley.
The A12 is the most important road connection between Germany and Italy, and the section between Kufstein and the Benner branch is prone to traffic jams made worse by excessive road transport (e.g. cargo trucks). During the tourist high season, traffic jams are common during weekends when large numbers of tourists decide to move in or out of Tyrol at the same time. The A12 was one of the first in Europe to be equipped with an intelligent transportation system, with electronic overhead signs informing motorists of hazards and variable speed limits.
A combination of the Lower Inn Valley Railway and local buses will be the easiest way to get from one attraction to another. Trains run frequently, but not all stop in every station along the railway. Schedules are reduced in the evenings and weekends, when covering the entire journey by bus might be faster.
Tickets are cheaper when bought online, travelling through the entire valley (Innsbruck to Kufstein) costs €17.50 for a single ticket with a journey time of approx. 35 min for the fastest train and 75 minutes for the slowest connection.
The valley floor is very flat, making cycling an attractive alternative to travel between towns and cities, and especially convenient to reach attractions not close to any railway station. Depending on train/bus schedules, cycling might be faster than a combination of train and bus. There are several cycle routes signposted, of which the Inn Valley Cycle Path (German: Inntal Radweg) is the most popular and internationally best known. The entire route leads from Maloja in Switzerland to Passau in Germany — a distance of some 520 km — where the Inn merges with the Donau, and cyclists can continue their journey on the famous Donau Cycle Path. Cycle paths in the Inn valley are asphalted, well maintained, and kept at a distance from motorized traffic as much as possible. For most of the itinerary between Innsbruck and Kufstein, the path follows the Inn very closely.
Hotels are everywhere in the Lower Inn Valley, albeit expensive especially in tourist seasons (winter and summer). Hostels are not common in the Lower Inn Valley, so don't count on that option unless you book well in advance. In spring and autumn, hotels generally drop their prices however, and travelling becomes much more affordable. The general rule is to book a room as far in advance as possible. Some hotels have customer loyalty programs and offer discounts to referrals or guests returning 2 years in a row.
Camping in public places is not allowed, and may result in hefty fines up to €200 when caught. An exception is made for bivouac, i.e. spending the night in a sleeping bag on a mat, as long as you don't set up a tent. Spending the night is never allowed in protected areas (German: Schutzgebiet), neither is it allowed to make open fires. On private land, you must seek permission from the land owner first. When in doubt, ask the nearest tourist office for directions.
As most of Tyrol, the Lower Inn Valley is very safe for travellers. All but the most secluded towns and villages are accustomed to tourists, and should you run into trouble, it won't take any effort to find assistance from locals in the rather densely populated valley. Even at night there are no wildlife threats in the valley (wolves, bears), and women travelling solo should never feel unsafe.
Tap water is safe to drink, and fountains or wells will have a sign indicating whether it's safe to refill a water bottle there or not.
Although tempting in summer, do not swim in the Inn! The river is surprisingly deep with strong undercurrents, and definitely not safe for swimming unless you know what you're doing. You may be fined by police when caught in cities.
Popular tourist hot spots (the Innsbruck inner city, Schloss, etc.) are prone to pickpockets, so keep an extra eye on your belongings when venturing into crowded areas.