Tyrol (German: Tirol) is a multi-national historical region in the heart of the Alps. It consists of North, East and South Tyrol. North and East Tyrol lie in Austria and together make up the Austrian federal-state of Tyrol with its capital in Innsbruck.
South Tyrol, despite its German-speaking majority, has been part of Italy since the end of World War I. It makes up the northern portion of the alpine Italian autonomous province Trentino-Alto Adige with its capital in Bolzano (Italian) or Bozen (German).
|North Tyrol (Innsbruck, Igls, Alpbach, Fieberbrunn, Hall in Tirol, Kufstein, Wattens, Mayrhofen, Reutte, Schwaz, St. Anton, St. Johann in Tirol, Eng, Paznaun Valley, Stanzer Valley)|
The northern part of Tyrol. It borders the German state of Bavaria to the north, Vorarlberg to the west, the Swiss canton Graubünden to the south-west, Salzburg to the east.
|East Tyrol (Lienz, Kals, Hohe Tauern National Park)|
The eastern exclave of Austrian Tyrol, separated from the northern part by a strip of Salzburg and Italy.
|Paznaun Valley |
An alpine valley on the Swiss border
|Lower Inn Valley |
|Achen Valley |
- 7 Zirl
- 8 Völs
- 9 Innsbruck — the state capital
- 10 Igls
- 11 Hall in Tirol
- 12 Wattens — home of the Swarovski Crystal Company
- 13 Schwaz
- 14 Jenbach
- 15 Brixlegg
- 16 Wörgl
- 17 Kufstein — last Austrian town in the Inn valley near the German border
- Eben am Achensee
- 20 Achenkirch - The largest town in the Achen Valley and popular ski resort in winter with extensive ski infrastructure. It sits at the border with Bavaria.
- 21 Steinberg am Rofan - A somewhat reclusive small town with only 280 inhabitants deep in the Rofan mountain range
- 2 Ellmau
- 3 Kaunertal
- 4 Ötztal , known as Oetz Valley
- 5 Pitztal
- 6 Stubaital (Stubai Valley)
- 7 Stubai Glacier
- 8 Zillertal
- 9 Eng — the largest alm in Europe and one of the most remote settlements in the Alps
- 10 Silvretta
Like its sister provinces of Bavaria in Germany and Salzburgerland in Austria, Tyrol is the very definition of the Germanic Alpine stereotype. Full of romantic lakes and castles and beer-drinking lederhosen-clad locals playing oom-pa-pa music and marching in bands, the place can seem a bit of a fairy tale to the visitor at times. Innsbruck and Bolzano/Bozen are the only real "bigger" cities, with the rest a beautiful natural panorama. The roads get clogged with tourists in the summer and winter months. South Tyrol sits on the sunny side of the Alps and is an interesting mix of three cultures.
As in nearly all of Austria, Austro-Bavarian is the main everyday spoken language of Tyrol (except in Reutte district where it is Alemannic). The Tyrolean dialect is even often tricky to understand for residents of eastern Austria (including Vienna) let alone from northern Germany. But, as in all of Austria, standard (Austrian) German is the official language used in all official publications and schools, so the vast majority speaks it, and in Innsbruck basically everyone is fluent. English is spoken by most educated middle aged and young people, and Italian is also quite prevalent due to the proximity of the South Tyrolian border and a small immigrant community in Innsbruck.
The main entry point by air is the 1 Innsbruck International Airport (INN IATA) which has scheduled flights to Vienna Airport, Frankfurt Airport, London, Amsterdam Schiphol, Graz, Nice, Hannover, Stavanger, Alghero, Gothenburg and Olbia. EasyJet also offers weekly low cost direct flights from Bristol on Fridays. Schedules may differ in winter.
2 Munich Airport (MUC IATA), 2.5 hours away by road transport, is another alternative. There are vans that will meet you at Munich Airport and take you directly to your lodging in or around Innsbruck for the price of a comparable train ticket.
Considering the topography rail connections are impressive and a highly scenic and relaxing way to see the Tyrol. Trains also connect the "three Tyrols" via rail and tunnels.
Skiing into Tyrol is very easy from Switzerland when crossing the Silvretta above Samnaun. The mountain ridge is the border between Switzerland and Austria, and multiple lifts take skiers to the ridge from either side. Descending the mountain on one side leads back to Switzerland, the other side leads into Tyrol. There is no border checkpoint for obvious practical reasons and because both countries are members of the Schengen treaty, but skiers with a keen eye for detail may notice a ceremonial border guard who "patrols" the border on skis!
The alpine geography creates obvious chokepoints for both road and rail traffic and during busy times there may be restrictions on driving with visitors using local roads having to prove they are indeed visiting local accommodation and not transiting the country. Many road and rail tunnels have already been built, but the politically contentious situation is likely to remain difficult until the opening of the Brenner Base Tunnel which will hopefully divert a significant share of transiting freight transport from road to rail. If you can arrange a rail based troop to your destination, do so for the sake of your own sanity.
- 1 Achenseebahn (Achensee Railway), Jenbach, Tyrol (Near Jenbach train station). Ride Europe's oldest steam-operated cog railway which opened in 1889.
- Tiroler Speck - a juniper-flavored ham