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Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

A toddler’s travel tale to Pitztal, Tirol.


Austria, Travel with Locals, Travel Videos, Europe, Family Travel, Travel Blog , 0

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Do you like watching inspiring travel stories? Great. I’ve taken the time and effort to do a whole new type of travel video for you, taking you to Pitztal valley in Tirol:

Now I hope the first-time premiere of my voice in English for explaining more about the family travel options in Pitztal is something you’d like to see (and hear) more of? In any case, I guess what I’m trying to say is that my husband Georg and I really loved to spend a long weekend with our little son Liam in the high alpine playground of the mountain area in Tirol. It is indeed possible to take a toddler high up into alpine grounds, and perhaps even easier as he is not walking yet: Liam fell asleep several times carried by his dad in the baby backpack.

"High above ground": Das Glück der Erde liegt auf dem Rücken ... von Papa!

“High above ground”: Check out Georg carrying Liam across the Hochzeiger mountain landscape!

 

Tolle "Relax-Inseln" direkt am Berghang über dem Zeiger-Restaurant laden zum Entspannen und Verweilen ein ...

I do love that they have got little modern picnic areas right along the hiking trails …

 

... unser Liam entspannt am besten von hier aus, so ein Kinderrucksack ist schon echt praktisch!

… and Liam seems to love being carried around, checking out the surely exciting new views!

 

But let’s start from the beginning.

We’ve travelled to Pitztal using the most sustainable option there is: The ÖBB Railjet straight from Vienna to Imst-Pitztal station.

Five hours on a train with a toddler.. (how) does it work!? You may be asking yourselves, yet I’m telling you that we went out there and just did it. Similar to our previous train travelling experience to Prague (Liam was just four months old at the time), we simply boarded the train in Vienna and left it again five hours later at the station in Imst-Pitztal. It cost us about € 200,- and despite having to wear a mask using public transport at the moment, it was doable. What we really loved was the great travel option of the ÖBB family train department, which has a kids’ corner complete with a little film screen, play tables, and – perhaps the most important aspect – other kids and families to play and interact with!

Blick in das Familienabteil der ÖBB: Hier ist immer was los.

“Family zone” on the train: There’s always something going on here, and everyone is literally “in the same boat (train)”.

 

Arriving in Pitztal, we’ve decided to go straight up the mountain.

“As our guests, I give you this voucher with which to use the mountain railways free for one day”, Barbara the owner at our Hotel Alpenroyal informs us. It is located right by Hochzeiger mountain resort, in a little town called Jerzens. This Pitztal mountain area, whose summits reach almost 3.000 metres above sea level, really deserves its claim as being family-friendly. They have built a large, extensive “ZirbenPark” playground here, which as its name suggests (“Zirbe” meaning stone pine in English) teaches adults and kids alike more about the precious alpine Zirbe pine tree. Also called the “Queen of the Alps”, this tree thrives in altitudes of more than 2.000 metres above sea level. Its wood is known to have healing properties, especially with regards to regulating heart rates and sleep patterns, thus beds made from Zirbe wood have become very popular and sought after recently. Liam, too, has received a small Zirbe cradle for his birth, which has now been remade into an aromatic wooden box to keep his favourite toys.

Diese noch sehr junge "Königin der Alpen" ist immerhin schon zehn Jahre alt: So lange braucht es für das Zirbenholz stattlich zu wachsen!

This young little “Queen of the Alps” is already ten years old: That’s how long it takes for this alpine pine wood to grow!

 

Angekommen im Hotel Alpenroyal im Pitztal. Gleich hinter die Terrasse wartet die Bergwelt des Hochzeiger auf uns!

Arriving at Hotel Alpenroyal in Pitztal: Right from the terrace, we have fantastic views of the Hochzeiger mountain resort in the back!

 

Gemütlich ist es hier im Hotel Alpenroyal ...

It is very comfortable here …

 

... doch treibt es uns gleich mal vor die Tür ...

… but the natural playground is what we really came for …

 

... ich staune nicht schlecht: Papa, zum ersten Mal fahre ich mit der Gondel auf einen Berg!?

… and thus I, little Liam, get to spend my first ever ride up a mountain in a gondola very shortly after arrival!

 

Oben angekommen, wartet schon der ZirbenPark auf unsere Entdeckung ...

Having arrived at the top of the mountain station, the ZirbenPark beckons our visit …

 

... echt herrlich und gemütlich hier.

… a lovely walking trail complete with information about the Zirbe stone pine trees and playground options for kids …

 

... sämtliche Stationen, wie auch den großen Spielturm in Form eines Zirbenzapfens, findet Ihr auch in meinem Reisevideo beschrieben.

… all of the different activities you get to do here, such as the barefoot trail, the “hay barn jump” or the great Zirben slide, are described at length in my travel video above.

 

While up here, make sure of a little hiking effort to reach Klaus’ Kalbenalm hut at the Hochzeiger mountain.

The trail is perfectly doable with families, as it leads more “across” the mountain side, not too high up. It’s only the last 100 metres or so that are a little steep. But there, you get to motivate your kids with cake and cows already waiting for them at the hut: The cows are so used to all the hikers that they come really close without any stress. The main attraction at Kalbenalm hut, though, is Klaus the owner himself, who likes to welcome everyone with a little “Zirbal”, or Zirbenschnaps made from local pine cones. I really love their rather fruity taste (read more about how we came to make our own Schnapps from the Zirbe pine cones two summers ago!). If you’re not into spirits, be sure to order a slice of heavenly blackcurrant cake. Liam and I had to almost fight over it. Beautiful place, really, and totally worth your while!

Von der Bergstation des Hochzeiger ist es nur eine gute halbe Stunde zur Kalbenalm: Hier wandern wir mitten durch eine

From the Hochzeiger mountain railway station, it is only about half an hour’s walk to reach Kalbenalm hut: We get to hike right through a stone pine forest and reach the hut after this little climb at the end.

 

Dieser herrliche Kuchen entschädigt für all die Mühen!

This cake makes up for all efforts!

 

Danke, Klaus, für den fürstlichen Empfang bei Dir auf der Kalbenalm!

Thank you, Klaus (forth on the right, kneeling), for welcoming us to the Kalbenalm!

 

Die Aussicht von hier oben ist aber wirklich zum absoluten Schwärmen ..!

The views from up here are absolutely stunning ..!

 

Tipp: Im nahe gelegenen "Zeiger" Restaurant könnt Ihr weitere Zirbenprodukte genießen und verkosten.

Tip: At the nearby “Zeiger” restaurant, you may buy more products made from local Zirbe pine wood (and cones). They also offer a very delicious Pitztal burger here!

 

There’s even more nature, peace & quiet to be discovered at Kaunergrat nature reserve: Check out the Piller Moor as well as the lookout platform “Gachenblick”.

It’s well worth the little detour inside Pitztal valley to go and explore everything that nature has to offer far from the busier hot spots. The Piller Moor, an alpine swampland, has been declared a natural monument for its outstanding alpine moor landscape; several info boards along the trail tell you more about it. The trail is perfectly stroller-friendly, and leads right off into the forest and swampland from the main road with a nearby parking area. It comes to a head at a lookout tower from where to oversee the surroundings, and correct me if they don’t look a little bit like the Canadian Rocky Mountains ..!?

Leicht zu erreichen: Auf über 1500 Metern Seehöhe "gedeiht" das Piller Moor, welches seit vielen Jahren unter Naturschutz steht.

Easy access on this little wooden trail for everyone: At well over 1500 metres above sea level, this alpine swampland has had many centuries to evolve into its present, protected state.

 

Der Blick über die einzigartige Landschaft lädt zum Träumen ein.

What a view over the surrounding mountain landscape!

 

A little further afield, upon returning to the main road after a short forest walk, we reach the visitor centre of the nature reserve Kaunergrat, complete with a short exhibition about the reserve, a nice little café and restaurant area, as well as an even bigger lookout tower called “Gachenblick”. It does offer one set of breathtaking views, and nothing short of an exaggeration here!

Von der Aussichtsplattform "Gachenblick" ...

Check this out: The lookout platform “Gachenblick” …

 

... habt Ihr unter anderem diesen Blick!

… offers you wide sweeping views of the valley floor and mountain landscapes beyond.

 

Im Anschluss lockt der Besuch des unmittelbar nebenan gelegenen Cafés über dem Naturparkhaus Kaunergrat, das eine kleine aber feine Ausstellung über den Naturpark beherbergt.

Afterwards, why not check out the deck of the café and restaurant area? It comes complete with a playground by the nearby forest, perfect for spending the day with kids and still having some time to relax!

 

More impressions from this trip to Tirol are published here:

 

I have, by the way, also already published two travel posts about Pitztal, one of them about hosting “the highest wine tasting in Austria”, the other one about a similar summer hiking trip yet with a different focus:

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by Pitztal tourism board on this family trip to Tirol. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Fluent in seven languages, I feel naturally at ease anywhere I go. As a writer, I am happy to share the world’s travel stories as far as creative travel, foodie travel and local, sustainable travel are concerned. Thanks to my young son Liam, I am currently discovering the world anew.

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Photo Festival #LaGacilly in Baden near Vienna: "All Eyes East" in 2020.
Tracing traditional crafts and creative artisans in the city of Vienna, Austria.

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