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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 ..!?
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!
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:
- #LoveTirol : At home in Pitztal, where a local Stone Pine tree inspires creativity.
- Wine & Snow, here we go: The highest wine tasting in Austria is on a glacier!
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Pitztal tourism board on this family trip to Tirol. All opinions are my own.