The Tyrolean Express – A Scenic Journey Through Austria’s Tyrol Region

The Tyrol region is located in the Alps and bordered by the states of Bavaria, Carinthia and Salzburg. Standard Austrian German is widely spoken throughout the area, however, locals speak the Tyrolean dialect of the language.

In winter the snow-capped peaks are visible from the train windows and in summer the lush green alpine scenery is just as stunning.

Traveling by train is a great way to see the beautiful alpine scenery.

Whether you’re traveling in winter when snow-capped peaks are at their most beautiful or in summer when lush green pastures come to life, Tyrol is breathtaking no matter the season. There’s no better way to take it all in than by train. From the high-speed ICE trains that run through the heart of the region to the quaint regional trains that reach even the smallest villages, traveling by train in Tyrol is an enjoyable and convenient option.

The Alps are the focal point of Tyrol’s landscape, with several subranges making up its mountainous terrain. These include the Kitzbuhel Alps, Lechtaler Alps, Otztal Alps, and Zillertal Alps.

Tyrol’s awe-inspiring scenery and rich heritage are the perfect backdrop for hiking and exploring historic towns and castles, such as the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. The Salzkammergut Lakes are also a draw, with opportunities for hiking, swimming, and leisurely lake cruises.

With its mountainous landscape, Tyrol is the ideal destination for a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and skiing. Many of the trails lead to high-altitude vantage points for dramatic panoramas, while others wind through historic towns and villages for a glimpse into local culture.

For those interested in cultural explorations, the museums of Tyrol provide a wealth of knowledge and information about its history. The Ferdinandeum, for example, is known for its collection of Renaissance Dutch paintings by Brueghel and Rembrandt as well as modern works by Egon Schiele and Albin Egger-Liener. The Golden Roof Museum, meanwhile, offers an opportunity to see the city’s most famous landmark, a rooftop decorated with gold-plated bronze statues of the emperor’s ancestors and heroes. The Swarovski Kristallwelten Museum is another top attraction, with its fascinating and interactive exhibitions.

Arrive in Lienz.

As you make your way through the rolling green hills and dense forests of southwest Germany, you’ll soon reach the Swiss border. Here, you can connect to a direct Austrian RailJet train for the rest of your journey to Tyrol. From there, you’ll enjoy spectacular alpine scenery as you travel through Switzerland and enter Austria’s Eastern Tyrol region.

Located in the heart of the Eastern Alps, Lienz is often called “Pearl of the Dolomites.” It’s an apt description as the town’s beautiful mountain landscape frames it like a natural amphitheater. In addition to its magnificent scenery, the town is also known for its numerous leisure time opportunities and is a popular shopping destination.

In the old city, you’ll find a number of charming shops and cafés that are perfect for a relaxing break from hiking. The town’s main square, Hauptplatz, is also home to many historical buildings. Among them is Liebburg Palace, which was built in the 16th century and now houses the local government. It towers over Hauptplatz and is an impressive sight.

A great place to visit outside of the town is Bruck Castle, which houses a collection of paintings by Albin Egger-Lienz, a famous East Tyrolean artist. You can also visit the Galitzen Gorge, a spectacular gorge that’s surrounded by imposing rock walls. It’s an ideal place for a scenic walk or even try out a more adventurous activity like via ferrata climbing.

From Vienna, you can reach Lienz in a little more than five hours by train. On a weekday, the earliest train to Lienz departs at around 08:18 and the last train leaves at about 16:24. There are also several overnight options that allow you to relax in a comfortable couchette or sleeper carriage before arriving in the morning. Check the OBB website for the latest schedules and ticket prices.

Spend a day in Lienz.

If you want to experience the full beauty of Austrian Tyrol without a car, then taking the train is the way to go. Traveling by train is easy, convenient, and surprisingly luxurious. It’s also environmentally friendly and a great way to see dramatic landscapes. There’s even a special First Class option on the OBB Railjet trains that take you to the mountains in style.

Lienz is the main town in East Tyrol and offers plenty to do and see. The craggy mountains of the Dolomites are the perfect backdrop for this lovely town. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants to browse.

You can learn about the rich history of the region at the Roman ruin site Aguntum. This working excavation is uncovering new discoveries all the time and provides an interesting insight into life here 2000 years ago. You can enjoy the 2.7km Osttirodler toboggan-style alpine roller coaster all year round or take a hike on one of the many trails in the area. The castle hill museum on the outskirts of the city is a must for art lovers as it houses an extensive collection of works by Albin Egger-Lienz.

Another interesting place to visit is the museum of woodcarving. It is a traditional pursuit in this area and there are several tranquil chalets to explore where you can watch woodcarvers at work.

If you have a holiday pass, you can use public buses and regional trains in the Pustertal valley free of charge and unlimitedly during your stay. This makes getting around the region very easy and gives you more time to explore all the towns and villages in the beautiful alpine scenery.

Spend a day in Mayrhofen.

The next day you can explore the village of Mayrhofen and enjoy its beautiful walking streets, unique architecture, and shops. You can also spend time hiking and exploring the beautiful alpine scenery. The town is surrounded by impressive mountains, and there are a number of trails to choose from. You can even take a short boat ride on the emerald waters of Achensee, the region’s largest lake.

Another great thing to do while in Mayrhofen is to go to the Schmankerlfest. This local street-food festival is held each year in the second week of July. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and try some of the best foods in the Zillertal Valley, including Melchermuas, Knödel, Zillertaler Krapfen, Holzknechtkrapfen, Schmankerlwurst, Kaisernschmarren, and much more! You can even listen to the live music while enjoying these delicious treats.

After spending the day exploring Mayrhofen, you can head to Swarovski Crystal Worlds (incl. with the Innsbruck Card) in Wattens. To get to the attraction, you can either take a shuttle bus (4 times/day) directly to the entrance or take a commuter train to Fritzens-Wattens and then walk 15 min.

Another fun activity to do while in Mayrhofen, is to hike the Berlin High Trail. This multi-day hut to hut trek is a challenging hike that requires alpine hiking experience and sure footing. It offers unsurpassable glacier and peak views, as well as rustic and grand mountain huts.

Spend a day in Salzburg.

The train’s scenic journey to Salzburg is a great way to see Austria’s breathtaking alpine scenery. Once you arrive, take a stroll to explore the city’s most popular landmarks. Whether you’re exploring its many museums and art galleries or sampling its traditional cafes and schnitzel, your day in Salzburg is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Start your day in Salzburg with a stroll through Altstadt, the historic district that’s home to the Cathedral District and some of the city’s most important squares. Admire the beautiful baroque architecture while visiting museums, art galleries, and traditional cafés, or watch a performance at the Tirol Festival Erl, a popular classical music festival that’s famous for its Passion Plays.

From there, hop on a tram or bus to the Nonnberg Abbey, where some scenes from The Sound of Music were filmed. The abbey is one of the most important monasteries in Salzburg and is well worth a visit. Once you’re done at the abbey, head to the Salzach River for a sightseeing river cruise. This is a great activity to do later in the afternoon, and it’s also included with the Salzburg Card.

When you get back to the city center, check out Mozart’s Birthplace (Mozarts Geburtshaus). The building is bright yellow and emblazoned with huge golden letters—it’s impossible to miss! Tour the exhibition, which includes a few family portraits and Mozart’s original pianoforte. You can opt for the audio guide, which adds a little extra depth to your experience but isn’t necessary if you want to speed through the museum quickly.

Getting around in Austria is easy and convenient, and it’s even a bit luxurious with the high-speed OBB Railjet trains. You’ll enjoy a comfortable seat while enjoying eye-popping views of the spectacular Alpine landscape. It’s the best way to experience Austria’s Tyrol region!

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