Have you hit the stage in your overseas tour when you are actually a little weary from travel? Does the mere idea of packing another thousand historical sites into one long weekend fill you with exhaustion? Maybe you need a vacation from travel? The Nature Park Region of Reutte, Austria, situated in the beautiful alpine state of Tirol, is the perfect spot to rest your travel-weary bones and reconnect with some of Europe’s best natural beauty. And if you can’t think of spending vacation time without a bit of meaningful sightseeing, Reutte is a great base for nearby attractions.
Just over a two hour drive southeast of Stuttgart, Reutte is twenty minutes south of Füssen, Germany and less than an hour west of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The town of Reutte boasts nothing exceptional other than it is the heart of the Nature Park or Ausserfern Region of Tirol. Reutte sits in a small alpine valley between the Lechtal and Allgäu Alps, and the Leche River basin carves through its once predominately agricultural center. The smaller local villages of Breitenwang, Ehenbichl, Höfen, Lechaschau, Musau, Pflach, Pinswang, Vils, Wängle, and Weißenbach dot the remainder of the Nature Park Region. Unlike many of its alpine cousins who have sold out to wealthy tourists in search of high-dollar ski resorts, Reutte restricts property ownership exclusively to year-round residents. That is why in its valleys you will still hear the comforting sound of distant cowbells on summer evenings and find authentic chapels and crucifixes on the corners of old pasture lanes. The region is so pristine that the air is given an almost perfect score on the European Common Air Quality Index.
What to Do
In Colorado people say you come for the winter but stay for the summer. The same is true for the Alps. The snow-covered peaks that provide thrilling downhill runs in winter months turn to havens for hikers and adventurous mountain bikers in summer.
In winter, the region accommodates skiers and snowboarders of all levels of expertise. For beginners, the Schollenwiesen Lift in Höfen is a T-bar that takes you to the top of a gentle hill perfect for novice practice yet fun enough for a full day. A day pass is 13E for kids and 24E for adults. The Hahnenkammbahn in Höfen ferries more advanced winter warriors to a web of well-groomed runs on the Hahnenkamm Mountain. Prices vary, but an economical option with maximum flexibility is the Allgäu-Tyrol Family Ski Pass valid for 81 lift facilities. For more information visit the “Skiing Areas” page at Reutte.com
Other winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and genuine horse-drawn sleigh rides. Check out the Reutte homepage at Reutte.com for detailed information about these adventures.
In summer, the region becomes resplendent with breathtaking natural beauty. In addition to the flora and fauna found along the banks of the Leche River, you can enjoy the region’s abundant nature by visiting one of the many local lakes. Of particular note is the Plansee just south of Reutte proper. The locals attest that the Plansee water is pristine enough for drinking. True or not, it and the other regional lakes are excellent spots in summer for bathing, canoeing, and kayaking.
For more adventurous spirits, the steep mountainsides and rock formations make perfect playgrounds for mountaineers, hang-gliders, paragliders, rock climbers, mountain bikers, and via ferrata (alpine steele cable climbing) fans. Even the not-so-adventurous and those with small children will discover plenty of gentle alpine hikes and paved valley bike trails to enjoy.
Sightseeing and Activities
Apart from the natural activities inherent in any alpine town, Reutte’s main attractions are summed up in four B’s: Burg, Bad, Bahn, and Brücke. Burg refers to the ancient castle ruins of Burgenwelt Ehrenberg where you can hike around medieval castle ruins and visit an interactive, hands-on knight’s museum. Adjacent to the Burg is the thrilling Highline 179 “Brücke,” the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. The third B refers to the Hahnenkammbahn Höfen, an 8-seater monocable gondola linking the valley to a wonderland of hiking and skiing in the mountains above. For those interested in summer hütte to hütte hikes and winter après ski, the Bahn provides access to five restaurants: Panoramarestaurant, Lechaschauer Alm, Höfener Alm, Schneetal Alm, and Gehrenalpe. In summer, dogs out for a hike with their owner are welcome on the Bahn! After the excitement of the first three B’s, the Alpentherme Ehernberg is an extensive modern swim and sauna complex where you can relax and let the kids enjoy a 120-meter water slide and fun children’s play area.
What’s more, most local accommodation providers subscribe to the Aktiv Card Programme, which gives you free or discounted rates to these and other local attractions. When you check into your accommodation, your host will provide you an Aktiv Card free of charge. An example of one of the Card’s benefits is two hours free at the Alpentherme Ehernberg. Click on the “Guests Aktiv Card Programme” for more information.
If you find yourself recharged and itching to pack in the sightseeing requisite to any tour abroad, Reutte is an excellent base for visiting some of Southern Germany’s big attractions. Schloss Neuschwanstein, Schloss Hohenschwangau, Schloss Linderhof, Ettal Monastery, and the Zugspitze are all less than an hour’s drive. Additionally, the world’s longest alpine coaster in Imst, Austria is fifty minutes by car. Visit www.imster-bregbahnen.at for more information.
The Nature Park Region of Reutte, Austria is a tourist destination for locals. Rife with stunning natural beauty and replete with more outdoor activities than even a seasoned REI employee could tackle, this is a place to vacation from travel. Be sure to check out Reutte.com for a complete overview of all that the region has to offer.
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