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Innsbruck, Tirol, and Vorarlberg Travel Guide

  • Photo: cesc_assawin / Shutterstock

Plan Your Innsbruck, Tirol, and Vorarlberg Vacation

The provinces of Tirol and Vorarlberg make up the western tip of Austria with Innsbruck, the capital of Tirol, the natural, historic, and economic center. These two provinces are so different from the rest of Austria that you might think you've crossed a border, and in a way you have. The frontier between Tirol and Salzburg to the east is defined by mountains; four passes

routed over them are what make access possible. To the west of Tirol lies Vorarlberg; as its name implies, it's "before the Arlberg"—the massive Alps.

In winter you'll find masses of deep, sparkling powder snow and unrivaled skiing and tobogganing. You can also venture into the famous Arlberg ski resorts, where for many, skiing is almost as important as being seen. In summer, Bregenz, the historic state capital of Vorarlberg, becomes the "Summer Capital of Austria" when the Bregenz Festival opens with a performance by the Viennese Symphonic Orchestra. Thousands flock to see operas and musicals by Giuseppe Verdi or Leonard Bernstein—to name just two—which take place on a huge floating stage with Lake Constance and the Swiss mountains as a backdrop.

The Western Alps are a haven for those who love the great outdoors. It's also a region that provides getaway space and privacy—Ernest Hemingway came to Schruns to write The Sun Also Rises. In spring, summer, and fall, travelers delight in riding, tennis, swimming, and hiking the Montafon Valley, which is dominated by the "Matterhorn of Austria," the Zimba peak (8,671 feet), and is probably the most attractive of Vorarlberg's many tourist-frequented valleys. When the first snowflakes begin to fall, skiers head to the hills to take advantage of the Arlberg mountain range, the highest in the Lechtal Alps.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. The Ötz Valley Outdoors enthusiasts love hiking through this region because of rich green pastures in summer and glittering expanses of white in winter.
  2. Fancy skiing areas Known around the world for its posh resorts, Tirol is where high-society types gather to experience the good life.
  3. Tyrolean Stuben These warm and cozy wooden parlors, often found today in hotels and restaurants, are traditionally part of old farmhouses in Tirol.
  4. Bernstein in Bregenz With the sun setting over Lake Constance and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra striking up the overture of West Side Story on the world's biggest floating stage, this is an unparalleled place to see an opera or a musical.
  5. See four countries at once Take the cable car up Pfänder, the mountain behind Bregenz; the views are incredible Swiss mountains on your left, German rolling hills on your right, Liechtenstein to your left in the Rhine valley, Austria below your feet, and the glittering expanse of Lake Constance stretching 40 miles into the hazy distance.
  6. Experience top hospitality in a top village The Gasthof Post is a bit like Lech itself—full of charming understatement. Teatime in overstuffed armchairs for all houseguests will prepare you for a delicious dinner. You'll never want to leave.

When To Go

When to Go to Innsbruck, Tirol, and Vorarlberg

The physical geography of the Tirol and Vorarlberg makes them perfect for enjoying outdoor life year-round. Ski-crazy travelers descend on the reso...

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