You probably haven’t heard much about Osttirol, and that’s exactly why it’s Austria's best-kept secret. Osttirol, which translates to East Tyrol, is nestled in the heart of the Alps, boasting stunning mountain views, crystal-clear lakes, and fairytale-like villages. 

Even though I’ve travelled to Tyrol a few times before, Osttirol remained a mystery to me until I got an invite to the Adventure Elevate event in Kitzbuhel. As part of the event, I had the chance to spend a few days in Osttirol. 

Osttirol is a district in the state of Tyrol, located in the western part of Austria. Unlike its more famous neighbour, North Tyrol, Osttirol remains relatively untouched by mass tourism, preserving its natural beauty and traditional charm. 

The region is dominated by the towering peaks of the Hohe Tauern mountain range, including Grossglockner, Austria's highest mountain. Osttirol is a fantastic destination for winter sports, such as skiing, and summer activities, such as hiking and biking. It’s a haven for adventure seekers, offering diverse experiences across all seasons. The locals affectionately call Osttirol "the balcony of the Alps" and after visiting, it’s easy to see why.

In this post, I am going to share all you need to know about Osttirol and the top things to do here during summer. You can also watch my video about East Tyrol on YouTube.

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How to get to East Tyrol?

Travelling to Osttirol is an adventure in itself, offering stunning views no matter how you choose to arrive. If you are coming from other parts of Austria or neighbouring countries like Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, you have it easy, you can get here by train or bus. 

Driving to Osttirol in your own car is also a convenient option, with straightforward routes from all directions. If you’re travelling on motorways, you’ll need a toll sticker (“Vignette”), but all other roads are accessible free of charge. Whichever route you take, you're guaranteed fantastic views along the way.

For those planning to fly, the Innsbruck-Kranebitten airport offers direct flights from many European cities. If you're in the UK like me, the most convenient way to get to Osttirol is to fly to Munich or Innsbruck, as they are the closest airports. From there, hiring a car is a great option to enjoy the flexibility of exploring the region at your own pace. You can rent a car from rental agencies like Rentalcars or Discovercars

Where to stay in East Tyrol

Accommodation options in Osttirol range from luxury hotels with spas to cosy guesthouses and alpine huts. Popular places to stay include Lienz and Matrei in Osttirol. 

Lienz is the capital of Osttirol and the perfect place to base yourself. It has a relaxed atmosphere with lots of restaurants and cafes. Plus, there are so many amazing hotels with spas here. We stayed at Winklers Hotel Moarhof which offers beautiful mountain views and a spa. If you are looking for ski-to-door access right next to the Zettersfeld Cable Car, Hotel Holunderhof is your place. 

Matrei is the second largest village in East Tyrol, located in the heart of Hohe Tauern National Park. For accommodation, Matrei offers some of the best places to stay in East Tyrol. The AlpenParks Hotel MONTANA, just a 5-minute walk from the village centre, and the Naturhotel Outside are excellent options, providing comfort and easy access to the village and surrounding nature.

Top Places to Visit in East Tyrol


Lienz, the capital of East Tyrol
Mountain views from Lienz, the capital of Tyrol

Lienz, the charming town at the foot of the Lienz Dolomites, is the cultural and economic centre of Osttirol. With its picturesque streets, historical buildings, and lively atmosphere, Lienz offers a perfect blend of history and modernity. This medieval town, with a population of less than 12,000, serves as the capital of East Tyrol.

Lienz is known as the sunniest town in Austria, even though, we weren’t so lucky with the weather during our stay. Key attractions in Lienz include the historic Bruck Castle, which provides a glimpse into the region's past, and the bustling Lienz Main Square, where you will find local shops and cafes. 


Grossglockner is the highest peak in Austria, standing at 3,798 meters. It is a major draw for mountaineers and nature lovers. The Grossglockner High Alpine Road offers breathtaking views and access to various hiking trails. Keep in mind the road is closed during winter due to the amount of snow. It is usually open from May until early November, for more information and tickets check the official website

Hohe Tauern National Park

This park is one of the largest nature reserves in Europe, covering 1,856 square kilometres. The park is a natural wonderland characterised by lush forests, serene mountain lakes, impressive waterfalls, wild rivers, and glaciated peaks. The park is a sanctuary for over 10,000 animal species and 1,800 plant species, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

The most popular trail here is the Umbalfälle Nature Trail. This trail takes you along the spectacular Umbalfälle waterfalls, which cascade along the rushing Isel River. The walk is pretty easy and can be done on a day trip. 

Fun Things to Do in East Tyrol

Via Ferrata in East Tyrol

East Tyrol, with its breathtaking landscapes and untouched natural beauty, is a playground for adventure seekers. Whether you're seeking the thrill of scaling mountain peaks, the serenity of alpine lakes, or the exhilaration of mountain biking through rugged trails, East Tyrol offers an abundance of outdoor activities. Here are the top adventurous things to do in Osttirol. 

Hiking and Mountaineering

Osttirol is a hiker's paradise with trails ranging from easy walks to challenging alpine routes. The Eagle Walk is a famous long-distance trail that passes through some of the most scenic parts of the region. And if you are looking for an easy hike, you can walk a section of the long-distance Isel Trail. The path is right next to the river Isel offering a tranquil and picturesque experience.

Cycling and Mountain Biking

One of the best ways to explore the countryside of East Tyrol is cycling. There are various types of trails suitable for all ages and different abilities.  The most scenic rides in the region include the Drau Cycle Path across Pustertal Valley and the Iseltal Cycle Path, both offering spectacular views of the craggy pinnacles of the Dolomites. Another special route to enjoy the scenery of East Tyrol is the Virgental Cycle Path in Hohe Tauern National Park, running from Matrei to the stunning Umbal Waterfalls.

Bike Park in East Tyrol

For mountain biking enthusiasts, Osttirol offers a network of trails that cater to all skill levels. If you are up for a challenge head to the the Bikepark on the Hochstein mountain near Lienz. You can also combine hiking and cycling by taking the E-bike & hiking tour at the Grossglockner. 


One of the most fun things to do in East Tyrol is paragliding. Local operators offer tandem Paragliding flights. You can fly for up to 45 minutes, soaring above the Lienz valley and enjoying a wonderful panorama of the Lienz Dolomites. You can even decide the type of flight that suits your preference, whether it's a serene glide or a more adventurous ride. To make the experience even more memorable, the tour provides photos and videos, allowing you to relive the exhilarating moments and share them with friends and family.

Rafting and Canyoning

For water sports enthusiasts, the rivers and canyons of Osttirol provide excellent opportunities for rafting and canyoning. The Isel River, with its thrilling rapids, is perfect for an exciting rafting adventure. Keep in mind the water is pretty cold but you wear a thick wetsuit, so, you will be fine. During our tour, we actually had a chance to jump to the river and it was so refreshing. 

The numerous canyons in the area offer equally challenging and exhilarating canyoning experiences, allowing you to explore hidden waterfalls, natural slides, and deep pools. Whether you are navigating the rapids or abseiling down waterfalls, the adrenaline rush and the stunning natural surroundings make these activities a must-try in East Tyrol.

Skiing and Snowboarding

In the winter months, Osttirol transforms into a snowy wonderland. The region is home to several ski resorts, including the renowned Großglockner Resort Kals-Matrei, which offers slopes for all levels, from beginners to experts. The pristine powder and well-maintained pistes make it a top destination for skiing and snowboarding.

Best Time to Visit East Tyrol

The best time to visit East Tyrol depends on what you want to do. East Tyrol is a great destination for Summer and winter. Summer (Late May to September) is ideal for hiking, cycling, and exploring nature. Winter (December to March) is perfect for skiing and snowboarding.