Part of the attraction of long-distance hiking is the solitude. Lonely trails running between gurgling streams and eagles circling peaks of over 3000 metres.
Multi-day tours also let you experience your own mind and allow you to ponder deeper questions. What really counts? Simplicity? Authenticity? Purity?
The East Tyrol is a long distance hiking region: the pure mountain air, the 3000-metre peaks and the refreshment stops in mountain huts. East Tyrol manages the difficult balancing act between unspoilt nature and modern life.
The new “Iseltrail” in East Tyrol
The 57-kilometre-long Isel is the last free-flowing glacier river in the Eastern Alps. It provides a habitat for many animals and plants threatened with extinction and the river and its banks have been designated a European protected area.
Hikers can reach the source of the river in five days via the new “Iseltrail”, which leads from the sunny city of Lienz to its source on a glacier in the middle of the Hohe Tauern National Park.
On the 80 kilometres or so upriver, impressive natural spectacles await you, such as the dramatic gorge at Bobojach and the Glos Gorge. After the Umbal Falls, the “Iseltrail” leaves the last traces of civilisation behind and penetrates into the high alpine wilderness of the Hohe Tauern National Park. Wide, treeless high valleys and dazzling white glaciers dominate the scenery.
The source of the Isel is finally reached after five days and 80 kilometres of travel when hikers arrive at the Umbalkees Glacier, in the shadow of the Dreiherrenspitze (3499 m). Even though this long hike leads steadily uphill, there is not a massive difference in altitude. And, except for the last stage to the source, no special alpine experience is necessary.
Overnight accommodation is available at the end of each stage: in a hotel, inn or at a camping site. Or you can stay in comfortable accommodation for the week and take a shuttle ride to the start or hotel in the morning and evening.
Close to life – relaxed hiking on the new “Höfe Trail”
High up in East Tyrol, where the river Gail has its source, nature and culture have been inseparable for centuries. The centuries-old interaction between agriculture and the land and its people can still be experienced around the municipalities of Kartitsch, Obertilliach and Untertilliach.
Whether mountain farmer, beekeeper, herbal expert or night watchman – everyone up here in the Gailtal is an expert in his field and can tell interested guests plenty about regionality, sustainability and authenticity, with a crash course in deceleration available on the side!
If you would like to accompany some East Tyrolean originals a little bit on their way, you can do so on the “Höfe Trail” – an idea that has been developed by locals.
The well-signposted path from farm to farm connects the communities of Kartitsch, Obertilliach and Untertilliach in a three-day hike which stays close to the valley floor. Along the way you can find 14 clever and insightful “background stories”.
With so much nature and culture, sooner or later your stomach will growl. Locally produced food straight from the farm will help with the hunger pangs. Special ‘farmhouse experiences’ bookable in advance can be enjoyed on particular dates.
More information: www.osttirol.com