Are you an outdoor lover and adventure traveler seeking the next big thrill?
Look no further than the Otztal Valley in the Tirol region of Austria. From via ferattas to canyoning, getting shot out of a canon to crazy waterslides, and down hill mountain biking to freaky high ropes courses, it has something for all brave hearted travelers.
I hadn’t had such thrilling adventures in a very long time. My body was bruised and sore after each one, but it felt so good to be pushing my body and courage boundaries to new limits. I’d go back to this region in a heartbeat, hopefully with my thrill seeking brave daughter with me!
This is what travel is about – pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to try new things, feel alive, and create memories that stand out above all the rest.
It was my first time to Austria and I was left wondering why it took me so long to visit.
I toured Western Europe in a mini van 20 years ago with my girlfriends. Austria wasn’t even on my horizon, instead it was the fun and festivities of destinations closer to the ocean. But now, my heart and soul longs more for the mountains and alpine living.
It’s a dominating landscape that grabs your attention and reaches into your core to bring out strength, longevity and connection.
I visited Austria for the Social Travel Summit held in Kitzbuhel. I spoke on a panel called Standing out in a Digital Landscape. After it, I had the pleasure of joining a hosted tour to the Otztal Valley region for three nights with a group of seven other travel bloggers. We had a blast together and I’m so glad our group dynamic was positive and fun.
So if you want an adventurous time in Austria, I highly recommend the following adventure activities in Otztal, Tirol.
1. E-biking to Piburger See Lake
I want an e-bike, especially if I’m doing any uphill riding. In case you didn’t know an e-bike is an electric bike. It does not do all the work for you, it still requires peddling and a little puffing, but it makes getting up steep Austrian mountains pretty easy. Make friends with the Turbo Boost!
It was a lovely gentle transition from the busy crazy fun of the STS conference to the crazy adventures in Otztal we had after this one. We rode up the mountain to pretty views over Piburger See Lake and then down to the lake for some photos.
The water is meant to get to around 24 degree Celsius in the summer. It would be a magical place to do stand up paddle boarding.
Piburger See Lake is also a 30 minute walk from the town of Oetz.
2. Area 47, an extreme water park
Area 47 in Otztal is actually several adventure activities rolled in one. I had a ball here. At first I was worried about being here when the outside temperature was around 15 degrees! But, with our thick wetsuits we barely even noticed it. The water was actually quite refreshing and we were having way too much fun to care.
You can read all about the various activities you can do at Area 47 in this post I wrote completely dedicated to its epicness.
It’s the Disneyland for adult thrill seekers and water adventurers with climbing walls, slacklines, catapults, jumps and crazy waterslides. You know you’ve had a great time when you end up with a bruise the entire length of your back right thigh.
Man was that a story to tell shooting down a steep waterslide doing 80km/hr to be hurtled up in the air and come crashing down side belly flop style into the water. I wasn’t expecting that when I volunteered to go first before all the slightly nervous young ones!
There’s also white water rafting, wake boarding, zip lining and very scary high ropes courses.
I so want to return here. It’s not to be missed when you visit the Tirol region in Austria.
Here’s a video with more:
3. Mountain biking at Bike Republic Solden
Downhill mountain biking is probably one of the most intense and insane things I have ever done. I still can’t believe I did it and chuckle at the crazy memories. I should have backed out once I was handed the full frontal helmet.
After rigorous training at the bike pump we hit one of the 20 natural trails on the Bike Republic and three shaped lines consisting of steep curves, wallrides, scooters and also spirals.
The more difficult trails even have jumps! Labelled like ski runs, the trails range from blue to black, the blue being the easy “family” trail.
I didn’t get much of a chance to really test the family friendliness of it. The first two minutes involved me flying over the handle bars. I handled the next part of the trail okay until my friend fell off her bike and then another. I decided to pull out and enjoy the scenery instead.
And the alpine scenery was spectacular.
Bike Republic Solden is an epic adventure and if you have the skills, stamina, and fearlessness, then I highly recommend you do it. I’d love to give it another go to be honest. This time I’d start it more with a superwoman stance than a skittish squirrel one.
You can read more about the mountain biking experience at Bike Republic.
4. Relax at Aqua Dome
After the physical and mental strain of the adventurous activities in Otztal, it was wonderful to end our trip at the Aqua Dome .
The Aqua Dome is one of the best thermal spar resorts in the Austrian Alps. It has twelve indoor and outdoor pools with water temperatures ranging from 93 – 97°F as well as saunas and quiet places to relax.
The most special aspect of it, like everything in Austria, is the accompanying views. You won’t want to get out of the water. Seriously. It’s so cold outside!!
Unfortunately, Becki and I could not go into the saunas – and the must be naked rule made me feel okay with that.
Due to our visits to the doctor and injuries sustained from the mountain biking we were advised not to go in the sauna. The last thing I wanted was my hand to get infected and me having go get it scraped again. Flashbacks to that time in Sumatra when my scabbed over sore got infected and we had to pry it back open to let the puss ooze out. Ouch
You can stay at the Aqua Dome as well. Book your accommodation here.
And that was where my Austrian adventures ended. It was only I and Guilherme who ended our amazing adventures in Austria at the thermal spa as we both had to leave early for our flights home the next day.
The rest of the group tackled more adventures on the via ferratta up the waterfall.
I had no idea what that even was – I clearly did not pay attention to the itinerary before choosing this trip!!
I think perhaps I just noticed whitewater rafting and then a spa and thought – oh that sounds like fun! I am so glad I experienced these adventures in Otztal anyway because it as a blast. It has inspired me to get fit and tackle more adventurous activities.
A few days after we got home we went to Fayetteville and went rock climbing. Instead of just hanging back and belaying the girls and letting them have all the fun, I scaled up the wall surprising myself at how confident I felt and how much I enjoyed it.
The cool blogging crew I traveled with
We had such a cool crew. Be sure to check out their blogs below:
- Becki Enright from Borders of Adventure
- Sabina Trojanova from Girl Vs Globe
- Peter Parkor from Travel Unmasked
- Guilherme Tetamanti from Quero Viajar Mais (Portuguese blog)
- Claudia Beatriz from Aprendiz de Viajante (Portuguese blog)
- Lucie Aidart from Voyages et Vagabondages (French blog)
- Veronika Tomanova from Veronka’s Adventure
Also in the photo is Holger from Tourism Tirol and our instructors from Ride On Bike School.
Where we stayed in Otztal
How does a wooded cabin surrounded by mountains sound?
The Nature resort is dedicated to health and wellness giving you serenity, good food and sauna, which I never found the time to experience, but others in our group did and enjoyed them. The resort is in the style of a small Alpine village overlooking scenic mountains at the entrance of the Ötz Valley.
I had a comfortable room in a wood cabin and the food we ate at the restaurant was delicious. It’s close to all amenities and in Oetz village centre, although it feels like you are very rural. Book your stay at the Nature Resort here.
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3 Insane Adventures in Otztal Austria you don’t want to miss (+ 1 relaxing one)
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