Late summer attractions in the Austrian Tyrol

The stunning landscape that is the trademark of the Austrian Tyrol is a huge attraction all year around, and in September and October there are many events taking place against this glorious backdrop.

From sporting events like the Kaisermarathon to festivals such as Almatrieb which celebrate the rural traditions of the area, there is an action packed series of events that will appeal to visitors of all ages. Here are 10 very good reasons for visiting the Austrian Tyrol at this time of year and discover exactly what goes on there.

1.            Old Tirolean Handicraft Festival in Seefeld (8th – 9th September 2012)

Take a step back in time in Seefeld where you can marvel at old handicrafts, as the old masters come together to celebrate their workmanship. With more than 100 stands and exhibitions, from basket weavers to barrel makers they will be demonstrating their skills during the festival, with plenty of traditional music, food and drink.

How much? Stay at the new apartment-hotel Torri di Seefeld for 7 nights from €483. To book visit  www.appartement-torri-seefeld.com.  Direct flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck airport are available with www.easyjet.com. Departs 5th September 2012.

For further information: www.seefeld.com

2.            Wildschönau Almabtrieb Festival (15th and 22nd September 2012)

Celebrations begin as some 500 cattle return to the valley, after a long summer pasture in Auffach in the Wildschönau valley. The cows are decorated with wreaths of flowers and bells and paraded down by the herdsmen, dairy maids and cheese-makers. This long-standing tradition continues with entertainment, lots of dancing and age-old entertainment. The party goes on long after the cows have come home!

How much? Inghams (01483 791111; www.inghams.co.uk) has 7 nights accommodation on half board at the 3* Hotel Harfenwirt in Niederau from £506 per person (saving £103). Price includes return flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and resort transfers. Departs 12th September 2012.

For further information: www.wildschoenau.com

3.            Dumpling Festival in St. Johann in Tirol (22nd September 2012)

St Johann’s Knödelfest (Dumpling Festival) celebrates one of Austria’s most popular dishes. Get ready for the largest display of dumplings the world has ever seen – 25,000 dumplings in 23 different varieties from traditional to modern, from sweet to savoury are presented on a 300m long table! Join in the festivities with live music late into the night. Entrance fee €3.

How much? Crystal Summer (0871 230 8180; www.crystalsummer) has 7 nights half board accommodation at the 3* Guesthouse Mauth in St Johann from £427 per person (was £615). Price includes return flights from Manchester to Salzburg and resort transfers. Departs 19th September 2012.

For further information: http://www.kitzalps.cc/en/dumpling-festival.html

4.            International Libro Balloon Cup in Kirchberg (22nd – 26th September 2012)

Set in Kirchberg in the heart of the Kitzbühel Alps, the 23rdLibro Balloon Cup fills the sky with multi-coloured balloons of all shapes and sizes. Over 30 teams from Austria, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland compete. Don’t miss the Night Glow, where crowds come to see the balloons illuminated by their gas burners against the night sky. Visitors can enjoy their own balloon ride over the Kitzbühel Alps costing €180 for an evening take-off and €220 for a morning take-off (tel: +43 5357 2000).

How much? Stay at the 4* Hotel Bräuwirt in Kirchberg for 7 nights on half board with prices starting from €425 per person. To book visitwww.hotel-braeuwirt.at. Direct flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck airport are available with www.easyjet.com.

For further information: www.kirchberg.at

5.            International Alpine Cheese Olympics in Galtür (29th September)

The 90 best cheese producers from all over the Alps meet in Galtür for the International Alpine Cheese Olympics. While the judges are busy assessing the cheeses, visitors can taste the different varieties and buy some to take home. After much deliberation and digestion, the top cheeses are selected and awarded the Galtür Sennerharfe – a harp in gold, silver, or bronze.

How much? Neilson (www.neilson.co.uk; 0844 879 8155) has 7 nights at the family run 4* Hotel Almhof in Galtür starting from £545 per person, including flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck. Departs 26th September.

For further information: www.kaeseolympiade.at or www.galtuer.com

6.            Sunrise breakfast

What better way to start the day than with a hearty sunrise breakfast at the top of the Kitzbüheler Horn with spectacular views across the sleeping valley. If you are not an early riser then September is the better month to try this out as the sun rises an hour later than in July. Purchase your ‘Towards the Sun’ ticket from the lift pass office for €31.50, which includes your journey up and down the mountain, breakfast at the Horngipfel Haus and guided walk.

How much? Thomson Lakes & Mountains (0871 230 8181; www.thomsonlakes.co.uk) has 7 nights half board accommodation at the 4* Hotel Jägerwirt in Kitzbühel from £491 per person (was £639). Price includes return flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and resort transfers. Departs 15th September 2012.

For further information:  http://www.bergbahn-kitzbuehel.at/en/horngipfel-breakfast.html

7.            Kaisermarathon in Söll (6th October 2012)

Söll hosts the famous Kaisermarathon, a popular endurance running event for mountain runners. The 42km route starts in the centre of Söll and goes via Scheffau, Ellmau, the Ski-region Wilder Kaiser towards the finish at the top of the Hohe Salve – that’s a climb of nearly 4,000ft as part of the race! Entrance fee €78.

How much? Stay at the Hotel Gänsleit (www.gansleit.com) in Söll for 7 nights on half board with prices starting from €332 per person. Direct flights to Innsbruck airport are available with www.easyjet.com.

For further information: www.tourdetirol.com or www.wilderkaiser.info

8.            Self-guided cycling holiday along the River Inn

Let the summer of cycling continue and opt for a self-guided cycling holiday along the River Inn from Innsbruck to Passau along stunning mountain scenery, through alpine meadows and charming villages and past historic landmarks such as the Reichersberg Monastery and the impressive Kufstein fortress.

How much? HF Holidays (0845 470 8558) offer departures on every weekend in September until 7thOctober, with prices starting from £635 per person on B&B for 8 nights in 3* Hotels, including cycle hire, route descriptions and maps, luggage transfer service and train transfer from Schärding to Passau. Direct flights to Innsbruck airport are available with www.easyjet.com.

For further information: http://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays/river-inn-trail

9.            Colourful finale of the year (October 2012)

Autumn hiking in the mountains is a wonderful experience as the colours start to change, the sky takes on that deep blue hue and the air becomes crisp and clear. As Mother Nature prepares for winter, get ready for a spectacle of colour as you discover the alpine meadows and forests of the Ӧtztal mountains.

How much? Tirol’s hiking hotel specialists, Wanderhotels, offer unrivalled expertise and have 7 nights at the 3* Hotel Tauferberg from €329 per person, including half board, guided walks along the Eagle Walk and wildlife watching.

For further information: www.wanderhotels.at

10.         Getting ready for winter…Sölden Glacier (13th – 14th October 2012)

For those who can’t wait until the ski season kicks off can enjoy first tracks of the season at the opening of Sölden’s glaciers in the Ӧtztal. From 13th – 14th October, the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glacier is the venue for the MAXXX mountain glacier launch with two days of free ski and snowboard equipment test, live concerts and DJ.

How much? Stay 7 nights at the Haus Sonnwend on B&B, with prices starting from €155 for 3 nights. Other accommodation options are available from the tourist office website site www.soelden.com.

For more information on the region: www.visittirol.co.uk; www.facebook.com/visittirol