What a place, and what a memory of climbing this particular place. OK, facts first. Sonnbendjoch is found in the Ursprungspass in the Tyrol overlooking the town of Kramsach. It's one of many stunning peaks, Sonnbendjoch being 1986metres above sea level, the highest being the Rofanspitze at 2259metres, which overlooks the Zireinersee, a small mountain tarn. Thankfully, the chairlfit takes you from Mariatal in the valley below to the lake - take a left from the chairlift to head for Sonnbendjoch. It's not the easiest of hikes, but manageable, and needless to say stunning views and a place to take your time. But we had started late and the last lift down was 4.30pm. Never had we covered so much space in so short a time - especially as we did a loop (quickest way back) and had to negotiate a sheer cliff face, going down. Certainly glad of the rope and this non-mountaineer was not that keen - but it was either than or go back the same way, miss the chair lift and walk the 1800 metres back to the valley floor and the car. Somehow we managed a quick dip in the cold, cold water of the Zireinersee and made the lift with about 3 minutes to spare.... And I did see edelweiss for the first time.
Kramsach is approximately 50 kms due east from Innsbruck.
To the south of Innsbruck along the Brenner Pass is the Obernberger See, the largest lake on the southern side of the Tyrol. Mountains surround the lake to an elevation of 2181 metres above sea level (Sandjochl the highest peak) and which, as part of the Brenner Alps, forms the border between Austria and Italy. Running along a saddle, the border is unmanned, and whilst technically illegal, you can straddle the border and walk with one foot in each country (1 metre high posts every 100 metres or so are the only visible evidence.
The lake is suprisingly underdeveloped for tourism - 2 or 3 bars, restaurants etc - possibly due to the fact that swimming is forbidden. But there are some stunning walks/hikes to be had in the vicinity.
Obernberger See/Sandjochl is reached by travelling south from Innbruck along the Brenner Pass and turning right at the border village of Gries am Brenner.
The scenic and tranquil village of Natters is located in the foothills of the Alpes, about 5 kilometers south of Innsbruck. Natters can be reached quickly by public bus from Innsbruck. A scenic and memorable alternative way for reaching the village is by gondola. The gondola station is only about 200 meters from the village center.
Photo #1 shows the countryside looking south from Natters. The mountain shown on the horizon beyond the plowed fields did not look very impressive in late May during our visit. The slopes of this mountain however, are much steeper than they appear from the distance. The mountain proudly boasts one of the most pupular downhill ski runs in the world. This ski run was the venue for the downhill ski events during the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic games, and evokes great memories for many athletes and fans. Natters is understandibly more popular as a tourist destination during ski season.
Photo #2 is from the center of Natters looking south toward Innsbruck. The houses and other buildings are mantained in immaculate condition, and the village is very clean and tidy.
Escape the crowds and ascend the Nordkette mountains the quickest way by the Hungerburg funicular Bahn which leaves from the station at end of Rennweg (tram lines No. 1 and No. 6). The Hungerburg plateau provides a good base for hiking or if you're feeling lazy then cable cars (Nordkettenbahn) also continue from here to just below the summit - Bergstation Hafelekar. Either way admire the views of the River Inn Valley and surrounding peaks.
This is another nice photo taken in Alps mountains around the city of Innsbruck.Another nice place to see very close to the town is the beautiful Ambras Palace, (Schloss Ambras).I didn't had the chance to go there but our local guide told us that is another nice and interesting place to visit with time enough and located just outside Innsbruck.
If you are travelling through this area of Alps mountains,by car,don't miss see the beautiful nature and landscapes around Innsbruk!.You must to visit all small villages on the mountains and other interesting places.And if you are a nature lover and like see real nature and hiking then you'll find lots of walking trails along all these mountains!.
This picture was taken few miles before entering Innsbruck.
Well, InterRailers, this is one of the most important lessons for you all. Eating is a real challenge for travellers with low-budget plans. A meal in a restaurant would cost about 15-20 euros, and in a fast-food restaurant maybe 5-10 euros.
Buying canned foods and a gas boiler (?), a dinner is about 1-2 euros. Guess which alternative we chose most of the time...
We were searching for some green area where we can sit down and cook, but it is hard on the first day - you are not yet accustomed to eat on the streets!! We must emphasize -- not YET.
We climbed up a hill by the other side of the Inn than the Old Town, and in an outskirt area we found a path between two high-class houses and had a very delicious dinner. Then -- 8 o'clock tea from a can!!
If you like mountains or want to see the natural world, I suggest you to join the free hiking program (daily program) from the tourist office. It runs from Jun to Sep. The hiking routes are different from day to day.
There is a mountain guide go with you for the whole trip. The office will provide you with the hiking shoes and sticks if there is a need. On the way, the guide will show you around and take you to the nearest mountain hut to have lunch or drinks but some huts will close after the peak season. It really fits me as I travel alone.
I joined this programs for 3 days and enjoyed the trips very much. I tried the food in the huts and saw the droppings of the rabbits, deers, etc on the snow. I was lucky enough to see the deers too.
You can pay to take a lift up to the top of the ski jump but its in the middle of hills so if you follow a semi marked path, and then get lost like we did you can actually walk up the foresty hills right ot the top where the lift ends. ITs a lovely walk also if its a sunny day.. take some sandwiches also if i was you... very nice views over Innsbruck
This is a picture of the women's starting gate of the Bob Bhan. If you hike up far enough you'll first reach the woman's gate and a bit further up the run and you'll find yourself at the men's gate. It's a pretty impressive course espically since I have never seen one in person.
After you get off at Hungerburg you get a cable car up to Seegrube and then from there can continue up to Hafelekar, which is about 2300m. No doubt the views from there are fantastic, but we didn't go the whole way up (Susan hates cable cars and it takes all her courage to go even a little way in one).
Hugerberg, Seegrube and Hafelekar
Walking North along the river bank for maybe 15 minutes. you will come to the Hungerburgbahn terminus. This is a funicular railway that begins the three stage ascent of this mountain.
bob bahn - Found in the hills just outside of Innsbruck this bobslead course was used for two olympic games that were hosted by Innsbruck. In the winter it is still used and in the summer it makes for an interesting hike. The size of some of the turns are amazing reaching upards of 10 to 20 feet.
~Why all of the sudden such an interest in the toy hamster? hehe~ When I was visiting Innsbruck, we went hiking near Tulfes. It's so beautiful!!! The hiking is moderately difficult, but then, of course, I'm not in shape, but I did get up. There are local maps with the hiking trail numbers. THe first 'pitstop' is Rinn Alm. It's just a little restaurant. We were the only ones there at that time. But you can get a light snack. The views are incredible. This is one of the first spectacular views. It's looking out to the city of Innsbruck. The item in front is just a toy hamster-(don't ask!!)
'climbing path' above innsbruck; you can get an impression of climbing (but you need a little experience and the right equipment!!)