Sunday 25 February 2024

An Alpine Paradise

 Seefeld, 20 to 25 May 2011

Alexandra, of  'Still Making Waves on Top of the World', is off hiking in Austria in a few months time. This news sent me racing for my diaries and photos of our May 2011 visit.

We had just spent 7 days hiking in Slovenia in the Jasna Lake area, Ukranc area and Bled area. We took the train from there to Innsbruck. Then a small train took us 18 km to the higher plateau and Seefeld. Finally a bus dropped us at the door of our accommodation for the following 5 nights.

Xander Hotel in the Leutasch Valley was our full board, accommodation.

Front entrance

Everyone sat down to dinner ar 6.30pm. As it was Saturday night on our first evening, we dined with this wonderful trio playing in the background. 

I was in alpine heaven! After dinner I was able to take a short walk around the village in the wonderful, evening light. Frank unfortunately, had developed bronchitis before we left Bled, so was limited in how far he could walk during the early part of our stay.

Day 1 - local strolls and a visit to to Seefeld. 

A path out of Seefeld from St Oswalds Church, led us to a knoll and a circle of 12 massive stones representing the Apostles.

My evening walk. 
With a backdrop of snowcapped peaks I meandered through fields of buttercups and ranunculi, in the crisp alpine air, accompanied by birdsong and watching the peaceful, grazing sheep and goats. A farmer and his little daughter stopped for a chat. Sheer bliss!

Day 2
Looking for something less strenuous for Frank, we took a 25 min bus ride north into Germany and the quaint town of Mittenwald. [933 m] We discovered that Mittenwald is famous for its colourful, painted houses and violin making. Our intent however was to find the town's gondola. Soon we were being whisked steeply to 2244 m.  We assumed that at the top we would walk lazily, through lovely Alpine meadows!
Ha, ha, the ignorance of Aussies!

Photos on the RHS above, taken from here.

We then turned right to make the circular climb back to the gondola.  Alas my body froze halfway up the slope and we had to retrace our steps.

Aah, the joy of seeing alpine flowers, so often read about in novels.

View back to the gondola..

Beautiful Mittenwald - it was Sunday and it seems that the locals enjoy being out and about in their national dress on this day each week.

As we waited to take the bus back to Leutasch, the storm that had been threatening all morning materialised in full force. The heavens opened, thunder echoed through the valley and hail fell. Thankfully we found shelter close to the bus stop.

Day 3
We woke to a dreary looking day and the weather channel didn't give much promise for any improvement. At 9.30 we set off walking to Seefeld via trails 3 and 42. Joined by Englishwoman Wendy, we changed course for Wildermoossee. Lovely woodland with lots of up and down to Lake Wildmoossee.

Here we veered towards Mosem. A fairly steep climb gave us views over Seefeld and its ski jump, before we arrived at another lovely lake.

We now climbed down towards Mosern. From its Peace Bell, we were able to look down into the wide Inntal Valley in which Innsbruck is situated.
The Peace Bell marks the 25 th anniversary of the Alpine Work Group. It symbolizes cross border peace initiatives between the people of the Alpine Area. Weighing over 10 tonnes, it is swung daily at 5 pm.

From the bell we were looking across the Inntal Valley, to the area where Alexandra will be visiting.

Time to make our way back to Seefeld and catch a bus back to Leutasch. About 18 km had been walked. Frank's antibiotics bought in Bled, had kicked in.

Day 4
Greeted by a lovely sunny day, we took the Miitenwald bus again, but on this occasion, alighted at the entrance to the Leutasch Gorge, just south of the German border. 

Our pre reading prepared us for a mysterious watery realm, owned by the fairies and goblins that live in the gorge, and where the water swirls in a fast moving torrent between high rocky cliffs. [75 m]

The gorge is 3 km long, with the initial trail being through woodland, leading to a complex feat of metal walkways, [2005] high above the foaming waters.

RHS - English companions from the hotel - Ann and Wendy.

The exit

The following two photos belong to the blog writer, "Heather on her Travels." They give a much better feeling of the gorge and the walkway.

On exiting the gorge we were in the Mittenwald Valley. We took the trail south to Scharnitz. 

This trail was shady and flat, meandering through tall firs with an undergrowth of heath vegetation. I did spot some Lily of the Valley.

Leaving Schnaritz we had to make a decision about our route home. We had little information to guide us and chose Route 18 to Ahrn. The notes didn't explain that the trail wasn't well sign posted. That it was steep and narrow in places, or that it was used infrequently. A very challenging couple of hours followed. At the end of the day however, we had successfully 'conquered a mountain'!

Initially the trail meandered slowly upwards on a road. It then gradually increased in steepness, turning into a very narrow track. All very pleasant until we entered 'mountain goat' elevation. The zig zagging track dropping steeply on either side was not pleasant at all. It was too late to turn back. Eventually the trail flattened but we were still climbing! There are no photos of the worst sections. I wonder why?

Finally we reached the top with signs to everywhere. After 2 1/2 hours we had reached 1,498m! It was now down, down, down to Ahrn, via a curving forestry road. 

The final 3 km from Ahrn to our hotel was blissful walking, surrounded by flat, alpine meadows.

Our stay here was over. The following morning we caught the small train back down the mountain plateau to Innsbruck. A fast train then sped us through the Inntal Valley towards our next adventure. The alpine walking wasn't quite what we had expected, but we had most certainly enjoyed every moment and alpine view.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. Thank You so much Helen for crafting this blog post! You made my heart flutter with excitement! There are just a few more details to be confirmed and then I will truly begin to get excited!

    1. Can't wait for your visit. Both Frank and I have totally enjoyed revisiting through our photos.

  2. Helen, your adventures always amaze me. Our Austrian experience was time in Vienna, not on the mountains. I would not be able to walk those trails, especially after living on this flat island for so long.

    The photos were beautiful and really showed the area. Well worth a visit for anyone with the stamina like you two have.

    1. Thank you, Marie. Vienna has its own beauty and requires a lot of walking. I just wish Covid hadn't prevented us from visiting Matthew in Graz and joining him on hikes.
      We have nothing to compare to this alpine scenery so every step is a wow step for me.

  3. What a small world! You were in our neighbourhood! I'm from Slovenia, but I'm a lover of Alps and alpine nature and lakes and plants... definitely the best things to visit here.

    1. Marji, we fell in love with Slovenia the moment we arrived. We have a canvas of Jasna Lake on our lounge wall. We saw it in rain, sunshine and snow that fell overnight. I love that I can continue to revisit via your wonderful blog.

  4. What a wonderful trip! It got me excited for my Switzerland trip in September.

  5. Linda, please fill me in on where you will be in Switzerland and how you are doing it. So excited for you.

  6. Thanks so much for this post! It looks like a heavenly place to spend some time.

    1. I could sure do with some crisp, cool mountain air, right now, Bill.

  7. Gorgeous photos. A part of the world I’d love to explore. B x

    1. It was a very special visit. I woud love to have time to return.

  8. What an adventure! It looks straight out of the movie I remember loving as a child, Heidi. Photos have the ability to take us back to wonderful places, and your hiking has certainly taken you to many beautiful places!

  9. I can't remember how many times I read Heidi as a child, but it was one of my favourite books. The most recent film of Heidi [2015] was wonderful. As a result of googling the year of the film, I have discovered that I can watch said film, on one of our free to air channels. Guess what I am now going to do, on this extreme;y hot summer's afternoon?

  10. An amazing adventure in a really beautiful country! Thx for sharing it with us. I made the mistake of going up the Palm Springs Tram once in my summer clothes and freezing my butt off!

  11. Wow, the world's largest rotating tram car and built in the 60's! I hadn't imagined California that cold. Spectacular.

  12. You are fortunate to have the stamina to be able to walk in these beautiful places.

    1. Then and now, Joan. I am very grateful. Sadly, Frank's ankle now prevents him from any lengthy walks.

  13. What a wonderful post, Helen! You two are incredibly sporty.
    For me, alpine and paradise are almost synonyms... and even more so after this post. :)
    Big hugs.

  14. Alpine and paradise are definitely synonymous! Hugs back to you in your snowy world!