Lienz, the capital town of East Tyrol is located exactly where three valleys meet together – the Drau, Isel and Pustertal valleys. Through its central location, at the foot of the Lienzer Dolomite Mountains, Lienz is the perfect location and base for excursions regardless of whether you are into sports, culture or just fun!
Lienz – a town with history
East Tyrol and its capital town Lienz has a long history that goes back as far back as the Roman times. When you stroll through Lienz, a number of churches, castles and museums will help reveal the history of Lienz.
Over 2000 years ago a Roman city was to be found in what is now known as Tyrol. The Roman city known as Aguntum, which was once an important trading centre, is situated in Dölsach just outside of Lienz. The ruins along with a modern museum let guests discover how the Roman times once were.
The landmark of Lienz
The castle Schloss Bruck which overlooks Lienz was once the home of the Görzer Grafen. Today the castle is home to the largest collection of Albin Egger-Lienz paintings and is the state museum of East Tyrol.
Summer in Lienzer Dolomites
From discovering canyons to sunbathing by the lake, in East Tyrol everything is possible. As the town with the most sunshine hours in Austria, Lienz in East Tyrol with its perfect conditions lets you discover the wonderful natural surroundings.
When one drives into Lienz for the first time, it’s hard not to be impressed; three thousand meter peaks and spectacular valleys, charming towns and villages and plenty of sun. Whoever wants to spend summer in the mountains will soon discover that Lienz is the perfect holiday destination.
Tristachersee (Lake Tristach)
The only bathing lake in East Tyrol is at the same time one of the nicest in the whole of the country. Nestled between trees and fields directly on the foot of the Lienzer Dolomites, you’ll find it a perfect location for a relaxing bathing day. Water temperature is often up to 24 degrees C in the summer months.
The East Tyrolean Alps consist of several valleys. One of these is Hochpustertal which is very interesting for families and well as for active holiday guests.
Active holidays in the garden of the Dolomites
Green meadows and alpine flowers at up to 3,000m – thanks to the mild climate, even at this altitude, nature shows its best side. Hiking routes through meadows and forests as well as crystal clear mountain lakes will invigorate and rejuvenate. There are also numerous possibilities for cyclists. Through different difficulty grades you can be sure to find a route to suit the leisure cyclist right up to the professional cyclist.
Innervillgraten – The magic of nature
You’ll feel as if you’ve gone back in time when you first arrive in the town of Innervillgraten. You won’t find any ski lifts or mass tourism, instead you’ll be in direct contact with nature, the meadows and the naturalness. Due to its remote location, Innervillgraten has only been accessible all year round since 1956. Here at 1,402 meters above sea level you’ll find original wooden farmers huts and houses nestled in green meadows and fields. Forget big hotels, big attractions, ski lifts or mass gastronomy. Here the village’s church (built in 1440) dominates the idyllic peace and quiet. The town is also extremely proud of its memorial commemorating the first and last “Venetian sawmill” far and wide, which in its hay day was driven and powered purely from water.
The National Park Hohe Tauern is the most impressive area of the Austrian Alps. With an area of 1,856 square kilometres stretching through three national states including Salzburg, Tyrol and Kärnten, it is the second biggest national park in Europe.
National Park House Matrei
On the Tyrolean side of the National Park Hohe Tauern is the National Park House in Matrei, East Tyrol. Over two floors of cultural and natural exhibition space, you can get to learn and be astounded by the National Park. Discover the incredible plant and animal world in this nature protected area. With help of films and visual animations you can get to know the mountain world like never before.
On the border between East Tyrol and South Tyrol lies the Defereggental Valley.
National Park Exhibition
An exhibition in St. Jakob, one of the three districts in Defereggental, devotes itself to a very special tree, the pine tree which grows extremely well in this high alpine region. This special pine tree only grows at an altitude between 1,300m and 2,800m despite extreme temperatures of up to minus 40 degrees Celsius. The wood from the trees is used in many forms especially for furniture. In earlier times the mountain huts were made from pine. The pine sap is also used to produce a high percent alcoholic drink which you should definitely try! The National Park can be reached in 40 minutes drive from Lienz and is open from 8am – 6pm.
The Obersee at Stallersattel – a hidden gem high in the mountains
On the border between East Tyrol and South Tyrol at the end of the Defereggental Valley is the Obersee on Stallersattel tucked away from large crowds of people. This clear mountain lake is located in the National Park Hohe Tauern at 2,016m above sea level and is an attraction in summer and winter.
Defereggental also offers many possibilities for cross country skiers. At Staller Sattel is a high, panoramic circuit with amazing views of the Antholzertal and surrounding peaks. Sun lovers will particularly enjoy the circuit and for those that haven’t had enough during the day can also go cross country skiing in the evening on the 3km floodlit Deferegger circuit of St. Jakob.
Did you know that East Tyrol has no direct connection with the main district of Tyrol? East Tyrol’s neighbours are actually Kärnten (Carinthia), Salzburg and Südtirol (South Tyrol) which means for visitors a whole host of interesting excursion possibilities.
Kärnten – the sunny south of Austria
A trace of the Mediterranean is noticeable in Kärnten. Kärnten receives a lot of sunshine hours due to its southerly location and is a picturesque destination for a daily excursion. With the Drautal, Kärnten actually begins not too far away from Lienz. Look forward to picturesque lakes, wonderful hiking mountains, charming towns and much more.
The lakes of Kärnten (Carinthia)
To think of the lakes in Kärnten is to think of the summer in Austria. Almost no one can resist the attraction of the crystal clear lakes on scorching hot days
The most well-known lakes in Kärnten include:
• Wörthersee –The Wörthersee is considered as one of the nicest regions in Austria
• Millstätter See – The deepest lake containing the most water in Kärnten
• Ossiacher See – North east from Villach with extremely high water quality
• Faaker See – The most southerly of the Carinthian lakes with activities such as fishing and surfing
• Weissensee – The highest lake in Kärnten surrounded by mountains and partly protected
The journey north of East Tyrol alone through the Felbertauern tunnel to Pinzgau is an absolute experience on its own. Travel further towards Salzburg you can expect a few further highlights. A number of ruins and towns formed on the riches of salt, which was extracted from the mountains and still is in some areas.
There is also the mountain world with its noticeable peaks which make the district of Salzburg so special. Once you have arrived in Salzburg, which incidentally is great to visit any time of the year, enjoy gentle walks, sightseeing, shopping filled tours and look forward to the following highlights:
• National Park Mittersill
• The city of Salzburg
• Ruin Hohenwerfen
• Visit the Salzburg works
• Wonderful hikes
• Beautiful lakes
Südtirol – the mountains north of Italy
A few kilometres south west of Lienz and you find yourself in Italy. One notices that these two areas were once one, not only in the language but also the nature. Südtirol (South Tyrol) has an unforgettable charm and combines a wonderful climate with enchanting locals. The highlights of this region are without doubt the mountains. Also the towns which are very ‘Italian’ have a fantastic reputation as a fantastic holiday destination.
The Drei Zinnen – the King of the Dolomites
The most recognised peaks in the Dolomites are the Drei Zinnen which in 2009 was declared as UNESCO World Culture site. Professional climbers along with hobby hikers come to see these amazing peaks. It’s even possible to view them from the scenic road.
If you are holidaying in East Tyrol a trip to Bruneck is also well worth it. It takes about 1 hour and is located in central Pustertal where Italian flair and passion are noticeable. Stroll through the city with its numerous cafes or pop into Castle Bruneck and learn about the history of South Tyrol.
Look forward to excursions in Kärnten, Salzburg and Südtirol. As you can see Lienz is an ideal base for a whole palette of possible excursions to some fantastic places.