Mayrhofen is a small village located in the Zillertal Valley in the Tirol region of Austria. Innsbruck is the closest major airport with a 1hr30 transfer or it can be reached by train, changing at Jenbach (with links to other places such as Salzburg and Munich). To be honest, Mayrhofen attracts a slightly older crowd that are mainly into hiking, but there is SO much more to the region than just hiking trails. Here are my top 10 things to do for those looking for adventure in Austria!
Zillertal Arena Coaster
The Arena Coaster is a 1450m alpine toboggan in the nearby village of Zell am Ziller (15 minutes by train). Personally I think it’s one of the best alpine coasters I’ve been on, it’s definitely the longest, with a ride time of over 6 minutes! It has both a 360 degree AND a 540 degree loop!
1 ride = 5 Euros
For those looking for an extra dose of adrenaline, the Zillertal Arena is also home to a BagJump! This is literally a 3m or 6m structure that you throw yourself off, landing on a giant blow up air bag. It’s a bargain at 1.50 euros for a jump. I’ve done one before in the UK and I’m still alive to tell the tale!
Spruce Tree Castle Playground (Fichtenschloss)
While in Zell am Ziller, head right up to the top station of the Rosenalmbahn Zell cable car (next to the Arena Coaster) and marvel at the Spruce Tree Castle playground, honestly it’s amazing and if you don’t have kids, don’t worry…I’m nearly 30 and I dragged my parents on it with me. Surely there’s not too many playgrounds in the world with a view like this one has!
There’s a huge 18m high lookout tower with a bell you can ring right at the top (my Mum’s favourite part), a netted treetop walk way (not my Mum’s favourite part…), a giant tube slide, water play areas, hammocks in the forest, just to name a few parts! You can even buy sausages in a vending machine and have a barbecue!
Zillertalbahn Steam Train
The steam train leaves Mayrhofen at 1.01pm on Wednesday to Sundays, taking 1hr30 to get to Jenbach. A single ticket to the end of the line costs 13.90 euros. We were told that Jenbach is more of a crossroad town and there’s not exactly much there to do, so we got off after an hour at Fugen. The ticket was also a little cheaper at 11.40 euros.
My favourite part of the steam train is the outdoor carriage. On a warm day it would be lovely to sit there and watch the world go by. It was raining the day of our journey but we stood outside none the less…it just meant the the soot stuck to our wet faces even more! All part of the experience! I think all trains should have an open air carriage!
Ski at the Hintertux Glacier
Now I can’t ski, but for those than can, the Hintertux Glacier has open ski runs 365 days a year and is just 45 minutes away by public bus from Mayrhofen. Here’s a money saving tip, in ski season/winter the hotel that I was staying at adds 50+ euros A NIGHT onto the summer room rate. You could potentially save hundreds on a week long trip. Yes not all the runs in the valley are open but if you just want your ski fix, this could be an option.
Explore an Ice Cave
You can still visit the Hintertux Glacier even if you can’t ski! The Ice Palace is located a short walk away from the top cable car station (at an elevation of 3250m). Guided tours of the underground ice caves last for around 1 hour and depart several times a day. You can read more in this post: Visiting the Hintertux Glacier, Austria in Summer
Take a trip up the Penkenbahn
The Penkenbahn cable car was refurbished in 2015 and still looks all shiny and new! This is possibly the first recommendation I’ve given to visit a particular toilet, but I highly recommend going to the toilet at the top station of the FIRST cable car up from Mayrhofen. They have glass windows where you can see the mountains while sitting on the pan (or standing up if you’re a guy)!
Once at the very top, there are many hiking routes, water zorbing, mountain scooters and a swing set made from paragliding harnesses!
On nice days, the valley comes alive with paragliders jumping off the mountains in all directions! There are several companies that offer flights of various length and is suitable for all ages from 6yrs+. I didn’t have time to paraglide in Mayrhofen but I done it while in New Zealand, it’s very relaxing and peaceful. If you don’t want to jump yourself, the top of the Penkenbahn is a great place to watch them taking off!
Relax by Lake Ahorn
Did I mention that this lake is actually at 2000m?! It’s literally just re opened in July 2017 after a refurbishment, turning it into an area with sun loungers (yes it’s warm enough to sunbathe on top of the mountain), places to paddle and play on stepping stones! The water is FREEZING but ridiculously clear.
It can be reached by going up the Ahornbahn cable car, on the opposite side of the valley to the Penkenbahn.
There’s also a Birds of Prey show that runs daily at 2pm (except Friday) and a Silent Cinema on a Tuesday night (silent meaning you wear headphones…check to make sure the film is being shown in your language first!) both up the Ahorn and can be experienced for an extra fee.
I love mini golf, I can’t help it, it’s a weakness. There’s a mini golf course in Mayrhofen but there’s also a couple more in the Valley. I went to the one in Fugen, pairing it with the steam train ride. I will say that if you are a competitive mini golfer, maybe don’t visit the Fugen course as some holes are a little subsided so the balls roll all over the place…I had a great time with my parents though, we found it hilarious.
Get your adrenaline fix
I signed up for the Rock N Roll Canyon Swing but unfortunately it didn’t run because the minimum number of people was not met (it requires 8 people). Canyon swinging is my favourite adrenaline activity so if you get the chance to do it, I highly recommend it! There’s also tons of Via Ferrata climbing routes, it’s still on my bucket list, I should have done it at the start of my trip before I had walked 10 miles a day and had zero energy left by the end of the week! For those that like the water, there’s also the opportunity to go white water rafting or canyoning. If budgets weren’t an option, you could definitely have a lot of fun!
Other Mayrhofen Information
(Disclosure: Some links below are affiliates)
Getting Around: I recommend purchasing the Zillertal Active Card. I paid 63.50 euros for a 6 day card (longer cards are available) and it gives you discount at various attractions, free bus and train travel in the valley and one ascent and descent on a cable car each day. There are 9 cable cars to choose from altogether (only the first cable car at the Hintertux Glacier is included with the card though).
Where to Stay: I stayed at the Hotel Neuhaus. It was HUGE. I loved the swimming pool and gardens, the St Josef wing across the road is connected by secret underground tunnels and it is right next to the bus and train station! It can be booked via booking.com HERE
What to Pack: I fell so in love with my BUFF Multifunctional Headband that I actually bought a second one! They are light weight, fold up into literally nothing and keep you surprisingly warm! Perfect for taking up the Glacier and I also wore it on a night hike I went on when it got chillier once the sun went down!
Disclosure: Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking. It comes at no extra cost to you but it helps me with the running of this site! As always, opinions are my own.