Sölden: why not?!?
It may be synonymous with snow-capped mountains and winter sports but Austria isn’t just for skiing. If you’re looking for a summer break with a dash of adventure and high-octane levels of fun, look no further than Sölden in the Ötztal valley of Tyrol (see the video below by Ötztal Tourismus for the discover the best of Sölden). Sölden is located in western Austria, within the state of Tyrol. It’s a popular skiing resort in the winter and is home to the country’s second highest mountain, Wildespitze, which stands at over 3.658 mt. The town itself is over 1.220 mt above sea level and is about an hour’s drive from Innsbruck Airport. Its main claim to fame last year is that a large portion of the James Bond film Spectre was shot there.
Sölden has got even two glaciers to offer, which are the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers. The skiing region at the glaciers, covering an area of about 20 sqkm, is the largest skiable glacial area of Austria. Furthermore Sölden is the only skiing region that has to offer three skiable peaks that are more than 3.000 metres high, which are the Gaislachkogl (3.058 mt), the Tiefenbachkogl (3.250 mt) and the Schwarze Schneid (3.367 mt). They are known as the “BIG 3″.
What is there to do?
Get your walking boots on and get outside! Set off early and go hiking in the mountains surrounding the valley, stopping off at any number of Alpine inns to refuel. For lunch you can get a table at ice Q, quite possibly the best restaurant you’ll find 3.048 mt feet above sea level. The views across the valley are unrivalled, be sure to check out the heart shaped lake. If you don’t like hiking, you can hop on a mountain lift and grab an authentic Austrian breakfast at an Alpine inn before having a go at a spot of mountain biking on the specially designed trails. A little way out of town you’ll find Area 47 Adventure Park, home to the Flying Fox and Mega Swing, a high ropes climbing course and a new wake boarding facility for any snowboarders looking for a summer fix.
Where to stay
If you want to experience real Alpine hospitality, Das Central Hotel, the only five star hotel in Sölden, should be your first choice; it has something for everyone. Each of the 125 rooms is individually designed, boasting incredible views of the valley, and for those left a little battered by Area 47 or who want to relax after a day of hiking, there are a number of spa treatments available, as well as a sauna and pool. The Das Central Hotel is also home to two award winning restaurants, and a wine cellar filled to the rafters with 30.000 bottles of the stuff.