The AREA 47 is Austria's largest outdoor adventure park located right at the entrance to the valley. Outdoor doesn't sound like a bad weather alternative? Quite the opposite! And in a variety of different ways: Austria's highest high ropes course towers at a height of 27 meters (protected from rain) under two monumental bridge pillars. In the indoor hall you can blow up dust on e-motocross vehicles. Or you choose a completely different option and dive into the water - you are already wet anyway! At the AREA 47 and its huge water park you can jump, slide, shoot down, fly up in the air or do some rounds on the wakeboard. Furthermore, thrilling canyoning and river rafting adventures await you on the Ötztaler Ache river or at the Imster Schlucht ravine.
10 things to do in Ötztal just in case of bad weather
Please don't worry but even in Ötztal the sun is not always shining. And that's very ok! Not only nature is thankful for rainy skies also we humans are happy about the very special atmosphere, the fresh and clean air - and the huge choice of bad weather alternatives. Here we have put together a colorful mix of recommendations: from sporty activities to cultural events, from traditional sights to culinary delights.
1. Sporty adventures at AREA 47
2. Distillery or Wine Tasting at the entrance to the valley
The entrance to Ötztal is characterized by particularly mild climatic conditions. The inner Alpine climate of Inntal valley and the mighty Tschirgant mountain massif, which protects against cold north winds, are reason enough that the area in the surroundings of Haiming and Sautens has become the heart of Tirolean fruit growing - featuring more than 60,000 apple and fruit trees but also grape vine. There are countless specialists producing fine brandies and even excellent wine growers, for example the Zoller Saumwald family. If you want to taste their award-winning Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir, you can make an appointment with the couple in Haiming. If you want to sample high-proof products you are strongly recommended to visit the Mair family's distillery in Sautens, which produces 25 fine brandies and ten liqueurs from own (untreated) fruit cultivation. In the same village you also find Mannis Edelbrände fine brandies and the Schnapsbrennerei Strigl distillery. (All schnaps distilleries within the Oetz region and further sales points for other regional products can be found HERE)
3. Spannende Überraschungen in den Ötztaler Museen
The historical museums in Ötztal - and there are three of them - offer a fascinating range of exhibits and exciting insights into life as it used to be in the valley. In Oetz you will find the Tower Museum that provides an artistically reflected view of the Ötztal. The architecturally interesting tower building houses around 5000 objects (sculptures, paintings, furniture, pictures) gathered by art collector Hans Jäger. The Local Heritage Museum & Memory Archives are a little further in a small hamlet on the outskirts of Längenfeld. In 16 original buildings the valley's traditional farming culture is not only documented but also lived: The mill still grinds corn and even bread is baked once a week (together with the visitors). If you want to read more about the region's historical living environment, you will find a superb reading library featuring an extensive archive in a very special atmosphere.
4. Traditional crafts in Ötztal's Sheep Wool Center
Ötztal valley stands for the traditional manufacturing of natural products - also thanks to a constantly increasing awareness of the value of local production, and it's even experiencing a fresh boost. Among the best examples is Ötztal's Sheep Wool Center in Umhausen. The company is run by the Regensburger family in the third generation. They process the wool of local mountain and stone sheep, which graze in the high Alpine regions of Tirol, into knitting and crocheting yarns, felt material but above all into sheep wool carpets that have been proven to create a pleasant climate in rooms and even filter pollutants from the indoor air in a natural way. The entire production process can be seen on site: From the delivery of raw sheep wool to the weaving of carpets.
5. Stone Age experience in the Ötzi Village
Enjoy a unique travel back in time to the Stone Ages at the unrivaled Ötzi Village in Umhausen. Visitors to the archaeological open-air park become part of the Neolithic history themselves. Huts have been carefully reproduced as well as the original finding place of famous Ötzi - the glacier mummy. You can try out the old tools, take up historical weapons and get in touch with ancient farm animal breeds such as the aurochs or woolly pigs. In bad weather you will not only find shelter in the huts, but you can also learn how to make a fire, how to tan animal skins and how to turn clay into ceramics.
6. Pure pampering program at Aqua Dome
Many, many people travel to Ötztal in order to indulge themselves not only in the picture-book mountain scenery but also in the wellness world of the Aqua Dome. And that's not surprising. The origin of the thermal spa bath in Längenfeld is already centuries old. In 1830, the sulfurous water was examined and it was stated that it was "probably the purest of the sources known to date". Today there is no small bathhouse here anymore. The Aqua Dome bathing area comprises no less than 12 indoor and outdoor pools, plus seven sauna parlors and four restaurants. The thermal spa center is also famous for its eye-catching architecture and its pools almost floating in the air - where the healing water still flows from a depth of 1865 meters.
7. Nature Park House
If inclement weather conditions don't invite you to discover nature in the outdoors, then it's the perfect time for nature exploration indoors - at the new Nature Park House in Längenfeld. Here you can take a closer look at the natural history exhibition covering about 300 square meters. Visitors of all ages discover Ötztal's truly unique geology, its flora, fauna and water world by admiring traditional wood carvings, interactive touchscreens, holograms or virtual reality glasses. There are also changing exhibitions while the shop offers products from regional producers.
8. On a secret mission at 007 Elements
No, you can no longer speak of a museum. 007 ELEMENTS, built inside the peak of 3000-meter high Gaislachkogl, promises a fairly unique experience: Neal Callow, art director of the James Bond (and also Star Wars) films, calls it a "cinematic installation". Together with the creative team of Optimist Inc. he is responsible for the interactive staging of the James Bond universe in this sensational location. You are literally drawn into the dramaturgical building designed by star architect Johann Obermoser and soon you will become part of the agent's world with all senses. And what's best, you are very close to the ice Q restaurant - also designed by Obermoser - which served as the filming backdrop for the Bond film "Spectre" for weeks.
9. Alpine pasture huts that are easy to reach
The density of mountain huts and Alpine pastures is fairly high in Ötztal. There are also some great places to eat that are easy to reach and where the famous "Kaiserschmarrn" (scrambled pancake) tastes particularly good - plus uninterrupted panoramic views of the Alpine scenery. In Hochoetz, the comfy mountain gondola whisks you up to Balbach Alm at 1957 meters. Niederthai, the little mountain hamlet towering above Umhausen, is always worth a visit. You can also enjoy a stop off at rustic Larstighof which is accessible in almost one hour on foot. Scenic Waldcafé Stuböbele close to the Stuiben Falls nestles a bit below and can be reached more effortlessly. You also have to ascend a little towards lovely Brandalm, some 200 meters above Längenfeld, but the route can be mastered in about 45 minutes while it takes approx. half an hour from Gries to the Unterlehnerhof snack station. From the toll station of the glacier road (15 minutes), from Hochsölden (40 minutes) or Giggijoch top station (50 minutes) you easily walk to rustic Gampe Thaya which is highly popular for its high-quality Alpine cuisine. Special tip: Every Wednesday there is a wonderful mountain breakfast on advance booking. At the rear end of Ötztal valley in Gurgl, the 8-seater mountain gondola takes you up to Hohe Mut Alm at 2670 meters, offering superb views plus excellent food. Or you hike from Obergurgl to scenic Zirben Alm in about 15 minutes. You can find an overview of all Alpine pastures and mountain huts in Ötztal HERE.
10. Historic motorcycles at the Crosspoint of Timmelsjoch Pass
You will quickly find out that Ötztal stands for sports on two wheels as soon as you enter the valley. Families, trekking cyclists and e-bikers enjoy the new Ötztal Cycle Trail, road cyclists conquer the legendary pass roads and mountain bikers get together in the legendary BIKE REPUBLIC SÖLDEN. You can also admire superb culture on two wheels at the very top of the valley, (almost) at the height of Timmelsjoch Pass in Gurgl. The unrivaled Top Mountain Crosspoint houses a Motorcycle Museum showing the most extensive and valuable collection of historical motorbikes in Austria. 230 extraordinary exhibits of all motorcycle brands are exhibited here right on the high Alpine road, for example: a BMW R4 (1932), a Harley Davidson D45 (1929), countless Moto Guzzis and Indian Chiefs, Royal Enfields and Ducatis.
Guest Author Sissi Pärsch
… is a freelance journalist writing for several magazine like “BIKE” and “Bergwelten” (in German) – therefore she is a regular guest in Ötztal.
“Something I can tell you about Ötztal: it is 67 kilometers long, ascending from its entrance to the rear end with its majestic mountain peaks above 3000 meters altitude. And this valley will never stop surprising me with new and spectacular insights and outlooks.”