I love visiting Tirol as a weekend away from Vienna & city living – there are so many things to do in Kufstein and surrounding towns! On our recent trip we explored some outdoorsy fun things to do in Kufstein, Tirol to really make you feel a million miles away from the everyday busy-ness of life.
A weekend getaway in Tirol is more than a city-break holiday – its a peep into adorable countryside living and the ultimate antidote to stress. As Stefan is originally from Tirol, we have a lot of excuses to visit the countryside and explore surrounding villages and areas. Most recently, we’ve been taking advantage of long weekends to get outside of Vienna and really disconnect from the everyday.
One of our favourite places to stay, and to be honest, one of the few villages I can imagine moving to one day is Kufstein. It is perfectly placed between Salzburg, Munich and Innsbruck, with a large enough population and city centre to feel like a proper town. The city has a few distinct advantages for travellers;
- Its perfectly placed along the main train line from Vienna, Munich or Salzburg so easy to get to.
- The city is home to the university FH Kufstein, which means with a strong student population there are cool bars, restaurants and festivals accessible.
- The old town and surrounding hillsides are easily accessible by foot or local transport.
In combination, it means that Kufstein is a nice balance between countryside, slower living and enough activity and people to keep things interesting. There are also plenty of regular stores within the town itself, so you don’t feel too isolated – you won’t have to drive to get your groceries, or a light jacket if you forgot to pack one!
When we visit Kufstein, these are just some of the things to do and enjoy as a traveller.
Top 7 Things to do in Kufstein, Tirol
1. Wander the old town city streets
Kufstein is a centuries-old town, with a majestic fortress towering over the city center and stone streets dotted with colorful housing below. You can wander into alleyways that look untouched since the 1600s, and explore corners of the city – from plaques on walls to stores that offer old world charm.
The best example and place to start is Römerhofgasse, a street so cute, you won’t believe it.
Filled with restaurants, medieval style archways and lamplights, small stores of local produce and a timeless atmosphere. If it sounds like I’m gushing, its because I cant resist almost skipping down this adorable alleyway. All of Kufstein is historic, and the town square is enough to make you gasp, but these little side alleyways really transport you back in time.
Definitely give yourself enough time to simply wander the city streets and get a little bit lost!
2. Enjoy a meal & drinks at Purlepaus
You won’t miss this huge, atmospheric restaurant and terrace in the heart of Kufstein. It overlooks the main old town square and the lush chestnut tree flowering over the terrace provides shade and relaxation for thirsty travellers.
Nearly always busy, Purlepaus has plenty of space on the terrace and within the restaurant in its vaulted cellars and traditional beisl rooms. The food is decent quality, with flammkuchen pizzas and all the expected Austrian dishes made very well – schnitzel, strudel, kaiserschmarrn and more.
Happy Weekend from Tirol!! We’re back visiting family and enjoying a mini break in my favorite part of Austria – in and around Kufstein, Tirol. Time moves slower, the air is fresher and life seems simpler…I’m sure the reality of living here is quite different but for a little weekend getaway it’s absolute bliss 💕 Wishing you a lovely sunny weekend friends! . . . . #lovetyrol #tyrol #austria #feelaustria #discoveraustria #exploreaustria #igaustria #myaustrianadventure #austrianblogger #igersviennaontour #wilderkaiser#radgirlstravel #mountaingirl #tirol #igersvienna #littlelocaladventure #inbeteeenpresets #everydayadventures
The name and history of this place are tied into the history of the village – its said ‘Purlepaus’ was the nickname for a favourite canon used at the city fortress. Now, the canons reputation lives on in the name of this popular restaurant!
3. Hike the Kaisertal
One of the best advantages of coming to the countryside is getting out amongst the trees, mountains and fresh air. Just outside the city of Kufstein is an ideal, easy hiking option into the Kaisertal valley.
You guys know I’m not what we’d call a ‘natural’ hiking enthusiast – in most cases, I have to be lured into hiking with the promise of coffee and cake at the end of it.
The Kaisertal is a perfect compromise for outdoor lovers like Stefan and the hiking resisters like me. The path up to the Kaisertal valley is moderately steep, but once you are in the valley, the paths are flat and have incredible views.
Most importantly, this little alm will be awaiting you on your walk as reward for the effort.
How to get there: We jumped on a public bus #2 from the Kufstein city centre, and hopped off at stop ‘Kaisertal’ to walk in. From there you can choose a few different paths to explore and stop along the way. Basically, you can customise the hike to suit your abilities and depending on the weather that day.
There are some gorgeous spots to stop along the way too.
4. Visit Tischofer Cave
Within the Kaisertal valley, there is an historic cave, said to be the oldest recorded evidence of civilisation in Tirol, with bone tools from the Paleolithic period. The cave itself is relatively huge, with a yawning opening and spreading far back into the rockwall.
There are also rumours that it was used as a weapons cache during the Napoelonic wars & Tyrolian rebellion. Standing in the heart of it, you can understand how and why locals would utilise this natural resource to their advantage – nestled in the heart of a valley and perfectly secluded from any major paths.
Its a unique site – you won’t spend too much more than 15 minutes here, but worth stopping by if you are hiking the Kaisertal paths!
5. Explore the Kufstein Fortress
Kufstein Fortress is a history nerds dream to explore on a weekend trip to Tirol. Fully reconstructed from its original 1300’s design, it appears untouched for centuries with cool stone walls and halls, a museum of regional history, historic flags and banners from battles long gone and plenty of hallways, courtyards and viewing points to enjoy.
The location alone is worth visiting to get a clear view down the valleys on both sides – which helps you to understand why Kufstein was such a key strategic military location in days gone by.
The fortress is also home to the worlds largest organ (insert your own ‘organ’ pun here folks *badoom-tisch*) with 4,948 pipes.
Known as the ‘Heldenorgel’ or heroes organ, it was built in 1931 to honour the dead of WWI. You will definitely experience the organ whether you visit the Fortress or not, because at midday every day they play a tune that echoes down from the fortress into the city streets. Kind of like a more dramatic version of Disneyland, playing a military sounding tune daily to honour the fallen soldiers and send a daily reminder for peace.
Also within the fortress is an excellent military history museum, historic torture chamber and, er, free wifi? The WiFi is great for downloading the audio-guide app, so you can hear about the history of the fortress in English. The signs within the museum are all in German so the app is super helpful to paint the full picture of the Kufstein fortress.
There is a handy gondola to get you up to the fortress, or if you are feeling fit and Tirolian you can walk up! More details about opening hours and price of admission can be found by clicking here onto the official tourism page of Kufstein.
6. Attend a local festival
There are a bunch of fun and free festivals hosted in Kufstein throughout the year, all of which are easy to attend and normally filled with locals enjoying hearty food, cheap beers and live music.
My absolute history-nerd favourite festival has to be the medieval ‘Ritterfest’ festival – normally hosted in June at the Fortress grounds. This is literally hundreds of people dressing up in medieval style costumes and using ye olde tools and forms of entertainment to recreate life as it was in the heyday of medieval times.
A huge European community of medieval festival makers tour around central Europe recreating medieval life, and the Ritterfest is part of their circuit. It is beyond awesome for seeing jugglers, musicians, performers, cannons, soldiers, jousting (jousting!), duels and all kinds of different ways to cook, eat and enjoy life in medieval style.
You will *squee* with delight most of the day if you are anything like me around historical interactive recreations.
At other times throughout the year you can enjoy the Almalbtrieb festival (checkout our experience from 2017 here), the local summer stadtfestival, which is basically one big street party, the 1000 lights festival in winter and of course Christmas market festivals over the holiday period.
For culture vultures, there are also classical music festivals, an opera season, theatre festivals in Autumn, and most deliciously a festival for local food & wine specialties in May and September.
In short, there is a very very high chance that during your visit to the city there will be a local festival on! So pop in to the tourism office to see what’s happening during your time there.
7. Enjoy some Wine & Gin Time
For those that love a good drop of wine in a special kind of glass, a stop at Riedel Wine factory should definitely be on the agenda.
Austria has this weird thing where they are really, really excellent at creating some of the highest quality products in the world – but those products are completely random and unexpected. For instance, they are the worlds largest manufacturers of the machines that you validate your metro cards with (we spotted the brand in Melbourne). Or, in this case, the best quality wine glass production in the world – hidden away in little old Kufstein.
You can stop into Riedel glass factory and outlet store to shop or enjoy a tour of the glassmaking process. The manufacturers still abide by the centuries-old handmade, glass blowing techniques that deliver glasses designed to bring out the character of the wine in the glass.
If you’re in the mood for a fancy souvenir, this is definitely the place to pick one up – your mum will be impressed!
If wine isn’t your thing then Stollen 1930 gin bar might be the trick. Styled after an old-fashioned speakeasy, they house a Guinness World Record number of gins in the bar. With 750 different gins to choose from, you won’t be getting bored for choice.
The bar itself is in a cave giving it that special hidden-speakeasy feeling, and the service is friendly with a fancy old school vibe. The prices are a bit steeper than most bars in the area, but for the selection of gins and creative cocktail flair, worth a special treat experience.
Find It: Attached to the Auracher Löchl restaurant, in the quaint historic Römerhofgasse mentioned above.
There are plenty more little local adventures to enjoy in Kufstein – some of our best weekend trips have involved just hopping into local street fests and bar hopping, or relaxing in the cafes by the waterside. Whatever kind of weekend getaway you are trying to have, you can find something suitable to do in Kufstein to suit your plans!
Practical Tips: How to get there
Travel to Kufstein
From Vienna: We regularly take the OBB railjet train from Hauptbahnhof direct to Kufstein station. The journey takes just under 4 hours and honestly is a delight. For a weekend trip we will often take a late afternoon train from Vienna, at 3pm, or 5pm, so we arrive in Kufstein Friday night ready to enjoy the weekend.
If we have more time, we often like the morning 7am train that gets you into Kufstein before lunch and allows you time to luxuriate with breakfast and a coffee on the train – is there anything more civilized than train travel?
The train ride itself is a great chance to unwind from the week at work and relax with some reading, writing, podcast listening or chilling out. The best part about the train is you can also pack whatever you want, however you want and not worry about airport-style security checks and restrictions.
Our favourite thing to do on these journeys is relax for the first hour or two then enjoy a dinner/breakfast meal at the onboard restaurant. The menus are always rotating and food quality is surprisingly good, the coffee…well its decent enough to get you through!
Prices for return travel train tickets start at €60+ each way – but get way cheaper if you have a Vorteilscard! I’d always recommend making a seat reservation in advance too, as the Railjet trains can get crowded on Sundays when students are returning to Vienna, you don’t want to get stuck sitting in the aisles! Check pricing and train times by clicking here.
Forever happy when on a train!
From Salzburg, Innsbruck or Munich: The city of Kufstein is well connected to each of these major cities via train and perfect for a day trip if you are in Tirol or Bavaria for a longer holiday. Check the local train timetables to see how regularly you can connect through to Kufstein.
Alternatively, you can hire a car to explore the Kufstein region – from Innsbruck, it is less than an hours drive to get to Kufstein with pretty mountain views along the way.
From Salzburg you can take a 90-minute drive, stopping into smaller villages of the Wilder Kaiser region along the way before reaching Kufstein.
From Munich to Kufstein takes just under an hour, via those famous German highways to get into the heart of the Kufstein region and enjoy the many fun things to do in Kufstein for a weekend trip.
Check out the prices of car hire from your city by clicking here.
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