Blogger Gesa explored Mayrhofen’s side valleys for you, and fell in love with a different side to the Ziller Valley. Read on to discover how you can explore the beauty of Mayrhofen without skis under your feet.
Holidaying in the mountains is up to four times more relaxing than a beach holiday! At least that’s the claim made by some scientific studies. And, after my excursion today, I have a sneaky suspicion that holidaymakers to Mayrhofen were included in these studies! Because today I went winter walking and I feel more relaxed and invigorated than ever before! But first things first:
A rest day for tired legs:
The Ziller Valley is the largest cross-valley ski area in the Alps: the Zillertaler Superskipass gives you access to a total of 508 kilometres of piste. However, after a third day on the piste my legs are beginning to feel the strain. That’s why I decide to make my fourth day in Mayrhofen a rest day. I want to explore the local area a bit: with a gentle, leisurely winter walk. I hope to get my bearings and find out where I actually am. What is the holiday region of Mayrhofen-Hippach and is there more to discover? After just one day, this question is easily answered: Oh yes! Even if five snowparks and panoramic views from over 3,250 altitude metres await me on the mountain – the side valleys have even more to discover!
Visitors to the Ziller Valley can explore a total of 400 kilometres of cleared winter walking paths. That’s more than twice as far as my journey from my home city of Munich to the Ziller Valley. I could spend days walking in the valleys and still discover something new every day. Spoilt for choice, I decide to explore the villages of Ginzling and Brandberg. Ginzling appeals to me because of its reputation as a remote, rustic village. Brandberg for its mixture of old and new.
Travel back in time to the enchanchting Ginzling:
Nach einem ausgiebigen Frühstück setze ich mich gegen 10 Uhr in mein warmes Auto und mache mich After a hearty breakfast, I climb in my car at about 10am and head towards Ginzling. I follow the winding mountain road (B169) for about 15 minutes and am treated to a last view of Mayrhofen, now lying below me in the valley, before I turn onto a quiet mountain road. Although it’s a sunny day, a fog hangs in the air. The mountains on both sides of me are covered in snow and I have a view far into the valley in front of me. I feel as if something fantastic awaits me!
When I arrive in Ginzling, I immediately have the feeling that I have travelled back in time. The village with a population of just 400 people lies in the shadows, surrounded by mountain peaks. I tie my walking boots a little tighter and gently make the first footprints in the untouched snow. It glistens and sparkles, pretty as a picture. There is no sound, apart from the quiet babbling of a small stream. With my camera at the ready, I start walking. The houses along the path are so picturesque and traditional, I feel as though they should all be placed under some conservation act. However, it seems that the people of Ginzling are taking good care of the houses themselves, so I just enjoy each one as I pass. After a few hundred metres, a little path leads off to the left, signposted as the circular route of the village. I follow it and make my way around the village, greeting several cats along the way. After a good hour of walking, I climb in my car and head back home.
I hardly recognise the road back to Mayrhofen! The cliffs now glimmer a gold brown colour – the snow from this morning has been melted away by the gentle rays of the sun. Before I return to the town, I stop for a moment, turn to look back at the mountains and take in the view one last time, before I leave this magical place behind me.
Old meets new in Brandberg:
My next stop is Brandberg. The Brandberg road starts directly in Mayrhofen and, hidden in the forest, it snakes its way up the mountain in around 10 minutes to an altitude of 1000m. The road is nicknamed the “gorge road” and is as impressive as the name suggests. But, don’t worry, at no point was I scared when driving along the road.
The nature village of Brandberg lies in the midst of blooming meadows and dark green forest. The village is south-facing and enjoys sunshine the whole day long. I can feel the warmth of the sun on the tip of my nose as soon as I get out of the car. I leave my jacket behind and am very glad that I brought my sunglasses with me. Suddenly, the deep winter of this morning feels like a warm autumn day. In this spread-out village, farmhouse follows farmhouse – sometimes newly renovated, sometimes rustic and traditional. 200m below me flows the river Ziller and, behind it, an imposing mountain range faces me across the valley. To round off my day, I visit a small exhibition, which is free of charge, about farming in the Alps, before I drive back to Mayrhofen through the two(!) kilometre long Brandberg tunnel.
To end the day:
What a relaxing and rejuvenating day it has been! If you fancy a break from the piste then I highly recommend taking a relaxing winter walk to explore the magnificent countryside around Mayrhofen and Hippach. A ramble or a hike, how far or how steep you’d like to walk is entirely up to you. I finish up my day relaxing in Mayrhofen’s leisure pool and thinking back over the spectacular sights of the day. However, I’m already looking forward to skiing in the Fun-Park tomorrow! I am so surprised at just how close peace and tranquillity and action are in Mayrhofen! And, the next time someone asks me if a holiday in the mountains or a beach holiday is more relaxing? I’ll be sure to answer: in Mayrhofen!
Facts about Ginzling:
Ginzling lies at an altitude of 1000m making it the perfect starting point for winter walks, hikes and mountain expeditions. This mountaineering village is surrounded by the unique and beautiful alpine world of the Zillertal Alps Nature Park, and the walking paths in Ginzling have been awarded a certification of quality by the state of Tyrol. By the entrance to the village, in front of the guesthouse Alt-Ginzling is a free car park.
Facts about Brandberg:
Whilst walking in Brandberg, you can often observe the hard work of the mountain farmers. For example, if you follow the “Bergmähderweges“ you can enjoy a beautiful walk along a path of age-old tradition. The path leads past the steep “Hoamfelder” farming fields, and around farmhouses to the Kolmhaus. Start at the Gasthof Thanner in the centre of Brandberg village and allow 3-4 hours for this hike. There is a free car park in the centre of Brandberg.