Tyrol (Tirol) with Children
Tyrol (in German: Tirol) is the most touristy area in Austria and every little village has a state-of-the-art tourism infrastructure with facilities for pretty much every target clientele except maybe for Tyroleans. One particularly well-addressed target group are families with children. In every valley you will find hotels that claim to be specialised on families and children and call themselves "Kinderhotel" or "Familienhotel".
This usually means that they come with family suites, kindergarten, entertainment programs and day-care facilities including professional staff. Standards vary from hotel to hotel, but from what I know they are generally fairly high. Most Kinder- or Familienhotels also come with a petting zoo or at least some battered animals that your little ones can pet, ride or bug otherwise.
During the winter season, essentially every skiing area will have skiing courses for children and so-called "Kinderskischulen", special skiing schools for kids. The first school of this kind was opened in 1955 in the Zillertal Valley. The idea proved extremely successful and today, the colourful arches that are typical for children′s skiing schools can be found up and down all mountains of Tyrol.
Entertaining Kids on a Tyrol Vacation...
"Kinderprogramm" or "Familienprogramm" are day-centres for children that are run by the local tourism authorities. They usually take children to some sort of trip whilst their parents do touristy things that are not appealing for children (or have sex back in the hotel). Kinderprogramm days have a tendency towards being of little originality: Visits at local farms, baking bread, hiking some junior-grade mountain or hill, pony riding. Keep in mind that the only thing Tyroleans are genuinely creative about is in finding new ways to make money from tourists.
Show mines: Big deal in a province full of mountains. The best and most famous ones are the former salt mines in Hall in Tirol and the former silver-mines of Schwaz. Another attraction highly regarded by families are the "Kristallwelten" or "Crystal Worlds" of Swarovski in Wattens near Innsbruck. Personally, I think they are overpriced and overrated. Together with show mines they make the most popular attractions for bad weather days during the summer season, though. A boat cruise of Lake Achensee might be a rewarding alternative. The Zillertal has a charming narrow-gauge railway.
Other popular rainy-day-things-to-do: Thermal spas! There is a very popular one in Tyrol, for details, see my article on the "Thermen of Austria". Museums such as Schloss Ambras Castle or the amazing fortress of Kufstein will certainly appeal to children. And the Alpenzoo Innsbruck is a pretty big deal and a great opportunity to see Austrian wildlife the easy way. For details, see my articles on "Wildlife Parks in Austria" and "Zoos and Aquaria of Austria".
Back to: "Tyrol Sightseeing Guide"