Lienz is a town in the Tyrol region of Austria with a current population of 11,903 and lies at the confluence of the rivers Isel and Drava. Settlements have been present in the area of Lienz since the Bronze Age and have also seen Roman control under Emperor Claudius.
Further on in history, Lienz was an important trade route between Venzone and Salzburg in the 1200’s and also saw French occupation during the 18th century.
Today it stands as a popular destination with its medieval-style town centre and the amazing surrounding landscape of the Alps and Hohe Tauern National Park.
Listed below are some of the top things to do in Lienz to give you ideas for your Tyrol adventure.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Lienz:
1. Osttirodler Alpine Coaster
Have you ever thought about hurtling around a steel rollercoaster on the side of a mountain in the Austrian Alps? No? Well this is something you can do at the Osttirodler Alpine Coaster on the western side of Lienz. This fantastic attraction is located in the Moosalm Park which also has a variety of other activities too.
The rollercoaster itself features double carts which you can control the speed of yourself using the break lever. Twist and turn down the track and enjoy the thrill of the ride and the amazing scenery around you. With more than 2.5km of track and reaching speeds of up to 40kph the Osttirodler Alpine Coaster is a must-do, unique attraction in Lienz.
2. Nationalpark Hohe Tauern
This monumental national park spans an area of 1856 kilometres and is the largest nature reserve in the Austrian Alpine region. The park is home to a wide variety of animals and plant species and has many different natural features from Glaciers to Alpine lakes and mountain panoramas.
The amount of hiking trails and nature walks are endless and there are many starting points and information boards near Lienz to help you on your way. Notable features of the park include the Ankogel Mountain, the Tauern Window, the Krimmler Waterfalls and Pasterze Glacier. The Hohe Tauern National Park is an alpine jewel and the perfect place for the adventurous type.
3. Schloss Bruck (Castle)
Austria is full of fascinating castles and the Bruck Castle is one such castle with a fascinating history. This towering structure rises 711m above sea level and has a commanding position on the western side of Lienz next to the river Isel.
The castle has stood since the 13th century and was originally the residence of the counts of Gorz until it was handed over to the Habsburg Empire in the 1500’s. Today the castle stands as a museum containing different art exhibitions and you can also walk around the castle grounds and admire the original battlements and architecture.
4. Kletterpark Schlossberg Lienz
This appealing park is a fun day out for all the family and can be reached by a cable car which starts at the base of the previously mentioned Osttirodler Alpine Coaster.
Higher up on the slope and covered by gorgeous woodland, the Kletterpark is the largest high-rope climbing park in Tyrol and provides a range of different routes and activities for both adult and children.
Children can enjoy their first rope-climbing experience under supervision while adults can tackle one of the 14 different routes – Safety is a high priority here so don’t worry about any injuries. You can also take the roller coaster from the Kletterpark and there is a petting zoo for the little ones to enjoy.
5. Wildpark Assling
This animal park stroke adventure world is located off of the Pusteral High Mountain Road in between Lienz and Abfaltersbach and is an animal lover’s haven. Set in a wonderful location, you will see such animals as Wild Boar, Ibex, Lynx, Snakes, Birds of prey and Racoons and there are also certain opportunities to feed some of the animals by hand.
There is also a model railway and also the “Funbob” rollercoaster which has a similar style to the Osttirodler coaster. To top it all off there is a magnificent farm shop where you can buy local produce and souvenirs and a restaurant/café. The Assling Wildpark is a great place to visit and could be made part of a day trip while exploring the Pusteral High Mountain Road.
This sublime swimming lake nestled on the slopes of the Lienz Dolomites is one of the most popular in the Tyrol region and draws a large amount of visitors annually. There is a free shuttle bus from Lienz that operates at certain times; otherwise you would need a car as the lake is around a 15 minutes’ drive from the town centre.
The warm temperatures of the lake make it ideal for swimming, and there is also a fine walking path that travels the whole distance of the water. There is also a campsite and a hotel on the shores of the lake, together with sunbathing areas and a small café that serves snacks and ice-creams.
The Hauptplatz is one of the main squares in Lienz and is located in the centre of the town just a few minutes’ walk from the train station. The square is long and narrow and stretches from the Bozener Platz to the Zwergergasse and contains some beautiful buildings and shops together with several flower displays in the centre.
You can truly enjoy the laid back atmosphere of Lienz here and mingle with the friendly locals or enjoy a bite to eat in one of the restaurants that line the square.
8. Isel Valley Cycle Route
This truly epic bike trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and if you enjoy cycling and a challenge then the Isel Valley Cycle Route is the perfect adventure. This 29km route has an average gradient of just 1% so will be a pleasant venture for the most part.
The route starts at Bruck Castle and ends at the town of Matrei which is the second largest town in Tyrol. If you do not want to cycle both ways, there is a bus service in-between both towns to take you back to Lienz. The path takes you alongside the banks of the river Isel and through some lovely countryside. This route is another brilliant way to experience the countryside of Tyrol and challenge yourself at the same time.
9. Pustertal High Mountain Road
The region of Tyrol has some fantastic driving routes and the Pustertal High Mountain road is one of the best and most memorable. The route starts at the small village of Abfaltersbach and continues through to Leisach which is just at the southern edge of Lienz, in total you should need around an hours driving time but allow time for plenty of stops in between to admire the scenery.
You will travel high up on the slopes of the mountains and pass some unbelievable alpine landscapes – The views are just wonderful and a real treat. There is also several castles and churches on the route and small picturesque villages, which make the Pusteral High Road a true adventure.
10. Church of St. Andrew
The Church of St. Andrew or Andra sits close to the river Isel and has a beautiful ornate graveyard and grounds to walk through. This is the largest church in Lienz and its spire can be seen from most points in the town.
The interior of the church features much gold and decoration and is a nice place to sit and contemplate or just admire the artwork. Even if religious buildings are not your scene, anyone can appreciate the quiet and reserved beauty of the Church of St. Andra.
11. White Water Rafting
The River Isel is actually a Glacier river so has many sections that are fast flowing and actually considered white water; this creates the perfect opportunity for white water rafting and Adventure Austria who is based in Tyrol and have offices in Lienz offer various rafting excursions.
The great thing about white water rafting aside from the exhilaration and the excitement is the fact that it can be done in any weather! Career down the river Isel in your raft and get a thorough soaking too; with prices starting from 30.00 Euros for 2 hours, this is a cheap and fun activity to try your hand at.
Together with the awesome white water rafting, you can also have a go at Paragliding in and around Lienz. The mountainous and hilly landscape of the region lends itself to paragliding and the experience is out of this world.
Soar through the Austrian Alps and glide like a bird of prey and look down at the simply sublime scenery as it sweeps beneath you. There are several different lengths and times available ranging from a short 15 minute introduction, right up to a 2 hour epic journey.
As with white water rafting, Adventure Austria is a well establish company who can point you in the right direction.
13. Galitzen Gorge Waterfall Trail
If white water rafting is not your forte then why not enjoy and invigorating walk through the Galitzen Gorge Waterfall trail which is just as exciting and enjoyable.
There is a well maintained boardwalk that traverses down the river and into the gorge, and passes by beautiful waterfalls and the crashing river below. The whole trail takes approximately one hour to complete and is a glorious way to enjoy the countryside and the Isel River from a safe distance!
14. Kuenz Schnapps Distillery
Schnapps is one of Austria’s finest alcoholic creations and the Tyrol region has a long history of producing fine homemade Schnapps at local distilleries.
The Kuenzhof Distillery and Farmhouse is a traditional distillery and offers tasting tours and a wonderful insight into how Schnapps is brewed and what ingredients and effort is put into its production.
With a family history of over 400 years, the Kuenzhof Distillery has a real deep knowledge and expertise of Schnapps and you will enjoy the amount you can learn, and of course the samples! Don’t forget to stop in the shop and purchase some Schnapps or souvenirs to tantalise your friends and family.
15. Zettersfeld Ski Resort
The Zettersfeld Ski Resort offers a huge range of activities for the discerning Ski enthusiast and is easily reachable by the Lienzer Berghbahnen which is a huge cable car running from the northern part of Lienz.
With other 21km of slopes to make use of and 7 chairlifts, the Zettersfeld Resort has a more laid back feel and people come to enjoy both the sun and the slopes in harmony.