In the summer months, the white winter duvet of snow melts away to reveal a bright patchwork quilt of lush green fields and colourful dancing meadows. Cattle roam across the landscape; the bells around their necks chiming to fill the air with a heart-warming, tranquil tune, and the cable cars that were once piled high with skis enjoy a scenic view with their assent up the mountains.
The untouched landscape and delightful local traditions teamed with innovation in technology and the charming inhabitants – including mountain goats, cows, the infamous marmot and of course the lovely people – all add to the alluring spirit of this place.
For an invigorating family day out, a clever new twist on mountain biking has emerged in the form of e-bikes. Now the most spectacular views – previously unexplored by all but the super fit – are in easy reach for adults and kids alike. You still have to do the legwork, but they allow you scale steep hills with ease and still have energy left for the adrenaline-pumping ride back down!
You can organise all your activities and the e-bikes in Paznaun through the hotel you’re staying in.
Kids’ club: There is dedicated kids and youth clubs in the area of Paznaun, all of which can be booked through any hotel in the region.
If you’re dreaming of a quiet afternoon alone, the Kids’ Club Paznaun is a daily free service that caters for all children up to the age of 10. Qualified child care assistants will help kids explore the local area, and provide endless fun and games: your little tykes can come back to you sufficiently tired out and ready for a peaceful dinner.
For 11-16 year olds, the Youth Club Paznaun provides a fantastic programme of exciting activities set in a different place every day. Participation is free, however some admission and equipment hire is charged. Activities include rafting, mountain bike races, bouldering (a form of rock climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses) and chill-out time by the bathing lake – perfect downtime away from screaming siblings and nagging mums.
Kids’ clubs are included with your free Silvretta card (see info below). Download the kids club weekly programme.
Where to eat
The Culinary Jakobsweg is a brilliant concept thought up by Austrian Chef of the Century Eckart Witzigmann. The idea is formed around four Alpine Association huts, four international star chefs and four lovely walks in Galtür, Ischgl, Kappl and See. Each chef has designed a unique menu around seasonal, local produce, which include dishes to satisfy hungry hikers and bikers.
Chef: Rik Jansma, The Netherlands
Signature dish: Paznaun lamb
The walk:This culinary route takes you to the tip of the giant Jamtal glacier. Kids can climb rocks and splash in the crystal clear streams. For a truly spectacular view, visit at the end of June/early July when you will be treated to the beautiful bloom of the Alpine roses that cover the area.
Ischgl: Heidelberger Hütte
Chef: Gian Paolo Raschi, Italy
Signature dish: Ravioli with porcini and ricotta
The walk: Situated on the border of Austria and Switzerland, it is possible to drive most of the way and simply take a leisurely stroll to the lodge. Amble along past crystal clear streams and take the opportunity to get up close to the friendly horses and friendly Swiss cows.
Kappl: Niederelbe Hütte
Chef: Kristof Coppens, Belgium
Signature dish: Pork belly with goats cheese
The walk: Meander through the alpine forests and marvel at the magnificent surrounding mountain range, lakes and waterfall.
Chef: Otto Koch, Germany
Signature dish: Venison goulash with bread mushroom soufflé
The walk: Enjoy panoramic views of the valley as you ascend. The lodge has a lovely terrace and a great rock climbing wall nearby – perfect for keeping the kids busy while you take your time over lunch.
Where to stay: Hotel Yscla is based in the center of Ischgl and costs €75 per person, per night on a half board basis. Family suites are available.
When to go: The summer season runs from the end of June to the end of September.
How to get there: Fly from London Gatwick, Bristol or Liverpool into Innsbruck with easyJet; from £75.
Top tip: This year The Silvretta Card (previously €37) is being offered free of charge for anyone who stays overnight in the Paznaun region. Whichever hotel you stay at, the card will be presented to you on arrival and offers a number of brilliant benefits including free use of all cable cars and chairs lifts in Ischgl, Galtür, Kappl, See & Samnaun; use of all public transport in Paznaun/Bielerhöhe; free entry into local kids’ attractions including swimming pools, the waterpark and museums; and free use of the kids club programme.
You will also receive free access to all guided themed walks in Paznaun and, should you decide to drive, you will get toll-free use of the `Silvretta Hochalpenstrasse´ mountain road by car, bus or motorbike.
Check out what essential items to pack for a trip to Ischgl