I’m taking a little break from all the Netherlands themed blog posts and am taking you to a different European country instead. As you may already know, I love Austria and have been going to the Lechtal valley ever since I was a little kid. When you go hiking in Tirol, you could go ‘true backpackers style’ from inn to inn and stay high up in the mountains the whole time but we always stay in the Lechtal valley and do daily hikes that start from there. Throughout the years I’ve learned the importance of packing correctly when you go to Tirol because there are some extras you might need besides the regular things like clothes and toiletries. So here’s what I would absolutely recommend you take with you when you go hiking in Tirol, Austria.
1. An excellent waterproof raincoat
A waterproof rain coat is my number one packing essential when I’m going hiking in Austria. If you don’t already have one, I suggest you buy a foldable one. One that you can easily tuck away when you’re on a hike. The weather in Austria, especially in Tirol, can be very interchangeable. It can be sunny one minute and an hour later you can get stuck in a big rainstorm. And even if it isn’t raining, when you’re high up in the mountains it can get rather chilly which a raincoat can help protect you against too.
2. A reusable water flask
You don’t need to buy new plastic water bottles every day. It’s bad for the environment plus it’ll cost you more money. I find bringing my own water flask to be really helpful. It is so important to hydrate during long hikes so definitely bring a water flask with you. I currently have one from Chilly’s but I used to own one from the brand Dopper, which was great too.
3. Hiking shoes and socks
I would highly recommend investing in proper hiking shoes when going hiking in Austria. They might cost you a little bit of money but it is worth the investment nevertheless. Some roads can be treacherous and it is important to bring shoes with a lot of grip. Regular sports shoes do not suffice in my opinion. I would also suggest going to a store to buy your shoes and avoid buying them online. Not all hiking shoes will fit your feet as well and it’s so essential for them to be a good fit.
Usually hiking shoes are bought at least one size bigger than your normal shoe size. You will need to wear thick hiking socks, ski socks or any kind of long sturdy socks along with your hiking boots. And even when you are wearing the socks you’ll need some space at the front of your shoe, your toes cannot touch the front of your shoe. Size up when they do! You’ll need the extra space because when you’re descending a steep hill your feet will need the space to move around a bit and so avoid blisters. If you don’t have a store nearby you can always buy them at your destination. I always buy my hiking shoes in a sports store in Holzgau, one of the tiny villages in the Lechtal valley in Tirol.
Even when the weather doesn’t seem great in Tirol, it is possible for you to get sunburned. For the simple reason that you are higher up and therefore closer to the sun. Plus if you have reached the top of the mountain there’s less shade for you to hide under. Bring sunscreen with at least a SPF30 and a lip balm with SPF as well. My lips are always the first thing to get sunburned because I tend to forget them!
5. A cap or a hat and sunglasses
To go along with the sunscreen always bring a cap or a hat of some sort to protect your scalp from burning. You should also bring sunglasses as well. You might not always need them but it is better to be safe than sorry.
6. Anti-Mosquito spray
The most annoying part of going hiking in the Austrian Alps is all the stinging flies (horseflies)! There are tons of them flying around, especially in the lower parts of the valley near the water and during the summer. They will sting through clothes and a sting by one of those flies tends to hurt and itch way more than a regular mosquito. If you are even the tiniest bit sensitive to mosquitoes I strongly suggest you bring the heaviest mosquito repellent (with Deet) that you can find. Spray before you leave and bring it with you on your hike.
If we did lower hikes (hikes in the valley or next to the river), I would get bit up to 10 times every 5 minutes. It was total madness! And I am allergic to bites from some insects so you can imagine how much I hated that! During our last trip I decided that I’d rather smell like anti-mosquito spray the whole week than getting stung every single minute I was out. I only got stung a handful of times compared to the rest of the group so it really worked! But bring something against the itching when stung anyway, just in case.
Don’t forget to bring decent hiking clothes and everything else you would need on a regular trip as well. I would also like to remind you that when you go hiking in the mountains you will not always have internet connection so you can’t rely on Google Maps to show you the way. Either purchase a map with the most common hiking routs or download the route you want to take to your phone in advance. I love the Lechtal valley in Tirol so much and I cannot wait to go back for another visit.