The Karwendel Mountains are part of the Northern Limestone Alps and comprise several chains: the Northern Karwendel Chain, the Hinterautal-Vomper Chain, the Gleirsch-Halltal Chain, and the Nordkette.
You may already be familiar with this range if you’ve ever visited, or seen a photo of Innsbruck, which is situated at the foot of the Nordkette chain.
The Karwendel Nature Park (Naturpark Karwendel) encompasses the entire Karwendel massif. This 727 km² nature park is the largest protected area in Tirol and the largest nature park in Austria.
The most popular multi-day hike in this Austrian mountain range is the 6-stage Karwendel High Trail.
One of the most beautiful destinations in Karwendel is Grosser Ahornboden (Great Maple Floor), a wide grassy plain in the secluded Hinterrisstal Valley strewn with 2,300 sycamore maple trees.
This hidden valley is only accessible from Germany via a toll road, which is open from May – October. During our first visit, we stayed at the Die Eng – Alpengasthof und Naturhotel and hiked to Gamsjoch Peak. During our second visit, we hiked the Binsalm Panoramic Trail (trail guide coming soon).
More day hikes in the Karwendel Mountains: Wolfsklamm Gorge and Hundskopf (with optional Grade A/B via ferrata).
Stay in Innsbruck
The capital of Tirol is located at the base of the Nordkette mountain chain, and a great access point to Karwendel.
From the city center, you can take the Nordkettenbahnen cableways to the Hafelekar mountain station, the starting point of the celebrated Goetheweg. This panoramic trail leads to Pfeishütte, one of our favorite huts in Austria.
To learn more about the Goetheweg and the hikes around Innsbruck, read our Innsbruck Hiking Guide.
Budget-Midrange | Motel One Innsbruck is located near the Innsbruck Train Station, a mere 10-minute walk into the Innenstadt (Inner City of Innsbruck). This modern 3-star hotel offers snug rooms with views overlooking the city and mountains. Don’t miss the top floor bar. Perks: luggage storage and 24/7 reception. Breakfast and underground parking are both available for an extra charge.
Midrange-Luxury | Faktorei is a boutique hotel housed in a 15th century town house with 12 sun-drenched minimalist rooms, a garden, terrace, and bar. Private garage parking is available, but must be reserved in advance (extra fee). Breakfast is served in the hotel’s adjacent café (extra fee).
Luxury | Altstadthotel Weisses Kreuz is a contemporary hotel with an atmospheric bar in Innsbruck’s pedestrian zone. Stay here for the delicious breakfast, stylish design, professional staff, and location. No on-site parking.
Luxury | Set in a historic building in the center of Innsbruck, the exceptional Weisses Rössl is a boutique hotel with a 600-year-old Tyrolean restaurant. Expect a delicious breakfast. Paid public parking is located nearby.
Look for accommodation in Innsbruck.
Stay in Hall in Tirol
The darling and superbly restored town of Hall in Tirol is located 12 km east of Innsbruck and is yet another starting point for adventures in the Karwendelgebirge.
You can hike in Halltal (Hall Valley) to Alpengasthaus St. Magdalena, climb up to Bettelwurfhütte via the Absamer Klettersteig, walk to alm pasture huts (Hinterhornalm, Walderalm, and Ganalm), and more.
Top-Choice Luxury | Hotel Kontor is a boutique hotel in Hall in Tirol with airy, minimalist rooms featuring hardwood floors, billowy linen, and tea and coffee makers. Breakfast is included. On-site parking is available.
Luxury | Parkhotel Hall in Tirol is a modern, dog-friendly hotel with soundproof rooms, an on-site restaurant, and a 580 m2 spa area, walking distance to the historic Altstadt (Old Town). Parking is available (extra charge). A rich breakfast is included.
Look for accommodation in Hall in Tirol.
Stay in Pertisau, Lake Achensee
The lakeside village of Pertisau is a great base for hiking in the Karwendel Mountains and enjoying the clear and refreshing waters of Lake Achensee. From Pertisau, you have access to a plethora of hikes including Bärenkopf, the Seekarspitze-Seebergspitze ridge trail, Sonnjoch Peak, Lamsenjochhütte and the Hahnenkampl ridge (trail guide coming soon), the lakeside Gaisalm alpine hut, and more.
Midrange | Hotel Bergland is a traditional Tyrolean hotel with an on-site restaurant. All rooms have balconies. Guests love the location, the friendly staff, and the food.
Adults-only Luxury | The chic, 4-star Hotel Auszeit pampers guests with its relaxing spa facilities (4 modern saunas, relaxing room, outdoor pool, sun garden), beautiful rooms, scenic setting, and excellent breakfast.
Adults-only Luxury | Seehotel Einwaller – adults only impresses with its stylish rooms, lake-facing wellness area, à la carte restaurant, and scenic lakeside location. In summer, guests can enjoy the hotel’s private pier, furnished with comfortable sunbeds and umbrellas. Expect an excellent breakfast.
Luxury | NOVA Moments Boutique Hotel is a 4-star hotel with 34 air-conditioned rooms and suites, all tastefully furnished in an elegant, alpine-modern style. The hotel is set in a quiet location, 900 meters away from the lakeshore. Hotel facilities include an outdoor natural pool (open in summer), infinity whirlpool (open all-year-round), sauna, steam-bath, wellness relaxation room, garage parking with electric car charging stations, and fitness room.
Look for accommodation in Pertisau.