Is it possible to cram historic landmarks, nature, mountain biking, Tyrolean huts, and local gastronomy into one tour? Thanks to ebikes, yes it is!
We began our tour at Die Boerse, where the staff and guide outfitted us with safety gear and tuned our bikes to our specific needs. Once geared up, we hit the road for a bit of sightseeing through town. Everyone in our group were very inexperienced bikers. Two of my friends had never been on a mountain bike before, and this was only my second time on one. The ride through town helped us get well acquainted with the bike before hitting the trails. If you’re an experienced biker, you can discuss different trail options with varying difficulty levels and be transported there right away.
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Some of the landmarks we visited include Triumphpforte, Landhausplatz, Maria-Theresien-Straße, Golden Roof, and Mariahilfstrasse. Our guide took a few minutes to give us some funny and informative facts throughout the tour. No spoiler alerts here!
Taking a short break on the way to Bodensteinalm
In a matter of minutes, we arrived at the trails and began our ascent on the Nordkette mountain range. Our first destination was Höttinger Bild, a little chapel with a funny story behind it. I won’t tell you the story here because it will spoil the fun, but I can tell you that lighting a candle there may have helped me pass my recent German exam. If you’re thinking that it’s a bit odd to find a church in the mountains, you’re right. We thought the same. After a few minutes of rest, we pedaled our way up to Alpengasthouse Raschbrunnen. This mountain hut is a favorite among locals because it’s not too frequented by tourists. Unfortunately, the hut was closed that day. Luckily, mountain huts are scattered throughout Nordkette and the next one was only a 30-minute ride away.
As I mentioned previously, my friends and I aren’t experienced bikers. If not for the ebikes my friends wouldn’t have even considered mountain biking at all. The ebikes are a huge help in getting you to places you wouldn’t reach on a regular mountain bike. Our guide did an amazing job keeping us motivated during the tour. His contagious energy encouraged us to push our limits on the bikes. He wouldn’t judge you either if you decided to let the bike do all the work for you.
Our tour was pretty laid back. The difficulty level would be suitable for most people wanting to experience mountain biking for the first time.
E-bikes are a great way to level the playing field and allow disparate experience levels to ride together. You don’t realize how much the bikes help until you pass others on regular mountain bikes. They were huffing and puffing as we were taking selfies on while pedaling uphill. I’m always up for a physical challenge, but I don’t think I’ll ever go mountain biking again without an e-bike. Even for an experienced mountain biker, an e-bike might ruin normal bikes forever.
You also have the option of renting the bike and doing the tour on your own, but I highly recommend going with the Bikeschool Innsbruck guide. He was super helpful and informative. Tour guides also know the best trails for avoiding heavy traffic. Keep in mind that not every trail in Innsbruck allows biking so best to avoid any problems with locals and local authorities.
Innsbruck has so many mountain huts at different altitudes, some of which I honestly don’t think I could ever reach, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t have so much fun doing so.
Mountain biking was fun, the scenery was stunning and our guide was a treasure trove of information, but local culture and gastronomy are unbeatable in my book. We worked really hard biking up Nordkette and I developed quite the appetite. Every hut has its own charm and gorgeous views overlooking the city; they’re all pretty similar in that sense. However, each hut is known for at least one menu item they are really great at and they always offer dishes using seasonal ingredients.
The Tyrolean huts in the mountains are great places to treat yourself to local gastronomy while overlooking the city. When you finally arrive and look down, you realize how far you’ve come. Absorb the views and pat yourself on the back. You’ve earned yourself a hearty Tyrolean meal.
Tyrol is famous throughout Austria and neighboring countries for producing exceptionally high-quality crops. Innsbruck, being the capital of the state, benefits greatly from the bounty produced by local farmers. Food is a great way to get a taste for the local culture, pun very much intended. Traditional dishes here are in no way fancy or pretentious. Most of the dishes are composed of a few simple ingredients that allow quality to shine first and foremost.
When visiting a mountain hut, I urge you to go beyond the obvious Austrian dishes like Schnitzel and Gulasch. With that said, I must admit that I have the Schnitzel pretty often, and I did on this tour as well. I live here and I eat Austrian food daily, so don’t judge me. If you’re here on vacation though, live a little.
My top recommendation would be anything off-menu made with seasonal ingredients. These options are usually written on a chalkboard near the entrance. Right now, many huts are offering Eierschwammerl-Gulasch (Chanterelle Goulash). Your mouth is watering, I know, mine too. Another thing to consider is, what sounds more like a seasoned traveler: “I had a Schnitzel with fries and coke” or “I had an Eierschwammerl-Gulasch and Almdudler”? Now you see what I’m talking about?
For soft drinks, try the locally made concoctions like Holla. It’s a syrup reduction made from elderberry flowers. They bloom during the summer, but the syrup lasts a long time so you can have it during any season.