Festung Kufstein

sights / Military

Lonely Planet review

For an insight into Kufstein’s turbulent past, head up to cliff-top Festung Kufstein. The castle dates from 1205 (when Kufstein was part of Bavaria) and was a pivotal point of defence for both Bavaria and Tyrol during the struggles. The round Kaiserturm (Emperor’s Tower) was added in 1522.

The lift to the top affords sweeping views over Kufstein and the surrounding peaks. Inside is the small but imaginatively presented Heimatmuseum (Heritage Museum), showcasing everything from Bronze Age urns to folk costumes and – drum roll please – Andreas Hofer’s shoe. Below the Kaiserturm is the Heldenorgel (Heroes Organ) with 4307 pipes, 46 organ stops and a 100m gap between the keyboard and the tip of the pipes; the delay in the sounding of the notes makes playing it a tricky business. Catch recitals at noon and, in July and August, 6pm.

When the fortress is closed in the evening you can walk up the path in under 15 minutes and roam the ramparts and grounds free of charge.