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Introducing Zillertal

Sandwiched between the Tuxer Voralpen and the Kitzbüheler Alpen, the Zillertal (Ziller Valley) epitomises picture-postcard Tyrol. A steam train chugs through the broad valley, passing fertile farmland and limestone spires, affording glimpsed vistas of snowy peaks and the meandering Ziller River. As well as skis or walking boots, this is one place you’ll be glad you packed that extra pair of lederhosen. It’s an extremely traditional place, where down-to-earth locals still tune into Alpen Rock (alpine rock) and celebrate their heritage with gusto.

Practically every resort has its own tourist office, but the main tourist office (05288-871 87; www.zillertal.at; 8.30am-noon & 1-5.30pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-noon Sat) covering the whole valley is in Schlitters, 6km from Jenbach. It stocks plenty of information on outdoor activities, along with the Zillertaler Gästezeitung (partially in English) magazine.

Four camping grounds are situated in the valley and there is a year-round HI hostel (05288-620 10; www.hihostels.com/dba/hostel004079.de.htm; Finsingerhof, Finsing 73; dm €17; ) at Uderns, 12km south of Jenbach. Most beds are in chalet-style pensions, private rooms, holiday apartments or farmhouses. Ask staff at the tourist offices for help in finding somewhere (they usually won’t charge), as there are dozens of options in each resort. Wherever you stay, inquire about the resort’s Gästekarte (guest card).

Note that many places close between seasons, usually early April to late June and early November to mid-December. This includes many of the hotels, restaurants and bars mentioned below.