The medieval town of Kufstein stands picture-perfect beneath the Kaiser mountains, roughly halfway between the cities of Salzburg and Innsbruck. It has a proud Tyrolean history and evokes the atmosphere of rural Austria, where classical music rings out in the open air, and every vista is filled with soft colours. With its range of excellent attractions and central location, Kufstein has become one of Austria’s iconic destinations.
For centuries the town was fought over by Bavarians, Tyroleans, and the Habsburg Empire. The Kufstein Fortress is a memory of this history and can be reached via a steep walkway or funicular from the town. It’s worth coming up here for the views alone, with the onsite museum serving as a real bonus providing an insight into the region’s story. The valleys come alive with the sound of the Heldenorgel, the largest open-air organ on the planet and can also be seen at the fortress where there are an incredible 4,948 pipes. Live music also comes in the form of a classical summer concert season and the Tyrol Festival Erl. Villages dot the mountains above the town and make for adventurous hikes that eventually lead into the Kaiser Mountains Nature Reserve.
Kufstein is next to the German border and can be easily accessed from destinations in southern Bavaria, including Munich. When travelling from Salzburg the quickest route is to head through Germany then return to Austria. Innsbruck is 40 minutes away by train. Much of the town can be explored on foot, and it’s a delight to wind into the villages above Kufstein. The roads get steep, so many visitors opt to ascend by funicular then walk down and savour the views.
Riedel Glass originated in Kufstein back in 1756 and has gone on to become one of the world’s most prominent wine glass companies where visitors can tour the factory and witness traditional glassblowing.