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May news, traditions, events from the Austrian Tirol

17th April 2013 Print

After another epic ski season and with snow still falling in some parts of Tirol, it seems likely that the traditional custom of "Grasausläuten" will be carried out with more than usual energy this springtime. To awaken the spring grass from its winter sleep, local men and boys run through the meadows and fields from farm to farm ringing their cow bells and driving out the winter spirits! The so-called ‘ringing out of the spring grass’ traditionally takes place on 23rd April, the Day of St. George, who until 1772 was Patron Saint of Tirol.

Traditions continue into May with the much anticipated Mayday celebrations, when the decorated Maypole is the centre of celebration in every Tirolean village. Of course, that assumes that the neighbouring village has not succeeded in stealing or chopping down the Maypole and holding it for ransom during the night, in exchange for a few barrels of beer. Stripped of its bark, the traditional Maypole climbing is a slippery challenge, but essential for man and boy in order to impress the ladies down below. Although in 2012 in Zirl, it was a 7 year-old girl who made it to the top before all the men!

Austria’s largest spring and folklore festival, the Gauderfest, takes place on the first weekend in May in Zell am Ziller. Bringing together 500 years of tradition, the event offers musical entertainment, sporting competitions, food markets and a large festive folklore procession. A big part of the event is the unveiling of the Zillertal beer, specially-brewed for the festival, with the Governor of Tirol officially tapping the barrel.

Over in the Brixen Valley the Antlassritt is a Corpus Christi tradition that has stood the test of time for over 300 years, where almost 100 villagers and visitors join the unique Corpus Christi procession on horseback, blessing all along the route from Westendorf to the Swedish Chapel in Kirchberg. The celebration is in honour of the local farmers who fought and defeated Swedish troops towards the end of the 30 Years War.

New design hotel for Innsbruck

The hugely anticipated, brand-new lifestyle Hotel aDLERS in Innsbruck will open its doors on 1st June, connecting the city and mountains with breathtaking views, edgy design and outstanding hospitality. As Innsbruck’s tallest hotel, rising up from the 6th to the 13th floor, the hotel’s bold design by Vienna-based architects Henke und Schreieck, combines a contemporary glass facade with brown earthy tones. On the 11th floor, a relaxing spa area features sauna and massage facilities, coupled with fabulous panoramic vistas. The aDLER’s culinary creations promise to be an impressive experience, for guests to feel on top of the world with unobstructed, spectacular views from the 12th floor restaurant, bar, lounge and sun terrace. If that’s still not good enough go higher for a panoramic 360-degree views of Innsbruck and its stunning mountain landscape from the hotel’s roof-top terrace on the 13th floor. Prices start from €135 per room, per night on room only in a Panorama Classic.

For more information visit

New walking tour named after Mayrhofen’s greatest son, Peter Habeler

For summer 2013, the Zillertal will introduce a new Peter Habeler Tour, covering a total of 60 kilometres linked by 6 mountain huts, with individual distances of between 3.5 and 13kms. The walking routes vary in difficulty and terrain, from alpine meadows and gravel paths to block stones, moraines and boulders. The well-respected and world-famous mountaineer Peter Habeler was born in Mayrhofen and became the first man ever to attempt and succeed the first ascent of Mount Everest without artificial oxygen, along with his climbing partner Reinhold Messner in 1978. Peter once said, ‘The most beautiful summits are at home’, and it is this personal connection and emotional bond with the Zillertal Alps that gives this new walking trail its authenticity. Here Peter Habeler talks about his love for the Zillertal -

May Holiday Offers

Zillertal for the Gauderfest

The Tourism Office Zell-Gerlos offers 3 nights B&B accommodation from €149 per person (£127), including band entrance. Special meals in the Zillertal Bier marquee, with 2 drinks start from €25 per person. Travel not included fly to Innsbruck from Gatwick with easyJet from £38 one way. Departs from Wed 1st – Sat 4th May 2013.

Save £185 - Alpbach

Inghams has 7 nights half board accommodation at the 4* Alpbacherhof in Alpbach from £549 per person (was £734). Price includes return flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck, resort transfers, free afternoon tea/coffee and cakes, free guided walks, free mountain bike hire tours and a free Alpbach Seenland card. Flights are also available from Birmingham (+£49), Leeds-Bradford (+£69), Bristol (+£69) and Edinburgh (+£69). Departs 25th May 2013.

Save £250 - Kitzbühel

Crystal Summer has 7 nights at the 4* Hotel Jägerwirt in Kitzbühel for £399 (was £649), based on two adults sharing. Price includes return flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck, resort transfers and half board as well as free guided walks. Departs 25th May 2013.

Save £265 - Seefeld

Thomson Lakes & Mountains has 7 nights at the 4* Aktivhotel Veronika in Seefeld for £401 (was £666), based on two adults sharing. Price includes return flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck, resort transfers and half board, free bike hire and free guided walks, green fee reduction of up to 30% at the Golf Academy and 15% at Wildmoos Golf Course. Departs 25th May 2013.

For more information on the Tirol region or keep updated at

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

Gauderfest Gauderfest Grasauslauter Brixentaler Antlassritt Hotel aDLERS, Innsbruck Hotel aDLERS, Innsbruck