Kufstein is the second largest town in the western Austrian province of Tyrol after its capital Innsbruck and is called the “Pearl of Tyrol” for good reason. Set on the banks of the Inn River, it is full of cobbled, narrow streets like the beautiful Römerhofgasse, that are lined with traditional Tyrolean houses.
Best Time to Visit Kufstein?
If you want to visit when it’s the warmest, naturally it would be in the summer, with average temperatures in the low and mid 20’s Celsius. If you don’t mind going when you need to wear a light jacket and there are less tourists, the shoulder months of May and September are quite pleasant. We were there in early September and the weather was beautiful, nice enough to enjoy lunch outside, but not overcrowded. If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, thanks to Kufstein’s central location, it is just a short trip from several of Tyrol’s top ski areas.
Things to do in Kufstein
The fortress is hard to miss, as it looms over the town and has been a key strategic military location in the region for hundreds of years. There are three museums which provide an insight into the history of this fortress town. The medieval Fortress is accessible by either a funicular or a steep path, and has magnificent views of the Lower Inn Valley, the Inn river and the Alps.
The fortress also boasts that it is home to the world’s largest outdoor organ with 4,948 pipes. Known as the Heroes’ Organ, it was built in 1931 to honour the dead of WWI and is played at 12:00 daily, which can be heard throughout Kufstein and the surrounding area.
The admission fee to the fortress is €12.00 per person and we found it to be worth the visit. Check out their official website for opening hours and dates.
Not to be missed is a stroll down the very quaint Römerhofgasse. Wander down the narrow, cobbled street which looks like it belongs in a fairy tale, and is lined with restaurants, and small shops.
Riedel Glass Factory
Riedel Glass, run by the same family since 1756, is one of Tirol’s most prominent design brands and in our opinion the world’s most respected wine glass companies. Riedel still honors the centuries-old handmade, glass blowing techniques that deliver glasses designed to bring out the character of the wine in the glass.
Riedel Glass enables visitors to witness its traditional glassblowing craftsmanship five days a week and is truly an incredible treat for wine geeks like ourselves. For a mere €5 we were able to watch the craftsmen working from a second story platform, which was pretty amazing. Unlike most tours you can watch for as long as you like, but it is very hot because of the many furnaces on the factory floor.
The factory is open to view Mondays – Fridays 9:00am– 4:00pm but closes from noon to 1:00pm so time your visit accordingly. Check out Riedel’s official website.
More to see
Since we were there on a day trip from Munich, we didn’t get to hike into the Kaisertal Valley or visit the historic Tischofer Cave, but is on our list to visit again.
While all the restaurants looked wonderful, we have to mention Purlepaus. Its terrace is right in the heart of Kufstein overlooking the main old town square; and the food was amazing. We enjoyed the Kaiser Max Platter for 2, which came to our table in a heated, covered chafing dish, and that had pork loin, fried chicken, beef fillet, sausage, bacon, roast potatoes and vegetables with two sauces served on the side. It was more than enough for the two of us, but we did our best!
How many days do you need to visit Kufstein
Depending on your interests, you could easily spend a couple of days here. A visit to the fortress and to the Riedel factory (if you love everything wine like we do), can be achieved in one day, but to take advantage of outdoor activities as well, we’d suggest two days.
Getting to and Around Kufstein
Kufstein is easy to get to by train from Salzburg, Innsbruck or Munich and perfect for a day trip if you are in Tirol or Bavaria. Check the local train timetables to see how regularly you can connect through to Kufstein. From the train station, cross the bridge into the town centre which is only minutes away from the fortress.