A wide green valley encircled by high mountains and crossed by the river Inn, the same stream that gives the name to the capital of the Austrian Tyrol. This is Hall Wattens, a marvelous destination surrounded by nature, which we have discovered through a long weekend of early May.
Snow-clad peaks, perfect meadows, cows out to pasture, high steeples and embattled towers, in addition to that sensation of perfection permeating the landscape. This is how the region of Hall Wattens immediately welcomed us.
Attractions and experiences in the region of Hall Wattens
Making bread in a farm
As soon as we got there we immediately started our engines! The local tourism authority organized a nice experience for all of us tourists: a trip to a farm, to make bread the old-fashioned way, using a wood-fired oven and doing everything by hand. Giulia likes cooking and once we had put our aprons on, we (all 4 of us) started to knead with water, flour, yeast, various pips, so as to realize loaves of the typical dark bread of Tyrol. Once the preparation was completed, we left the bread to rise and we went to light the wood-fired oven; well, actually the owner had already lit it, and then she moved the embers to the drawer below, showing an exceptional manual ability. After putting the loaves in the oven, we devoted ourselves, together with our kids, to the discovery of the animals of the farm.
How beautiful were the black sheeps, but also the rabbits, and the cows with their calves. While the children of the owner were manoeuvring themselves brilliantly amid the animals of the farm, our children were following them with a bit of envy for that way of life so simple and amusing, so in touch with nature. We completed that experience by taking the bread out of the oven and bringing our self-made loaves with us, such a great satisfaction!
The Swarovski Crystal Worlds
It’s not possible to come to this area of Tyrol without seeing the Crystal Worlds exhibition realized by the Swarovski company (the founder was from Bohemia near Prague), whose headquarters and main factory are in this valley. It is a large exhibition dedicated to modern and contemporary art with an internal itinerary and a vast external area. It is an attraction that is perfect also for families with children.
Also Daniels is worth seeing, a stylish restaurant inspired by the founder of the brand, situated quite close to the entrance of the attraction. A magic and glittering Swarovski world to be discovered at the table as well, even just for a cappuccino.
At the Mint museum in Hall
The ancient medieval tower of the Hasegg castle, which had been the seat of the local Mint for 400 years starting from the fifteenth century, stands out against the other buildings at first sight as soon as we arrive in the town of Hall, and it is situated close to the river and to the tourist information office. The museum features an interesting path inside the castle, through the history of mintage of coins, among which the most important one was the thaler of Maria Theresa. There you can see big machineries and complex gears entirely made of wood; the audio guide is useful, maybe skipping the longer explanations if you are not an enthusiast.
The part that we liked the most was the climb to the castle tower; a strong wind was blowing at the top and we could really feel it! Our kids particularly liked to take part in the manual mintage of a coin that they could then bring with them as a souvenir.
The guided tour in Hall
Recently we have started to really appreciate visiting cities with a guide. They really make it simpler and more interesting to discover the history and the peculiarities of a place. So that’s what we have done to visit the historic centre of the town in a couple of hours, thanks to an Italian speaking guide whom you can book through the local tourist information office, of course. He accompanied us through the lanes of the centre and amid the houses, some of which still date back to the Middle Ages, while telling us a lot of interesting things, also really intriguing for our kids. You should not miss out on the church dedicated to St. Nicholas, the town hall and the Benedictine convent. Italians who don’t want to give up their coffee break can have it on the corner of Schlossergasse and Schulgasse at the Bacaro Cafè.
In the centre, with a guide, it is also possible to access the Mining Museum of Hall. It is a nice reenactment of a salt mine, complete with carts, tunnels, chutes and anything else that was used at that time for the production of the salt extracted from the mountains of the area. Helmet on, it is amusing to venture through the tight passages, discovering and learning new things about the underground world of mines and minerals.
Trips through Tyrolese nature
During our little vacation we have also tried a couple of nature trips. The first was the Piepmatzweg path in Vögelsberg, a stage trip with interactive stations where children can play with wooden toys on the traces of the legend of the Giant and the Little Bird. The trail is well made, and the wooden statues along the trail and along the natural landscape that you discover are really pretty, especially in the higher part of the way. You have to take into account that the way is uphill so those who have little babies should forget their strollers.
A trip in the woods on the themed trail
From flower to honey was the theme of the second trip, a very accessible walk amid blossoming fields in Tulfes, 10 minutes away from Hall. It was pleasant to discover, with our guide, the plants that grow freely and are also edible, but also the fantastic panorama of the mountains, with their tops still snow-covered, which we could enjoy from the trail. At the end of the walk, a stop at a farmer to buy speck and cheese, and then a good snack with honey, dark bread, butter and petals, really special!
What to do in the surroundings of Hall Wattens
Innsbruck is very close and Hall is a perfect point of support as it’s about a ten minute drive from the capital of Tyrol. There are many attractions in the centre, such as the famous little square with the Golden Roof and the museum. In the end, the city is really worth visiting!
Where to stay in the region of Hall Wattens
Our home in Hall has been the Gartenhotel Maria Theresia, an excellent structure with a traditional style, not far from the centre. Really enjoyable, especially for children, are the garden with a lawn and a little farm at the back. In that hotel it is possible to taste the typical local dishes, such as the lavish Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad and jam. We really had a nice time in that hotel!
Where to eat in Hall
In the centre of Hall we had our meals in a place very close the Mint. It’s the Goldener Engl, a typical Tyrolese restaurant with beer garden. The interior is really peculiar, with wooden furniture and stone structures, worth seeing! Under the beach umbrellas we have eaten very good Frankfurter sausages with potatoes and frittatensuppe.
How to reach Hall Wattens
It’s really easy to reach the Austrian Tyrol by car thanks to the Italian motorway A22 (Autostrada del Brennero), and then it takes less than 30 minutes to reach Hall, always on the same type of road; just remember to buy the Austrian motorway stamp at the border!
Our opinion on this destination
We have visited this region at the invitation of the local tourism authority. What we have personally seen and experienced has been very positive. Apart from the extreme tidiness, cleanliness and organization that distinguish these areas, we have found Hall Wattens a perfect territory to visit with your family and in general with kids and children. A lot of open spaces, a lot of parkland, many things to do. Of course the good weather, with a foretaste of summer in May, has quite helped us, but there are several things to do even if the sky is not really what you would expect.
We can just recommend this destination or vacation for a weekend but also for several days, and hope that it will give you the same positive vibrations that it has given to us. Definitely a place to visit again like these.
For further informations we invite you to contact the tourist office of the region, which can be reached also through the relevant website.