Gaislachkogel, 6450, Austria
Photo by Daniel Zangerl
ÖtztalAustria's Ötztal region, at the westernmost end of the country and near the Italian border, offers a true Alps experience. There are more than 300 peaks here with altitudes of at least 3,000 meters (9,843 feet). The area is also remarkable for its many glaciers.
You can admire those glaciers in typical Austrian style at restaurants that marry high altitudes with high design. The modernist ice Q restaurant sits atop Gaislachkogl mountain; you may recognize the sleek space from its appearance in the 2015 James Bond movie, Spectre. The Café 3440 looks like a spaceship that has landed on a mountaintop (at an elevation of 3,440 meters, or 11,286 feet). You can enjoy a coffee or meal taking in the view that includes 50 peaks that are over 3,000 meters tall.
The architectural showstoppers in the region include overnight accommodations: Nature Hotel Waldklause in Sölden is a contemporary wellness retreat in glass, stone, and wood. At Area 47, an outdoor adventure park, you can spend the night in a wooden teepee. Budget travelers take note, this unusual take on camping is only €27 per person, including breakfast.
For six itineraries covering the best of the Alps, visit AFAR Journeys.