Wilder Kaiser is an excellent summer vacation spot whether you’re looking to hike or mountain bike in the Wilder Kaiser Mountains, or prefer to enjoy them as a backdrop while you take an easy bike ride through the valley or swim in one of the mountain lakes.
I first visited Wilder Kaiser this past winter and fell in love with it. I was pumped to visit it again in summer. It’s fun to see how different a place looks in different seasons.
Going back felt like being greeted by a good friend that I hadn’t seen in a while. There’s the familiarity that’s comforting, yet the newness of seeing how green everything was. And how different it looked when it wasn’t covered in snow.
Where is Wilder Kaiser?
Wilder Kaiser is conveniently located in the Tirolean Alps of Austria between Innsbruck, Munich, and Salzburg.
Where to Stay in Wilder Kaiser?
I wrote about this in my winter post so you can see the different options there. During my winter visit, I had also stayed in the village of Söll (but in a different hotel) and stayed there again.
My hotel last time was OK but this time I LOVED my stay. I stayed at the Gasthof Postwirt. It’s conveniently located in the center of Söll in a historic building. There’s a restaurant serving Tyrolean cuisine, another outdoor restaurant, and a pool and spa area.
The staff was welcoming and friendly and my room was a good size with a mountain view. And I loved that the free hiker’s shuttle was less than a 2-minute walk from the hotel. I really enjoyed my stay here and would highly recommend it.
Related Reading: Best Hikes in Europe: Your Ultimate Guide to Where and When to Go
Summer Activities in Wilder Kaiser
Go Swimming in Hintersteinsee (Hinterstein Lake) or Hike Around It
Voted The Most Beautiful Place in Tirol in 2018, I was excited to return here in summer. In winter you can cross-country ski around the lake. In summer you can hike along an easy hiking trail that’s popular with families.
You can swim in the crystal clear waters, enjoy the views from the banks of the lake or at the restaurant that has an outdoor patio and lake views.
Although I liked this in winter, in summer it’s stunning. I could easily have spent the day relaxing here alternating between swimming and sunbathing – after my hike around the lake of course.
Additional Sight Seeing:
Bärnstatt Chapel is located a 10-minute walk from Hinterstein Lake and the bus also stops there.
In Scheffau, check out Church Scheffau.
Getting to Hinterstein Lake:
Take the KaiserJet bus (free if you’re staying in Wilder Kaiser) to Scheffau Village. Then, change buses and take the Hintersteinersee (Lake) Bus. It’s at the same bus stop.
One of the things I love about Wilder Kaiser in summer is free public transportation if you’re staying there. The KaiserJet bus (or one of the other hiking buses) is designed for hikers and takes you everywhere you’d want to go. You really don’t need a car which I loved.
Related Reading: The Austrian Alps: 7 Best Places To See
E-Bike Or Mountain Bike Up to the Gruberhof(Köpfing)
The “Gruberhof” is the home of the “Bergdoktor” (alpine doctor), a popular tv show in German. Outside of filming the farm is called “Köpfing”.
Even if you’re not familiar with the TV show the farmhouse sits at an elevation of 1200 m and offers fantastic views of the Kaiser mountains and the Hohe Salve (where I had skied in winter). I had snowshoed up to it in winter.
Gruberhof(Köpfing) makes a great place to stop for a picnic. You can either continue hiking, up and after another 45 minutes or so will reach a mountain hut serving delicious food. If you’re feeling really ambitious you can make your way, up, up up to the Hohe Salve which is a very long hike.
Alternatively, you can make the Gruberhof(Köpfing) your endpoint, where you’ll still get great views before heading down again.
I’d recommend going up with an e-bike, or if you wanted a real challenge, going up with a mountain bike. But be warned, it’s steep. It’s also possible to hike (~ 1 hour) but you’re just hiking on a road. That’s why I recommend going up by either e-bike or with a mountain bike.
You also have the option to take a tractor ride up. This is a popular choice for Germans who have small children or those with mobility issues. But if you don’t fit into either of those two categories I’d recommend biking up.
Getting To Gruberhof(Köpfing):
The hike/biking road starts at the bottom of the gondola station in Söll. The path is well signposted.
Related Reading: Wilder Kaiser: Your Guide to Skiing and Other Winter Activities
Hike or Take the Chairlift to the Astbergsee (Lake)
One of my favorite things about visiting Wilder Kaiser in summer is all the hiking possibilities. From the Asterbergbahn you can either take a chairlift or hike up to the Astbergsee. It’s a small lake but the views are stunning.
There are also pony rides available for children. And there’s a restaurant there.
Alternatively, hike 10 minutes further to reach the Brenneralm. It’s a great place to have lunch and on a clear day, the views are stunning.
There are a variety of paths you can do depending on how hard of a hike you’re looking for. If you have the energy I’d recommend doing one of these paths.
You can either hike down as I did or take the chairlift down again.
Getting to the Astbergsee (Lake):
Take the KaiserJet to Going and get off at the “Astbergbahn” stop. From here, you can either hike up or take the lift.
Summer Evenings in Wilder Kaiser
Ellmau’s Summer Night
While it may be tempting to spend the evening relaxing in your hotel be sure to check out Elmmau’s Summer Night. It’s held every Tuesday in summer.
Starting at 6:00 pm the street turns into a car-free pedestrian zone where you can buy local specialties and shop traditional crafts. There are live bands playing music of all different types of genres so you’ll find something to your taste. And there are also activities for kids.
When I was in Ellmau in winter, I watched the Ski Show which I enjoyed but I liked this summer night even better.
I loved the atmosphere here and stayed for several hours. Admission is free. It runs from 6:00 to 10:00 pm every Tuesday in summer.
Getting to Ellmau’s Summer Night:
Take the KaiserJet bus and get off at the stop “Ellmau Dorf” (“Ellmau Village”). From there it’s ~ a 5-minute walk to the main street where the festivities are held.
Check Out Marienkapelle (Chapel) in Ellmau
While you can do this any time of day, on my of my visits I combined it with the evening events in Ellmau. It’s a landmark of Ellmau and was built in 1721. The views are simply stunning:
When I visited in winter I didn’t walk all the way up to the chapel but I loved the view of it and the gorgeous night sky:
Getting to Marienkapelle:
It’s located on the hill in “Kapellenpark” “Chapel Park”. You’ll see signs on Main Street leading the way. It’s ~ a 10-minute walk uphill to reach the chapel. I loved the evening light and the views over Ellmau and the valley.
Know Before You Go to Wilder Kaiser in Summer
- I’d recommend spending 5 to 7 days at Wilder Kaiser. There’s so much to do, no matter how active you want to be.
- The Wilder Kaiser Guest Card (free when you’re staying in Wilder Kaiser) entitles you to free public transportation between all four villages and to the start of hiking trails. I loved it and you really don’t need a car when visiting in summer.
- The tourism board offers a varied weekly program with 12 activities and guided hikes each week. Most of these are free. Ask for the updated program at the local tourist office.
- There are also special programs and events. Check out Wilder Kaiser’s Summer Program for further details.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Wilder Kaiser?
I loved both of my visits in winter and summer. If you’re active and love the mountains as much as I do then I’d highly recommend visiting in both winter and summer. Returning is like getting a welcoming hug from a friend And at the same time, realizing that you still have so much to discover.
However, if you’re not a skier or into winter outdoor sports, then you’ll likely enjoy going in summer better. What I loved about visiting Wilder Kaiser in summer is that there’s something for everyone.
From the hiker who wants 9-hour hikes (that would be me) to someone who enjoys flat cycling the valley between villages. Or wants to enjoy the breathtaking views by taking a gondola instead of hiking up a mountain.