Matrei in Osttirol Tourist Attractions
The little market town of Matrei in Osttirol (to be distinguished from Matrei am Brenner), a popular health, winter sports and tourist resort, nestles delightfully below the south side of the Hohe Tauern, where the Iseltal widens near to its junction with the Tauerntal. The town has been easily accessible from the north since the opening of the Felber-Tauern Tunnel (5,200m/5,700yds long) in 1967. It is a good base for walks and climbs in the surrounding valleys and mountains.
Parish Church of St Alban
In the center of the little town of Matrei in Osttirol, so typical of those in the Alpine regions, stands the imposing Late Baroque parish church of St Alban (c. 1780), with its 14th C. Gothic tower. The interior is decorated with frescos (c. 1780); the altars date from about 1800.
Church of St Nicholas
The church of St Nicholas, a little way out of the town of Matrei in Osttirol, dates from the Romanesque period. There are 14th C. frescos on the facade. The tower, extended to form a choir, opens onto the nave at two levels; on the lower floor are some 13th C. frescos (including the story of Adam and Eve), and on the upper portrayals of saints and the Apostles (c. 1270). Also of interest are the medieval wooden figures.
On a limestone crag, forming a landmark high above Matrei in Osttirol, stands Schloss Weissenstein (1,029m/3,376ft). It was built in the 19th C. and is now privately owned.
The mouth of the Virgental lies to the west of Matrei in Osttirol. A road 17km/11mi long leads up the valley to Hinterbichl, passing through gorges and several tunnels, opening up a view of the head of the valley, with the Dreiherrenspitze (3,499m/11,480ft).
From Hinterbichl (1,331m/4,367ft), west of Matrei in Osttirol, at the end of the road, there is a pleasant walk up the Dorfer Tal past a number of waterfalls, including the almost subterranean Gumpbachfall.
16km/10mi north of Matrei in Osttirol rises the Matreier Tauernhaus (1,512m/4,961ft), at the entrance to the tunnel, from which a bridlepath leads up (three hours) to the St Pöltner Hütte on the Felber Tauern pass (2,481m/8,140ft). The Felber Tauern, between the Venediger and Glockner groups, connects Salzburg with the eastern Tirol and the Felbertal with the Tauerntal (there has been a tunnel under it since 1964-65).
Matrei in Osttirol Defereggental
8.5km/5mi south of Matrei in Osttirol two deep side valleys, one on either side, join the Iseltal. To the west the wild and romantic Defereggental has a good road (22km/14mi) up to St Jakob (1,398m/4,587ft). From the villages of Hopfgarten (with the Defereggen "rock garden"), St Jakob and Erlsbach (1,555m/5,102ft; 28km/17mi) the last settlement in the valley, there are good climbs on the peaks of the Defereggen group.
Rotspitze and Weissspitze
In the Defereggen group, south of Matrei in Osttirol, the Rotspitze (2,956m/9,699ft) can be climbed in 5.5 hours, the Weissspitze (2,963m/9,722ft) in seven. At the head of the Defereggental a road (closed to caravans) leads from Erlsbach up to the Patscherhaus (1,667m/5,469ft; inn), from which it is three hours' climb to the Barmer Hütte (2,521m/8,271ft), a base for climbs in the Rieserferner group. The valley is being increasingly developed as a winter sports resort.
Northeast of the Iseltal the Kalser Tal goes to the village of Kals (1,325m/4,347ft), 13km/8mi from the Felber Tauern road. The slopes above the village on the Glocknerblick have been developed as a skiing area (lifts).
In summer it is a good idea to make the journey on the Goldried mountain railroad; this is the start of walks along the Panorama Road between Matrei in Osttirol and Kals, from which it is possible to see 63 mountains each over 3,000m/10,000ft high.
Kals-Matreier-Törl and Rotenkogel
The Panorama Road leads to the Kals-Matreier-Törl (2,207m/72,41ft; inn in summer; 1-1.25 hours), from which the Rotenkogel (2,762m/9,062ft) can be climbed in 2-2.5 hours. Alternatively it is possible to walk from Törl back to the upper station by way of the Bärensteig, or to go farther along the Panorama Road to the Glocknerblick upper station and then on to Kals (about two hours).
Between Kals and Lienz lies the Schober group, the highest peak in which is the Hochschober (3,240m/10,630ft), best climbed from St Johann im Walde (749m/2,457ft) by way of the Hochschoberhütte (2,322m/7,618ft); the climb to the hut takes 4.5 hours, to the peak another 3.5 hours.