Austrian Tyrol is an amazing place to spend a family vacation in the mountains! On my recent trip to the Social Travel Summit in Kitzbühel I had an opportunity to discover the beautiful Alpbachtal Seenland region in Tyrol. In this post I want to share one of my favourite day trips in Alpbachtal – a visit to a place called Brandenberg.
Brandenberg has all of the ingredients for a perfect family – friendly day trip in Tyrol: beautiful nature, family friendly hike along the Kaiser gorge (Kaiserklamm), Prügeltorte cake baking demonstration, and a fantastic playground for kids with a small petting zoo. And if this is not enough, nearby there are two more family-friendly hikes: Tiefenbach Gorge (Tiefenbachklamm) and Kundl Gorge (Kundler Klamm).
*** Looking for more family-friendly ideas of activities in Tirol? Check our suggestions for the best things to do in Tirol with kids in summer. ***
Brandenberg – a perfect family day trip in Tyrol
The road to Gasthof Kaiserhaus in Brandenberg – the place to be for this trip – takes you through one of the most scenic landscapes one could imagine. The green rolling hills make you think of Tuscany, and the snowcapped mountains in the background make it even more spectacular. Simply stunning! I couldn’t take a picture from the car, so you’ll just have to take my word for it and go see this place for yourselves.
Gasthof Kaiserhaus is a guesthouse/ restaurant in a beautiful setting in Brandenberg. There are several beautiful walks you can do in the area, so depending on how much time you have, you may turn this short itinerary into a full-day trip as well. We spent an afternoon in this area, and I hope to return and explore more one day.
We started our visit with a tasty local style lunch on the outdoor terrace at Kaiserhaus. I had fresh trout from the nearby river, Brandenberger Ache. The food was really good and the prices – very reasonable.
It was mid September when we visited Gasthof Kaiserhaus, but on a sunny day it felt almost summer-like. Several children were playing at the adjacent playground, while their parents were having a drink and enjoying the autumn sun on the terrace. It’s a place my kids would love! And – did I mention already – there are a couple of farm animals next to the playground as well. We saw a horse, a couple of pigs, and the cutest rabbits were digging underground tunnels to a big delight of two little girls who were trying to get the rabbits out of the tunnel and cuddle them.
But there is more to see and do here, so read on!
This area is known for the traditional cake – Prügeltorte, and every Thursday afternoon you can see the Prügeltorte – baking demonstration at Gasthof Kaiserhaus. Don’t worry if you come on another day, you can still buy and/or taste the cake.
This cake is said to be unique, but the exact same method is used to make a very similar cake in Lithuania where I was born. Our Austrian guides couldn’t believe it, but I actually helped my grandmother bake the exact same cake as a kid. Only here it’s called Prügeltorte and in Lithuania it is called Šakotis. However, most people call it Bankuchenas, which comes from German Baum Kuchen = Tree Cake, so I guess this explains it somehow.
But anyway, here at Gasthof Kaiserhaus you can watch how Prügeltorte is being baked in Tyrol. The whole process takes about an hour, but it’s really interesting to see, also for kids. You never know, if you ask the bakers they might even let the children help with the turning of the cake…
Prügeltorte looks very impressive and is therefore often given as a present on important occasions in Austria. Just like in Lithuania, actually, where Bankuchenas is a popular cake for a wedding reception or a big birthday celebration.
We didn’t stay to watch the whole baking demonstration, but in the meantime went to visit the room of Empress Sissi on the top floor of the guest house.
The Empress Sissi room
The name of the guest house, Kaiserhaus, actually means the house of the emperor. Emperor Franz Joseph I, the husband of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, aka Sissi, used to actually stay at this house during many of his hunting trips in Tirol. The Sissi room at Gasthof Kaiserhaus is surprisingly small and has the same type of furniture that was used by the Emperor. It’s not an attraction I would go out of my way for, but if you are visiting the area anyway, don’t miss it.
After this short visit we returned back to the garden to check on the guys who were baking the cake, it started to take shape already, but it was still far from done. So we headed to the next attraction – the nearby Kaiser Gorge.
Kaiser Gorge – Kaiserklamm
The walk to the Kaiser Gorge starts just a few steps away from the Gasthaus Kaiserhaus. It’s a rather short and easy walk, and you can choose for yourself how deep into the gorge you want to go. I understood that the whole walk would take about one hour. We only went up to the tunnels, and with many photo stops it took us about 40 minutes, return trip.
Kaiserklamm Gorge (Kaiserklamm) is one of the several gorges you can visit in the Brandenberg area. It’s easily accessible and can be done with kids as well. The flat walk into the Kaiser gorge has security rails along the whole walk and I would be comfortable walking here with my kids. Just beware that the terrain is a bit uneven and might be wet, so it’s advisable to wear hiking boots.
The pictures don’t do justice to how beautiful this gorge actually is. If you are looking for a short family friendly hike in the Alpbachtal region, I can highly recommend Kaiserklamm – Kaiser Gorge.
Tiefenbach Gorge and Kundl Gorge
In the same area there are two more gorges – Tiefenbach Gorge (Tiefenbachklamm) and Kundl Gorge (Kundler Klamm) that are easy to access, don’t require too much hiking, and perfectly doable with kids.
Back to the Gasthof Kaiserhaus and Prügeltorte tasting
After the short but incredibly beautiful walk to the Kaiser Gorge we felt like we definitely deserved a small reward. So we headed back to the sunny terrace of Gasthof Kaiserhaus for some of that freshly baked Prügeltorte. The cake-baking demonstration was over by the time we returned, so I don’t have a picture of that particular cake. But here is a picture of the Prügeltorte I photographed at the cattle drive traditional festival and the farmers’ market in Alpbachtal.
I have to say is that it tastes divine. I was surprised to see that the Austrians serve Prügeltorte with whipped cream and cranberry sauce. In Lithuania we would just cut a piece off and eat it on its own. I am really not sure now which version I like better, but I am definitely going to look for the Tyrolean Prügeltorte on the menu next time I return to Austria.
So this was our short trip to Brandenberg, a beautiful area that has all of the ingredients for a relaxed yet very varied and family-friendly day trip in Tirol. If you find yourself looking for an authentic Tyrollean experience, with or without kids, check this place out. You won’t be disappointed.
If you are looking for more ideas of what to do in this part of Tyrol, I can highly recommend a guided e-bike tour in Alpbach. Unforgettable experience!
- All of the activities described here are free of charge. The only cost is the food at the restaurant. Make sure to at least try the cake!
- Gasthof Kaiserhaus is open from beginning of May to the end of October. In July and in August it’s open daily, during the other periods – every day except Tuesday. You can check their (German) website for more info.
- The Prügeltorte – baking demonstration takes place every Thursday at 2.30 PM.
- The easiest way to get to Brandenberg is by car. The drive is very scenic and worth a trip on its own. Traveling to Austria and need a rental car? Check here for the best prices for car rental.
- It’s also possible to get there by bus. It takes about 45-50 minutes from Alpbach. The regional busses are actually free for everyone staying in Alpbachtal Seeland region. You get a card when you register at your hotel or other official accommodation in the region. You can find more information about the card and other things to do in the region on the website of Alpbachtal – Seenland tourism board.
- Wear hiking boots for the hikes in the gorges.
- Tiefenbach Gorge and Kaiser Gorge hikes are well secured, but if you are hiking with young kids, you may want to use children’s safety harness. They can be hired at the Gasthaus Kaiserhaus, Jausenstation Tiefenbachklamm or at Sport Ossi’s.
- There are plenty accommodations in all price rages in Alpbachtal region. You can find the best deals here.
- Kaiser Gorge is located just 1 hr drive from Innsbruck, Sankt Johann, or Kitzbühel, and 1h40 from Munich. Here you can find the map of the area.
Disclaimer: I visited Tirol in partnership with Tirol Tourist Board and Alpbachtal Seenland region. As always, all opinions are my own.
If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image for later reference.