The Sellraintal Region – in the heart of the Alps, yet close to village
Sellraintal Valley – Multifaceted mountaineering villages
Coming through the narrow, canyon-like entry into Sellraintal Valley, it is hard to imagine that this ravine starts to open up from the village of Sellrain to offer sweeping views of the imposing mountain scenery of the Stubai Alps. But it is not just the dominating alpine landscapes that attract visitors – the region is known for its authentic and down-to-earth villages such as Sellrain, Gries i. Sellrain, home of the Juifenau hamlet, and St. Sigmund with its hamlets Praxmar, Lüsens and Haggen. You are unlikely to find factory-like hostel and hotel complexes here; similarly, visitors will notice a lack of ski slopes and funicular railway lines carving up the mountain landscape. The small villages and hamlets with their traditional guest houses successfully employ “soft tourism”, with alpine agriculture continuing to play a key role, transforming the summer landscape by dotting it piles of hay hanging from wooden frames – a sight which is hard to find elsewhere these days. Due to their altitude, Sellraintal Valley and the connected tributary valleys still experience real winters which transform the surroundings into a peaceful, snowy, wintery landscape far from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Sellraintal and its tributaries have remained traditional and true to their roots, avoiding the mass tourism of other valleys in the Tyrol region thanks to its inhabitants' deep connection with their home valley. The people of Sellraintal recognised the value of their natural surroundings and turned down planned “development” projects. The mountain landscapes have been part of the 352 km² Stubai Alpine protected area and the 77.7 km² Kalkkögel protected area since 1983.
Sellraintal tends to overshadow the ridge that rungs along its northern side, however the beauty of its landscape structure should not be underestimated.
Fotschertal, Lisensertal, Gleirschtal and Kraspestal are four deep valleys flanked by towering mountain faces which run south, deep into the heart of the Stubai Alps. The ends of these valleys form an unforgettable contrast with the wild mountainous surroundings with their wide cirques, turquoise glacial lakes and hard-packed snow surrounding mountain peaks that tower into the sky.
However you must not forget the northern side of Sellraintal Valley; even if the peaks do not quite reach the 3,000 metre mark, they form a magnificent contrast to the glacial mountains of the Stubai Alps. In these peaceful, quiet mountains, the summit cross atop the mountains often offer absolute solitude coupled with an unbelievable view across the surrounding mountain landscapes.
The Stubai Alps which surround Sellraintal are covered in countless marked paths and climbing trails. Visitors can choose between a wide range of day hikes, advanced mountain tours and even adventure round tours from lodge to lodge or high altitude hikes. This valley offers much too much to only visit it for a few hours or a single day. Visitors should take their time to discover the combination of countless natural wonders and wild mountain landscapes and spend some days in one of the cosy, welcoming guest houses located in the valleys or one of the alpine lodges run by the Alpine association “Alpenverein”.
Throughout the winter months, Sellraintal offers ski tourists a seemingly endless choice of ski tours. With countless alpine and high altitude alpine skiing tours from between 600 metres and up to altitudes exceeding 3,000 metres, overnight stays at Alpine association lodges and ski tours into the neighbouring Oetztal Valley, the region offers something for everybody.
The mountaineering villages with their hamlets in Sellraintal Valley are far away from the main traffic arteries through the Tyrol and are dotted up to altitudes of almost 1,700 metres. These valleys are thus free of polluted air, inversion weather and noise pollution. This makes the region perfect for people with allergies or respiratory problems, providing them with a place to recover and recuperate. Noise is one of the scourges of modern-day humanity. It makes people sick. In addition to the fresh air, the mountaineering villages of the Sellraintal region also importantly offer peace and quiet. Visitors have the ability to get a restful night's sleep with the window open and the refreshing experience of waking to the twittering of birds.
Text: Josef Essl