The capital of the Austrian state of East Tyrol is known to many skiers. Unfortunately, they often just pass through the city on their way to ski resorts in the Dolomites, and quite a few of them make a stop at the only McDonalds along the road in this part of the Alps.
Charming Lienz definitely deserves much more, for several reasons.
Skiing is very good. The two ski resorts, Hochstein and Zettersfeld, are connected by bus. The first one is an excellent, relatively steep and diverse, 7 km long slope that hosts World Cup races.
Zettersfeld is a lovely family ski resort with wide slopes and modern chairlifts. 40 km of ski runs – blue and red, is quite sufficient for pleasant and leisurely skiing. There are several good restaurants with terraces providing a spectacular view of Lienz, of the Drava valley and of the Dolomites. The Lienzer Bergbahnen company can be credited with the top notch ski runs which are good until the very end of the season, despite being located on the southern, sunny side. Alpine coaster is hot atraction all year long.
The ski pass is also valid for the nearby ski resorts of St. Jakob, Matrei, Sillian, and the Moelltal glacier, which makes Lienz an excellent starting point for a real ski safari in East Tyrol.
The town is lovely, clean and neat like a pharmacy, and the place where the river Isel flows into the Drava. The urban environment provides an experience different from the one offered by small Alpine villages, which many find to be more fun. Lienz is at a sort of crossroads, imbued by the influence of both Italy and Tyrol. It is also known for its small, but cute Christmas market.
The summer offer in and around Lienz is very abundant
That part of the season is more important for the town and the region than the winter. The town is located at an altitude of 670 m, which makes the climate pleasant during the hot summer months. The main square and the surrounding streets are a pedestrian zone decorated by flowers, making them look like fairy-talish.
In terms of culture, there is the Bruck castle/museum, and the permanent exhibition of the expressionist Albin Egger-Lienz. Another castle, Tammemburg, is a popular concert venue. Close to the town is a large national park, the High Tauern. The intact nature of the high Alps enchants numerous mountaineers and alpinists.
Canyoning, rafting, inline skating, horseback riding, rock climbing and many other activities guarantee a good time outside the skiing season.