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News: soft Brexit & Austrian property price growth (4.6%)  

Europe woke up to a surprise this morning.

The UK Conservative Party failed to gain a bigger majority in the UK General Election meaning its position and authority is automatically weakened in its plans to negotiate a hard Brexit (where the UK gives up full access to the single market and takes control of its borders).

This election was basically a public referendum on how the UK conducts its negotiations with the EU and now a softer Brexit deal is more likely.

A soft Brexit is preferred by many ‘Remainers’ in the UK (remember that the referendum to leave the EU resulted in a very narrow margin of 52% leave to 48% remain).

It increases the likelihood that the UK will continue to access the single market without tariffs and will remove many doubts over London’s financial hub status.

The status of EU nationals moving across boarders will probably remain unchanged, although this has never been a factor preventing buyers outside the EU buying and owning property in Austria.

We have many buyers from countries outside the EU e.g. Australia, South Africa, Norway and the US.

Economically, the UK and Europe are looking at a period of greater economic stability compared to the disruption of a hard Brexit.  The Pound will benefit and so will those buying Austrian property in Sterling.

Meanwhile, Austrian property’s reputation as a safe-haven investment has further been enhanced as it continues to record growth of 4.6% in Q1 2017.  It outperformed France (2.9%) and Switzerland (2.4%), according to the Knight Frank Global House Price Index.

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Kristall Group launches All Suite Resorts to operate owner apartments 

Buyers of apartments from Kristall Spaces now have the option to engage the services of our sister company – All Suite Resorts  http://all-suite.com/ * who can manage the rental, marketing and servicing of your apartment.

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This means you will have a fully integrated and seamless service from the moment you make the decision to purchase one of our apartments.

In early 2017, the management of Kristall Spaces (the real estate sales arm) and Kristall Group (on-the-ground holding company for construction and operations) made the decision to set up the new operator business, All Suite Resorts, to ensure an even higher standard of management and rental operation for our apartments.

We are already in the privileged position of advising apartment buyers as the developer and the sales agent and this has helped our teams to understand the intricacies of the customer journey more clearly.

Buyers prefer to deal direct with the developer and the in-house sales and marketing team –  as both internal teams work together to provide vital customer insight and feedback, enabling them to deliver a more flexible and individually tailored buying experience.

Through the team of multilingual professional advisors who handhold our EU and non-EU buyers through the research, buying and ownership process, we know that extending our proposition into management and rental provides even greater comfort and peace of mind to buyers and benefits all parties.

Investors feel more assured knowing that we (developer, agent and professional advisors) are involved with the resort and owners for 10 years after the handover of the property.

All Suite Resorts – our reputation is your peace of mind  

The Kristall Group has expanded its development arm very quickly over the last three years. Nobody builds and sells more ski apartments in Austria than us.

We are the industry leader with 8 ski resort apartment projects in planning or construction and 1,500 beds coming online in the next two years.

To meet the rise in customer demand for professionally managed rental apartments (currently growing at 9.4% per annum source STATISK AT), we aim to expand this to 5,000 beds in the next 5 to 7 years.

The management of All Suite Resorts is headed by an experienced and trained hotel specialist and a member of the largest hotelier family in the Ötztal.

In addition, All Suite Resorts has recruited a director from Michaela & Partner, http://www.michaeler-partner.com, the leading advisor to the hospitality industry in Austria and engaged one of Austria’s leading Marketing and Public Relations companies, P8 in Innsbruck, to create our new website, develop brand recognition and manage our PR in the German-speaking world. 

All Suite Resorts has also retained a Luxury Travel and Property PR & Marketing Agency in London to oversee non German-speaking promotional activity.

We are committed to building the most successful operator of modern luxury apartments in the Austrian Alps, providing an unrivalled level of service to rental customers whilst delivering peace of mind for our partner-owners.

*This is an interim website http://all-suite.com/ until  a fully integrated web / hotel booking system goes lives (currently in development).

36 apartments for sale in Fieberbrunn – Kristall Spaces collaborates with Fieberbrunn council

The market town of Fieberbrunn is fairy tale pretty – with a stunningly beautiful Church in the centre. Legend has it that hundreds of years ago a Tyrolean princess drank from its fountain and was cured of her fever.

This prompted the local residents to change its name from Pramau to Fieberbrunn which means ‘fever fountain’.

While we can’t vouch for the palliative properties of the fountain, the fresh mountain air will certainly cure many maladies.

The town, with its 4,000 inhabitants, is situated on the mountain range between Kitzbühel and Saalbach, and dates back to pre-Roman times.

But these days it combines old world prettiness with a cutting edge high speed gondola that takes you to the pistes of Saalbach-Hinterglemm, meaning you have access to 347km of pistes in total to ski down – making it one of the world’s biggest ski areas.

And now Kristall Spaces is building 36 luxury apartments there too, in the centre of the town, close to the Church.

They will be freehold apartments, with a wellness centre and a bar/restaurant onsite and will be ready by Autumn 2018.

So why are we so excited about these new Fieberbrunn apartments ?

Apart from anything, we are building the apartments in close collaboration with the council, so we are assured a smooth process as we move from planning into construction and ultimately how the apartments are managed for rental by our newly formed operator, All Suite Resorts all-suite.com

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In its own right, Fieberbrunn offers a huge range of skiing for all abilities and enjoys an excellent reputation for quality snow conditions. There’s 105 km of easy skiing, 112 km of intermediate, 21km of difficult and 45km of ski routes.

And its off piste skiing is world renowned – it’s an established venue for one of the events on the Freeride World Tour, the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world.

With its own micro-climate and predominantly north-facing slopes, top to bottom skiing lasts well into April and about 50% more snow falls there than in neighbouring Kitzbühel, 10 km away.

And the already extensive and varied ski area is now a gateway to an extra 270km of pistes with its link to the Saalbach-Hinterglemm Leogang ski circus – meaning that skiers are now treated to one of the most modern, lift-linked extensive ski areas in the world.

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And after you’ve enjoyed your skiing, there’s an excellent après ski scene too, with all manner of bars and restaurants serving competitively priced food and drinks. Should you want to try out some other activities there’s snow biking, a floodlit toboggan run, snow shoe walking and sleigh rides.

But Austria is an all-round holiday destination, interestingly 51% of tourists actually come in the summer.

Fieberbrunn (like Oetz) has a particularly strong and well developed summer tourism season with 45% of all annual visits taking place in the summer months. Impressive for one of the best-known free skiing destinations in Austria.

The lift company and tourist board is currently getting ready for the official opening of the summer season when the lifts start running on 25 May until 26 October 2017.

It’s not surprising that Fieberbrunn has such a strong summer tourist season as it offers excellent hiking and mountaineering – with 400 km of hiking trails and mountain biking and swimming in the beautiful nearby 4.3m deep Lake Lauchsee.

And for families with younger children, there’s Timoks Coaster, woodland rope gardens, wildlife parks and various open air swimming pools and playgrounds.

Freizeitpark Familienland Pillerseetal is a must for amusement park lovers. No queues, great rides and a fraction of the price you would expect in similar parks outside Austria.

Austria is ploughing money into its ski resorts – they’ve spent 4.5billion Euros in the last 15 years, so they are becoming increasingly popular with visitors, in the first six months of 2016 there was a 10% increase in tourist visits to the Tirol, outpacing all international alpine holiday resorts – meaning there is an ever increasing need for extra beds to rent.

And the fastest growing category of accommodation booked by tourists to Austria in 2016 was commercial apartment bookings – like those built by Kristall Spaces – which grew by 9.4% year on year.

So an investment in one of our Fieberbrunn apartments means that renting it out and yielding a good return while you’re not there is an excellent proposition. Added to that is the fact that we have seen a 34% increase in the value of our properties since 2010 (source: Immodex).

As far as buyer interest goes right now, we are mainly receiving enquiries from the EU for these Fieberbrunn apartments.

UK buyers have a spring in their step right now with the General Election announcement. As investors buy Sterling, its value is rising giving overseas property investors more buying power when converted to Euros. Quite a few of our buyers use a Foreign exchange partner to buy Euros at a better rate now so they can make the stage payments at a locked in rate.

Uncertainty in the French alpine market, means buyers are looking for more stable alternatives and Austria has many advantages from upward price movement to more reasonable prices for everyday items on the mountain.

As for German and Dutch-speaking buyers, there is sustained confidence thanks to growing economies and stable political landscape at home.

All in all, our new luxury apartments in Fieberbrunn are a hot prospect and we look forward to hearing from you to register your interest.

Property prices in Tirol: 34% higher than 6 years ago

ImmoDEX is the annual property prices report compiled by Immobilienscout which analyses average property prices across Austria and its Bundesländer.

This year’s edition (published 1 March 2017) makes encouraging reading for property investors throughout Austria and especially in Tirol which has posted the highest regional gains in values since 2010.

tirol gains
At Kristall Spaces, we have been helping owners of our ski properties to resell apartments with a typical 4 to 5% price increase applied per annum on top of the original purchase price of the newly built apartments.

There is plenty of demand for any high-quality product in the right location offering altitude skiing or heavy annual snowfall, easy access and increasingly summer tourism business. It is worth noting that 51% of visitors to Austria now come in Summer (source: Tourism-review.com).

We are expecting the property price trend in Tirol to continue upwards thanks to supply being carefully controlled by local councils and development managed to protect local communities and their livelihoods.

Average prices in Austria are much lower than France and Switzerland (by up to 28% according to Savills) but thanks to ongoing infrastructure investment and a growing international skier base, there is room for upward price movement here.

Each year, more EU and non-EU buyers are coming into the Austrian property market thanks to increasing visitor numbers and their long-term dream of a foreign property investment which delivers capital growth, an annual profit from renting and free holidays in a healthy and safe environment, all-year round.

With a keen eye on the future, the Austrians lead the way when it comes to attracting new visitors to the mountains each year, especially younger consumer groups (Generation Y).   For a moment, consider Area 47 in the Ötztal: the de facto summer tourism innovation comprising over 20,000m² of extreme outdoor and water park activities, including wakeboarding at 812m above sea level.

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It is not surprising that the Tirol region alone delivered a >10% increase in tourist visits in the first 6 months of 2016 outpacing all international alpine holiday markets.

One final piece of research published on 27 February 2017 by Statistik Austria: the fastest growing category of accommodation booked by tourists to Austria in 2016 was commercial apartment bookings (i.e. tourism residences as built by Kristall Spaces) which grew by 9.4% year-on-year.

17 January: update on Kristall Spaces projects

The Austrian Alps are nicely covered with snow and as much 229cm in Sölden.  We at Kristall Spaces are busy handling dozens of enquiries each day and managing site visits for prospective EU and non EU based buyers.

We have 4 key projects with pricing & availability

St Anton apartment for sale – construction is underway and one of the buildings containing half the apartments has all the floors in place and the roof on.  It is possible to enter the building with one of our representatives and get a feel for the floor spaces and different views.  Of the 28 upper luxury apartments in this project, 14 are still available.  Voted Best Apartment in Austria & Europe.

Kühtai 2020 Residences – construction was completed last month. There are 5 apartments (out of 17) left but we expect them to sell in the next few months.  There are quite a few buyers who have reserved or are about to reserve in this development, the highest in Austria.  Come and look round one these fully furnished luxury apartments which are ready to occupy now.

Sölden – we will start construction after this ski season. 3 of the 8 apartments have been sold or reserved and there is good interest for the last 5.  It is easy to set up appointments in the Gasthof Zwieselstein where you can meet the developer and the Gstrein family who will manage the rental business of your apartment.

Mountain Lake Resort Ötztal – we have just finalised floor plans and pricing for this exciting dual season location. 100 metres from the ski lift and in a prime location to make the most of the Ötztal’s strong summer season facilities.  State of the art spa and choice of swimming pools for summer. Restaurant and bar on-site.  We already have 7 reservations!

Coming soon – new projects

We will soon release floor plans for Galtür (Ischgl) and Fieberbrunn, so keep your powder dry if you want your own apartment in one of these locations!

Galtür (Ischgl) – floor plans for Mountain Spa Resort Paznaun coming in February 2017.  We will update all our prospects with a newsletter.

Fieberbrunn – floor plans coming in February 2017 also.  Again, all our previous enquiring customers will receive a newsletter.

Karwendel – 28 leisure residences with no rental obligation although we provide a rental service if owners would like to rent their apartments.  Swimming lake & on-site wellness.  On-site brasserie restaurant & bar. 1 hour from Munich & 40 minutes from Mittenwald.

Register your interest 

Contact us today if you are interested in any of these locations and we will keep you updated with progress.

Kristall Spaces wins Best Apartment in Europe

Kristall Spaces is delighted to receive the regional award for ‘Best Apartment in Europe’ for our Mountain Spa Residences, St Anton project.

Last night in London (12 December 2016) at the International Property Awards, it was confirmed we had achieved the highest score against 36 entrants from 15 countries for the Best Apartment category.

The international judging panel comprises industry experts from the world of real estate, interior design and architecture and is chaired by Lord Caithness.

On receiving the latest award, Branson Atterbury Marketing Director of Kristall Spaces commented: “Having already won ‘Best Apartment Austria’, we were obviously delighted to find out we had the top score from the judges in the whole of Europe. It’s a real testament to the expertise of our on-the-ground operations and management team.  It makes an important statement about our credentials.”

The Mountain Spa Residences St Anton is an upper luxury aparthotel comprising 28 fully-furnished ski-out apartments with an onsite bar, brasserie and a 600m² spa with two swimming pools.  Currently in construction, the completion date for the Mountain Spa Residences, St Anton is Autumn 2017.

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The International Property Awards are open to residential and commercial property professionals from around the globe.  They celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry.  An International Property Award is a world-renowned mark of excellence.

Austria shines in Savills report on Alpine properties

There are some useful data in this year’s Savills report on Alpine properties – here are the out-takes for buyers considering property in Austria.

Austrian ski property prices are 28% below other alpine countries but price growth is higher at 8%.  See the chart below.

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With ongoing infrastructure investment and growing international skier participation there is room for upward price movement in Austria.  Other sources (e.g. Tiroler Tagezeitung) recently highlighted a record first half in 2016 of apartment sales in Tirol with an average capital growth of 6.2% for the region.

Reassuring feedback then from separate sources on increasing asset values which will be sustained by careful town planning restrictions on over-development and therefore supply.

Austria is clearly more successful than France and Switzerland in developing its non-skiing attractions and summer tourism business which drives up rental yields, infrastructure investment and future resale values for Austrian property owners.

The report points to a 1.6% year-on-year decline in total ski visits to the top 8 global markets is reported (USA, France, Austria, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Canada and Germany).

Austrian property investors need to be careful and review local tourism figures in isolation.

The Tirol region has delivered a >10% increase in visits in the first 6 months of 2016 clearly bucking the trend of competitor ski markets.

Innsbruck airport is increasing its inbound capacity for German passengers by 180% this year and introducing new routes from British Airways.  The Tirol Tourism board and the ski resorts are again forecasting a year-on-year growth in visitor numbers.

One successful strategy paying off for the Austrians is their focus on the millennial generation (age 20 to 35).  The successful Alpine resorts of the future will be the ones which innovate and draw new visitors with different activities throughout the year.

Examples include Kühtai which boasts Austria’s biggest half pipe and nearby Area 47, one of Europe’s largest extreme sport adventure parks which even has a wakeboard park at 812m above sea level and Mediterranean water temperatures to boot:

Ischgl is one of the biggest ski areas with the longest season continually ploughs lift profits back into its dizzying array of slick infrastructure and glitzy / urban amenities, including 3 Michelin star restaurants.  In Ischgl you can even ‘fly home’ down the valley with or without skis at 85kmh on a dual zip wire – 2km long and 50m high (total investment €2m):

Incredibly, family-friendly Oetz has just reported a 30% increase in lift sales this summer thanks to new investment in family amenities in the Hochoetz ski area.   Astonishingly, Oetz draws 45% of its annual visitors outside the winter season.  Oetz has 80km of its own skiing and tourists can access Sölden in 20 minutes with its 2 glaciers but it has all-year round tourism status – not just in the Summer but through to early Autumn when the Acherkogelbahn makes a brief pause before the Winter season starts again on 16 December.

Hochoetz’s new adventure playground, Widiversum – parents can even leave children in supervised groups and head higher into the mountains for the day:

Currency impact:

In the wake of the UK’s EU referendum and the weakening of sterling, Swiss Alpine property has become 8.6% more costly to GBP buyers (May to Sep 2016), while French or Austrian Alpine homes have become 7.6% more expensive.  Despite the Pound’s fall, there are still some determined UK buyers who want to buy their Austrian property now and get into Austrian Land Registry before Brexit is finalised.

For US Dollar, Euro and Swiss Franc buyers, the picture is unchanged and the customer base is very international including non EU buyers as well as increasing numbers of Germans, Dutch, Belgian and Scandinavians.

Please read our FAQ about buying and owning an Austrian property or Contact us today with any questions.

News: Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017

As a proud sponsor of the Special Olympics Austria 2017, we are counting down the days to the Games.

Between 14 and 25 March 2017, the Austrians once again will open their hearts and minds to 3,000 athletes with intellectual disability from 110 nations as they proudly compete in 9 sports in 3 host locations, Graz, Schladming and Ramsau: Figure skating, Speed skating, Floor Hockey/Floorball, Snow shoeing, Alpine skiing, Nordic Skiing, Snowboarding and Stick shooting.

Video highlights from Pre-Games 2016 below:

Patrons and ambassadors of the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 include great Austrian names such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marcel Hirscher and Franz Klammer, who first became involved in the Special Olympics in 1993, the last time they came to Schladming.

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A dignified Arnold Schwarzenegger signs his book for a fan with Down’s Syndrome:

Austria was the first country after the US to host a Special Olympics World Games and the organisers are delighted to be returning to a country that embraces these winter athletes and which has demonstrated “its commitment to people with intellectual disabilities for decades”.

Special Olympics Flame of Hope

Prior to Opening Ceremony on 2 March 2017, the Flame of Hope for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 will be lit during a formal torch lighting ceremony in Athens and then travel to Austria.

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The final route will be confirmed in the next few months but the Flame will visit Vorarlberg on 9 March and Tirol on 10 March 2017.

Lara and Luis – inspired by the Games slogan, Heartbeat for the World

Lara and Luis, two of Austria’s most celebrated animals – a deer and a badger, will become the official mascot couple of the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 after a design competition comprising a total of 51 designs and a jury of 9 people including two Special Olympics athletes.

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Lara and Luis will be travelling to as many countries as possible to bring the Heartbeat for the World message all over the world and you can follow their journey.  Here they are in a sandy Rio de Janeiro …

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If you happen to see Lara or Luis then please spread the message to your friends and send a photo to E-Mail: worldtour@austria2017.org

24 June 2016: Why UK citizens will continue to buy property in Austria

After today’s unexpected referendum result to leave the EU, UK buyers are asking about the repercussions when buying property in Austria.  Below we have listed a few pointers which may help when deciding to invest in Austrian property.

2016 is still a good time to invest in Austria:  this year Austria will receive another record number of summer and winter tourists from inside and outside the EU which will drive local investment in tourism infrastructure and support growth in rental income by our fully-managed rental programme.  On the back of these positive numbers we predict the solid capital growth within the Austrian tourism property market to continue: 16.5% in the last 4 years versus a fall of 5.7% in France (source: Knight Frank, June 2016).

Austrian ski property prices outperform Switzerland & France

No real change for UK buyers in the short term: if Article 50 is triggered by the UK government, we predict no change for the following two years as we negotiate our exit and trading relationship with the EU.  Purchases before conclusion of the exit will not be affected retrospectively – once you are in Land Registry your ownership cannot be reversed.  UK buyers should always consider the Sterling / Euro exchange rate to ensure they negotiate a good deal when converting their currency but there are many outside factors which affect the exchange rate and we predict Sterling will strengthen once the uncertainty has been removed.

Non-EU citizens are already buying our Austrian properties: should a UK buyer’s status in Austria change once we have left the EU, non-EU citizens may buy Austrian properties through limited companies with a registered office inside the EU and there is no requirement for the shareholder to be a European citizen.  Furthermore, with 1.2m UK citizens living in EU member states and 2.9m EU citizens living inside the UK, we predict both the EU and UK governments will agree a fair deal for both sides without delay.

Tax:  the UK has an extensive network of international double tax treaties. The double tax treaty with Austria will remain unaffected.  To provide balanced and accurate advice to our clients, Kristall Spaces has negotiated a very reasonable tax package with an Austrian accountancy firm specialising in tourism rental properties.  UK buyers may engage the tax advisors at the time of purchase to ensure a seamless registration with the Austrian tax authorities and advise on local tax issues during the purchase and process VAT rebates and tax returns.

Mortgages: Austria has always welcomed British buyers who invest in their tourist destinations.   All Kristall Spaces apartments come with a rental obligation and the tax authorities waive the 20% VAT on the purchase price in return for your agreement to rent the property and support the growing numbers of visiting tourists to the resort (40million people per annum).  Your property is classified as a small business and the rental income may be used to service a mortgage with a local bank. Financing a part of your purchase in Euros and servicing the mortgage with Euro rental income acts as a ‘hedge’ against Sterling / Euro exchange rate fluctuations.

Property for sale in Austria - visitor numbers

About Kristall Spaces ski properties: we carefully choose our developments in high demand locations so they sell out fast (95% before construction is complete).  We have an international mix of owners from inside and outside of the EU who choose our ski apartments (average Price per sqm € 5,500 – except St Anton € 11,500) based on their affordability compared to Swiss and French resorts, access to high altitude slopes / glaciers and increasingly their dual season status (Oetz receives nearly as many visitors in summer as winter).

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Stanford University: hiking improves your mental state

Even without the snow, the Austrian Alps draw visitors from all over the world to hike through its stunning, majestic scenery.  The dual season of Oetz, for example, receives nearly as many tourists in summer as winter with the Acherkogelbahn starting up on 4 June and running through 9 October to whisk walkers up to 2,020m in just 8 minutes as a starting base to a choice of high alpine walks.

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We all know hiking is great exercise which provides plenty of physical benefits, but recent studies have suggested it can have positive mental effects, ranging from improving mental health to enhancing creative thinking.

Hiking to Improve Mental Health

A recent experiment at Stanford University has provided evidence that walking through natural surroundings produces a measurable reduction of “morbid rumination” — brooding to you and me. Gregory Bratman of School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences divided his volunteers into two groups, one of which was sent on a for 90-minute walk through countryside, the other for the same distance through an urban area.

While it’s not surprising that the first group felt more relaxed, questionnaires before and after the walk also showed that they saw a reduction in their morbid rumination, a state which, in more extreme forms, can lead to mental illness.  The second group showed no reduction, even though they’d walked the same distance.

Bratman went further, though, and examined changes in a part of the brain called the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which is known to control brooding. The volunteers who’d enjoyed the countryside walk had lower activity here after they’d finished, supporting the results of the questionnaire.

Other Mental Benefits of Hiking

Another study, this time by the University of British Columbia, demonstrated that aerobic exercise, such as hiking, increased the capacity of the hippocampus (the part of the brain that is involved in memory forming, organising, and storing). This improves memory, both in the short term and by slowing down the loss of our memory power as we age.

At the other end of the life-span, a study by Frances E. Kup and Andrea Faber Taylor has shown that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) benefit from exposure to “green outdoor activities”. Their ability to concentrate improves, suggesting that this might also help anyone with attention problems.

A study by Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer suggested that hiking through a natural environment also improves mental creativity. Volunteers who spent several days hiking in the countryside with no technology to distract them scored higher in creative exercises on their return than before they started.

All-Round Benefits

There’s still plenty more work to be done on these studies, such as determining the relative importance of the walking itself and the surroundings, as well as whether it enhances the effects or detracts to have company.

It seems clear, though, that hiking through beautiful scenery is good for us both physically and mentally. And you don’t find hiking more exhilarating nor scenery more sensational than Tirol.

Check out the following websites for hiking inspiration in Oetz and Galtür.

oetz summer walk

There’s something about the combination of the mind-blowing landscape and the good humour and generosity of the Tiroleans that’s irresistible to walkers, from beginners to tough mountain-hurdlers.