Sometimes it feels as though our modern lives are so busy that there just isn’t enough time for all the family to get together. Whether it’s trying to fit in with the busy schedules of your children – or worse, the hectic social calendar of your grandchildren! – finding time to really connect with each other can be a challenge.
That’s why a cross-generational holiday can be such a special experience, a space in which you all have time to relax, have some fun, and maybe even try a few new things together as a family. Of course, if your idea of a good time is wandering leisurely around museums, while your daughter-in-law just wants to relax on a beach, and the kids want a range of activities, working out where to take your extended family on holiday can be a bit of a headache.
But believe me, it’s worth the effort. There are places out there that make the perfect destination for a family reunion, places like the idyllic Achensee region in Austria.
Just a short drive from Innsbruck, Achensee boasts a sparkling, clear water lake set against the beautiful backdrop of the Alps of the Tyrol. With lakeside beaches, watersports, hiking, golf and, if that all gets too much, luxurious world-class spas to relax in, Achensee can actually delivers on the much-made promise ‘something for everyone’, no matter what their age.
Fun at the Lake
Whether you want to sunbathe beside it, paddle in it, take a boat-ride across it, or try some more adventurous watersports on it, Lake Achensee will keep everyone entertained.
Known locally as the ‘Sea of Tyrol’ thanks to its enormous size – it is 6.8km² and 133m deep in places – the lake is set deep in mountainous Alpine landscape with the Karwendel Mountains on one side and the Brandenberg Alps on the other.
Fed by the melting snow of the Alps, the lake actually reaches a comfortable 20ºC-22ºC in the summer months, providing an inviting place to cool off from the warm summer temperatures.
With public beaches running around its shores there is always plenty of space to lie out your towel and soak up the sun. Some of the best swimming can be found close to the small lakeside villages of Achenkirch, Pertisau and Maurach, while those with young grandchildren will appreciate the shallow waters found at the pretty village of Buchau.
In the summer the beaches close to the villages offer a range of activities from beach volleyball to children’s playgrounds.
Enjoying the great outdoors has been made very easy and family friendly in Achensee with a variety of walking trails which include comfortable rest stops for adults and playgrounds and activities for children.
The Wusel Lake Trail
Perfect for each generation from small grandchildren up to their grandparents, the Wusel Lake trail along the eastern shore of Lake Achensee is a gentle meander through the stunning landscape with plenty of activities and rest stops along the way. The local tourist office here have peppered the journey with swimming and play areas for little ones tired of admiring the scenery, and giant comfy outdoor couches and ‘wellness loungers’ for those who are just – well – tired.
As well as the wonderful Wusel Lake trail, there are a variety of short hikes which reward younger hikers with fun-filled playgrounds when they reach the huts at the end.
At Gramaialm Mountain Hut parents and grandparents can enjoy a coffee and a well-earned rest while little ones play in the adventure playground, before the ‘grown-ups’ get back on their feet again to take the kids to the quaint hillside petting zoo.
In Nature Park Karwendel, children will find the Gernalm Mountain Hut where they can enjoy the adventure playground, complete with trampolines and slacklines, while at Gaisalm Mountain Hut there is a beautiful playground set in a mountain meadow.
Fun For Reluctant Teens…
Playgrounds are all very well for the little ones, but I’m sure what you really want to know is whether there’s enough to do to drag your teenage grandchildren away from their digital devices. Well, from surfing, windsurfing, kayaking and paddleboarding to Segway riding and canyoning, there are a variety of adrenaline-pumping teen activities on offer here.
While we know they love us, if we’re honest we also know that teens like nothing better than hanging out with other teens. Thankfully the tourist office in Achensee seems to understand this too and run a daily ‘Teenagers’ Programme’ of fun activities. Your teens can get together with their peers and try out a range of things from paddleboarding to canyoning, all under the supervision of fully-trained instructors.
Insider tip: Places on the Teenagers’ Programme are limited so get ahead of the crowd and book in advance online.
…And For You
Okay, so that’s the children and grandchildren sorted, now what about you? Once you’ve done your fair share of playground duty, it’s time for you to relax and indulge yourself. From spas (offering treatments using the world-famous Tyrolean Shale Oil) to golf courses set in stunning mountain landscapes, there are plenty of more sedate activities to enjoy in Achensee. And, who knows, you might find that the rest of the family rather likes the idea of taking it easy for a change too.
How to Get to Achensee
Whether you fly to Innsbruck Airport, with its regular budget flights from the UK with a range of airlines including easyJet and Monarch, or the larger international airport of Munich, getting to Achensee couldn’t be easier. The flight from London takes around three hours and the road transfer from Innsbruck to the lake another 50 minutes.
Moving three generations of you can be tricky, so cut out the stress by booking a group transfer with Shuttle Direct online before you set off. Let Shuttle Direct know who will be travelling and a driver will be waiting for you at the airport with a mini-bus big enough to fit you all in and kitted out with all the appropriate child seats, ready to take you on to your holiday accommodation.
Where to Stay:
Wachof – Little ones will love the farm animals, your kids will love the organic produce, the teens will love the free WiFi and you can relax and enjoy watching them all at a barbecue using the Wachof’s free barbecuing equipment at this cosy farmstead.
Chalet Bärkopf – Everyone can relax in their own space at the Chalet Bärkopf without worrying about what other guests or staff will think of your fun, raucous family. There’s plenty of space inside and out with a garden featuring a barbecue area and free WiFi throughout.
Holiday Home Schweiger – A great chalet with plenty of communal space to hang out with all the family in, the Holiday Home Schweiger is close to the lake and the local shops of Maurach.
About Shuttle Direct:
The leading provider of private and shuttle transfers in Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct is the most convenient way to get you and your family from the airport to your accommodation. Simply book a private group transfer online before you set off and your driver will be waiting to meet you when you land to take you on to your holiday destination.