Earth : Europe : Central Europe : Austria : Tyrol
Tyrol (German: Tirol) is a multi-national historical region located in the heart of the Alps in Austria and Italy. It consists of North, East, and South Tyrol. North and East Tyrol lie in Austria and together make up the Austrian federal-state of Tyrol with its capital in Innsbruck. North and East Tyrol are a bit of an oddity as they do not share a common frontier. This is a direct result of history, South Tyrol, despite its German speaking majority, has been part of Italy since the end of World War I. It makes up the northern portion of the alpine Italian autonomous province Trentino-Alto Adige with its capital in Bolzano (Italian) or Bozen (German). Together the two provinces make up historic Tyrol.
Like its sister provinces of Bavaria in Germany and Salzburgerland in Austria, the Tyrol is the very definition of the Germanic Alpine stereotype. Full of romantic lakes and castles and beer drinking lederhosen clad locals playing ump-papa music and marching in bands, the place can seem a bit fairy tale to the visitor at times because it is! Innsbruck and Bolzano/Bozen are the only real "bigger" cities making it a natural paradise too. The roads get clogged with tourists however in the summer and winter months. South Tyrol sits on the sunny side of the Alps and is an interesting mix of three cultures making a special place in Europe.
As in nearly all of Austria, Austro-Bavarian is the main everyday spoken language of Tyrol (except in Reutte district where it is Alemannic). The Tyrolean dialect is even often tricky to understand for residents of eastern Austria (including Vienna) let alone from northern Germany. But, as in all of Austria, standard (Austrian) German is the official language used in all official publications and schools, so the vast majority speaks it, and in Innsbruck basically everyone is fluent. English is spoken by most educated middle aged and young people, and Italian is also quite prevalent due to the proximity of the South Tyrolian border and a small immigrant community in Innsbruck.
There is an international airport in Innsbruck (ICAO code: LOWI) which has schedules to Vienna, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Graz, Nice, Hannover, Stavanger, Alghero, Gothenburg and Olbia. Schedules may differ in winter. The Munich Airport, 2.5 hours away, is another alternative. There are vans that will meet you at the Munich Airport and take you directly to your lodging in or around Innsbruck for the price of a comparable train ticket.
There is also an airfield in St. Johann in Tirol (ICAO code: LOIJ), with a 750 m asphalt runway.
Considering the topography rail connections are impressive and a highly senic and relaxing way to see the Tyrol. Trains also connect the "three Tyrols" via rail and tunnels. Innsbruck has connections to all major cities in Austria such as Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, Linz and Bregenz. There is a 3 hourly connection between Munich and Innsbruck with stops in Kufstein, Wörgl and Jenbach.
Www.vvt.at is the official source of information about Tyrol's public transport systems. There are links to all the latest downloadable maps here, with a German-English transport glossary to help you understand them. For longer-distance travel throughout Austria, see www.oebb.at/en.