Welcome to the smallest town of Austria: Rattenberg in Tyrol. This is the place where you can spend a hole day, despite the only 400 inhabitants and one shopping street it has. Rattenberg is the cultural heart of the Alpbachtal, a special place with a medieval city center and some interesting historical sights. Are you looking for history, local crafts, architecture, nice museums and good food? Then read on, because in Rattenberg, it is all possible…
The Alpbachtal is one of the many regions of Tyrol. Are you looking for some cultural tips in this area? In the Travel Guide of the Alpbachtal you will find 5 amazing tips you can see and do here.
What would you like to know about Rattenberg in Austria?
- History – 3 facts on the interesting history of Rattenberg
- Sightseeing – 5 special places full of history
- Accommodation – Spending the night in historical Rattenberg?
- Transport – How to get there?
History – 3 facts on the interesting history of Rattenberg
It is time to go to Rattenberg. But before you go, a few historical facts…
1. Why is the town called Rattenberg?
Rattenberg didn’t get this name because it was suffocated with rats and the rats had founded a kingdom here. No, it officially means Mountain of Rato. That is a reference to the noble family that ruled this area around 1000 A.D., the Raptones. The first time Rattenberg was reported was in 1254. In 1393 the town was officially granted city rights.
2. Part of Bavaria or Tyrol?
Now, of course, it belongs to Austria. But when Rattenberg was first mentioned in 1254 it was part of the Duchy of Bavaria. All right, it was temporarily loaned out to various noble families, but in 1504 a war between the Tyrol and Bavaria led to a victory for the Tyroleans. And in the eighteenth century Bavaria and Tyrol waged another war to gain possession of Rattenberg. Emperor Franz II of the Habsburg Empire stipulated in 1783 that Rattenberg should definitely be part of the Tyrol. And voilà, there we are today.
3. Rattenberg has been a city of glassware for centuries?
Today we know the town mainly because of the number of glassworks that can be found there. But that was a craft that only really came into being in the 19th century. Before that, it mainly earned money as a customs post and that still yielded Rattenberg quite a lot.
Sightseeing – 5 special places of interest and full of history
Rattenberg is all about culture and history. Curious about what you absolutely have to see when you are here? Below you will find 5 historical sights that summarize the history of Rattenberg…
Alpbachtal Card: Rattenberg is part of the Alpbachtal region. Those who stay here for one or more days get a free guest card. This allows you to travel in cable cars and by bus free of charge. You can also go to museums for free and get discounts on souvenirs. For more information, visit the website of Alpbachtal.at
1. View the surroundings from the historic castle of Rattenberg
Anyone arriving by car will soon notice that there is a beautiful ruin above Rattenberg. The first contours of a castle date from the 11th century. At that time, it served as guardian of the Bavarian border, to which Rattenberg belonged. But it was also leased by the Counts of Tyrol. In 1504 the province of Tyrol took control of the fortress after a bloody battle with Bavaria. And in the eighteenth century Bavaria and Tyrol once again fought for the town. After this war there was not much left of the castle.
The ruin consists of 2 parts and can both be reached with a short walk. For the best views you go to the upper castle, where you can be within half an hour walk. But most people choose for a small walk with an extensive terrace just above the city. Here you have a beautiful view of the surroundings.
The little story of the beheading of Wilhelm Biener in 1651
Wilhelm Biener (1590-1651) was a lawyer and was appointed Chancellor of Tyrol in 1638 by Claudia di Medici (1604-1648), Regent of the province. He made himself unpopular by cracking down on corruption and malpractice of the nobility. When Claudia die Medici died and her ‘weak’ son Ferdinand Karl (1628-1662) became archduke, the nobility seized her chance. She took Biener to court and before the archduke could intervene it was already too late. Biener was beheaded in the castle of Rattenberg. The big tower where it happened is still there, his head has been neatly tidied up centuries ago…
2. Visit Glassworks Kisslinger in the heart of Rattenberg
A small company specialising in glassworks was founded 400 years ago in neighbouring Kramsach. But it was not until the nineteenth century that it became one of Rattenberg’s most important products. For almost two centuries, glassworks Kisslinger has been a household name in the town. More glassworks followed. Every day it is possible to visit the shop and see how all these beautiful products are made. There is a small exhibition and if you have succeeded a demonstration will be held for you. So taking a look is always worth it…
3. Faith and history in the Augustinian Museum
The Augustinian Museum has been housed in an old monastery since 1993. From 1384 to 1971, the Augustinians who lived in the monastery complied with the rules of Augustine of Hippo (354-430). On the basis of his philosophy, the Augustinians pursue an inner harmony with God.
Anyone who is a believer should definitely take a look at this museum. But also among non-believers this museum is very popular. Here you will find art treasures from nine centuries of history, from masterpieces from Romanticism and Gothic to religious artefacts and statues. Between May till October you van visit this museum for free if you show them the Alpbachtal Card.
4. Crafts Museum Nagelschmiedhäuser
A special museum is the Handicrafts Museum Nagelschmiedhäuser. These houses were probably largely carved into rock under the castle and it is thought that this happened in the 12th century AD. In the Middle Ages, these houses were home to the nail makers. Nowadays it is a museum about the history of Rattenberg. Entrance to the museum costs 6 euros per person.
Would you like to have a nice souvenir and you think all the glassware is too expensive? Then take a look in the Genusswelt shop next to the museum and enjoy one of the many delicacies from this region.
5. Eat a delicious pastry at café-konditorei Hacker
Time for cake? Then in Austria you are always good at a konditorei. And in Rattenberg, coincidentally, at the Hacker café-conditorei. It started in 1774 as a small shop for the Austrian variant of Lebkuchen, a honey-sweetened biscuit which is very popular these days, especially at Christmas. In the 19th century it developed into a coffee house. For seven generations the recipes have been passed on to the new generation and you can taste them. With more than 40 different types of cake, the choice is therefore overwhelming. An ideal start to your day and/or a great way to end the day?
Accommodation – Spending the night in Rattenberg?
How many hotels would a city of just over 400 inhabitants have? To be honest, there is only one: Haus Schlosskeller. This hotel is situated on the Südtirolerstrasse, the ‘only’ and ‘busiest’ street of the town. The property has existed since 1592 and has been owned by the same family since 1915.
If you stay overnight in Haus Schlosskeller in Rattenberg you will receive the Alpbachtal Card (winter and summer) free of charge with all nice advantages. But if you don’t want to be in the cultural heart of Alpbach, there is plenty of other accommodation to book.
Transport – How to get to Rattenberg?
Rattenberg is the cultural heart of the Alpbach valley. It can be reached in different ways.
Car: It is close to the A12 which runs from Kufstein to Innsbruck. Both on the east and west side you will find a large car park where you can leave your car. Free parking is at P3 and P4.
Train: Rattenberg has a small train station (Rattenberg-Kramsach) which is located directly at the gate of the town. From Wörgl and Innsbruck there is a train twice an hour. From Wörgl it is less than 10 minutes by train and from Innsbruck it takes about 50 minutes.
By plane: The nearest airport is Flughafen Innsbruck-Kranebitten.
Do you have more tips, ideas or remarks about this travel guide to Rattenberg, Austria? Feel free to leave a message below.