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Hunting for the treasure

Geocaching, the modern treasure hunt by using GPS coordinates, takes adventurers straight to the heart of Ötztal. You can go treasure hunting throughout the valley, with or without digital help. By the way, the treasure hunters also explore the most picture-book spots in the Ötztal mountains. A welcome change that promises fun for both adults and children.

What is geocaching?

Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt in which a large community hunts for treasures called "geocaches". However, the way to get there is not shown on a paper treasure map, but can be found only by using GPS coordinates. With the help of a GPS device the modern treasure hunters find the hidden boxes or they even hide one themselves and transmit the coordinates to others. It's easy to join in: first register online at www.geocaching.com, download all GPS data and start the exciting search - no matter where you are.

Follow the treasure hunting map

In addition to the GPS-based treasure hunt, explorers of all ages can also set out for the search with the help of a small treasure hunting map. It is available from all Ötztal Tourismus Information Offices. Just pick it up and you can start the wild scavenger hunt through the valley right away. Especially children are enthusiastic about trying to find the hiding places. Very positive side effect: the youngest ones enjoy walking and hiking in the wild as they want to reach a special goal. Small treasures are hidden along the route marked on the map, and there is always something to be discovered. If you have found all treasure boxes you receive your own little treasure at the Information Office.

9for5 & 5for1

The names 9for5 & 5for1 are synonymous with geocaches that are spread all over Ötztal. Five out of nine must be found to receive the Ötztaler geo coin - the Ötz-Taler. All the coordinates for the 9 different caches can be downloaded to the GPS device directly from the website or from the homepage of the Geocache Community at www.geocaching.com. For a better overview of the single cache locations and as a stamp card, there is an additional link for printing. In the 9for5 & 5for1 caches you will find different clippers or hole punchers. To finally pick up the coveted Ötz-Taler at the Umhausen Information Office you needs 5 different clipper marks. There is also a map available for the individual clipper marks. So let's get started: good luck for your ambitious Ötz-Taler search!

Frequently asked questions about geocaching

It depends, among other things, on your smartphone's operating system and your personal preferences and requirements. Basically, there are many free apps that offer enough functions to get started. Upgrades at a fee or in-app purchases add many practical features by promising even more fun. Currently the most popular apps are:

  • Groundspeak Geocaching® app for Android and iOS
  • c:geo (only available for Android devices)
  • GeOrg - Geocaching Organizer (only available for Android devices)
  • GCTools (only available for iOS phones)

Good to know: Almost all geocaching apps get their data from geocaching.com. And no matter which one you choose - there is nothing like a detailed self-test, ideally on your next vacation while geocaching in Ötztal.

From preschool age children understand the principle of geocaching. It’s not so much about the “treasure” - a word that often arouses misconceptions among younger kids - but rather about the adventurous search itself. Depending on your preferences, you can use a smartphone incl. geocaching app or a GPS device. Make sure to target easy caches if hiking with children (simply select the difficulty level and type of terrain) and avoid exciting but dangerous locations. Be sure that you have enough time to let the children go at their own pace. Longer distances may be better covered by bicycle. Special tip: The size of the cache also plays an important role for many children. Micros - very small barter items – are well loved only by older children.

A fabulous geocaching area that offers countless scenic routes for children and beginners can be found in Ötztal in Tirol/Austria. HERE you will find out what families can discover there.

The term derives from the ancient Greek γῆ gē ("earth") and the English cache ("hiding place, secret storing place"). On a geocaching tour you go on a kind of paperchase or treasure hunt. With the help of predefined coordinates and a GPS device or smartphone, you are searching for small boxes or chests (so-called caches) that contain a logbook and small items to be exchanged. Usually, these caches are very well hidden in uncommon places, for example under tree roots, stones or bridges, in places that are hidden from view in inhabited areas etc. Find out more about geocaching in stunning Ötztal HERE.

Geocaching is often referred to as a modern paperchase or "scavenger hunt 2.0". People (geocachers) hide a small box with a notebook (logbook) somewhere amid nature or in the city and publish the coordinates of the hiding place on the Internet. With the help of these details and by using a GPS device, other geocachers can track down the boxes and make an entry in the logbook on site. The box (cache) always remains in the same place and waits for the next geocacher. At home or directly via the geocaching app, you can "log" your find on the Internet and leave a comment.

Geocaching is suitable for almost every age group, it can be carried out all year round and worldwide and is surprisingly great fun. You will learn a lot about the surroundings, combine technology and nature, mental exercise, a feeling of adventure and relaxation. Many geocachers use their hobby to explore the region from another perspective during their vacation - away from the usual tourist highlights. You can also embark on the trail of special treasures in Ötztal!

An outdoor GPS device scores over the smartphone with a fairly long operating time (approx. 20 hours), exchangeable/rechargeable batteries, weather and shock resistance, reliable reception in the outdoors (even without a mobile phone network) and great user-friendliness - you can use it with gloves in winter and read the display even in direct sunlight. Modern devices from the renowned GPS manufacturer Garmin are very popular in the geocaching community. There are models with complete geocaching integration and a huge selection of maps and accessories. However, you can use a GPS device not only for geocaching, it also pays off for activities such as mountain bike tours or as orientation when hiking. Perfect for packing it up for your next geocaching holiday in Ötztal!

A geocache is a waterproof box of various sizes, from nano to XXL. Exchange items such as key rings, surprise egg figures or other small toys are included in the box. If you have found the geocache, you can take out an exchange item and leave another item of the same or higher value there. Nothing to eat, please! In addition to the barter items (also called SWAG - “stuff we all get”) there are also so-called trackables in geocaches. You recognize them by a tracking code directly on the item or on a small separate tag. Trackables are “treasures on a journey”, therefore you shouldn't just take them home with you but put them back in another cache and describe the new hiding place online. The community can trace the entire route of a trackable to its desired destination. When you go on a geocaching tour in Ötztal, you are searching - among other things - for the coveted "Ötz-Taler" coin.

Basically yes, because you are walking in the outdoors and the caches are accessible for free. All you need is a GPS-compatible smartphone or GPS device and a geocaching app. Beginners like to use the free Groundspeak app or the free basic functions of geocaching.com. For an affordable annual fee of around 30 Euros you can become a premium member and use many additional features and functions.

In Ötztal, all treasure hunting data is made available to you free of charge - you can find the coordinates for varied routes HERE or on geocaching.com under the name “9for5 & 5for1”.

In the Ötztal Tourismus Information Offices you can pick up printed treasure hunting maps for your adventure walk with children free of charge. More details are available HERE.

You don't need to buy an expensive GPS device, especially when you start geocaching in urban areas or on easy terrain, or for spontaneous searches. Nowadays, a GPS-compatible smartphone and a corresponding app are all you need to go on this adventurous kind of treasure hunt. Download one of the countless apps for navigation and activate GPS reception on your smartphone. Please note: the battery will run out quickly. It is best to take a spare battery or a power bank with you and deactivate all functions that are not needed when geocaching.

If you are in Alpine or more difficult terrain, a weatherproof and shockproof GPS device with reliable reception is the best choice. You can find the official geocaches in Ötztal with both mobile phones and GPS devices. There is also the option of using a printed treasure hunting map - ideal for families and friends of the analogue world.