Is not without good reason that Kitzbühel is often referred to as “the legend”. Hardly any other town in the Alps can compete with Kitzbühel’s winning combination of skiing, glamour and...
Information on the ski resort Kitzbühel
In 1893, Franz Reisch became the first person to complete a high Alpine downhill ski run in Austria. He tamed the Kitzbüheler Horn, laying the foundations for the legend that still surrounds Kitzbühel to this day. Nowadays, Kitzbühel is the mountain lifestyle resort in Tyrol, with a ski area which encompasses some 170 kilometres of slopes and stages the world-famous Hahnenkamm ski race.
Kitzbühel ski area extends over 460 hectares, connecting seven municipalities across two Austrian states. 53 lifts carry winter sports fanatics to 60 perfectly groomed pistes. Thanks to the 3S-Bahn, which has connected the Pengelstein and Wurzhöhe peaks since 2005, skiers can now navigate all the way from Kirchberg to Hollersbach. The best way to explore the resort is via the “Elefanten Runde Ski Safari” route. Linking Kirchberg to Resterhöhe, this trail is 35 kilometres in length and encompasses a total vertical drop of some 6,000 meters.
Kitzbühel is world renowned for its Hahnenkamm downhill race. Every year, the world’s best skiers test their mettle on the legendary Streif course (trail no. 21). During the rest of the season, amateurs can also try their hand at this challenging trail which starts at the summit station of the Hahnenkamm-Bahn. However, only confident skiers or snowboarders are recommended to take the original course, as key points such as the “Mausefalle” and “Hausbergkante” are often very icy and demanding. Luckily, it is possible to circumnavigate these tricky parts via the Familienstreif route. Here, skiers also come together for another Kitzbühel highlight: the Ganslernhang. This run is known as one of the last classical slalom slopes, encompassing very varied terrain. In the rest of the ski area, advanced skiers will also find plenty of other black trails (24 kilometres in total). And if these types of slopes are your thing, you will probably feel right at home in the area surrounding the Steinbergkogel with its high-speed descents and moguls.
If you’re still learning, the valley is probably good place to start. There, the learners’ lifts can even be used free of charge. Once you’ve learnt to carve your first turns successfully, the Ehrenbachhöhe is an excellent starting point for beginners and families, and it is easy to reach from Kirchberg.
Kitzbühel also offers plenty of long runs which lead through gentle meadow landscapes, while the ten trails leading down into the valley all take picturesque routes through forested terrain. Intermediate skiers are also well catered for with almost 80 kilometres of red trails to explore. For skiers and snowboarders more interested in the park than the piste, the Mercedes-Benz Snowpark on the Hanglalm or the Snowpark Horn on the Kitzbüheler Horn are most definitely the places to be. Freestyle skiers and snowboarders can look forward to 35 features for all levels of ability on the Hanglalm, while the Kitzbüheler Horn park offers boxes, rails and small to medium-sized jumps for honing your skills.
In addition to this wide range of well-prepared trails, Kitzbühel has also made a name for itself among freeride fans. The ski area offers some 32 kilometres of freeride ski routes. Thanks to the positioning of the lifts, the backcountry on the Kitzbüheler Horn is easily accessible and offers up plenty of variety with tree runs, cliffs and chutes. Freeriders can even hitch a ride in a snow groomer up to the many untouched slopes in the Bichlalm area, which is very popular among ski touring fans. Due to its favourable north-west orientation, Kitzbühel is usually blessed with plenty of powder.
On Mountain Dining
Kitzbühel boasts some 56 lodges and cabins for enjoying food and drink away from the slopes – skiers are really spoilt for choice. Located directly next to the Streif run, the Hochkitzbühel restaurant is a favourite spot for many to refuel. The “Walde-Stube” and “Kaiser-Stube” offer a typically cosy mountain lodge experience, while guests at the panoramic “Die Gondel” restaurant can take in the breath-taking views and soak up some rays on the large terrace. If great views are your thing, then you should also consider the “Pengelstein” restaurant which offers a vista stretching from the Großglockner to the Zillertaler Alps over dishes of homemade fare. On the Kitzbüheler Horn, the “Alpenhaus” provides down-to-earth food, while the “Resterhöhe” mountain inn is a real institution in the area – and among the oldest establishments in the region. Connoisseurs are also well catered for at the “Toni Alm” and “Bärenbadalm” on Bärenbadkogel or “Berggasthof Sonnbühel” on the Hahnenkamm.
- Experienced skiers should not miss the challenge of the Streif run
- Kitz Ski Extended: At 8.3 kilometres in length, this is the longest run in the entire ski area. It starts on Steinbergkogel and takes in the runs 16a, 16, 26 and 25b as it descends into the valley to end in Kirchberg.
Away from the slopes, there is no better way to enjoy the outstanding beauty of the Kitzbüheler Alps than with a winter walk – and some 170 kilometres of walking paths are available. The sunny Bichlalm is a great place to start with numerous paths, including a circular route which leads past several romantic Tyrolian farmhouses. On the Hahnenkamm, the path to St. Bernhard’s Chapel is also a rewarding high-level route. Organised sunset or full-moon walks are an unforgettable way to see the landscape, and if you are interested in taking part, please get in touch with Kitzbühel Tourist Office.
If you prefer skates to skis, the ice rink in the Sportpark is an obvious choice. For those that prefer skating in a more natural setting, the Schwarzsee and the natural ice rink at the Schaubergwerk Kupferplatte are also worth a visit. Tobogganing fans can also enjoy some white-knuckle action on the Gaisberg toboggan run. It carries the seal of quality as a natural toboggan run and plunges some 3.5 kilometres down into the valley. Other runs are also available on the Kelchalm in Aurach (3.5 km in length) and the Trattenbachalm in Jochberg (5 km in length).
Après Ski Kitzbühel
Fans of après-ski don’t have to look far for good times in Kitzbühel. There are numerous small bars right next to the slopes, perfect for a quick drink between runs. And even after the mountain closes for the day, Kitzbühel offers up nightlife more akin to a big city. There is a wide variety of bars and discos that provide fun well into the night. Whether you opt for a pub evening in “Flannings” or “The London Pub”, a cocktail in the “Maria Theresia” lounge or something swankier in the exclusive “Bar Bergsinn”, there is something for everyone here. If you still have energy for a dance after a day on the slopes, then “Club Take Five” is lively well into the early hours.
Fine Dining and Restaurants
In addition to several 5-star hotels and exclusive boutiques, Kitzbühel also offers top-notch restaurants. Austria uses a “Hauben” system similar to the well-known Michelin star awards. In total, the region is home to 11 award-winning establishments, giving it the highest concentration of Hauben restaurants in the whole of Tyrol. The restaurant “Heimatliebe”, which puts a modern spin on traditional cuisine, and “Petit Tirolia”, which has a wine cellar to match the very best, both boast three Hauben. Other highly recommended gourmet restaurants include the “Neuwirt”, “Tennerhof” and “Schwedenkapelle”.
From Munich, take motorway A12 before exiting at Kufstein Süd and following the roads B173, 178 and 161 for a further 26 kilometres to Kitzbühel. From Innsbruck, take the motorway A12 before exiting at Wörgl Ost. Then follow the B178 and B170, and after 30 kilometres, you will reach Kitzbühel.
Kitzbühel is served by an international train station, making it easy to reach from all directions.
The nearest airports are located in Salzburg (80 km) and Innsbruck (95 km), but flying to Munich is also possible (just 125 km away).