Our Top 3 Austrian Ski Resorts
Discover the top 3 ski resorts in Austria for a luxury ski holiday.
Thinking about booking a ski holiday in Austria but can’t decide on the resort? Luckily Austrian ski resorts generally have something for everyone, whether that’s traditional villages, scenic views, slick lift systems or a vibrant après-ski scene. Home to vast ski areas, friendly family-run hotels and chalets and some of the highest snowfall in the Alps, it is no wonder that ski holidays in Austria are so popular. Cosy fondue Stüblis, inviting nursery slopes, charming villages and plenty of action on and off the slopes, the benefits of skiing in Austria are endless.
However, there are several resorts that we value above others. This may be down to the quality of accommodation and service, the diversity of ski terrain, or even the range of activities on offer. With this in mind, here’s where to go to enjoy the very best of Austrian skiing.
Lech - best for snowsure slopes & mouthwatering cuisine
Although Lech has a reputation as one of the world’s most exclusive resorts - and with past visitors including Princess Diana, the Dutch royal family and Monaco’s Princess Caroline deservedly so - it is, in fact, extremely welcoming and friendly with traditional charm in abundance. Originally established as Tannberg am Lech by the Walser people from the Canton of Valais in western Switzerland, Lech has witnessed continuous development resulting in an elegant, discreet and sleek Austrian ski resort. However, it has never forgotten its pastoral roots and you’ll find this essential mountain village appeal preserved in every aspect of the resort from the warm hospitality to the rustic slopeside huts and mouth-watering cuisine.
With a pretty riverside setting, the village of Lech is traditional in style with a lively ambience, excellent restaurants and plenty of shopping opportunities. For non-skiers, Lech has plenty to offer with themed hiking paths, horse-drawn sleigh rides, an indoor ice rink and sports centre. There’s also a 1.2 km toboggan run from Oberlech to Lech which is serviced by the cable car and open daily until 9 pm.
Part of the Arlberg, Austria’s biggest linked area, Lech offers 302 km of skiing which includes 200 km of high Alpine deep powder runs and legendary ski routes such as The White Ring and the “Run of Fame”. The Ski-Arlberg pass gives you access to all the lifts and cable cars of Lech Zũrs and the neighbouring towns of Warth-Schröcken, Stuben, St. Christoph and St. Anton from early December to late April.
Beginners can enjoy quiet nursery slopes close to the main street with plenty of easy blue runs to progress to above Oberlech. Beyond the blues, confident intermediates will find plenty of excellent red runs, particularly above Zürs. Experts can enjoy a huge amount of lift-served off-piste, although guidance is advisable. Lech Zürs is also the only ski resort in Austria to offer heliskiing. The “Schneetäli-Orgelscharte” is recommended for intermediate skiers whilst the Mehlsack mountain is ideal for experienced skiers looking for an adventure.
Where to Eat:
With 89 restaurants ranging from gourmet haunts to small eateries and ski huts, Lech’s culinary offering is exceptional. Popular mountain restaurants include Rud-Alpe for its hearty Austrian specialities and Balmalp with its sunny terrace and easy access for non-skiers. In town, Hus Nr 8 offers authentic Austrian cuisine with a modern twist, but for something a little special, head to Aurelio’s with its 17 Gault Millau points and ever-changing à la carte menu. Nightlife in Lech centres around the Krone Hotel with its après-ski ice bar and nightclub.
-> Discover our complete guide to the best bars & restaurants in Lech
Where to Stay:
If you’re looking for ski-in/ski-out access, chalets in Oberlech such as Chalet 1551 and Chalet Mimi are perfectly positioned. There are also plenty of chic apartments close to the village centre including Nidus Penthouse and Apartment Brunnenhof 13. Highly recommended is The Residence, part of Severin*s Alpine Retreat. A short chauffeured drive from the lifts and the centre of town, it offers four sumptuous suites, a state-of-the-art cinema room and a private hot tub as well as access to the hotel spa.
-> Explore more luxury chalets in Lech
St Anton am Arlberg - best for expert skiers and lively apres-ski
Combining the vitality of a sporty ski resort with the charm of traditional Tirolean style and the feel of a real authentic community, St Anton has a big reputation for a reason. Located in the extensive Arlberg ski area, the resort is home to some of the most challenging slopes in the Alps. Steeped in history, St Anton is regarded as one of the cradles of the modern Alpine skiing tradition with one of the very first cable cars in the Alps installed here. It was also where the concept of group ski lessons was first established. Served by its own mainline railway station, St Anton is one of the most accessible ski resorts if you’re travelling by train whilst Innsbruck airport is just over an hour's drive away.
With a traffic-free main street, accessible lifts from the village and a mix of stylish apartments and catered chalets, St Anton is a fantastic resort for an Austrian ski holiday with family and friends. With a row of lifts along the north side of the village, nowhere in the central area is more than a walk from the lift. The suburb of Nasserein is 1 km east of the main lifts but has its own gondola to Gampen.
St Anton is a fantastic resort for families with plenty to keep everyone entertained away from the slopes. There’s the leisure centre, Arlberg-well.com, with indoor and outdoor pools, spa, ice skating and curling, as well as tennis, bowling and climbing at arl.rock. There are also opportunities to go dog sledding and tobogganing.
Situated at 1,305m with the highest lift reaching 2,810m, St Anton has reliable snow cover with the main action centred around Valluga and the Gampen and Galzig sectors. Beginners will want to head over to the more friendly slopes of Lech and Zürs with most of the blue runs on the St Anton side being on the tougher side. For confident intermediates, there are an abundant number of red routes.
St Anton really comes into its own for experienced skiers who are comfortable skiing off-piste. Some of the best-known routes are in the Valluga/Schindler Spitze sector but there are off-piste opportunities dotted throughout the Arlberg area.
-> Read our guide to skiing in St Anton to find out more
Where to Eat:
St Anton offers a wide selection of cuisine on and off the mountain. On a sunny day, the terrace of Sennhütte is the perfect spot to enjoy a mouthwatering Tyrolean speciality. Also popular on the mountain is Verwallstube, an award-winning gourmet restaurant serving dishes such as truffle pasta and bouillabaisse. In town, head to The Museum for seasonal Austrian-international cuisine or enjoy perusing the extensive wine list at Schwarzer Adler.
For those who like to party, St Anton is the place to be. Après-ski bars, Mooserwirt and Krazy Kanguruh are renowned for their amazing parties featuring table-top dancing, live music and plenty of Jagermeister.
-> For more information read our guide to the best bars and restaurants in St Anton
Where to Stay:
St Anton has a wide range of chalets and apartments within easy reach of the lifts. Chalet Tschoder offers ski-in/ski-out access and is ideal for families whilst Chalet Lena, with a state-of-the-art spa and uninterrupted views, is perfect for large groups. For a smaller apartment, stay at Alpine Myth which is just five minutes from the Nasserein gondola and has its own private spa.
-> Explore more luxury ski chalets in St Anton
Kitzbuhel - best for Austrian charm & intermediate skiers
Arguably one of the most beautiful ski towns in Europe, Kitzbuhel delights with its quaint medieval centre, Located in the heart of Tirol and framed by several mountains including Kitzbüheler Horn, Südberge and the famous Hahnenkamm, Kitzbuhel is a destination that caters to a diverse range of winter enthusiasts, from seasoned skiers to those seeking a scenic alpine escape. With an elevation ranging from 800 to 2,000 metres, Kitzbuhel provides an extensive network of pistes(233 km) across three separate sectors: the Hahnenkamm (home to the Streif downhill course where the famous Hahnenkamm World Cup ski races in January take place, the Kitzbuheler Horn, and neighbouring Bichlalm.
With three toboggan runs, freshly groomed cross-country ski trails and countless winter hiking trails, Kitzbuhel appeals to a wide variety of visitors. The resort is within easy reach of three airports (Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck) and is also accessible by train with three stations near the ski lifts.
Once a medieval silver mining centre, Kitzbuhel has transformed into a world-class ski destination. With its cobblestone streets and medieval architecture featuring heavily buttressed walls and painted frescoes, it offers a unique blend of history and modernity. Local markets line the narrow streets and there are plenty of charming boutiques and traditional cafes to explore.
In January the town comes alive when the World Cup comes to town. Attracting international fans in their thousands, the atmosphere is electric, with a pop-up village hosting live music and food stalls.
Off the slopes, there’s plenty of fun to be had for all the family. Little ones can enjoy the Lisi World which has a separate toddler area as well as air hockey, table football, slides and Valo-Jump, an interactive trampoline game platform. There’s also a sports park with climbing towers, bouldering areas, a tennis hall and bowling alley, and multiple spa opportunities in one of the many wellness hotels or the Aquaarena bathing centre. Kitzbuhel is also popular for ice sports and is home to Austria’s only curling rink.
Thanks to its extensive ski area, the potential for covering huge distances in a day is enormous. Whilst the ski area is best suited to intermediate and expert skiers, beginners have access to free lifts on the Hahnenkamm nursery slopes and more at nearby Jochberg and Reith. There’s also a high-altitude beginner area, The Horn, which has a choice of long easy blue back towards town. This area is also good for intermediate skiers looking to hone their skills.
You’ll also find a network of intermediate runs through picturesque landscapes at Resterkogel and Resterhohe. Of course, expert skiers will want to test their mettle on the infamous Streif downhill course with its steep descents, narrow chutes and demanding moguls. Beyond the Streif, there’s a variety of black runs and off-piste opportunities. In particular, the Barenbadkogel and Pengelstein mountains feature plenty of challenging terrain.
Where to Eat:
Kitzbuhel has numerous welcoming mountain restaurants and award-winning eateries to tantalise the taste buds. For a taste of Tirol, Hochkitzbuel at the top of the Hahnenkamm gondola serves up Austrian classics such as Grostl und Spatzle with cheese and Wienerschnitzel. In town, the best Italian is Il Gusto. Enjoy thinly-crusted pizzas, pasta and gnocchi in a warm ambience. For a gastronomic experience, Gourmet Tennerhof at the five-star Hotel Tennerhof serves up lobster, catfish, escargots and more.
The resort is known for its lively apres-ski too with venues ranging from the long-established pub, The Londoner, to the exclusive Club Tale Five which offers signature cocktails and live music.
Where to Stay:
With old coaching inns converted into four- and five-star hotels as well as plenty of boutique lodges and luxury chalets, there is plenty of choice when it comes to choosing accommodation in Kitzbuhel. However, our top recommendation is Hahnenkamm Lodge, a superb ski-in/ski-out chalet situated just 50 metres from the World Cup start line. This stunning chalet has five well-appointed bedrooms and a tranquil spa complete with steam bath, Finnish pine sauna and relaxation area.
-> Explore more luxury chalets in Kitzbuhel
Start planning your next ski holiday to Austria.