Photo: © Kitzbuheler Alpen/Stefan Eisend
The Ultimate Guide to Kitzbuhel
Issue 43 / 25 August 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Kitzbuhel

Discover all you need to know about this top winter sports resort in the Austrian province of Tyrol

Alicia Bryan

About Kitzbuhel

Annual host of The World Ski Awards, this charming medieval town is found in the Austrian province of Tyrol and has a long skiing history dating back to 1893. First skied down by Franz Resich, the Kitzbüheler Horn is one of the most popular mountains in the Alps with skiers today continuing to push their limits in the world’s most dangerous downhill ski race of the Hahnenkamm World Cup.

Known for being one of the best winter sports resorts in Europe, skiers visiting Kitzbühel have a vast 215 km of slopes spread over the three sectors of Hahnenkamm, the Kitzbüheler Horn and Bichlalm to discover. Located just 1.5 hours from both Innsbruck and Salzburg airports, the picturesque town of Kitzbühel has a car-free centre allowing visitors to make their way along the cobbled streets and browse a variety of designer shops and artisan cafés.

Top Events in Kitzbuhel

In the run-up to the winter season, Kitzbühel rewards and celebrates excellence in ski tourism at The World Ski Awards with categories including World’s Best Ski Chalets and Ski Travel Agent at this three-day event. The month of January welcomes two very important events in the calendar for Kitzbühel. Known as the most dangerous downhill ski race in the world, the Hahnenkamm Cup sees top international athletes compete in this hair raising event with competitors reaching speeds of up to 140 kmph. A winding snake of a run, this race is the ultimate skier’s test with challenging elements including an 85% gradient Mausefalle jump propelling skiers 80 metres through the air! Each year in January, the Snow Polo World cup takes place, with top polo players competing in the biggest snow polo tournament in the world.

When the winter season is over, the warmer month of June welcomes the spectacular Golf Festival accompanied by exquisite wine and culinary delights. This six-day festival is golfing with a culinary twist, treating attendees to some of the finest cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs, as well as a carefully chosen selection of Austrian wine. In summer, the Kitzbühel triathlon sees athletes competing across five exciting competitions with three disciplines. Come August, this beautiful town sets the stage for filmmakers from across the world during the Film Festival Kitzbühel. Supporting national and international talents, this event gives filmmakers the opportunity to present their films to a large audience, as well as a number of industry professionals and representatives of the press.

Where to Eat & Drink in Kitzbuhel

From traditional Tyrolean cuisine to British pubs, Kitzbühel has something to tantalise everyone’s taste buds. With a great location in the heart of the resort, Il Gusto provides mouth-watering Italian cuisine serving homemade spaghetti and gnocchi. Found in the five-star Hotel Tennerhof and boasting four Gault Millau toques, those visiting Gourmet Tennerhof will not be disappointed with some of the best cuisine in town including Tristan rock lobster and US Beef with taggiasca olives and pistachio. For some slope-side cuisine, Berghaus Tirol offers traditional Tyrolean and Carinthian dishes accompanied by stunning views. Also serving authentic Austrian wine and cuisine in the Kitzbühel ski area, Hornköpflhütte has a variety of cuisine with popular dishes including Schnitzel and Kaiserschmarrn served with apple purée to finish.

When it comes to après ski, Kitzbühel has a lively post-ski scene from slope huts to central bars in town. Accessible to everyone, Schi-Alm is a favoured spot for a tipple, with further umbrella bars found around the ski area. Nestled in the town centre The Londoner, a Great British Pub opening in 1976 maintains its popularity. Those looking for a sing-song will enjoy the karaoke nights in the Lichtl Pub. For a stylish après-ski experience, Club Take Five also has three bars and resident DJs to create the perfect après atmosphere.

Where to Stay in Kitzbuhel

Winner of Austria’s Best Ski Chalet in 2019 and nominated again this year, Hahnenkamm Lodge is a stunning ski-in/ski-out property with incredible views of the legendary race of the same name. Situated at just 50 metres from the start line of the famous race, this stunning property has a spacious open plan living, dining and kitchen area. There's also an expansive terrace to admire the incredible mountain views from, with a glass of champagne in hand.

Renovated in 2014 and maintaining privacy despite excellent views of the ski slopes, Chalet Schoenbichl also has one of the most beautiful gardens in Austria and is able to sleep up to 30 people across 15 bedrooms.

Further luxury ski chalets in Kitzbuhel include The Peaks which offers stunning views over the Wilde Kaiser, the Streif and Hahnenkamm. There's also the incredibly private Mountain Hacienda, with state-of-the-art facilities such as an 18-metre indoor/outdoor swimming pool. Constructed from over 200-year old timber, this luxury ski chalet is able to accommodate up to 18 guests.

For further information on where to stay take a look at our carefully curated portfolio of luxury chalets in Kitzbuhel.

Winter in Kitzbuhel

With 215 km of slopes, the Kitzbühel ski area is best suited to intermediates and experts, however, there are still plenty of areas for beginners to enjoy. With free lifts on the Hahnenkamm nursery slopes and more at Jochberg, beginners can work on their technique before heading to the Horn area with a long easy blue run back to town. With 40% of ski terrain in Kitzbühel most suitable for intermediates, red runs can be found at every corner of the mountain, while experts and intermediates looking for a challenge can take on the famous World Cup downhill course of the Streif. Those who are looking to explore as much of the area as possible will also enjoy the KitzSki Line covering 47km of runs.

Should you wish to try some alternative winter activities, Kitzbühel has plenty to offer including tobogganing and cross-country skiing, as well as snowshoeing and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Summer in Kitzbuhel

With over 1000 km of local hiking trails, this beautiful resort is the perfect destination to discover the Austrian Alps in summer. With more than 800 km of leisure and mountain bike tracks, explore the Hahnenkamm and Kitzbüheler in a whole new way amongst meadows and beside gentle streams. Further summer activities to be enjoyed in Kitzbuhel include Via Ferratas, archery and horse riding, while the lakes of Schwarzsee and the Gieringer Weiher also make for idyllic spots to take an invigorating swim or a gentle row along the riverside.

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