Kitzbühel is a classic ski destination; home to the famous Hahnenkamm racecourse, as well as a host of hotels and mountain restaurants...
The one problem with Kitzbühel, however, is it's very low. Set at just 760m, and offering skiing to only 2,000m, it struggles to provide good snow on its lower slopes. That's not to say the skiing is bad however: it's just that it's not very reliable. So book a skiing holiday in Kitzbühel at short notice when you know Austria is having a cold and snowy winter - or treat yourself to a more leisurely holiday, in which skiing takes second place to relaxing, eating out, and indulging in the odd spa treatment.
Resort height: 750m
Don't be put off by the intimidating reputation of the Hahnenkamm. The Blue Riband event takes place on the super-steep Streif downhill race course, and draws vast crowds each January. But it's not representative of most of the skiing in Kitzbühel - which is intermediate-friendly for the most part.
The best snow in Kitzbühel is almost always in the Resterhöhe sector of the resort, which is home to the highest and coldest slopes. You can either commute over using the lift system, or jump in a taxi or shuttle bus. Either way, the journey puts most visitors off - so it's a great place to start your day, when the slopes are especially empty. Then you can work your way back towards the slopes immediately above town.
Kitzbühel can be easily reached from Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck airports...
Munich airport is the furthest away (about two and a half hours) and Salzburg the closest (90 minutes).
Kitzbühel offers reasonable skiing for both beginners and experts, but it is intermediate skiers and snowboarders who have the most choice...
There's 168km of pistes on offer to Kitzbühel visitors, and if you don't mind riding the odd bus, you can visit the neighbouring resort of Westendorf for 45km more (there's a highly-rated terrain park there too). Intermediate skiers and snowboarders are particularly well catered for, but whatever your level, remember that the low altitude of the resort can make snow cover unreliable - particularly at the beginning and end of the ski season.
With great après-ski, stunning hotels and gourmet restaurants, beautiful Kitzbühel is a delight - as long as there's snow...
During the Hahnenkamm weekend (towards the end of January), half of Austria packs into Kitzbühel, for one of the biggest all-night parties of the season. For the rest of the season, however, Kitzbühel is now too posh to be really lively at night. Brass Monkeys and the Pavillon are the places to head for a drink when the lifts shut. Meanwhile, gastronomes will be delighted by the range of restaurants - the best are at the Romantikhotel Tennerhof and the Schwarzer Adler, both of which have Michelin stars.
Kitzbühel is great choice for non-skiers - especially those who like their creature comforts. Many of the hotels are super-swanky, and have vast, cutting edge spas. There's great shopping in town, too. Outdoor distractions include ice-skating, cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing, provided it's cold and snowy enough.
Don't come to Kitzbühel for a budget skiing holiday. That doesn't mean you can't stay here cheaply - there are plenty of reasonably-priced guest houses in town - but it would be missing the point. Save up, and wait until you can afford a hotel with a nice spa, as well as at least one fancy meal.
Provided there's snow, Kitzbühel is as cute as they come. The scenery is attractive too, although it's more “Sound of Music” than “Cliffhanger” in style.