If you are heading to Kitzbühel and the surrounding area for your winter holiday this season, you do not want to waste time trying to figure everything out. It can be time-consuming organising ski hire, lift passes, hotels and travel (unless you book a package holiday). The Ultimate Kitzbühel Guide is your hassle-free reference for this fun-filled area. It should save you time and maybe even some money too!
Kitzbühel is the main town in the KitzSki area. It includes neighbouring towns of Jochberg, Aurach, Kirchberg, Aschau and Hollersbach. To drive from Hollersbach on the far left of the map (see below) to Aschau on the top right takes 50 minutes. The distance is 45 kms by road but the ski area links all these towns.
The ski area has a whopping 234 km of descents, 57 cable cars and lifts and over a thousand snowmaking machines. The longest piste is 8.3km and is 16a over on the Pengelstein side of the mountain.
It isn’t difficult to get to this area of Austria independently. You can select from numerous flights to Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck, pick up a car and drive pristine roads into the valley in no time.
Drive times are around 2 hours from Munich, 90 minutes from Salzburg and just over an hour from Innsbruck.
Check out the best flights using Skyscanner. Beware if you fly with a budget airline and plan to take skis, remember this will be an additional cost.
If you have a car, excellent roads connect the different villages in the Kitzbühel area. Otherwise, you will need to rely upon trains and ski buses which travel reasonably frequently up and down the valley.
Trains run between Worgl and Saalfelden daily. For instance, the last train from Kitzbühel to Kirchberg is at 21:37 on weekends and 22:35 on weekends. It’s an eight-minute journey between the two and costs €3 for a single ticket. This compares favourably to Uber which charges approx €15 for the same journey.
There are several buses travelling between Aschau, Kitzbühel, and Mittersill. If you want to travel the entire journey from Aschau to Mittersill you will need to change buses in Kitzbühel and possibly also at the Fleckenbalm ski lift.
Buses start around 7am and the last buses tend to be around 18:30. You can find full timetables on KitzSki.
The timings are not at regular intervals so it pays to check the timetables as you get off the bus. That way you will not miss your last bus if you are not staying in the centre of Kitzbühel.
Kitzski provides details of all the parking options and whether they are free in summer or winter. Don’t make the rookie mistake we made and park at the one and only car park which isn’t free. The car park at the Hannekahnbahm costs €9 for a full day in winter. It may be convenient but why not simply get the bus between the two lifts and save some money?
Kitzbühel is known as an upmarket resort which means hotel prices are not budget. You can find better value options in the smaller villages around Kitzbühel. For instance, we stayed at the Parkhotel Kirchberg in Kirchberg. We paid €1500 for eight nights over Christmas 2019 and the room was very spacious with a panoramic balcony. The room rate included breakfast, access to the sauna and fitness facilities of a nearby hotel and is a short walk to the town centre.
You could also consider Airbnb if you really want to contain costs. If you have yet to sign up for the site, use this link and you will get £34 towards your first stay. Then refer all your friends to earn further credits which you can use towards future stays.
However, if you would like something a little more luxurious, here are some eye dropping options in and around Kitzbuhel.
The Kempinksi Hotel Das Tirol has double rooms for a three-night stay in February for £1,138. It is a stunning hotel, immediately beside the ski lift in Jochberg. It has a spa, indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness centre. The town is around 5 miles from Kitzbühel town centre.
The Hotel Restaurant SPA Rosengarten is a gorgeous hotel with a stunning indoor pool and outdoor pool for summer visitors. It has a fitness centre, parking facilities and a spa. It is about a mile out of town on the road to Aschau and has double rooms with a balcony from £1,103 for a three-night stay in February.
The Tennerhof Gourmet & Spa de Charme Hotel is in the centre of Kitzbühel just a short walk to the ski lifts. It has double rooms for the same three nights in February for £1,475. It has a sauna, spa, restaurants and a pool.
I have also included some less expensive options but these are hardly ‘budget’ options. Did I mention that Kitzbuhel is quite exclusive?
Less expensive hotels
Just 0.5 miles from Kitzbuhel, the Suiten Am Schloss are apartments with a fitness centre. They have lovely views and cost £620 for the above three nights.
The Hotel Elisabeth offers the best value stay in February with rooms from £782.
Once you have selected your digs, it is time to get down to the important stuff if you are here to ski. The all-important matter of hiring skis and buying lift passes can be quite a minefield. Rest assured, we have you covered.
There are tons of options in each base area however it pays to book with a company in a convenient location. We booked skis with Hervis in Kitzbuhel and the shop is right next to the Hahnenkamm Lift. You literally exit the equipment room, and in minutes will be clambering onto the cable car. Prices for skis for 5 days start at £63.82 in February.
Next door, Intersport Rent charges £109.80 for the same period. Whilst you do not need to pre-book, it will save time on the day as you will simply take your voucher to the collection point. If you do not pre-book you may pay more and then will have to complete all the paperwork in resort. Personally, that is not how I like to spend my vacation time!
Ski lessons in Kitzbuhel are expensive. Whatever happened to the days of ski school weeks which were inexpensive? Skibro is a site which allows you to compare prices for a number of ski schools. This works out much better value than booking on the spot. I looked into prices for Kitzbuhel and was put off by the whopping €75 a day cost. Skibro offers lessons from €41.60 per day for adults which is some saving!
You can buy a pass which covers you for the whole of the ski area and passes get progressively cheaper for every extra day you add. For the full KitzSki area, day passes start from €48 in low season but prices vary by date and the best way to check prices is to go to KitzSki.
You can also purchase consecutive day passes prices and five in seven passes. Six consecutive days costs €237.50 but this gives you little flexibility if you wish to have a day off. You could simply pay for six separate area passes and this will cost you no more than €240, possibly less depending on which areas you wish to ski.
One way to keep costs down is to buy tickets for specific lift areas as it is not unlikely that you will explore one area at a time anyway.
Day ski passes
A day pass for the Gaisberg ski lift costs €33 for adults but this lift area is very limited and is not likely to keep you amused for long.
A day pass in 2019/2020 costs €40. Kitzbüheler Horn offers skiers 10 lifts and 14 slopes and the Hahnenkamm-Pengelstein area offers 29 lifts and 45 pistes. The latter connects easily to the Fleckalmbahn, a new lift which descends into Kirchberg.
Resterhöhe day passes cost €40 and allow access to the mountain via the Resterhöhe 6-seater chairlift, Panoramabahn Kitzbüheler Alpen cable car and the Resterkogel 4-seater chairlift. The pass is available all through the winter. Note, however that if you are staying in Kitzbuhel it is around a 30 – 45 minute drive to these lifts.
The Resterhöhe-Jochberg area has 16 lifts and 32 slopes which should be plenty to keep you amused for a day.
The Bichalm area charges €36 per adult for a day pass and is ideal for early birds in search of the perfect descent. Skiers can hop on the “snowcat” – a snow groomer that seats 9 people and be the first to make tracks in the snow. Alternatively, the new Bichlalm 2-seater chairlift provides a comfortable ascent.
The Bichalm area has 2 lifts and 4 slopes and is one of the cheapest areas, although I am not sure it is good value compared to other day passes.
All local day passes appear to be available all winter except for the Hahnenkamm.
There is a special reduction on day tickets at the start and the final of the winter season for the Hahnenkamm lift. It is valid at the Hahnenkammbahn cable car A1, Waldebahn A3, Starthaus A7, Märchenwald A6, Steinbergkogel C1, Ehrenbachhöhe C2 and Jufen C3 and costs €40 per day. Although the website says the start and end of the season, I could not find exact dates for this pass so it is worth checking if it is available if you plan to ski this area.
Super Ski Card
Dubbed the ‘biggest ski safari in the world’ if you want maximum flexibility you may like the idea of the ultimate ski pass! It offers access to over 2,750 kilometres of pistes in 80 different ski areas including 3 glaciers. Via 943 cable cars and lifts, you can ski in 6 world cup villages, take your pick from over 800 mountain lodges and possibly never ski the same piste.
Which ski areas can you ski with the Super Ski Card?
Six consecutive days costs €292 for the Super Ski card but I’m not convinced it is worth the extra cost. Even if you really want to ski as many places as possible, there are only so many slopes you can ski in a day. You would be better picking an area for each day and buying the localised ticket. For instance, a day pass in Brixen Im Thale in the Ski Welt area costs €48 a day (after 11am).
To take advantage of the Super Ski pass you will need a car and to base yourself somewhere central so it will only be a short drive to your chosen destination for the day. Here is the full list of resorts you can ski using this pass.
- SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental. I particularly like the Westendorf side of the mountain for spectacular views.
- Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn
- Skistar St. Johann in Tirol/3 Länder Freizeit-Arena
- Steinplatte Waidring – Winklmoos/3 Länder Freizeit-Arena
- Die Buchensteinwand Bergbahn Pillersee/3 Länder Freizeit-Arena
- Familienskigebiet Kirchdorf in Tirol/3 Länder Freizeit-Arena
- Familienskigebiet Schlepplift am Lärchenhof in Erpfendorf / 3 Länder Freizeit-Arena
- Almenwelt Lofer/3 Länder Freizeit-Arena
- Unken-Heutal/3 Länder Freizeit-Arena
- Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau
- Zillertal Arena
- Zell am See -Schmittenhöhe
- Kaprun/Kitzsteinhorn & Maiskogel
- Naglköpfl, Piesendorf
- Weisssee Gletscherwelt/Uttendorf
- Mölltaler Gletscherbahnen Flattach & Ankogelbahn Mallnitz
- Ski amadé
- Salzburger Sportwelt
- Region Hochkönig
- Region Schladming Dachstein
- Skiregion Dachstein West
- Winterpark Postalm
- Die Schneebären
Yes, this looks impressive but do not be fooled by the window dressing. For instance, you could not ski SkiWelt and Saalbach on the same day as it would take you the best part of 90 minutes to drive between the two. This is why I think it would be better to buy individual day passes rather than this pass. If you disagree let me know in the comments – you must have way more stamina than I!
Every Thursday and Friday between 6.30pm and 9.30 you can enjoy the floodlit slopes of the Gaisberg for €21 per adult.
You can find details of any piste closures here. Note, no discounts apply if some of the pistes close which is another reason buying local passes on a daily basis might be better value for money.
You can get your bearings with the KitzSki map. Note the mountain has some peculiarities which it is worth being aware of.
When you get to the top of the Hahnenkamm, you need to use the magic carpet to get to piste 21. When you descend 36 and 37 and want to return to base you will need to use the magic carpet in reverse.
To check the weather, simply log onto KitzSki WiFi and at the login page it gives you the weather for the current and next day. This allows you to plan your skiing accordingly.
You will often find that the cloud cover lifts late morning or early afternoon so it can pay to have a lie-in and head to the slopes later when it may be brighter.
Food and drink
Skiing sure works up an appetite so it would be remiss not to mention some restaurants worth trying. I am not an expert on where to eat in Kitzbuhel as we tended to eat locally in Kirchberg. Let me, therefore, pass you over to the Culture Trip for some great suggestions for restaurants in Kitzbuhel. Feel free to let us know your suggestions too.
In terms of places to eat on the slopes, the Hochkitzbuhel restaurant at the top of the Hahnenkamm is not a fast-food diner but rather a ritzy restaurant. It’s very flash and exclusive but many tables are reserved and we could not get a seat. It is definitely worth a visit however if you have the patience to wait for a table. Watch this video to see why!
Kirchberg may be a quaint little village but it still has some great food and drinking options. Here are some of the restaurants we tried and would recommend.
We visited on New Year’s Eve and paid €84 for three courses. The restaurant is a modern twist on a traditional Austrian restaurant and serves mainly Italian food. The food is exceptionally well presented with friendly staff.
This Italian is very popular and does not accept reservations for 7 pm (only later). It serves traditional Italian fare and has friendly bar staff. Be prepared to wait.
The Ephesus snack bar next to Nabucco was our favourite bar. It is a round wooden hut with a central bar and booths around the edges and offers a range of snack options including kebabs, traditional sausages and pizzas all at reasonable prices. It is a friendly gathering spot that offers a cosy ambience at the end of the day.
This looks like a pop-up bar in a round tent and is on the main road heading to Aschau. We didn’t find it especially friendly in this bar but it is popular in the early evening.
This bar on the main road to Kitzbuhel claims to be the coolest bar in the village. In the early evening, loud music and a DJ welcomes you back from the ski slopes. It is a rowdy venue offering Austrian and German pop music, shots and fun until late (if you can put up with the cheesy songs!)
There are also a ton of bars like this one dotted around the mountain if you feel comfortable drinking and skiing.
Other things to do
We were in the area for 8 days and only skied four so there is plenty to do for non-skiers or summer-time visitors. Here are just a few options that you may wish to consider.
Take a day trip to Salzburg
Salzburg is a stunning city, famous for Mozart and the Sound of Music. Join the fascinating and hilarious Sound of Music tour as we did and follow in the steps of Maria. We took the tour with Panorama Tours and you can read more about that trip here.
The journey to Salzburg is around 90 minutes and you can do the journey by train in around 2.5 hours. The latter is a bit painful as it requires a change in Worgl.
There is a 3,500m toboggan run that is open between 9am and 4pm everyday on the Gaisberg. It also opens in the evenings between Tuesday and Saturday from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. The run is floodlit at night and you can use the chairlift to ascend to the top for hours of fun without thigh busting climbs.
It costs €33 for an adult day pass or €21 for an evening pass. A child ticket costs €10.50.
The valley is studded with lots of walking paths which are clearly signposted and take in walks through the valley plus more blood pumping walks up the mountains. If walking in winter, you must check the conditions before setting out.
We followed the lovely path from Kirchberg to Aschau which is 8km. Be warned, there is nothing of note in Aschau but it is a pleasant walk through the valley.
There are several wonderful spa resorts throughout the valley. My personal favourite is the Kempinksi Hotel Das Tirol in Jochberg which has a gorgeous indoor and outdoor pool.
Have your say
So there you have it. The ultimate guide to Kitzbuhel should give you everything you need to know for your ski trip but if you find something missing that you feel should be included just let us know.
We would love to hear from you. Otherwise, happy skiing.