A playground for the rich and the famous, Austria’s Kitzbühel is a charming medieval village that also offers the best après-ski scene in the area. It’s perfect for those who aren’t dedicated to hitting the slopes every day, which is fortunate, because its relatively low altitude means that perfect snow is not a given. The town is home to the epic Hahnenkamm mountain, which hosts the annual Hahnenkammrennen—a downhill race on the alpine skiing circuit that attracts an international crowd and is held in January. Kitzbühel also has some great golf courses, making it a popular summer destination as well.
Who Should Go Social travelers looking for a Alpine destination that also has a happening nightlife scene.
Where to Stay Visitors to Kitzbühel have a relatively easy choice when deciding upon where to stay. Located right in town is the Hotel Tiefenbrunner (www.hotel-tiefenbrunner.at), the historic, grande dame option, that perfectly combines comfort and prestige. However, due to a popular après culture in town, it can get quite noisy during the afternoon. A more removed 5-star option is the Tennerhof (www.tennerhof.com). Travelers looking for something more isolated and budget-friendly should opt for the Rasmushof Hotel (www.rasmushof.at), a four-star property located a short, five-minute walk from downtown Kitzbühel. The ski-in/ski-out hotel is ideal for families looking for convenient and comfortable accommodations. Golfers appreciate the hotel’s golf club.
Where to Eat Located just opposite the Hahnenkamm, the mountainside Berggasthof Hagstein (www.gasthof-hagstein.at) provides the perfect midday break for skiers looking to indulge in some of the region’s finest cuisine. Whether on the terrace overlooking Kitzbühel or in the cozy, wood-paneled dining room, patrons are treated with Alpine hospitality while they sample specialties like the famous Strudel. Many of Kitzbuhel’s most esteemed restaurants are located within hotels, and the Tennerhof’s Kupferstube (www.tennerhof.com) is one of the best. The elegant establishment serves such elevated cuisine as trout with Champagne foam and caviar. Located in a charming storefront in the equally idyllic old town, Café Praxmair (Vorderstadt 17; 43-5356-62646) is perfect for a quick bite. The casual bakery and café is known for its excellent pastries and cappuccinos.
From shopping to golfing, there’s more than just skiing… Kitzbühel has a large range of luxury shopping (high-end designer shops line the streets of the old town), but one boutique that stands out among the rest is Witty Knitters (Vorderstadt 31; 43-5356-90992). With funky interior décor that emulates Alice in Wonderland, the stylish spot is the place to go for hip, yet cozy fashion.
In the summertime, Kitzbühel is a great destination for golfers, who will find plenty of world-class courses in the area. A favorite is Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee-Reith (Golfweg-Schwarzsee 35; 43-5356-6666070), located in the heart of the Kitzbühel Alps. The course is surrounded by picturesque views and boasts a dramatic 550-yard long opening hole.
If you visit in January… Make sure to see the famous Hahnenkammrennen race, which draws racers from all over the world to compete on the legendary racecourse. Before the event, familiarize yourself with its history by watching the Austrian documentary Streif – One Hell of a Ride.
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