By Steve Hartridge – February 2020 – 2 minute read
One of Europe's best-known ski destinations, this Austrian resort is promoting its impressive line-up of fair-weather activities like golf, hiking, mountain biking and more.
Need to know
Sitting pretty in Austria's Tyrol region, Kitzbühel has long been well known for its fabulous alpine skiing – anyone who has watched BBC's Ski Sunday over the years will be familiar with the legendary Streif run on Hahnenkamm mountain, considered the hairiest downhill race on the professional ski circuit.
But the town, an attractive mix of alpine chic, Medieval architecture, church towers, cobbled streets, boutique shops and one-off eateries, is making moves to attract more Brits in the warmer months – and has plenty to tempt hikers, cyclists, golfers and anyone else in search of some of the prettiest scenery and freshest air imaginable.
Runs which in winter tempt skiers are in summer incorporated into 1,000km of marked walking trails that challenge casual walkers and serious hikers alike. High above the valley floor they are surrounded in all directions by soaring peaks and meadows ablaze with yellow cowslips.
For cyclists there are more than 800km of off-road routes – and e-bikes make getting up to the highest vantage points easy. On the edge of town, Schwarzsee Lake, set in a natural woodland setting, attracts day-trippers for its swimming, sunbathing, row boats and paddleboards.
Swing high and low
Golfers should put Kitzbühel on their play list. Three very different golf courses, all close to town, have enough quality and points of difference to attract both dedicated golf groups and clients wanting to play a round or two on holiday.
On the outskirts of Kitzbühel, GC Eichenheim is rated as one of Austria’s finest. The first hole, which requires a nerve-shredding second shot through a narrow gorge to the green, gives a taste of the challenge in store. On some holes you seem to be playing up or down the foothills of a mountain, with views of the town far below, on others you are hitting along the bottom of a valley surrounded by meadows.
With views of the Wilder Kaiser and Hohe Tauern mountains, the course is surrounded by cliffs and deciduous woodland and natural streams – so bring plenty of balls.
GC Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee-Reith is an equally highly-rated course that opens as a flat parkland lay-out, albeit with some imposing water traps, before climbing above the town for a series of spectacular holes featuring undulating fairways and panoramic views. The third ‘must play’ course is the downtown GC Kitzbühel, next to the A-ROSA Kitzbühel hotel. The immaculate and challenging nine holes include the par-3 ninth, with an island green and spouting water feature. It feels like a top American resort course – until you glance up at those mountains and colourful alpine houses with hanging flower baskets.
All three courses have superb dining options, with hearty local fare and sun terraces for views of those peaks.
Festivals and events
Set in a broad valley basin surrounded by the Kitzbüheler Alps, Kitzbühel town is mostly car-free. There's a good choice of restaurants (with staff in Lederhosen and traditional full dress) and bars - including an English pub, The Londoner.
Various festivals, concerts and open-air events take place in the summer. Kitz on Wheels in July attracts Harley Davidson riders from around the world while Kitzbühel Culinary Hiking Week in September features guided gourmet hikes from the Kitzbüheler Horn to the Südberge Mountains and the Hahnenkamm, with stops at Tyrolean huts to sample local cheese and meats.
How to get there: Flights to Munich (100 miles from Kitzbühel) are available with Lufthansa. The town has its own rail station and express services stop there.
Accommodation pick: Tennerhof Gourmet & Spa de Charme Hotel is one of the town's last properties before the mountain foothills begin. A Relais & Chateaux property, it combines luxury with a traditional alpine chalet feel. If you notice a '007 sign' on one of the room doors it's because James Bond author Ian Fleming was a resident there when it was a guest house, allegedly whilst besotted by a local woman.