Crystal-clear waters against the backdrop of majestic peaks, lush-green alpine pastures and fresh mountain air. This is summer in Kitzbühel. If you think of Kitzbühel as just a ski destination, you’d be very wrong. The Tyrolese resort is as popular in summer as it is in winter. The holiday villages of Reith, Aurach, Jochberg and Kitzbühel itself combine Alpine elegance with rustic tradition, offering visitors an endless variety of sports to make the best of the season.
Hiking, cycling, swimming and golf are but a few of the sports on offer in the midst of the picturesque Kitzbüheler Grasberge, where refreshing lakes, grandiose mountain panoramas and exceptional nature experiences await.
Easily accessible from the airports of Munich, Innsbruck or Salzburg, with three train stations a short walk from the town centre and a first-class network of regional buses, getting to Kitzbühel is easy from anywhere in Europe. Moving around is dead easy so a car is not necessary. Instead, I’d recommend you stroll through its 750-year-old historic quarter, enjoy the ambience and the soothing air of the heart of the Alps. The streets are lined with upscale shops, boutiques, fancy cafes and award-winning restaurants. One could say that shopping and culinary delights belong to the Gamsstadt like the Streif to the Hahnenkamm. The local museum chronicles the history of the town and the area’s winter sports, with paintings by Austrian artist Alfons Walde.
Moosbeerschmarrn, a kind of blueberry pancake with very high ratio of blueberries…
The medieval centre is home to exclusive fashion and jewellery stores, with art and design galleries and traditional craftman- ship businesses also within short walking distance. The district of Kitzbühel cele- brates its artisans through its #LocalHeroes series. It is they who provide the delights for visitors wanting to indulge in a bit of unique shopping. An excellent example is goldsmith Magarete Klinger, who, when she embarked on her career at the age of 22, was the youngest Tyrolese goldsmith. From her very first KITZ collection, her pieces have become a special Gamsstadt souvenir for jewellery lovers.
Hiking fans will feel like they are in paradise in Kitzbühel. Be it on the gentle Grasberge mountains, the iconic Kitzbüheler Horn or the legendary Hahnenkamm, more than 1,000 kilometres of hiking and running trails await you. The warm hospitality of the locals extends to the certified hiking busi- nesses in the region, who are passionate about the sport and will share with you all their insider tips. From beginner’s routes to guided hikes and even challenging mountain tours, the “can do” attitude of the locals means that “ain’t no mountain high enough”, everything is possible. Your feet will lead you to the most beautiful alpine scenery in the region.
Panoramic view of Hahnenkamm in summer. © Kitzbühel Tourismus | Michael Werlberger.
If cycling is your sport of choice, imagine how wonderful it can be to ride through the breathtaking heart of Kitzbühel’s mountains and valleys. Whether you want to eat up road on your racing bike, collect altitude metres on your mountain two-wheeler or go for an easy spin on an e-bike, you’ll find your ideal tour among the 800 kilometres of cycling routes in the region. My favourite is possibly the bike trail from the Hahnenkamm to the town. With its flowing curves and exciting hills, this trail is fun for §xall kind of mountain bikers, even beginners. A little bit more challenging, but a great way to explore the region, is the Kitzbühel Bike Marathon, which will take place for the second time this year. Covering a distance of 216km and 4,600m of altitude, this is a test for any cyclist with a fitting Grand Finale: the climb up to the Kitzbüheler Horn, which, at a height of 1,996 metres, only just misses being a “two-thousander”.
An increasingly popular sport among visitors is golf. Not really a surprise, given the surroundings of the four local golf courses. With long drives that soar from cliffs over huge ravines and putts rolling over perfect greens, teeing off in Kitzbühel is an unforgettable experience. Newcomers can enjoy an intensive tuition course at any of the local schools and academies and soon be on their way to become masters. Even kids can enjoy a learning experience with a golf club.
Wildswimming in the Schwarzsee lake is very popular among locals en visitors alike. © Kitzbühel Tourismus.
The Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee-Reith course, which is often the venue for top-class international tournaments, will entice you to play its 18 holes surrounded by a unique panorama in the middle of the Tyrolean Alps. The final six can be a challenge for even the most experienced players owing to their intricate fairways. Tucked in between the Wilder Kaiser and the Hohe Tauern, and surrounded by dense forest, the 18-hole Eichenheim championship course offers long pars and stunning views of the region’s peaks. Nearer the town centre, the 9-hole Kitzbühel Golf Club presents golfers with special water hazards at the island greens of holes eight and nine, embedded in the castle park. Close to the end of the legendary Streif downhill run, you’ll find the 9-hole Red Bull Golf at the Rasmushof on hilly terrain. The fairways are selectively laid out and the nine holes are exciting enough to challenge handicap players as well as offer an ideal place for beginners, all while enjoying the picturesque view of Kitzbühel’s town centre.
Besides the sporting activities, Kitzbühel has an exceptional calendar of events in sum- mer. For example, every Thursday from 7th July to 25th August, “Pura Vida” celebrates Tyrolese culture, which is shaped by the land and its people, by tradition and modernity. Numerous initiatives, such as yoga in the park, street art and children activities invite visitors to enjoy and be part of the local life through creativity, culture and gastronomy.
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Words: By Julia Pasarón