Prospering in the 16th century with copper and silver mines, Kitzbühel – nicknamed “Kitz” – has since become a modern resort serving an international clientele attracted by its excellent ski resorts and winter sports, with many ski schools and snowboard parks. In summer, activities such as hiking, cycling, rock climbing and golf are popular.
Kitzbuhel Top Attractions
One of the top things you can do in Kitzbühel is to spend some time exploring the Old Town center (Innenstadt) on foot. Built on a large hill ridge, this historic area consists of two roads: the Vorderstadt and the Hinterstadt. Each of these attractive old arteries is lined with beautiful old gabled houses, many of them built in the attractive traditional architectural style of the valley.
Kitzbühel is also a great place to explore some of the most spectacular Alpine landscapes in Austria. This is especially true of the enchanting Kitzbühel Alps, which are especially popular with nature lovers for their abundant wildlife. Natural wonders along the way include the Schleier Falls (Schleierfall), which falls into the Rettenbach River and creates a spectacular setting for a great hiking experience.
To find the best places to visit in this picturesque part of the Alps, be sure to read the list of top attractions and things to do in Kitzbühel, Austria.
1. Climb to the Top of the Kitzbüheler Horn
The 1,998-meter Kitzbüheler Horn northeast of Kitzbühel is one of the most famous of Austria’s many mountain peaks. Highlights include the picturesque old house known as the Gipfelhaus, a chapel and the Alpenhaus restaurant, all easily accessible by cable car via the 1,273-meter-long Pletzeralm.
For the more adventurous, there is an impressive four-hour climb to the top of Kitzbühel city center. Arriving by car during the warmer summer months may want to follow the impressively steep 7.5 km road to the aforementioned Alpenhaus at the top of the mountain. Open only during the day from May to November (yes, it is so steep!), It is also a popular route for cyclists – or at least for those with steel nerves!
Whatever you choose to get here, the magnificent view awaits you at the top. To the south, you can see from the Radstädter Tauern to the Ötztal Alps. To the north, the nearby Kaisergebirge. To the west, the Lechtal Alps and to the east, the Hochkönig.
Location: Kitzbüheler Horn, Kitzbühel , Αυστρία
2. Go Skiing In Kitzbuhel
To the south of the Kitzbüheler Horn rises the equally impressive Hornköpfli of 1,772 meters. You can also reach by cable car during the ski season, and the other mountains in the immediate vicinity are one of the top ski destinations in Austria, if not Europe. In fact, as soon as the snow falls, Kitzbühel and its surroundings are filled with skiers from all over the world.
It is a skiers’ paradise, with many slopes – either for beginners or professionals – served by many ski lifts on the slopes of Kitzbüheler Horn, Hahnenkamm and Steinbergkogel. And you will never get bored, as everyone says, Kitzbühel boasts 170 km of skiing terrain. Add to this the nearby SkiWelt with its 90 lifts and 280 km of slopes, and you will be busy for many days !!
Hard-core skiers, be sure to include the 3.5 km Hahnenkamm ski slope in your must-do list. One of the most famous ski slopes in the world, is the stage of many international races every winter. Equally known to skiers is Streif, which is considered one of the most difficult downhill slopes in the world.
If you are interested in skiing history, be sure to visit the Legendenpark Kitzbühel, located in the heart of the city, just a short walk from the lifts. Here you will find interesting monuments and informations that mentions some of the most famous ski celebrities in Austria.
Location: Kitzbuhel , Tyrol , Austria
3. Hiking And Cycling In Kitzbuhel
When the weather is warmer, the slopes around Kitzbühel turn from a winter wonderland into a hiking paradise. In total, the area boasts more than 1,000 kilometers of trails, from pleasant walks in colorful valleys and meadows to more demanding climbing leading to the many peaks of the area.
Whatever your pace, these well-kept trails offer great views of the Alps, as well as countless reasons to stop and admire the scenery. Along the way you will find fun mountain huts that have been set up as rest and refreshment stations, some of which can be used for overnight stays. One of the most popular hiking trails in the area is the well-marked 15 km long Kaiser Trail with magnificent views of the Kaisergebirge.
Mountain bikers are also well covered. One of the most popular routes is the 1,000 km long Bike Trail Tyrol based in Kitzbühel. Divided into 32 stages, the route can start from many locations with many nice stops along the way. Maps and trail information are available from area attractions, hotels and attractions.
The 1,712-meter peak of the Hahnenkamm rises high above Kitzbühel and offers some of Austria’s cleanest mountain air, the most beautiful country for walking and excellent skiing terrain. Accessible from numerous lifts and cable cars, this stunning mountain also offers some of the best views of the valley you can find anywhere in Europe. On the north side rises the 1,206-meter Seidl-Alm, just an hour and 15 minutes climb from Kitzbühel.
There is also an attractive 30-minute walk from the upper cable car station to Ehrenbachhöhe (1,805 meters). From here, it is another half hour to the 1,960-meter Steinbergkogel, which is also accessible by lift from the Ehrenbachgraben, or 1.5 hours to the 1,940-meter Pengelstein. The 3.5 km long Hahnenkamm ski slope is one of the most famous in the world and while winter is the setting for many international races, summer is becoming a popular destination for hikers, hikers and mountain bikers.
5. Church of St Andrew
At the northern end of the old part of Kitzbühel is the picturesque parish church of St. Andrew (Pfarrkirche St. Andreas). Built between 1435 and 1506 and later renovated in the Baroque style, this huge building with its low tower and dome is equally attractive inside, with beautiful stucco marble, 15th century frescoes. Next to the choir is the Rosakapelle, with its beautiful windows and a painting on the roof of St. Rosa from 1750. Also noteworthy is the magnificent 17th-century high altar by Kitzbühel sculptor SB Faistenbergerth.
Another must-see church is the Bernhard-Kapelle, a simple structure perched high above Kitzbühel on the slopes of the Hahnenkamm. It serves as a graphic setting that is much preferred by photographers. Also very intresting is the Franziskaner der Immakulata, a historic catholic church run by Franciscan monks.
Address: A-6370 Kitzbühel, Pfarrau 2, Austria
6. Alpine Flower Garden Kitzbuhel Horn
It is said to be the most attractive “mountain garden” in Europe, the magnificent Alpine Flower Garden is located at the Kitzbüheler Horn at an altitude of 1,880 meters, just minutes away from the top and the Gipfelhaus. This attraction covers more than 20,000 square meters of mountain slope and is home to more than 300 different species of plants from around the world.
Clearly marked with details of their original habitats, the specimens include rare species from the local area, as well as from the Caucasus, the Pyrenees and the Himalayas. In addition to learning more about the plant life of the area, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area. English language tours and guides are available.
Address: Ried am Horn 6, 6380 Kitzbühel, Austria
7. Kitzbuhel Museum
An excellent local museum located in the old town granary, the Museum Kitzbühel (Museum der Stadt Kitzbühel) is well worth a visit. Focusing on the area’s rich history, including its popularity as a top ski destination, its many exhibits include Tyrol folk art and finds from ancient mines.
It’s major collection of works of art includes more than 60 paintings and 100 drawings by Alfons Walde, whose colorful mountain imagery has helped to attract rich and famous people from all over the world to the slopes of the area. Many other winter sports artwork is also on display. It is also worth seeing many sports-related items, such as an iron bob, ancient skis, and star-studded exhibitions of athletes associated with the area. Guided tours are available.
Address: Hinterstadt 32, 6370 Kitzbühel, Austria
Kitzbühel, Austria…! Arts, Mountains and more…!
Those who enjoying a much slower, more relaxed pace should visit Schwarzsee, a picturesque small lake just three kilometers northwest of Kitzbühel. The Schwarzsee takes its name from its dark green waters – a result caused by its swampy environment, which also results in mineral-rich water – the Schwarzsee is extremely popular for swimming, sunbathing and fishing (carps and pike are plentiful). They are also popular for boating, such as canoeing and kayaking (rowing boats are available for rent).
This idyllic, 15-acre, tree-lined lake is also known for having some of the hottest waters in the Alps, with temperatures reaching 27 degrees Celsius at the peak of summer. The Schwarzsee is also included in many of the area’s hiking trails and is a great place to stop for a picnic by the lake. Nature lovers are also frequent visitors thanks to the nature reserves located here.
Location: Schwarzsee, Tyrol, Austria
Just north of the Kitzbühel parish church is another interesting place of worship, the small two-story church of the Virgin (Liebfrauenkirche). The lower church was built in 1373, while the upper church is known for its beautiful ceiling painting from 1739 which shows the Crown of the Virgin. Other notable features are its magnificent mesh screen from 1781, its beautiful instrument and its large bell dating from 1518.
Another church worth visiting is the Gothic church of St. Catherine (Katharinenkirche), built in the 14th century and now is a war memorial. Interior features include a box window on the south wall, a carved figure of the 15th century Virgin Mary and a winged altar of 1520.
Address: Josef-Pirchl Strasse, 6370 Kitzbühel Austria
10. Fun For Kids: Wildpark Aurach
A fun activity for those traveling with children – or with an interest in animals – includes a visit to the Wildpark Aurach. Although it is an easy (and scenic) four-kilometer drive from Kitzbühel, many visitors to the area will no doubt choose to hike in this popular wildlife park. However, it is climbed to a height of over 1,100 meters, so climbing can be a bit difficult, depending on your fitness level.
In total, there are over 200 animals in the park of almost 100 acres, including native species such as deer, wild boar and lynx, along with a number of exotic species such as llamas, yaks, kangaroos – and even mountain monkeys – many of which are housed in open habitats to ensure an as much natural environment as possible.
A highlight especially for children is the zoo, where they can get a taste of the care of domesticated creatures during feeding. It is definitely fun to watch young people interact with everything from donkeys to goats and rabbits (feeding time is 14:30). There is also a pleasant café on site with a lovely patio overlooking the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Other fun things to do for families includes the wonderful Ellmi’s Magic World. This mountain top attraction is truly a great adventure playground with theme areas such as a rainforest and a search mine. There is also a restaurant with great views of the Wilder Kaiser Mountains.
Also entertaining is the Schaubergwerk Kupferplatte copper mining museum, just a few minutes’ drive south, which features the opportunity to drive an authentic underground mining train. For older children and teenagers looking for a little fun indoors, take a look at the Pinball Museum in nearby Oberndorf, just seven minutes north of Kitzbühel. There is also a retro-themed restaurant on site.
Address: Wildparkweg 5, 6371 Aurach bei Kitzbühel, Austria
11. Take a Trip to St. Johann In Tyrol
About 20 km north of Kitzbühel is the small community of St. Johann in Tyrol. This popular resort for summer and winter sports is famous for its more than 1,000 meters with beautiful steep slopes. Several cable cars go up the Kitzbüheler Horn to the south, with usually less crowded slopes being ideal for beginners and intermediates.
When you are not on the slopes, be sure to take the time to explore the many fine examples of Baroque architecture that have survived intact, many of which now function as boutiques, galleries, cafes or restaurants. The parish church of Maria Himmelfahrt is also remarkable. Completed in 1728, highlights include exquisite plasterboard and ceilings, as well as a magnificent dome mural from 1803.
Another church worth visiting is the Spitalkirche in der Weitau, known for its 18th-century interiors and exquisite 15th-century stained glass windows. The Museum der Marktgemeinde St. Johann in Tyrol is also well worth a visit, especially for its art gallery.
About 22 km east of Kitzbühel, in the Pillersee-Ache valley, lies the popular Fieberbrunn spa and winter resort. Although a less crowded ski destination than Kitzbühel, Fieberbrunn offers many great opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts. Its most popular slopes include the 1,660-meter-long Lärchfilzkogel, which is well served by a number of lifts.
Another peak worth visiting during winter or summer is the Lärchfilz-Hochalm (1,364 meters). A short drive north of the Fieberbrunn, on the road to Waidring, is the beautiful Pillersee, a mountain lake at the foot of of the Loferer Steinberge which is famous for its wonderful scenery and trails.
13. Kitzbühel Alps: Grosser Galtenberg & Salzachgeier
Kitzbühel Alps, adjacent to the Tux foothills and separated from Hohe Tauern by Pinzgau, a valley of the Salzach River, are a wonderful mountainous area to explore, just an hour’s drive from Kitzbühel. Most of the slate mountains in Austria extend over a series of gently rounded ridges for about 100 km, with treeless or sparsely forested alpine meadows descending from the peaks into many longitudinal and transverse valleys, ensuring their popularity among skiers.
The highest peaks in the Kitzbühel Alps are at the western end of the mountain range, part of a ridge 2,558 meters east of Kreuzjoch near Gerlos, and around a deserted lake valley up to Torhelm 2.495 meters before reaching north through several smaller peaks at Grosser Galtenberg 2,425 meters near Alpbach and Salzachgeier at 2,470 meters. A variety of hiking and climbing tours are available, from day-to-day adventures to three-day or four-day missions for those with experience.
14. Wildseeloder & Τhe House Οn Τhe Hill
Another peak in the Kitzbühel Alps worth exploring is the Wildseeloder with magnificent views of the eastern part of this stunning mountain range. At 2,177 meters, the Wildseeloder is not the highest of the area’s peaks, but it is very popular for its relatively easy hikes (at least compared to some of the highest peaks), including the ascent from the village of Fieberbrunn via the Wildseeloderhaus.
Known to both locals and regular hikers as “The House on the Hill” for its stunning views, it was built in 1892 as a climbing hut for tourists and climbers. It’s a great spot on your trip, offering a chance for a breather or overnight, along with great views of the peaks in all directions. Best of all, you can reach Lärchfilzkogel by cable car, about an hour’s walk away. Other fun things to do here include a dip (albeit a cold one) or boating on Lake Wildsee.
Kitzbuhel, Austria…! Andventure, Sports, Culrure & More…!