With a pedestrianised, medieval, bustling centre at its heart, Kitzbuhel is teeming with charm. A reputation as the most beautiful ski town in Europe and where comfort is every bit as important as the skiing. You may need a healthy ski break budget for the impressive mountain heritage; but whether you're after charming mountain restaurants, dancing on tables or relaxing in the spa - you won't be disappointed with Kitzbuhel.
The last weekend in January is when the ski World Cup comes to the resort for the hair-raising Hahnenkamm downhill race and the town turns into a crazy carnival. But, bar this one run (85 degrees in parts), Kitzbuhel is an intermediate resort. Fantastically groomed pistes where the lower slopes are dense with trees and the potential for covering huge distances is enormous.
The resort lies at an altitude of 760m, which is low for a modern resort. The lower slopes are susceptible to thawing in the early and later stages of the season. So to ensure top-to-bottom soft, gripping snow the best time to visit is definitely mid-winter.
Skiing in resort
The Hahnenkamm, properly named the Streif is a major b-line for any experienced skiers but it's the rest of the resort that most come to Kitzbuhel to experience. The lift system is super quick and queues are diminishing by the season.
Beginner slopes are lower down and then progress onto the quieter Kitzbuheler Horn away from the busy areas to give you time to think rather than worry about the people around you.
Intermediate runs cover the entire mountain. Head to the back of the ski area crossing the 3S gondola for some of the best pistes around and well away from the crowds. Food wise you are spoilt with over 50 mountain huts to choose from, spectacular lunches and often cheaper than eating in town.
For advanced skiers, there's still plenty to explore, black 55 is a wonderful run tucked away at the end of the ski area. But to get the most out of the extensive off piste routes; hire a guide for the day and go hunting for the powder stashes. Roam through the hidden valleys and discover small mountain villages throughout the 56,800 acres of terrain.
Starting up on the mountain on the slopes of the Hahnenkamm the après kicks off on the sunset runs. The Streifalm is always lively and full of traditional dance. Down in town, there's a huge amount of choice from clubs to live music, salsa bars, themed events and chic Ibiza style parties. Of course, there's an Irish pub but one of the most popular spots to get up on the table and dance is the Londoner.
There's plenty of quieter options around as well. The streets are lined with designer boutiques and studded with quaint cafés and rustic wine cellars. Alternately the Aquarena Leisure Complex offers pools with waterfalls as well as plenty of spa treatments or the Mercedes-Benz Sports Park will have you skating, climbing and curling your way through the evenings.