kitzbuhel snowy mountain scene

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Kitzbühel: The Austrian ski resort with world-class skiing and vibrant culture

30 January 2024 • Written by Lucy Dunn

The 2025 edition of the Superyacht Design Festival will be returning to the Austrian ski resort of Kitzbühel, from 2-4 February, by popular demand. If you plan on joining us for the festival, the BOAT Design & Innovation Awards, the BOAT Artistry & Craft Awards and the Young Designer of the Year Award, here's how you can make the most of your time in the heart of the Austrian Tyrol.

Nestled in the shadow of the spectacular Kaiser Mountains, just an hour and a half from Salzburg airport, the medieval town of Kitzbühel earns its reputation as one of the most beautiful ski towns in Europe. Surrounded by ancient city walls, the town is a hotchpotch of tall townhouses, pretty boutiques and ancient inns which over the years have been converted into chic four- and five-star hotels.

After dark, ‘Kitz’, as it is fondly known by locals, is known for its buzzing nightlife and there’s a vast choice of fine restaurants, traditional eateries and bars with crackling fires to be found along its picture-postcard cobbled streets. And while it certainly ticks all the same alpine glamour boxes as the chi-chi resorts of Courchevel or Zermatt, prices don’t reach the same dizzying heights.
Visitors will find a town untouched by time. While Kitzbühel swapped between Bavaria and the Tyrol several times during the Medieval ages, it has remained remarkably unscathed. If you’re interested in finding out more about its colourful history, there’s a small museum tracing the town’s folk art and mining past and a picturesque 15th-century church with artwork and frescoes.


Undoubtedly, Kitzbühel’s star attraction is skiing: the town is on the doorstep of a vast 176-mile ski area spread over three sectors. It best suits intermediates and experts and the potential for clocking up some serious distance is almost on par with the giant Paradiski and Trois Vallées ski areas in France.

The resort also plays a leading role in the world of competitive ski racing and is home to the challenging downhill race on the World Cup calendar on Hahnenkamm mountain. Called the ‘Streif run’, each year this race sees top athletes hurtle down this steep stretch of mountain in a tradition that stretches back to 1931. The course has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous and hair-raising, with a twisty-turny track said to propel skiers up to speeds as fast as 140kph. The race draws spectators from around the world including celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

If throwing yourself down a mountain is really not your thing, cross‐country skiing, sledging, ice‐skating and curling are also to be found. And for something even more sedate, why not strap on some snowshoes and try one of the 70km of cross‐country trails crisscrossing the area? The panoramic snowy scenery won't disappoint.


There’s plenty of choice when it comes to food, from cosy family-run pizzerias to high-end eateries and this is a key part of the resort’s appeal. In town, Centro Cafe offers reasonably-priced wood-fired pizzas while Il Gusto has a reputation for being one of the best Italian restaurants in town. For more high-end dining, the five-star Hotel Tennerhof’s restaurant Gourmet Tennerhof is the place to book. Presided by award-winning chef Johannes Denk, the food is super-creative and top-notch.

On the slopes, there are around 60 restaurants to choose from and are mainly traditional in style with table service. At the top of the Hahnenkamm gondola next to the Streif run, Hochkitzbühel cafe has a sun terrace and a Streif race course simulator. The menu includes typical Tirolean classics such as Wiener Schnitzel (pork fried in breadcrumbs) and Knoblauch Speck (cured meat). On Friday evenings the gondola is open until 11pm so you can dine as the sun goes down over the mountains.


Après-ski fans certainly won't be disappointed by Kitzbühel. You can’t go wrong with the Londoner, the resort’s long-standing British pub, which has been a lively hang-up-your-boots meeting place for decades, and O’Flannigans, a traditional Irish bar that is open from 4pm until late.

Next door to the Hahnenkamm gondola station, Pavillon is open daily from 2pm to 10pm. The circular wooden bar is great for an end-of-day sundowner and it throws regular parties throughout the season. Revellers can enjoy dancing on tables and the nail game (an après game involving hitting a nail into a tree stump with a hammer). For those who want to take the party on even further, Jimmy’s is open until 2am at weekends and Club Take Five, the coolest club in town, is open Wednesday to Saturday until 6am.

Getting there

The nearest Austrian airports to Kitzbühel are Innsbruck and Salzburg – each about 1 hour 45 minutes transfer by car.  Other options are Munich Airport (2 hours 20 minutes) and Zurich Airport (4 hours 40 minutes).

The Superyacht Design Festival is an essential event for designers, architects and shipyard representatives to learn more about the world of design both in superyachting and in the wider sector. As well as inspiring talks and panel discussions, the festival also has a buzzy social programme that facilitates networking.


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