If you're a skier or snowboarder, you'll already know the name Kitzbühel as a legendary winter sports resort, but conquering the summits is just as satisfying in the summer months. And whether you're hiking, golfing, rock climbing, mountain biking or e-biking, trail running or jogging, this renowned sports town in the Austrian Alps can keep you busy 365 days a year.
The clean mountain air, the fresh water in the lakes and streams, and the rolling grassy mountains have attracted visitors and hikers for more than 100 years. Kitzbühel itself is a delightful walking town - you won't need a car in the Gamsstadt.
Kitzbühel and its neighbouring holiday hotspots Reith, Aurach and Jochberg have an exciting mix of outdoor activities, but the summer hikes here will delight walkers of all ages and abilities. So get ready to tick off the best summer walks in the Kitzbühel mountains.
And to cool off, the region offers opportunities to try wild swimming: for example, immerse yourself in Walchsee, one of the warmest lakes in Tyrol. With up to 26 ° C water temperature in the summer months, the 100-hectare Walchsee is a bathing paradise.
Where is Kitzbühel?
Kitzbühel is set in right in the middle of the beautiful Kitzbühel Alps in Tirol on the western side of Austria, not far from the German border. It’s easy to get to Kitzbühel by train – with three train stations in Kitzbühel itself, the nearby Salzburg, Innsbruck and Munich airports are very well connected. Moreover, Salzburg is just 75 minutes away by car, Innsbruck 80 minutes and Munich two hours away.
Highlights of the Kitzbühel region
Kitzbühel is a charming town known for its hospitality, with world-renowned Tirolean and international cuisine. And from the valley floor to the highest peaks it offers 1,000km of routes for hikers and trail runners as well as 1,200km of biking and e-biking options for all ages and abilities in unspoilt nature.
With the lifts from Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel you can easily get to numerous hiking starting points. With the legendary Hahnenkammbahn, the Hornbahn, the Panoramabahn, the Gaisberg and the Fleckalmbahn leading the way, the network of 38 cable cars can make even the highest summits accessible.
From the challenge of a long distance hiking trail to shorter rambles, some of the best summer walks in Kitzbuhel involve water - with hiking routes to a river, lake or waterfall. Whether it's the Bichlach hike to the ponds in Reith, a visit to Sintersbach and Schleier waterfalls, or hidden gems such as the Blaue Lacke or the Torsee, they all offer pure refreshment during the summer months.
Mountain bikers and e-bike riders won't want to pass up the chance to test their skills on the famous Hahnenkamm mountain above Kitzbühel, where every January the world's best downhill skiers race for World Cup glory. Opened in July 2019, the trail begins at the top of the Hahnenkamm cable car and measures 2.41km in length, dropping 878m of vertical from top to bottom.
The singletrack is rated S1 (easy), making it suitable for beginners and families as well as advanced and expert riders. It contains lots of banked corners, rollers, jumps and natural obstacles. Plus, the winding road system through the mountains offers great terrain for road cyclists as well.
As a culinary highlight, 60 rustic mountain huts invite you to delicious try regional delicacies with locally sourced produce, along with wonderful Austrian wines, traditional beers and exciting new craft ales. You'll also find a scattering of wonderful gourmet restaurants in Kitzbühel town centre as well as the surrounding villages. A trip to the local tourist office will help you find some of the best places to eat.
Kitzbühel also hosts a great variety of events from food to golf festivals, suited for active travellers, couples and families. For younger visitors, there's the Sommererlebnis Streif adventure area, outdoor treasure hunts, climbing paths, and the chance to observe more than 300 animals at the Aurach Wildlife park.
Seven great walking routes to follow in the Kitzbühel Alps
This wonderful landscape with its extensive network of paths coupled with the warm hospitality is what makes a hiking holiday in Kitzbühel so special. Not only can you explore the route of the legendary Streif on foot, there's also plenty of certified companies offering free guided tours throughout this holiday region, ranging from beginner hikes to demanding summit adventures for advanced hikers.
Or if you want to head out on your own, the fantastic interactive map at maps.kitzbuehel.com makes finding routes, planning trips and discovering new places to explore a breeze. The interactive tour portal makes it easy to prepare for your adventures, with route options, distances, difficulty levels and altitude profiles all easily accessible.
With the numerous hiking tours as well as cycling, running and Nordic walking routes, it's simple to find the perfect trail for you. You can also enjoy a guided walk with one of Kitzbühel's certified hiking hosts.
Get back to nature and explore with these seven unmissable hiking trails, plus a bonus mountain experience:
Walk the legendary Streif
Time: 2.5 hours
Difficult: Moderate to hard
The 'Streif' is recognised as the classic and most difficult downhill racing course in the world, and each year fills thousands of spectators and winter athletes with enthusiasm. Tackling the route on foot - with 900m of vertical - follows the classic course with gates indicating landmark sections such as the 85 per cent gradient of the Mausefalle, the Gschöss, where racing skiers can get up to speeds of around 90km/hr and the Lärchenschuss (the local mountain), and the finish point.
The local mountain is described by many experts as the most breathtaking site. At the finish racing skiers reach speeds of up to 140km/hr. Your walk, though moderately difficult, will be less daunting!
For more details about hiking the Streif, go to kitzski.at.
High altitude culinary adventure
Time: 4 hours
Here's a hike with a difference - a three-course tour through the Südberge mountains, where breathtaking panoramic views come hand in hand with delicious treats as you walk from venue to venue: appetiser at Bichlalm, main course at Aurach wildpark, and a dessert of apple donuts at Erbhof Hallerwirt.
You'll work up an appetite as you explore the pristine valley and sprawling meadows, while experiencing the best of Tirolean mountain cuisine.
Go to kitzbuehel.com for more information and maps of this route.
Hike to Blaue Lacke
Time: 6 hours
A circular route to one of the region's prettiest lakes - the blue jewel that is Blaue Lacke. The hike follows a trail below the Kleiner Rettenstein mountain to an idyllic spot where you can dip your toes in the cool lake water and relax at the water's edge.
The route back goes via Talsenhöhe to the 3-S-Bahn cable car and, from there, back to the Bruggeralm mountain hut where you can enjoy a break before hiking the last stretch back to the starting point.
See more details about the Blaue Lacke walking route at kitzbuehel.com
Alpenblumengarten (Alpine flowers garden)
Time: 1 hour
Kitzbüheler Horn, where botanical specialities from all over the world are grown by the Hofer family, who have been entrusted with the care of this magnificent alpine landscape since 1985. Anyone who has experienced the splendour of the Alpine rose blossom in summer will want to experience it here. It is one of the most impressive flower experiences that await you from spring to autumn.
Rare plants from the Caucasus, the Andes, the Pyrenees or the Himalayas flourish here - and the panoramic views are pretty special, too. A great experience for the whole family - after the hike through the Flower Garden, children can let off steam at the playground at the Alpenhaus.
Find more details about this walking route at kitzbuehel.com.
Time: 4 hours
The hike to the impressive Sintersbach waterfall, where the clear alpine waters drop more than 85m into the pools below, takes about an hour. Along the path through the scenic valley you can see evidence of the force of the water all around you, where the route was carved thousands of years ago. You'll walk through pastures and lovely forest landscapes before reaching the impressive falls.
From there the route continues to the Jochberger Wildalm mountain hut and after a little refreshment, the hike leads through alpine meadows and along the Drachensteig trail back to the start point.
For more details about this hiking route, go to kitzbuehel.com.
Time: 6 hours 15minutes
A panoramic tour with impressive views of the Wilder Kaiser. The circular hike starts in Reith and follows the ski slope up to towards the summit of Rauher Kopf, passing the charming Veitl Chapel along the way.
The Wirtsalm, Scharlwand Alm and Blinzalm mountain huts lie along the route to the summit, offering ample opportunities for refreshment!
The way back down passes the Hennleiten alpine guesthouse and then follows the Reither Ache stream past the Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee-Reith golf course. Much of the walk is through lush alpine meadows.
For more information about the Kaiserblickweg hiking route, go to kitzbuehel.com.
Gamsroas - The nine summit experience
Time: 11 hours
A challenging full-day hike that's the highlight of any trip! The 9-summit experience trail starts from Bochumer Hütte car park and heads up to the first summit, the Laubkogel. From there it runs along the ridge to Hahnenkampel, Rauber and Saalkogel. The subsequent climb up to the 5th summit, the Tristkogel, guarantees unique views of the surrounding mountains.
After a little refreshment the route leads uphill towards the Torsee lake and the Teufelssprung summit. You'll continue via the 7th summit, the Gamshag, which leads to the Kleiner Schütz and the Schützkogel (Großer Schütz).
The route back down passes the Schlichtenalm and the Niederkaseralm mountain huts before returning to the starting point.
This tough route will test your hiking legs, but the stunning views from nine different summits and the sense of accomplishment when you complete the tour, make the effort well worth it.
Go to kitzbuehel.com for more information about this hiking route.
And just for something different...
Breakfast and sunrise hike on the Kitzbüheler Horn
Enjoy a hearty Tirol Milch mountain breakfast and a romantic hike through the flower garden. And all this before the Hahnenkamm crows, in other words: from 4:15 a.m.! The cable cars lift you up to the Kitzbüheler Horn, and a brass band provides the musical soundtrack. Can you think of a more Tirolean experience?
Go to kitzski.at for more information and to book your trip.
To experience the #realAustria and to find out more about summer in Kitzbühel, go to kitzbuehel.com
There are regular flights to Innsbruck, Munich and Salzburg from around the UK to make getting to the Tirol even easier. Once your flight has landed, you can use a transfer service, hire car or train connection to make your way to Kitzbühel.