The beautiful resort of Kitzbühel, in the western Austrian province of Tyrol has long been a favourite ski destination for British holidaymakers. However, the Medieval town is also a hive of activity throughout the summer and autumn and is widely regarded as the best golfing destination in the region, with clubs operating from early May to mid-October. Boasting four courses, including three of championship level, and a further 30 courses in the wider area, Kitzbühel caters to both casual and seasoned players and is fast becoming popular with UK golfers in search of an alternative to the more trodden golfing destinations of southern Europe.
The first club in Kitzbühel to host the Golf European Challenge Tour, the fabulous 18-hole GC Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee-Reith is ideal for golfers of all levels, with well-balanced terrain and superb playing conditions. Celebrating its 30thbirthday this year, the club is surrounded by mountains, forest and meadows, with the course offering stunning panoramic views, formidable water hazards and flat fairways, starting off with an impressive 500-metre-long opening hole. Unique is the par 3 sixteenth, the so-called 'mousetrap', which can only be reached via a small ravine and has been known to challenge even the most formidable of players. The clubhouse serves quality local cuisine and benefits from a sun terrace with tremendous vistas of the Astberg and Rauher Kopf.
The 18-hole GC Eichenheim course, designed in 2000 by American Kyle Phillips, is more challenging. From the first hole, a precision hit through a narrow gorge to the green, to the last, a well bunkered uphill dogleg, it is a rollercoaster ride for even the most talented of players. Considered one of the finest golf clubs in Austria, the course benefits from impressive views of the Wilder Kaiser and Hohe Tauern mountains, as well as long pars for varied terrain. The par 71 course is surrounded by steep cliffs, natural streams and picturesque forest, the club also offers a 30-bay driving range, golf school, practice bunkers and a putting green. The adjoining Grand Tirolia Hotel, combines traditional regional architecture with comfortable modern facilities and fantastic dining.
The GC Kitzbühel was originally founded 50 years ago and reopened after a significant renovation and upgrade in 2006. The classic 9-hole course with new design is popular with experts and novice golfers alike and incorporates lakes with two island greens and an old castle wall. One of the most famous clubs in Austria, the course is on the sunny side of the valley and provides views of the town below to one side and impressive mountain scenery to the other. The five-star A-ROSA Kitzbühel hotel overlooks the course, with its beautiful Tirolean style turrets, shingle roof and natural stone bay windows, seamlessly blending into the surrounding countryside.
The GLC Rasmushof 9-hole golf course is positioned near the finishing line of the legendary Streif, which is the most famous slope of the Hahnenkamm mountain. The course is difficult enough to give handicap players a challenge, whilst offering beginners a good introduction to the game. Surrounded by pleasant meadows and forest, and home to an excellent four-star hotel and restaurant, the par 54 course features steep slopes for varied play. Located a convenient five-minute walk away from the town centre, there is also a dedicated onsite Golf Academy with full training facilities, allowing holidaymakers to get their game fully up to scratch before returning home.
During the recent Kitzbühel Golf Festival, which is one of a number of high-profile golfing events in the region, Kitzbühel residents welcomed over 900 players from all corners of the globe. Encompassing 12 tournaments across all of the town’s golfing venues and including the renowned ‘Streif Attack’ of the Hahnenkamm with ten notoriously steep holes, the festival is cementing Kitzbühel’s reputation as the ultimate Alpine golfing destination. Growing in popularity and stature over nearly two decades, the event is also well known for its food, with attendees treated to the finest cuisine by awarding-winning chefs and six carefully selected Austrian wine-growers.
Beyond golf Kitzbuhel has an enviable year-round sports offering, catering to every just about taste and ability level. During the summer and autumn, sports enthusiasts can explore more than 1,200 km of marked biking trails and more than 1,000 km of hiking trails set against the spectacular mountain scenery. Summer also means tennis, e-biking, canyoning, running, archery, horse-riding and more, as well as a huge choice of waterspouts and wild swimming pursuits on the beautiful Schwarzsee Lake and elsewhere. Then during the colder months, Kitzbühel is the regional centre for ski, snowboarding and other winter sports, with up to 200 days of great conditions and some of the finest facilities in the Alps.
More from Kitzbühel
Kitzbühel Culinary Hiking Week: 14-22 September 2019
Not only is Kitzbühel renowned for its world class hiking, it is also considered one of the premier centres for gastronomy in the region. The Kitzbühel Culinary Hiking Week will combine the two in late September, when holidaymakers will take part in organised gourmet hikes from the Kitzbüheler Horn to the Südberge Mountains and the Hahnenkamm. The hikes will provide the opportunity to try delicious Tyrolean delicacies with expert guides, in addition to stops at traditional huts to sample local cheese and meats.
Christmas in Kitzbühel
During the Christmas period Kitzbühel will be transformed into a fairy tale like scene, with its Medieval streets glowing in festive colours each evening to the sound of carol singers. Set against the snow-covered mountains of the Alps, during the period the town will combine delightful Austrian Christmas traditions with the opportunity to ski and board in some of the best conditions in the region. A Christmas market will take place in the centre of Kitzbühel every Wednesday to Sunday from late November, with wooden stalls offering roast chestnuts, mulled wine, handmade seasonal gifts and more. In addition, the town's Stadtpark will be turned into a Christmas petting zoo, with llamas, donkeys and sheep, as well as pony rides for children.
Major upgrade to Fleckalmbahn lift
Substantial work is currently underway to upgrade Kitzbühel’s 35-year-old Fleckalmbahn lift. The €27.5 million project will see bigger, faster and more comfortable cabins coming in to use this December. The new lift will have spacious, ten passenger cabins that travel at 70kph up the slopes, compared to the six passenger cabins travelling at 40kph of the old lift it replaces. Capacity will increase from 2,400 to 2,590 passengers per hour and annual energy consumption will drop dramatically by 75,000 kWh.