Experience joie de vivre in Kitzbühel, Austria this summer

The concept of joie de vivre epitomises an exuberant love of life and that’s precisely the vibe you’ll experience if you visit Kitzbühel during the summer…

Team Wanderlust
28 March 2023
Promoted by
Austria Travel

Main image: ©Kitzbühel Tourism

Urban exploration

Enjoy a city walk through the more than 750-year old city center. (©Kitzbühel Tourism)

The charming town of Kitzbühel has an impressive and fascinating history. The town was founded in the 13th century and you can learn about its story in the excellent Kitzbühel Museum, which explains the area’s farming, mining and craftwork heritage. Exhibits also celebrate the Kitzbüheler Skiwunderteam – six friends who dominated the ski scene in the 1950s. Today, Kitzbühel’s one of the liveliest towns in the Tirol. Throughout July and August, Thursday evening is PURA VIDA night. The activity programme kicks off with a yoga session on the meadow in the Stadtpark. In the square, balloon artists, fire-breathers, clowns and bubble-blowers will keep children amused and live music helps set the festive mood.

Culinary delights

Enjoy traditional delicacies – on the mountains or in the valley (©Kitzbühel Tourism)

Food’s a big part of the Tirolean summer scene and Kitzbühel is no exception. The area’s restaurants, cafés and mountain huts serve up delicious regional fare all summer showcasing local ingredients and traditional recipes. The main street is lined with pavement cafés, but bear in mind many of the best foodie experiences are found higher up the mountain. Hike to the Bichlalm to lunch at a sunny terrace table with one eye squarely on the scenery. To reach the Hornköpflhütte, another must-try Alpine restaurant, ride the Hornbahn gondola. Before you eat, swim in the Hornköpflsee to work up an appetite for the hearty Tirolean cuisine that’s their signature fare. And if you have a sweet tooth, you should make your way up to the Hahnenkammstüberl to taste their scrumptious cranberry pancakes.

Talented chefs flock to the town for the KITZ Culinary Festival at the start of September. This year will see 23 restauranteurs from the area head to the historic town centre to offer visitors a chance to sample their locally-produced goods. Expect to find tasty and traditional food from committed restaurant owners, mountain hut owners and local producers.

Head out on two wheels

Explore Kitzbühel on two wheels (©Kitzbühel Tourism/Andreas Meyer)

Don’t pass up the opportunity to explore the Kitzbühel area on two wheels. Experienced cyclists will relish an ascent of the Kitzbüheler Horn.It’s the steepest mountain bike trail in Austria, gaining more than 800 metres of altitude over just under 10 kilometres. If you tackle it, you’ll need to navigate numerous hairpin bends and have enough stamina to make it to the summit. The legendary Hahnenkamm is less of a challenge but just as iconic. In winter, elite skiers race the Streif track, but when the snow melts the MTB Flow Trail is deliberately designed to be family-friendly. It’s 8.4km from start to finish, with enough berms and rollers to keep things interesting. You’ll want to brake sharply, but for photo stops at scenic overlooks rather than panicked overcorrections. Easier still is the 2km long Lisi Osl Trail, accessed from the Gaisbergbahn, whose straightforward curves and gentle drops require little skill.

Lace up for a hike

The region is laced with hiking trails (©Kitzbuehel Tourismus)

Multiple lifts make light work of reaching trailheads, so Kitzbühel’s two tallest mountains are the main focus for visiting hikers. The four kilometre Streif hike begins at the top of the Hahnenkammbahn cable car at Hochkitzbühel. The vertiginous gradients of this iconic downhill ski run are a little easier to navigate on foot than over snow. As you tackle this tricky descent, stop to admire the Schwarzsee and the serrated outline of the Wilder Kaiser. Appreciate the view of the 1996 metre high Kitzbüheler Horn, but plan to hike it as well, riding the Harschbichl cable car to the summit station where a spectacular panorama awaits – on a clear day you’ll see Austria’s tallest mountain, the Grossglockner. Also, consider walking at least part of the KAT Walk, a multi-day trail designed to be tackled in four to six stages. The longest leg climbs out of Kitzbühel to a kid-friendly Alpine flower garden, summiting the Kitzbüheler Horn before continuing towards St Johann in Tirol. Head south to Jochberg for a medium difficulty 9km loop trail which snakes uphill through shady woodland to follow the course of the Sintersbach stream. The 85 metre high Sintersbach Waterfall makes a photogenic pitstop, but plan for lunch at the Jochberger Wildalm mountain hut before you return.

Take a swim

The Schwarzsee Lake (©Kitzbühel Tourismus)

The arrival of summer in the Alps opens up the possibility of outdoor swimming. Natural lakes and manmade pools cater for a range of needs. The headliner is a mineral-rich moorland lake called the Schwarzsee. Backed by the Wilder Kaiser mountains and surrounded by grassy meadows and coniferous forest, it’s the warmest moorland lake in the Alps. In summer the water temperature can reach a balmy 27°C, making this a popular spot. The lake Gieringer Weiher is cooler and more secluded, attracting those who seek calm and relaxation.

Feeling inspired?

For more information and inspiration to help you plan your perfect summer visit to Austria, head to the official website.

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