I’ve never previously been tempted to stay in Kitzbuehel. My only experience of it is was passing through on a coach that the town wasn’t designed to be able to accommodate – that certainly didn’t score any first-impression points. I therefore felt at the time that it was overrun with an unsustainable amount of tourists and that it’s ancient centre was anything but laid back.
But yet, my attention has recently been drawn to what it offers as a base, not in the least because it presents a more expansive choice of accommodation than for instance, nearby Alpbach and the Wildschoenau. The Hahnenkamm – hosts a formidable ski-run which every January comes alive when the annual excuse of a booze-up appended to World Cup skiing rolls into town – is the name that instantly springs to everybody’s mind when Kitzbuehel is mentioned. Despite it’s relatively modest altitude of 1712 metres it is undoubtedly a steep and unforgiving mountain; as I have stated elsewhere in my blog, the difficulty of terrain is not inextricably linked to it’s elevation. For visual-recognition and iconic status, I though subscribe to the motion that the Kitzbueler Horn is the quintessential peak of the area, notably identified from afar by dint of the ORF transmission tower at it’s summit. Originally derided by locals who thought it an abomination, it is now very much part of the furniture and a tourist attraction in its own right.
I am though of course rambling. The aim of this particular post is to espouse and promote the merits of purely using Kitzbuehel as a base. I was prompted to author this post having been awakened to the fact that the “Kitz Alps Summer Card” enables the purchaser to access no fewer that 29 lifts. I find this truly astonishing but it is a measure of the cooperation to be found between the multifarious resorts in the area that this can be achieved. So, should you wish to buy this card(it’s unlikely that you wouldn’t want to), areas such as the Wildschoenau(hurrah), Alpbach, Soell, Westendorf and Scheffau are yours to explore, as well of course are the Kitzbuehel lifts themselves. Where though it becomes more complicated are the bus services that are included in the Summer Card, as well as the ones you cannot access with it. There is also a stipulation of having a photo, presumably passport size, to seal the deal at the time of purchase. As though with all resort cards, there are plenty of extras included, the highlights being guided-walks and mountain-bike hire. As it does a far better job than myself in extolling it’s virtues, more information can be found here: http://www.kitzbuehel.com/en/sports_leisure/summer/summercard
Whilst the limitations with the buses might restrict those amongst you without your own wheels in visiting all of the lifts included on this card, it nevertheless is an access-all-areas passport to the Kitzbueheler Alps and the charming resorts that lie within it’s boundaries. Whilst not wishing to denigrate Kitzbuehel in any way, I couldn’t stay there AND just keep within it’s immediate environs – I would want to put on my best Odyssian hiking-boots and seek out the highlights of this vast area that the Summer Card so thoughtfully opens up. Whilst basing your stay in Kitzbuehel, I would endorse the Hotel Schwartzer Adler(Black Eagle) as your place of repose. Mixing modern-day sophistication with traditional architecture and values, the Adler has stood the test of time and continually shines out as a beacon of excellence. The rooftop swimming-pool and accompanying vistas will surely be a highlight for swimmers and non-bathers alike. Most importantly though, whether you choose the Schwartzer Adler or another of Kitz’s hotels, you will find the depth of choice far greater than some of the nearby areas that you will wish to visit. In my case, I will be quite happy to stay in Kitzbuehel but spend most of my time in the Wildschoenau, Alpbach and Scheffau. Therefore, it is very much a win-win situation.