“ Tyrol, Austria. „
Well, I've never been to Kitzbühel in the snow. But it seems extremely odd to me that, with the very beautiful natural surrounds of Kitzbühel, with the majestic Wilder Kaiser mountain range in the background and the impressive Hahnenkamm and Kitzbüheler Horn on opposite sides of the valley, the only interest some people have in them is throwing themselves down it on one or two small pieces of carbon fibre (or whatever it is they make snowboards and skis out of these days). What's all the hurry?
It took us three hours to climb up the Hahnenkamm, and I'm glad to say that for once we were not overtaken by any old German ladies steaming up there on zimmer frames. (It's happened before far more frequently than I'd like to admit!!), but every second of it was well spent. Going to the cable-car station at the bottom of the Kitzbüheler and getting a Sommerfriepass is definitely a good idea - for a little over 50 Euros, you can have unlimited access to all of the cable cars, gondolas, chairlifts, and buses in the Kitzbühel region (though you can only go on each ride once per day) for a week. And yes, if you get the winter version, it will give you access to the ski lifts too -but I expect it'll cost you a bit more than the summer pass.
In fact, once the skiing season starts, I suspect that everything goes up in price. Shopping-wise Kitzbühel very much caters for the rich and fashionable (i.e. more money than brains), and is quite limited for the rest of us. However, a quick bus ride to the nearby St Johann is all you need for a wider range of shops that are cheaper (this is important). I find that Kitzbühel is a little too tourist-oriented for my liking, though most of my family disagree. However, you get a much better reaction from the locals if you are prepared to at least try and speak a little German - though a lot of them speak English better than you do!
As far as facilities go, there are plenty of restaurants, cable cars, and a nice swimming pool. But a word of warning - until around the middle of June, many things are shut. We went at the end of May, and there were still a number of lifts and restaurants that would not be open for 3 or more weeks. A slight warning about the buses too - while they are very reliable and punctual, there aren't very many of them. Often there's only one per hour to a particular destination, and on bank holidays you can just forget it.
The hotels in the region vary, but we've mostly been very happy with the service, facilities, and food, and on our most recent visit we stayed at the Gasthof Hasslesberger (very close to the cablecar station at the bottom of the Hahnenkamm), which I would give 5 stars any day - it was superb in every way. We normally go for family-run 2/3 star establishments (we tend to go through Inghams, which we have found far better than Thompson, Chrystal, and Enterprise, the other tour operators that we've been to Austria with), and these normally provide just the right level of quality, inexpensiveness, and unobtrusiveness. (Ingham's reps tend to be less pushy than most too, but are there when you need them.)
If you want to go on a hiking / rambling holiday, Kitzbühel is perfect due to the wonderful surroundings and plentiful chair lifts etc if you find yourself suddenly too tired to walk down the mountain you've just climbed up. Obviously a good map is useful!
The weather in Austria is very variable, almost as temperamental at times as in England This can be a bit of a nuisance as there's not a great deal to do and see in the town itself once you've had a look round a couple of times, but thankfully Kitzbühel has excellent access to transport links - most notably the train station, which can get you to Innsbruck, for instance, in little more than an hour.
Sadly, the evil that is McDonalds has infiltrated even this haven of natural beauty, but I guess that for some people this may even be a plus. (Much worse is that a large casino and even "Americ-style table dancing" has found its way there.) I think Austrian food is fantastic, but then I've got very cosmopolitan taste buds. It's also got rather a reputation for being vegetarian un-friendly, even though they have the most wonderful salads there. (Often the main meal salads - particularly the famous "Baurnsalat" [Farmer's salad] - do have meat with them as well.) There seem to be some attempts being made to introduce more vegetarian food in Kitzbühel, but it's not exactly a priority for them. Food is relatively inexpensive (at least before the main holiday season in July/August!), and you can always get a "Kaiser Brot", "Speck Brot", or "Shinken Brot" (literally "Cheese / Ham / Bacon Bread") cheaply. This might not sound appetising but can be very nice, basically just bread and cheese / meat, probably a bit of salad and gherkin on the side - try it even if the thought of it doesn't particularly inspire you, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised! Just as a side-note, in Austrai the bread tends to be rye bread, which doesn't taste quite like what you're probably used to. Another dish well worth trying is the Tirolean speciality, Tiroller Gröstl, which is a dish of fried ham and potatoes in herbs, typically served with a fried egg on top. As with most areas, if you want to find the best restaurants, look for the places the locals go to.
Another thing to be aware of is that most shops are shut between noon and three in the afternoon, and not many stay open late - none of this 24/7 (or nearly 24/7) opening that's becoming so prevalent in the UK and US!
Wheelchair access to the cable cars etc is amazingly good - certainly they must have improved it over the past few years since I've been there. Unfortunately, due to the fact that you are, after all, in the mountains, you may still find it rather difficult if you are disabled. Some of the mountain tracks are very narrow and can be quite steep, which can be a challenge even for able-bodied people! You know your limits better than anyone else, of course, but a bit of specific research into the area you're going to would be a good idea. You're travel agent / the Austrian tourist board should be able to help.
Well, that just about wraps up my review. I like Kitzbühel very much, my sister loves it to bits. To me there are enough negatives to prevent me from giving it a 5-star rating, but I'd still give anyone a recommendation to go there. It really depends what you want out of your holiday, of course, but I would say that for a hiking holiday without too many people around, your best bet is to go towards the end of May or in June, when most things will be open, and there won't be too many people around.
You pays your money, you makes your choice.
Thanks for reading!
~ ~ Trust ‘the mad cabbie’ to visit one of Europe’s most renowned ski resorts in the height of the summer! Kitzbuhel is a small Austrian town situated high in the Austrian Alps in the famous Tyrol area of Austria, and probably best known for its famous downhill ski race which takes part here every winter season, and which attracts the cream of the world’s skiers. It’s about an hour and a quarter drive from the nearest main airport in the city of Salzburg. The drive from Salzburg itself is a memorable experience, with roads which wind their way past enormous mountain peaks, tumultuous rivers, and huge lakes, and which immediately gives you the sense of awe that never really leaves you when visiting this truly spectacular part of the world. I was struck straight away by the huge predominance of four-wheel-drive vehicles on the roads, until it dawned on me that these roads are covered in hard-packed snow and ice for a large portion of the year, and that four-wheel-drive would be a huge asset during the winter months. ~ ~ We stayed in the Alpenhotel, (opinion to follow) a four star establishment which sits on the beautiful Schwarzsee lake. But one thing that Kitzbuhel is not short of is hotels, guesthouses, pensions and hostels, and anyone planning a visit could very easily arrange their own accommodation over the telephone or Internet without having to pay a commission to a travel agent. I had been a bit apprehensive about the holiday because of the terrible rain and flooding in this part of the world just prior to our departure date, and true to form it absolutely chucked it down from the heavens for the whole of the first day we arrived, but this was to be practically the last rain we saw for the duration of our week’s stay. The hotel was beautiful, with magnificent views of the lake and the surrounding mountains, but I’ll go into more detail about this in another opinion. We did have a little dif
ficulty finding it though, as the directions that I received from ‘herbb’, an Austrian member of dooyo and Ciao both here in the UK and in Germany, were for another hotel called the ‘Alpenhof’. (hee, hee) But a visit to the Tourist Information Bureau in the town soon sorted out my difficulty. Kitzbuhel have introduced a marvellous signposting system, with different coloured ‘hotel routes’, (red, green, blue, and yellow) which is simplicity itself to follow. Once you know what colour of route your accommodation is located on, you simply follow the signs. And you need the signposts, as the streets in Kitzbuhel are very small and narrow, and wind their way around the ancient town in a totally haphazard fashion. Almost all the locals have at least rudimentary English, by the way, with many being fluent, which makes life very simple for an English-speaking tourist. ~ ~ Our first morning necessitated a visit to the local swimming pool, as my 11-year-old daughter still has this fixation that she is part dolphin! This is in the centre of the town, and is called the ‘Aquarena’. It’s a marvellous modern swimming complex, with every facility imaginable. There are three pools, one regular layout for those people who enjoy swimming lengths, a landscaped pool for the use of families, and a smaller play pool for the babies and toddlers. It also has two cracking water slides, which my wee lass practically lived in, and where I nearly drowned on my (one and only!) descent of the steeper and faster of the two. I forgot to hold my nose at the bottom, and half the pool made it’s way up my nostrils! There is also a good snack bar overlooking all three pools, where you can sit and keep an eye on the youngsters, while enjoying a coffee (good), beer or light snack. (And also have a smoke, which surprised me!) And if you want to top up your tan, then there’s a sun terrace, (with free sun beds
) and you can also take a steambath, solarium, sauna, or mud bath. The ‘Aquarena’ represented very good value, at €7.50 for adults and €4.70 for kids, which dropped to €6.50 and €4.50 when you produced your ‘guest card’ from your hotel. (This ‘guest card’ is an innovative idea of the local town council in Kitzbuhel, and gets you all sorts of discounts varying from 5% to 50% at many of the local attractions.) The pool was somewhere we visited on a daily basis on our week’s visit, and comes with a high recommendation. There’s also free parking, which was very handy, as we tended to leave our rented car there for the duration of our visit to the town, thus saving on parking fees in the official car parks. ~ ~ But what the Alps are most famous for are their magnificent mountains and scenery, and we took full advantage, taking the cable cars up two of the highest local peaks, and DRIVING up the third. (and highest) The first mountain we visited is called the Hahnenkamm, where the famous downhill ski race takes place each January. The cable car station is located right beside the local train station in the centre of the town. My wife was very apprehensive about this, as on a previous visit to Switzerland in the 1980’s we had ascended the ‘Grand Pass St. Bernard’ on one of those small ski lifts where you are open to the elements and only held in place by a small metal bar across your lap. It was an experience she didn’t enjoy (I did though!) and had no wish to repeat, but she needn’t have worried. The cable cars (at least the ones which we used) are all enclosed, and sit six people in comfort. The ride up was exhilarating, as you ascend at a fairly steep angle to the top station on the mountain, winding your way through the dense forests that cover the lower slopes, and with a panoramic view over the whole of the surrounding area. The mount
ain is 1658 metres in height, and when we reached the top station I was astounded by the vast crowds of people who were hanging around. I later discovered that a very famous downhill racer come pop star was due to visit the Hahnenkamm that same morning, (not that famous though, ‘cos I’ve forgotten his name) and the media, including Austrian television, were out in force. We retreated to a lovely ‘Jausenstationen’, a wooden built café come restaurant slightly downhill from the summit, where we enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee (Austrian coffee was invariably good!) while soaking in the magnificent sunshine and scenery, and watching the para-gliders glide gracefully down the valley. By the way, if you are the adventurous type, you can descend the mountain by para-glider yourself! There is a booking station at the summit where for €90 (upwards) you can book a tandem flight, with a highly qualified instructor, to the bottom. And before you ask, no I didn’t partake of the offer! I might be the ‘mad cabbie’, but I still retain some semblance of sanity. But for the younger and more adventurous amongst you, (or even the older and dafter!) this would probably be something that would appeal. There is also a small museum (free) at the top cable car station that gives you the history and background to the development of the cable car system on the mountain, and which contains some of the older type of cable cars that were used in times past. (some of them looked fairly dodgy to me!) And if you’re fairly fit then you can opt to either walk up or down the mountain by a well-designated path. If you walk up then you are only charged half price for the cable car ride back down. (or, of course, vice versa) Being August, there was no snow on the ski slopes, but it’s still fairly easy to see the path they take through the dense forests, with the bottom of one slope ending up on the third green of one of the lo
cal golf courses. (sacrilege, I call that!) ~ ~ The next day we went up the higher of the two local mountains adjacent to Kitzbuhel, the ‘Kitzbuheler Horn’, which rises to 1996 metres. The cable car station for this mountain is situated close by the famous Kitzbuhel Tennis Stadium, where a professional tournament is played each summer which attracts many of the world’s top professional players. (and vast crowds) Again the scenery on the ascent would quite literally take your breath away, and here your ascent is broken at a midway cable car station, where you can either opt to ascend to the summit by the small cable cars or in a larger gondola type car. On the day we visited only the large gondola was in operation. If you get out for a wander around at the midway station then do watch where you are walking, as cattle wander about freely, and leave their somewhat unsavoury deposits (shit) in the grass for unsuspecting tourists to step in! When you’re wearing sandals (as I was) this can be a most unpleasant experience!! When you reach the top station there is again a fairly large ‘Jausenstationen’, (café/restaurant) where we sat to drink in the crystal clear Alpine air and some very welcome caffeine. (Not such a good selection of food and drinks in this café as the one at the Hahnenkamm, by the way.) You climb about a further couple of hundred metres to reach the actual summit, where there is a gigantic radio and weather mast, which you can supposedly climb, but which was closed to visitors when we visited. We opted to walk down the path to the lower station, as one of the main attractions at the Kitzbuheler Horn is an ‘Alpine Garden’, which is situated between the top and midway stations. Here you can view all the plant life, flowers and fauna that thrive on the mountains. We bought a little guide book (€10) so we would have a better idea of what everything was, but it turned out
that everything was clearly labelled in any case. And we didn’t get to see the garden at its best, as most of the plants and flowers flower in June each year, and many were now withering somewhat. The mountain path winds its way down the mountain in a haphazard fashion, but let me give you a word of warning here. If you aren’t used to this type of walking then it can prove VERY wearing on the old calf muscles in your legs. My legs are in fairly good shape due to the amount of exercise I get on the golf course, but by the time I reached the midway station my calf muscles were like jelly, and practically in spasm! And watch your time as well! When we arrived at the midway station at 5.10PM we discovered to our extreme dismay that the last cable car runs at 5.00PM, and were told that we would have to walk the whole way to the bottom! But a bit of old fashioned bribery and corruption on the part of the ‘mad cabbie’ (€20) got us down OK. It’s also possible to actually drive your car to the midway station here on the Kitzbuheler Horn, something I didn’t realise until I actually got up there. On the week we visited the yearly race, called the ‘International Kitzbuheler Horn Run’ was scheduled to take place on the following Sunday. This is a kind of ‘mad marathon’ where the participants start out in the middle of Kitzbuhel village, and run to the top of the mountain. All week the village and surrounding area was over run with competitors training for this event. Personally, I think anyone attempting this challenge needs urgent psychiatric help, but each to their own. The cost of the cable cars is €15 for an adult, and €6 for a child, with a reduction of €2 in each case on production of your visitor’s card, or alternatively you can purchase a family pass valid for seven days for €80 if you intend to use the cable cars a lot during your vi sit. ~
~ The third mountain we visited during our trip is called the Grossglockner, and is actually the highest in Austria at 3,798 metres. This is accessed by a 34 kilometre long road that twists and winds its way up to the top station at 2,369 metres, but as it is situated about an hour’s drive from Kitzbuhel itself I intend to make it the subject of a separate opinion. (If it’s ever possible to suggest a new item here at dooyoo again!!) Of the three mountains the Grossglockner was by far the most impressive, and I look forward in anticipation to (eventually) writing my review. ~ ~ If walking is your thing then you are well catered for here in Kitzbuhel. There are over 180 kilometres of well marked walks in the immediate vicinity, varying from gentle little strolls down the valley to the neighbouring villages of Kirchberg or Aurach, or more adventurous and challenging hikes up the Alpine peaks. A visit to the local Tourist Office will get you a local map, and you can even earn yourself a bronze, silver or gold medal for your efforts. Each walk is awarded a certain points value depending on the degree of difficulty, and you can ‘earn your stripes’ over a number of years if needs be. We didn’t venture on any of these walks, but did enjoy some lovely evening strolls around the Schwarzsee lake which was adjacent to our hotel. Another way of getting about is by bike, and cycling is a very favoured pastime in this region, with many local cycle races, both on the roads and up and down the mountains. We also borrowed bicycles from our hotel on a number of occasions (free) and used them to cycle the three kilometres or so into the town centre, which was great fun. Bikes (for both road and mountain use) can be hired from many local shops, and lots of people take them up on the cable cars and then enjoy an exhilarating free wheel ride back down the twisty mountain roads and paths. And if you are the adventurous type then y
ou are quite literally spoiled for choice. Some of the local attractions include a helicopter tour of the Kitzbuhel Alps, or a more leisurely flight in a hot air balloon. But at prices that vary from €182 up to a whopping €400 per person, you’d need to have a deeper pocket than the ‘mad cabbie’. More affordable adventure pursuits would include horse riding, canoeing, or taking a trip on a white water raft. Golfers are well catered for with four local courses, which range in price from a mere €25 for a small par-three layout, up to €73 for the more challenging 18-hole courses. The course at Schwarzsee is supposedly of championship standard, but one look at the hills and gradients was enough to put me off, and I settled for hitting a large bucket of practice balls at the adjoining driving range. I DID manage to get a round of golf in during my trip though, although it entailed a round trip of 600 miles to Vienna, where I was the guest of ‘herb’, my friend here at dooyoo and at Ciao in the UK and Germany, at his home course the ‘Club Danube’. A very enjoyable day Herbert (thank you) even though the driving took me the best part of 10 hours! ~ ~ Kitzbuhel itself is a lively little town, with a wide choice of good restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to choose from. I imagine it would be even livelier in the winter season when the town is practically taken over by young (and not so young) skiers. We didn’t eat out very much as we were booked half board at our hotel (where the food was simply superb), but we did have a wonderful pizza at a small café called the Barrique, which is directly opposite the Casino in the middle of the town. Other notable restaurants are said to be the Unterbergstuben, which is reputed to be one of the top restaurants in Austria, and which is situated next door to the Hotel Jagerwirt. But you have to book about a year in advance to get a table here, and
judging by the Rolls Royces and BMW’s parked at the door, you’d also need to arrange a second mortgage with your bank in order to pay the bill! There’s a local McDonalds, (isn’t there always!) and the local Spar supermarket has a small restaurant above the shop, which is the cheapest in town. The local supermarkets all have excellent (and cheap) delicatessen counters, by the way, if you fancy a light snack during the day, and we used them often. The local Casino at the Hotel Goldener Greif offers a good deal, where if you eat in their restaurant they will give you €25 worth of chips for only €21. That is, if you fancy a flutter. I had a look in one evening, (they don’t seem to have a dress code incidentally!) but bottled out of actually gambling when I saw some of the high stakes that were passing over the green baize tables. (Literally thousands of Euros on the turn of a card!) Very glamorous though, and worth a visit if gambling is your thing. And there are two local Internet Cafés. The largest is the ‘Internet Cafe Videothek’ next door to the Hotel Schwarzer Adler, which has six terminals, and the smaller Café Kortschak in the town centre, which has only the one terminal, but which is the cheaper of the two at only about €9 per hour. (I used this one!) Not being a drinker, I didn’t really frequent the pubs at all, but had a coffee one evening in ‘The Londoner’. This is modelled on your traditional English boozer, and is probably one of the liveliest places in town, and is constantly packed with young people who go to listen to the live music. ‘Siggi’s Bar’ in the Jagerwirt Hotel is another lively spot, which also has large screen TV and screens most of the important football matches and sporting events on Sky Sports. Another trendy spot is ‘Highways’, which is an American themed bar, and seems to attra ct its fair share of pose
rs. And the 'Ecco' is a fairly new bar next door to the Casino, where all the ‘beautiful people’ seem to congregate. ~ ~ I wouldn’t really recommend shopping here in Kitzbuhel however, that is unless you have more money than sense. It’s very much an ‘upmarket’ environment, and the prices in all the local shops reflect this. Many of the clothes, shoes, etc were either of the designer label variety (and thus VERY expensive) or overpriced rags. Far better to visit the neighbouring towns of Kirchberg or Aurach to buy your clothes and souvenirs, as the prices are far more affordable. One bargain I DID pick up was some hand rolling tobacco! Golden Virginia is only €4.65 for a 50 gram packet, compared to €6.15 for a 25 gram packet at home here in Ireland. So my golf bag went home with its pockets literally bulging with enough tobacco to keep me going for about the next six months!! Cigarettes are about half the price they are at home here in Ireland as well, at about the €3 mark for a pack of twenty. ~ ~ Well. That’s about it folks. The ‘mad cabbie’s’ take on Kitzbuhel in Austria. Did I enjoy the holiday? Well, the answer to that is a resounding yes, even though I went with no great expectations. Definitely on the agenda for another visit, but the next time for far longer than a week, as we really only managed to scratch the surface of the things to do, see, and explore in this fascinating and extremely beautiful part of the world. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ FOOTNOTES Travel ~~~~~ Packages are available to Kitzbuhel from most of the major Travel Agents. We travelled with Inghams at a total inclusive cost of just under €2,100 for the week for myself and my wife and the wee lass. This included half board at our (excellent) hotel, and a week’s car hire from Avis. (Renault Scenic diesel) You could visit far more cheaply h
owever, by taking a budget flight to Munich in Germany, which is only a couple of hours away by coach, and by booking your accommodation over the Internet. Climate ~~~~~ Very pleasant and not too warm, with daily temperatures in the 25 to 30 degrees Centigrade range. Money ~~~~~ A Euro is approximately 63 pence Sterling. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Copyright. Ken J. September, 2002.
Kitzbuhel during the summer is completely different to the Kitz' that you would find during the winter and not only because of the lack of snow. During the winter this town hosts the mens downhill speed race but during the summer the fastest things you find going down hill are the ski gondolas. Kitzbuhel to its left has the Kitzbuhel Horn, identified by its television mast (raising the height to 1,800 meters) and to its right the Hannenkamm (where the race takes place) both accessable by ski gondolas. From the horn you will be able to see the Wilder Kaiser mountain range with its snow caps and scree slides. Nesteling at the botton is the town of St Johann which has a really cool tobogan run in the summer. In St Johann you will also find the Huberbrau Brewery which is excellent for lunch and good value as well. The restaurant is on the top floor which gives good views over the town itself. St Johann is reachable by either walking (about 1.5 hours from Kitzbuhel) by bicycle (which you can hire from all main train stations about £6 per day) or by bus or train. The main bus terminus in Kitzbuhel is at the bottom of the Hannenkamm and Kitzbuhel has two railway stations, one at either end of the town. From the Hannankamm top there are various mountain walks taking you to either Aurach or Kirchberg and the degrees of severity are clearly signposted. For those who don't like strenious walking, then stay at the bottom of the valley. Walk with the flow of the river and you can get to St Johann, walk against the flow and you can reach Westerndorf with its schnapps factory. The tourist office in Kitzbuhel is not one of the friendliest places but they can give you specific dates of the HARLEY DAVIDSON FESTIVAL when up to 3,000 HDs descend on the town,(a sight to see and hear) the FEUERFEST when the Firebrigade open their doors for a beer festival and the biggest event of all the STADTFEST, when the town centre turn
s into a huge beer festival with live bands, entertainers, side shows etc etc. In fact time your visit well to Austria and you could hit a Stadtfest every day of your stay. Kitzbuhel is not a cheep town. To eat at reasonable prices try the Mexican situated in the back street opposite the Casino, or the Huberbrau in the main street or even better still any of the supermarkets who's Deli counters will make up filled rolls for you from any of the meats, cheeses or salads that they have on display. Of an evening there are loads of places to try but most hotels are half board as opposed to room only. For drinks after dinner the "Black Katz" is a good bet as is the "Mexican restaurant/bar" or the Londoner with its Ausi staff and tartan wallpaper. All the bars are more or less situated around the town pedestrian area. The sports centre offers indoor swimming if you don't fancy the lake (Schwartzsee) as well as sauna, massage, steam baths and other facilities to ease those aching limbs from all the walking/cycling/swimming/hangliding/toboganing/sightseeing etc that you have the opportunity to do. The best place to change your money is with any tour company rep, don't ask me why but it is true. A holiday in Kitzbuhel is what you make it, the facilities are available and it is up to you to utilise them to the full. I spent 2 years there and I am definatly going back.
"Kitz" is a relaxing place to visit off season (without your ski's). In early summer the mountainsides are dotted with Alpine flowers, the grass is lush and green, and everywhere the window boxes are overflowing . Take the lift up the Kitzbuheler Horn or the Hannenkahm. See the hut where Franz Klammer use to descend from, pick up some souvenir pine cones (some nice free Christmas decorations!), enjoy a ramble past grazing cattle adorned with tinkling cowbells (the shops sell small versions of these which makes a good present for the family cat or dog). There are are numerous places to eat (you sure work up and appetite with all the walking), the food is good, and chocoholics will have a whale of a time deciding what dessert or cake to choose. The shops are full of tempting things to buy, designer ware, you name it, but it is a shame about the prices, very expensive. There is golf in the area, a good swimming pool, but by far the best place is a short walk away, a large lake with sunbathing and sporting facilities. In the evenings take a stroll, sometimes there is a free concert to enjoy in the square, some of the inns and bars have live entertainment Austrian style with much thigh slaping and oompahing. The beer and drinks are expensive (we were told the prices are even higher during the main ski season). There is an excellent range of hotels to choose from, some of the 4 star hotels have their own pools, fitness suites, saunas etc... and bowling. There are plenty of excursions to go on, Salzburg and the Sound of Music tour is a must ...(even if you just sit in the little summer house and sing "I am sixteen going on seventeen"!) Innsbrooke is good for shopping, things like Adidas trainers were actually cheaper here than back home. Bertchesgarden in nearby Germany is another interesting destination, here you can visit Hitler's House (the Eagle's Lair) perched up on the mountainside. For those that can'
t do without some ski-ing there is a glacier where it is still possible to ski in summer, from here the lakeside resort of Zell am Zee is just a short journey away. The Austrian Tyrol is very beautiful in summer and it is so good to throw open the bedroom shutters in the morning and breathe in that fresh mountain air. I can recommend it as a good place to relax and unwind...(if your wallet can take it!!)