Breaks in the sun
Kitzbuhel boasts some of the world's most seductive scenery, including the Hahnenkamm mountain in its towering majesty. It may have first found fame as a winter holiday destination, but today it's all the more popular as an Austrian summer holiday spot.
Kitzbuhel welcomes visitors warmly, and engages you in its outdoor pursuits in the refreshing mountain sunshine, including archery lessons for a real taste of adventure. Horseback riding is also popular, although carriage rides pulled by proud ponies offer a more sedate form of sightseeing.
Throughout the year, Kitzbuhel brings celebrations to the fore. Whether it's a New Year's shindig or a summer fete, the town comes alive with fantastic partying, featuring live music and carnival ambiance.
Steeped in history
With a population of under 10,000, the people of Kitzbuhel enjoy an easy-going lifestyle that holidaymakers find rather contagious. Indeed, cosy coffee houses and sumptuously spread out patisserie corner stores make it easy to wander the streets.
Yet looking to the history books, you'll find that Kitzbuhel has enjoyed a long and happy era of enviable peace. The world wars and the strife of the Napoleonic era left the town blissfully untouched, letting it develop its own cultural identity.
St Catherine's Chruch, a Gothic spectacle in the town centre, shows off the classic style beautifully, as do more recently constructed churches and the cobbled streets.
It's not just exploring the backstreets that can captivate your interest in Kitzbuhel. Get your thrills and spills from a toboggan ride at the Kelchalm Run, a three and a half kilometre swirl of twists, turns and excitement.
Alternatively, rent a mountain bike for a more sedate yet equally rewarding series of paths through the countryside. You'll take in lakes, nearby towns and stunning mountain heights on biking trails that connect Kitzbuhel with Kossen and Westendorf. For the particularly bold, multi-day climbs are also available, letting you take on the landscape with a group of like-minded hikers.
It's not all demanding adventures through a wondrous landscape round Kitzbuhel way though. The town itself houses numerous museums, and the Municipal Museum is the most popular, documenting exhibits and pieces from as far back as the Bronze Age.
Further afield, you can enjoy the ponies, ducks and other animals at the sprawling Aurach Wildlife Reserve, some 1,100 metres above sea level, as well as the moors and log cabins of Lake Schawrzsee. Or, the spa and pool of Aquarena Kitzbuhel in the town centre is sure to appeal.
Wining and dining
Kitzbuhel welcomes skiing fans and holidaymakers from around the world, often from prestigious backgrounds, yet its restaurants and bars aren't just for the upper crust. Berghaus Tirol is a locally lauded restaurant where you can expect big filling steaks cooked to your specifications, together with crisp local beers and sumptuous puddings.
Elsewhere you'll find Thai and Italian influences that showcase the international outlook enjoyed by the valley's community.
There's plenty of after dark fun here too, with themed English and Irish pubs to entice holidaymakers. For an authentic experience though, look at Hahnekamm Pavillion Bar, whose wooden beams, varnished bar and sublime local brews on tap put you right in the thick of the local lifestyle.