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Kitzbühel – the legendary Streif, holiday resort of the rich and famous, exclusive chalets and celebs drinking celeriac. The traditional Tyrolean sports city and its holiday villages Reith, Aurach and Jochberg have much more to offer than the clichés listed in the introduction. At the end of August we made a two-day stop in Kitzbühel on our “Austria Tour” and used the time on site to explore the regional gastronomy, picturesque old town streets and wonderful viewpoints.
We noticed one thing quickly: In Kitzbühel you don’t necessarily have to pull out your “big” wallet. The Gamsstadt covers the entire culinary spectrum from down-to-earth inns to excellent gourmet cuisine. That makes Kitzbühel the perfect holiday destination for connoisseurs – all year round. For a guaranteed delicious holiday, it is worth looking through the following lines with our restaurant recommendations. We have placed the focus on quality family-run businesses on site and in doing so we have tracked down one or the other insider tip.
1. Take a detour to the Hahnenkammstüberl
You’ve hardly arrived in Kitzbühel and you’re off to the top of the mountain. For our first culinary detour, we take the Hahnenkammbahn cable car from the valley up a good 600 meters up into the Kitzbühel mountains to the Streif start house. The mountain and valley station of the Hahnenkammbahn, officially opened in 1929, bears the same signature as the unmistakable Kitzbühel logo – the elegant Gams. Both designed by the Austrian painter and creative architect Alfons Walde. Based on the stylish and concise formal language of Waldes, the Kitzbühel architect Michael Egger created a monopitch roof for the renewed and expanded Starthaus. The start house is now also accessible to visitors and enables them to experience the spectacular deep view from the perspective of the athletes.
In the summer months, a themed hiking trail leads four kilometers down the Streif from the start house. A “must” for all alpine skiing enthusiasts. We, on the other hand, set out on the almost three-kilometer-long panoramic circular route on the Hahnenkamm. Allow around an hour of walking for the leisurely (pram-friendly) circular hike from the mountain station of the Hahnenkammbahn over gravel paths to the Ehrenbachhöhe reservoir and back. There are also nine adventure stations for children on the Streif Active Parcours along the way. These are modeled on the key points of the Streif and enable children to playfully experience the mousetrap or the bridge shot, among other things.
At the end of the round, young and old can look forward to a stop at Lisi’s in the Hahnenkammstüberl. The cranberry pancake (made with local blueberries that you pick yourself) is legendary and tastes delicious! Another highlight are the seasonal chanterelles dishes.
2. Stroll through the alleys of Kitzbühel’s old town
Afterwards, refreshed and strengthened, we will go with you City guide Pepi Treichl on a tour of discovery through the old town streets of Kitzbühel. During my first stay in Kitzbühel in spring 2017, I was already enthusiastic about the spacious pedestrian zone in the old town center, lined with colorfully painted historic townhouses. That did not correspond at all to the image I had of Kitzbühel in my head up until then. It is worth taking an hour or two to stroll from Rathausplatz, where the tourist office is also located, along the back and front alleys to the “Church Hill” with the striking ensemble of the parish church and Church of Our Lady.
Of course, you will also come across numerous restaurants. Inexpensive Tyrolean food is available, for example, in the Huberbräu-Stüberl served. If you want to try traditional dishes in a new way and interpreted at star level, you should Restaurant Berggericht – one of the new openings in 2021 – take a closer look. And those who, like us, have reserved a table for dinner in the holiday villages around Kitzbühel should at least treat themselves to an aperitif on one of the sun terraces. Kitzbühel even launched its own summer drink for the 2021 summer season – we are excited to see what the bustling tourism organization will come up with for 2022.
3. Go on a culinary high-altitude hike
The next morning we go to the valley station of the Bichlalm Sessellifts. This is where our 3-course tour over the panoramic mountain ranges south of Kitzbühel starts. The culinary hike offers the perfect combination of an active day on the mountain and enjoyable stops for refreshments. In addition, it leads to three restaurants that would be worth a detour in and of themselves regardless of a hike. With the comfortable 2-seater chairlift we overcome the first crisp vertical meters up to the Bichlalm without losing a single drop of sweat. In return, we enjoy the view over Aurach and Jochberg to the end of the valley all the more.
At the mountain station of the chairlift, the first course awaits us in the form of a delicious one Cheese dumpling soup. In addition, our host Niko Gasteiger recommends a glass of splashed Granggl water. This is not only wonderfully refreshing, but also healthy (“Granggl” are the vitamin-rich cranberries).
Incidentally, you can not only stop off at the Bichlalm, but also spend the night. And when you see the comfortable armchairs behind the panoramic windows, your friend and I feel like spending the Christmas holidays here – not that our list of ideas for beautiful places isn’t long enough …
Then we follow the ridge over a narrow but pleasant hiking trail to the Branderhof. There the path turns into a gravel path that zigzags us to the Aurach Wildlife Park leads. The wildlife park, which has been run with full commitment by the Pletzer family since the 1970s, is a popular destination for families. In a spacious open-air enclosure you can encounter red deer and fallow deer without separating fences (of course with the necessary safety distance – wild animals are not petting animals) and observe other native species.
The Wildpark also includes the Branderhofstube inn, where regional food is served and we can enjoy our second course. You have the choice between a seasonal dish or the classic spinach dumplings. I opt for the seasonal option and order a game cheese krainer with cabbage.
In the meantime the clouds have cleared and we can tackle the last third in bright sunshine. We follow the signpost for this over pastures and through a wooded ravine further down the valley to Aurach.
In the middle of the idyllic town center of Oberaurach the Hallerwirt family farm is located. One of the oldest and largest log houses around Kitzbühel and a hot tip for local and non-local connoisseurs. The inn has an organic farm with “Jochberger Hummeln”. The genetically polled cows come from the Pinzgau cattle – an endangered domestic animal breed. Products that the Stelzhammer family, who have been running the business since 2002, have not produced themselves, are sourced in the best quality from the region. And let me put it this way: The homemade apple wheels with vanilla ice cream from the Trattnerhof in St. Johann make you want more!
Vouchers for the culinary high-altitude hike can be obtained from Kitzbühel Tourismus for 44 euros (season from the beginning of July to the beginning of October). This includes the three courses and a 0.3 l drink per course (there is also a drink tip at every stop). The distance of the hiking route from the Bichlalm via Aurach back to Kitzbühel is 12 kilometers. The pure walking time is around 3.5 to 4 hours. With the three stops for refreshments, you should plan a whole day for the tour.
4. Stop in traditional inns around Kitzbühel
In addition to the Bichlalm, the Gasthaus Branderhofstube and the Hallerwirt in Aurach, we have explored two other traditional inns in the villages of Reith and Jochberg, which are part of Kitzbühel.
On the one hand there is the quaint Gasthof Jodlbühel in Jochberg. Here, too, Ursula and Franz Reisch are two full-blooded restaurateurs who run the business. The two also do that at the same time Alpenhaus on the Kitzbüheler Horn. But that doesn’t stop Ursula Reisch from serving her many regular guests in the Jodlbühel in the evening after a strenuous day in the Alpenhaus. The menu includes numerous classics such as Wiener Schnitzel or Tyrolean Gröstl. But here, too, you can enjoy fine chanterelle goulash with dumplings and sinfully sweet cranberry dumplings.
Hearty Tyrolean home-style cooking is also served in the s’Pfandl restaurant in Reith. I particularly liked the homemade spaetzle and the daily soups.
The Pfandl in Reith and the Hallerwirt are two of 20 businesses in the Kitzbühel Alps region that work together for regionality and sustainability in gastronomy under the catchphrase “KochArt”. If you need more tips to stop off, then it’s worth taking a look at their website.
5. Buy regional products in a farm shop
Before you head home after an enjoyable mountain weekend in Kitzbühel, you should definitely take a look at the Maurachhof farm shop at the foot of the Hahnenkamm. In the farm shop you will find everything a culinary heart desires, from syrup to jams, crispbread to sausages and schnapps. A real foodie paradise, which you can tell at first glance that a lot of heart and soul has gone into it!
Practical tips for your delicious mountain weekend in and around Kitzbühel
- Kitzbühel can be reached from Zurich with 1x change to a good 4.5 by train. You are not much faster with the car. When buying a ticket, note that Kitzbühel has three train stations.
- This time we stayed at the Hotel Kaiserhof directly behind the Hahnenkammbahn. A great location (especially in winter, where you can ski to the hotel).
- We also recommend the Hotel Tiefenbrunner in the middle of the old town of Kitzbühel – we stayed there for our first stay in Kitzbühel.
- The Mocking inn is located directly opposite the Hotel Kaiserhof. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to test this – but it should also be very good!
- Since Kitzbühel itself is 800 meters above sea level, the sports city is an excellent year-round holiday destination. From hiking to biking and cycling to golfing and skiing, depending on the season, you can be active according to your mood. At the same time, there are also some culinary events on the agenda throughout the year. Now in October, “KITZ Kulinarik” meets, for example, delicacies from the Piedmont region.