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When travel to the Austrian Alps resumes, Kitzbühel is waiting with a warm Tirolean welcome

2020 was a year we will never forget, and for many that also meant no holiday at all. Strict travel restrictions are still in place across much of Europe, but as vaccine programmes roll out, we can look ahead to better times, and that means planning that first big trip, reconnecting with loved ones, and making the most of the great outdoors. With its wide-open spaces, fresh mountain air, and abundance of well-being, cultural, and active experiences, the historic Alpine town of Kitzbühel in the Austrian Tirol will offer that perfect Summer escape once travel is possible again. Although Kitzbühel is less visited by British holidaymakers outside of the ski season, the local area has just as much to offer in the Summer with 1,200 km of marked biking trails and more than 1,000 km of hiking trails set against the spectacular Alpine scenery. Walkers can take slow paced strolls alongside picturesque lakes and streams or opt for more transformative experiences, like guided alpaca hiking tours or descending the famous Hahnenkamm ski-racing course on foot. Kitzbühel is perhaps best known for being the leading centre of sports and recreation in the Alps, boasting world class tennis, MTB and archery facilities. The resort is also a must for golf lovers, with four top courses within Kitzbühel and about 30 courses within an hour and a half’s drive. What’s more, thrill-seekers are spoilt for choice, with the town making a great base for anyone wanting to take advantage of the region’s running, e-biking, paragliding and guided hiking tours offerings. During the Summer, the attractive medieval centre of Kitzbühel is a hive of activity, with the town’s shops, impressive hotels and eclectic galleries normally remaining open throughout the season. Visitors can choose from a wide range of eateries, with a range of high-end and affordable dining options, spanning a range of cuisine types including Asian, Italian, and of course traditional Austrian fair, all served with warm Tirolean hospitality. Tourism bosses in Kitzbühel have been working hard with local businesses to ensure that everyone that can travel this Summer, will fully enjoy their holiday. With the wellbeing of visitors their number one priority, several health and safety procedures have been rolled out, including the requirement to wear facemasks in accommodation communal areas and on the mountain lifts. Social distancing measures have been introduced throughout the town and hand sanitisers are widely available. When restrictions ease, visitors will be able to dine out in confidence this Summer thanks to strict restaurant hygiene practices as directed by the Ministry of Health, and pioneering UV-C light disinfecting processes will be in use at several locations, including at the impressive Aquarena swimming and spa centre. Kitzbühel is leading the way with a comprehensive COVID-19 testing programme, with most accommodation providers working with the authorities to regularly test their staff. Hotel employees have been able to receive free tests on a voluntary basis since last Summer, and this was extended to those in the catering industry in the autumn. If required, visitors themselves will be able to take a rapid test at a dedicated screening station in the town, with results delivered in just three hours. And everyone is urged to use the ‘Digital Guestbook’ while in Kitzbühel, a contact tracing system in which users scan QR codes in restaurants, hotels, and other locations to record their movements. The system, which complies with data protection rules, helps to ensure the safety of the whole region, and will allow holidaymakers to enjoy peace of mind. Other things to look out from Kitzbühel Discounts on Summer hiking The Kitzbühel Alps Summer Card is a must for anyone travelling to Kitzbühel this Summer. The card, which is available as a two to 14-day pass, or as a season ticket, provides unlimited access to 38 lifts in the region across 14 mountains. Ideal for Summer hikers of all abilities, holders can also enjoy discounts of between 10% and 50% at a range of cultural and sporting attractions, including at museums and swimming pools. A Kitzbühel Alps Summer Card, valid for seven days costs from €95.50 / £83.65 per adult or €48 / £42.05 per child. (A variety of other regional Summer hiking and biking passes are also available at www.kitzski.at). Kitzbühel Golf Festival: 20-27 June 2021 Kitzbühel boasts a sizable calendar of year-round cultural and sporting events to suit a range of tastes and budgets. One of the biggest is the Kitzbühel Golf Festival, which typically welcomes over 900 players from all corners of the globe. Encompassing 11 tournaments (including the renowned Streifabfahrt), across four world-class golfing venues, the event will return 20-27 June 2021, after the pandemic forced its cancellation last year. The participating courses of GC Eichenheim, GC Kitzbühel Schwarzsee, GC Kitzbühel Kaps and GLC Rasmushof, are considered amongst the finest and most challenging in the region, each within a five-minute drive of Kitzbühel’s town centre. Expected to take place with social distancing measures and involving fewer international participants this year, the festival is also well known for its food, with hotels and restaurants throughout the town set to host superb dining events for participants and spectators during the period.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. A few years ago I headed for Austria, in summer, to see what the mountains were like when they weren’t covered in a white blanket of snow. It was quite a revelation and I did some great hikes.

  2. Kitzbühel In summer? That’s out of the box thinking!

    Makes sense though, everyone’s desperate for a holiday so I reckon the beaches will be crowded.

    I’d be a lot happier away from the crowds in the mountains.

    The Covid pandemic has certainly changed the way we do things and the way we think.

  3. I’ve been skiing in Kitzbühel and during the season it was very crowded. It would be good to be able to get to the bars easily and not to have to worry too much about having to reserve restaurant tables in advance. From what I remember there were some really good restaurants.

  4. Wherever you go in the world the local tourist organisation will claim the people are friendly and welcoming. I’ve been to some places where the locals have been downright surly and hostile.

    I’ve been to Austria several times and I can safely say that all of the locals really have given all of us visitors a warm welcome.

  5. I’ve been on a few golfing breaks with mates to Spain and Portugal which have been first rate, great courses and fantastic food and drinks. Over lockdown on our Zoom meet-ups we’ve talked about going a bit further afield. Austria looks as if it could fit the bill nicely, probably not as hot as Spain and Portugal either.

  6. Taking a ski-lift in summer when it is much cheaper with a discount card is very different. You get awesome views over a landscape that is now green instead of white.

  7. Looking at articles about mountains and alps makes me miss hiking even more. I’m always looking for an adventure and it breaks my heart that its hard to travel to other countries now and hike amazing mountains such as the Austrian Alps. Hopefully, I would get the chance to hike again soon.

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