Bad Hofgastein is one of the largest ski resorts in Austria. It is situated in a traditional Austrian market town that is located in the historically and culturally rich Gastein Valley. The town itself is vibrant and boasts plenty of restaurants, bars and a range of sports activities to keep visitors entertained. One of the biggest appeals of Bad Hofgastein is the spectacular scenery. Guests frequently comment on the picturesque landscapes around the town, these are a highlight of any Bad Hofgastein ski trip. The resort is also famous for its Spas, which add to the relaxed Austrian skiing experience.
Bad Hofgastein has some of the best skiing opportunities in Austria. The resort has 250km of pistes which reach over 2500m high. This resort is not a ‘ski in ski out’ location as there is a walk to the slopes. The slopes are often quite challenging, making them better suited to the experienced skier. Bad Hofgastein is particularly popular with Austrians, although it does receive visits from increasing numbers of overseas visitors each year.
One of the most popular activities in Bad Hofgastein is the thermal spa. Bad Hofgastein was first famous for its spas long before its skiing opportunities. It is the top spa destination in Austria and one of the most reputable in Europe. The thermal spas have excellent healing effects and are often visited upon doctors’ orders.
Bad Hofgastein also has a free outdoor ice rink. This is a very popular activity, particularly with children and runs well into the evening. There are also opportunities to have a go at sleigh riding and tobogganing. This really adds to the resort’s winter wonderland image. For those who enjoy adventure, there are ice climbing facilities available for keen sports enthusiasts to take part in. Snow shoe walking is also an option.
After a busy day on the piste you may want a break from winter sports, so there is a swimming pool, squash courts, indoor tennis courts, indoor golf and billiards at the sports centre in the town. If you love shopping, Bad Hofgastein has plenty of stylish boutiques. These typically stock hand made high end pieces. A day trip to nearby Salzburg is also a recommended option.
The nightlife at Bad Hofgastein is fairly low key. The atmosphere around the town is relaxed and relatively quiet. Bad Hofgastein does have a selection of great bars and a few clubs. Although not particularly lively, there is a good selection of entertainment on offer. You can take your pick from cosy inns filled with locals to stylish chic cafes complete with pianists. For those wanting more entertainment, head to the casino which is open into the night and has a vibrant, fun atmosphere.
When it comes to eating out at Bad Hofgastein, visitors are spoilt for choice. There are over 35 restaurants in the resort that cater for a variety of budgets. Many restaurants provide local cuisine made to an very high standard. Austrian specialities, including fondue, are offered in most restaurants. The food is generally of much better value than that found in similar resorts.
Although Bad Hofgastein caters for most budgets, the resort is primarily exclusive, with luxury accommodation particularly popular. The town originally received tourists seeking to experience the thermal spas. This tended to attract the highest levels of society. Nowadays, the resort caters to those who want a relaxing, luxurious stay with all the trimmings. The largest luxury hotel is the 5 star Grand Park Hotel, although there are other fantastic 4 star hotels close by. These high end hotels all have their own spa facilities so you can relax after a long day skiing. Skiers searching for cheaper accommodation may be interested in the lodges, ski hotels and chalets available for reasonable prices.
The closest airport to Bad Hofgastein is Salzburg. This is approximately one and a half hours away. You can either get a transfer or a taxi from the airport to your accommodation. There are regular flights to Salzburg from many airports throughout the UK.
This resort is best for intermediate skiers who are looking for challenging ski opportunities and a relaxing environment. For intermediates we have awarded the resort 4 stars out of 5. There is also enough to keep experts entertained, with 3 stars out of 5 for their rating. For beginners the resort only gains 2 stars out of 5. Beginners are catered for here, but the slopes are better suited to those who have gained some previous experience.
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