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Sölden im Winter, Bild: Goran Vrhovac / shutterstock

Sölden – World Cup location in the heart of the Ötztal

The village of Sölden is located in the municipality of the same name in the heart of the Ötztal in Austria. The municipality includes the villages of Gurgl, Heiligkreuz, Vent, Zwieselstein and Sölden. The main town is located at an altitude of 1368 above sea level and is therefore predestined for holidays in summer and winter. The former character of the village as a mountain farming village was replaced towards the end of the 20th century by an architectural style that is characterized by tourism and alpine.

With its hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, Sölden is the tourist centre of the municipality. From here you can conquer glaciers, peaks, alpine pastures and forests.

History of Sölden

The history of the rear Innerötztal could be proven once again by the discovery of the glacier corpse Ötzi. Even in the Stone Age, this valley was cultivated by shepherds and hunters. They came from the south over the main ridge of the Alps and increased the usable pasture areas at the tree line through slash-and-burn agriculture. The settlement of the valley began from the south from the Vinschgau Valley.

In 1166, “Seldon” was mentioned for the first time in the chronicle of the Ottobeuren monastery. As a result of the sound conversion, in which the “e” changed to an “ö”, Seldon became Sölden.

The livelihood of the valley inhabitants was mainly livestock breeding and trade until the valley was transformed into a winter sports centre. The first lifts were built in 1948 and about 25 to 30 years later, the development of the Rettenbach and Tiefenbachferner followed.

Sölden in winter

Tiefenbachbahn at an altitude of over 3,000 metres
Tiefenbachbahn at an altitude of over 3,000 meters, Image: Goran Vrhovac / shutterstock

Sölden is a very popular winter sports resort in the Alps. Here, one highlight follows the other. Not only the ski area on the Gaislachkogl and the Giggijoch, but also two glacier ski areas on the Rettenbachfernen and the Tiefenbachferner invite you with a generous range of slopes.

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The glacier ski area is located at an altitude of 3340 meters. Here, the season can start as early as September and sometimes lasts until May. This glacier ski area opens up three mountains over 3000 m high. This is a unique selling point of this ski area in Austria and is referred to as the “Big 3”. The longest descent leads over 15 kilometers from the 3340 m high Schwarze Schneide to the valley.

In total, there are 148.3 km of slopes in the ski area. These range from easy beginner slopes to black slopes for the pro. The entire ski resort has 39 cable cars that go up to 3250 m. For a short break during a long day of skiing, 38 huts invite hungry skiers. On the Tiefenbachferner and the Giggijoch there are also 2 fun parks.

The ski area of Sölden opens the Ski World Cup every year, with the women coming out on top. They open the season with their giant slalom. But the glacier spectacle “Hannibal” also attracts spectators every two years. Here, the crossing of the Alps by Hannibal with his army is recreated with modern means.

Sölden in summer

Sölden in summer
Sölden in summer, Image: Johannes Rigg / shutterstock

Although Sölden is the winter sports paradise par excellence, it is always worth a visit in summer.

Especially holidaymakers who like to hike are in the perfect place here. On around 300 km of hiking trails, you can explore the mountains from Sölden. Various hiking routes lead through forests, over alpine pastures to the barren landscape of gneiss and granite.

In the numerous snack stations or on the alpine pastures, you can pause and indulge in culinary delights. It goes even higher up to the glaciers, where you hike past sparkling alpine streams and can also see one or the other meltwater lake in its turquoise splendor.

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In the Ötztal there are the right tours for everyone. The easy hiking trails are made for families or pleasure hikers and the crisp tours and via ferratas for the experienced alpinist. And if you want to venture onto unfamiliar routes, you will find the perfect companion in the Söldner mountain guides.

Sölden is not only a hiking Eldorado, but also offers cyclists the perfect route. In the valley, a leisurely cycle path leads along the Ötztaler Ache and on the mountains there are one or two trails in the BIKE REPUBLIC SÖLDEN.

Other tourist highlights

Ötztal Glacier Road

The glacier road leads from Sölden to the two glaciers Rettenbachferner and Tiefenbachferner. The road was built in 1972 and reaches its highest point at 2829 m above sea level. This is the highest point in the Alps that can be reached on a paved road. This point can be reached by driving through the Rosi-Mittermaier tunnel to the Tiefenbachferner. In the summer months, you can drive on the toll road with your own car, motorcycle and bicycle. But the road can also be climbed on foot.

In the footsteps of 007

Sölden James Bond
Cocktail a la James Bond, Image: DucMityagov / shutterstock

In 2015, Sölden became the secret star of the James Bond film SPECTRE when some scenes of the film were filmed here. This event is kept alive in 007 ELEMENTS, an installation in a newly constructed building on the Gaislachkogl. Although this exhibition focuses on the film SPECTRE, chapters from the 24 films of the series shot up to that point are also considered.

You’ll find interactive high-tech galleries, dramatic soundscapes and gadgets. This is where every fan of the British agent’s heart swells.