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Den Winterurlaub in Tirol genießen, Bild: msnobody / shutterstock

The most beautiful ski resorts in Tyrol – let yourself be enchanted!

Where can you relax in Tyrol and enjoy fantastic nature? We present the most beautiful ski resorts in Tyrol .


Obertilliach in Tyrol
View of Obertilliach, Image: Franky26 / shutterstock

Remember the scene in the Bond film “Spectre” when Daniel Craig pilots an airplane through the middle of a barn? It was filmed in Obertilliach in East Tyrol. In the midst of all the barn boards and fireballs flying around, you may have noticed that the surrounding village looks extremely picturesque. But even if you have noticed the picturesque surroundings, you probably only have an idea of how extraordinary this village in the middle of nowhere in Tyrol really is.

At this village you can safely forget about skiing for an hour or two. Instead, take a walk through the snow-covered alleys with the larch wood farmhouses that have taken on a dark black color from 300 years of wind and weather. With the sound of snow melting in the winter sun in the background, slowly dripping away, you might see a villager hanging out laundry on their balcony, or old friends exchanging gossip on a bench in the village.

It may sound cheesy, but if you’re lucky, the smell of fresh apple strudel will haunt you as you wander through the town. This special mood will not change anytime soon. In East Tyrol, time seems to tick differently: this part of Tyrol seems to have been left behind when Italy annexed part of Austria at the end of the First World War. The area is separated from the rest of the province by Austria’s highest mountain, the Großglockner, and only a few skiers – even the overzealous ones – get lost here. The few who make it to Obertilliach come mainly because of the cross-country ski trails, so that the few downhill slopes are almost empty. One of them – the Rals descent from top to bottom – would be considered a classic even in St. Anton. In a place as quiet and unspoiled as this, it is nothing short of a miracle.

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Alpbach in Tyrol
Alpbach in the Austrian Tyrol, Image: Pabkov / shutterstock

What makes a ski resort attractive? Bizarrely, mining and the remoteness of the area often contribute to this. In any case, these criteria had a positive influence on the current state of Alpbach – which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in the Alps. Mining – copper and silver – began in the 15th century and had a profound impact on the appearance of the village over the next 400 years. But when the deposits were exhausted, Alpbach disappeared from most maps, and a modern road did not reach it until 1926.

It was not until 1953 that the municipal council decided to protect the local architecture and erect new buildings in the traditional style. Even today, they may not be more than three stories high, and each floor above the ground floor must be made of wood. The result, after more than half a century, is a village that is still low-built, charming and traditional. You also don’t have to pay a fortune to stay here. There are many modern ski resorts where you can experience a feeling of alpine lifestyle – at an excellent price. In Alpbach you get that, whether you stay in a four-star superior hotel or in a B&B. Skiing, on the other hand, is much more in line with the standards of the 21st century. This is because Alpbach shares its lift system with that of the Wildschönau one valley further. There are a total of 109 kilometres of slopes, which are served by state-of-the-art lifts. So yes, Alpbach is rustic. But it is also exceptionally beautiful.

The Wildschönau

Of course, the alpine pastures in the Alps also created beautiful landscapes. This is also the case in the Wildschönau, which shares a lift system with Alpbach. There are still 260 farms and many high-altitude alpine pastures that are operated in the traditional way. Add to this well-kept forests, hay barns and alpine dairies (such as the Schönangeralm) – and you have an authentic, productive landscape that holidaymakers in the Alps often look for, but rarely find.

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But as a skier, you may miss the picturesque landscape when you have the slope in view. The highest slopes in the Wildschönau, on the Schatzberg ridge above Auffach, are among the absolute top addresses in Tyrol. Wide, long and relentless, they’re the perfect place for avid intermediates to stand on the edges and carve through. Above Niederau, the Hochberg descent is a great, dead straight, black run. There are also flat, easy children’s slopes and a wonderfully winding descent into the valley to Auffach, where even the most high-spirited skiers can get their money’s worth. The scenic highlight is undoubtedly Thierbach. It is located in its own valley at the foot of an elegant onion tower church and can be reached via a signposted off-piste route from the Schatzberg ridge or by local buses from Auffach.


Patscherkofel Tyrol
Patscherkofel, Image: Londonlad03 / shutterstock

There aren’t many ski resorts that can compete with Igls: but what makes it truly exceptional is its location. Situated on a wooded plateau halfway up the 2,246 m high Patscherkofel, this collection of hotels, hay barns and pretty country houses is actually a suburb. Hop on the J bus at the foot of the slopes, and in 15 minutes you’ll be in the heart of Innsbruck. Here, your après-ski could include a stroll through the art collection of the Ferdinandeum Museum , followed by cocktails at the elegant, chic “Das Schindler”. However, you should take off your ski boots beforehand. The other big attraction is the skiing itself. The Patscherkofel may not be particularly impressive compared to the high, angular peaks around Innsbruck, but it has a real ski pedigree thanks to the 1976 Winter Olympics.