Kitzbühel, one of the largest and best-known winter sports resorts in Austria, lies in a lovely valley at the foot of the Kitzbüheler Horn. After rising to prosperity in the 16th century thanks to its copper and silver mines, Kitzbühel – nicknamed “Kitz” by those in the know – has since become a fashionable resort catering to an international clientele drawn by its excellent skiing and winter sports events, along with summer activities such as hiking and golf. The old core of the town, built on a long ridge of hills, consists of two streets – the Vorderstadt and the Hinterstadt – with handsome old gabled houses, many of them built in the style typical of the Lower Inn valley. It’s also an excellent place from which to explore some of the most stunning alpine scenery in Austria, particularly around the Kitzbühel Alps.
The 1,998-meter-tall Kitzbüheler Horn to the northeast of Kitzbühel is another popular Austrian mountain peak. Summit highlights include the picturesque house called Gipfelhaus, a chapel, and a restaurant, all easily reached by cable car via the 1,273-meter Pletzeralm or a four-hour climb from the town center. Glorious views await on the summit: to the south you can see from the Radstädter Tauern to the Ötztal Alps; to the north, the nearby Kaisergebirge; to the west, the Lechtal Alps; and to the east, the Hochkönig. South of Kitzbüheler Horn rises the equally impressive 1,772-meter Hornköpfli, also reached by cableway. During the ski season, the mountains in the immediate vicinity of Kitzbühel are thronged with skiers from around the world, all catered to by numerous cableways and ski lifts on the slopes of the Kitzbüheler Horn, the Hahnenkamm, and the Steinbergkogel.