Kitzbuhel Tourist Attractions
Kitzbühel, one of the largest and best-known winter sports resorts in Austria, lies in a wide basin in the valley of the Kitzbüheler Ache, at the foot of the Kitzbüheler Horn, on the busy road from St Johann to the Thurn Pass. Kitzbühel rose to prosperity in the 16th and 17th C., thanks to its copper and silver mines. It is now a fashionable resort ("Kitz") catering to an international public. Kitzbühel and the surrounding countryside are excellent for skiing, and there are also tennis courts and three golf courses. Various events are held every year, including the International Hahnenkamm Ski Races in January.The old core of the town, built on a long ridge of hill, consists of two streets with handsome old gabled houses, the Vorderstadt and the Hinterstadt. Many of the houses and other buildings are in the typical style of the Lower Inn valley.
St Catherine's Church
Between the two streets of the Kitzbühel old town stands the Gothic St Catherine's Church (Katherinenkirche, 14th C.), which is now a war memorial. It contains a box window on the south wall, a carved figure of Our Lady (15th C.) and a winged altarpiece of 1520.
The Pfleghof, a castle belonging to the Dukes of Bavaria, once stood at the southern end of the Kitzbühel old town; the only remains are a corner tower with a pyramidal roof and a 16th C. tower with staircase.
Near the Pfleghof in Kitzbühel is the Jochberger Tor, a medieval building and the only surviving town gate.
The local museum in the old Kitzbühel corn hall is worth a visit. On display are items of Tirolese folk art and finds from ancient mines.
St Andreas Parish Church
At the northern end of the Kitzbühel old town stands the parish church (Pfarrkirche St Andreas), built 1435- 1506 and later remodelled in the Baroque style, a massive building with a low tower and Baroque dome. The interior has some beautiful stucco work and ceiling paintings, as well as 15th frescos in the choir. Adjoining the choir is the Rosakapelle, with tracery windows and a ceiling painting of St Rosa (c. 1750). Also of note is the high altar, a work by the Kitzbühel sculptor S. B. Faistenberger (17th C.).
Just north of the Kitzbühel parish church will be found the small two story Liebfrauenkirche, with a square tower. The lower church was built in 1373; the upper church contains a ceiling painting (1739) by Faistenberger showing the Crowning of the Virgin, as well as a Roccoco lattice-screen (1781) and a fine organ.
To the southeast of Kitzbühel lies Schloss Kaps, a 17th C. mansion (golf course); on a hill to the northwest of the old town stands Schloss Lebenberg (16th C.), now a hotel ("Polly Vital Center").
Hinterobenau Farmhouse Museum
The Hinterobenau Farmhouse Museum outside Kitzbühel is well worth a visit. A 500-year-old detached farmhouse, built in typical Salzburg-Tirolese style, has been furnished as it would have been 100 years ago. Intended to show how people lived and worked at that time, there is a kitchen, living room and bedrooms, a stable and fully equipped barn, a small chapel and a farm garden.
The Hahnenkamm (1,655m/5,430ft, 900m/2,950ft above Kitzbühel; cabin cableway, chairlift) offers the attractions of mountain air, beautiful walking country and excellent skiing terrain. There is a chapel designed by Clemens Holzmeister (1959). On the northern side rises the Seidl-Alm (1,206m/3,957ft; one and a quarter hours' climb from Kitzbühel), from which the summit ridge can be reached in one and a half hours. There is also an attractive walk (half an hour) from the upper station of the cableway to the Ehrenbachhöhe (1,805m/5,922ft), and from here it is another half an hour to the Steinbergkogel (1,960m/6,431ft; also reached by chairlift from the Ehrenbachgraben), or one and a half hours to the Pengelstein (1,940m/6,365ft; inn).
Kitzbüheler Horn is a popular ski hill in winter and sightseeing excursion in summer. A cableway runs to the summit where there is a restaurant, a chapel, and views to the surrounding mountains.
St Johann in Tirol
North of Kitzbühel lies St Johann in Tirol (660m/2,165ft; pop. 6,000), a popular summer and winter sports resort, with picturesque old peasant houses, and an important road junction. The parish church of Maria Himmelfahrt (1723-28) has fine stucco work and a ceiling painting by S. B. Faistenberger; in St Anthony's Chapel can be seen a fresco in the dome by Josef Schöpf (1803). The Spitalkirche in der Weitau has a Roccoco interior of 1740 and a fine 15th C. stained glass window. St Johann has a large leisure complex with swimming pool and sports facilities; cableways ascend the Kitzbüheler Horn to the south.
11km/7mi southeast of St Johann, in the valley of the Pillersee-Ache, lies the spa and winter resort of Fieberbrunn (800m/2,626ft). There is a chairlift to the LaPrchfilzkogel (1,660m/5,446ft), and a rewarding climb 4.5 hours southward, via the Lärchfilz-Hochalm (1,364m/4,475ft; tourist house), to the Wildseeloder (2,117m/6,946ft), with magnificent panoramic views.'Fieberbrunn' derives its name from an incident in history when a ruler of Tirol drank from a spring that cured her fever.
10km/6mi north of Fieberbrunn, on the road to Waidring, is the pretty Pillersee (834m/2,736ft), a mountain lake at the foot of the Loferer Steinberge. The name comes from the local word for "to roar", because the wind roars between the icy covering and the water in winter.
Despite being at a relatively low altitude, St Johann is in a snow belt and usually receives lots of the white stuff between late December and March. About 20 km from Kitzbühel, St Johann is a quieter alternative to its more glitzy neighbor. The slopes are great for beginners and intermediates but may not be challenging enough for advanced skiers for more than a few days.
St Johann - Alpine Pasture Festival
This annual traditional festival runs from mid-September to early October.
Map of Kitzbuhel Attractions