Legendary sports city, elegant shopping location, glamorous celebrity hotspot: there is hardly any other city in the Alps that combines tradition and lifestyle in as charming as Kitzbühel. What the legend of Kitz is all about and the places to be.

The beginnings of Kitzbühel date back to the late Bronze Age. Initially, the Illyrians came to mine here for copper ore. Later, Romans settled in the area and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Bavarians. In 1165 the place was first mentioned under the name “Chizbuhel” (Chizzo = a Bavarian family, buhel = hill, hills). 1271 Kitzbühel received its town charter and established itself in the next few years as a commercial and marketplace. When silver was found in the 16th century, its wealth was assured. The rediscovery of the summer resort (circa 1850) and the construction of the railway (1875) marked the beginning of the rise to an internationally sought-after tourist destination. Today, Kitzbühel is one of the most popular destinations in the Alps. In particular, high society and celebrities from around the world have already discovered the charming “chamois town” for themselves. Franz Beckenbauer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uschi Glas and Boris Becker are among its regular guests, as are Prince Albert of Monaco and the Swarovski family. And the list of prominent Kitzbühel lovers is seemingly endless.

Its reputation as a sports city is legendary. On 15th March 1893, first Franz Reisch, the great-grandfather of Signe Reisch (President of Kitzbühel Tourismus), was the first to race down the slopes of the Kitzbühel Horn. Thus, the ski pioneer and later mayor not only completed the first high alpine ski run in Austria, but also laid the foundation for alpine skiing. Over the years, Kitzbühel has become the most important winter sports centre in Austria. 170 km of slopes, 60 downhill runs, 53 lifts and cable cars, 32 km of ski trails, unique free ride possibilities and 155 days of snow reliability offer fantastic winter sport conditions. For the second year in a row, 2014 Kitzbühel was recognised as the best ski resort in the world. The social and sporting highlight is the legendary Hahnenkamm race each year. When the best skiers in the world compete on the Streif and the Ganslerhang, the small Tyrolean town is burtsing with celebrities, media representatives and visitors. Even in summer Kitzbühel is sporty. Whether hiking, climbing, cycling or canyoning, paragliding and archery – the offer is immense. With four local golf courses and 30 in the neighbourhood, Kitz has also made a name for itself as a paradise for golfers. Those who want to relax their tired muscles after sport should head to the spa oasis “Aquarena”.

Kitzbühel is also in the top league in culinary terms. In the current 2014 Gault Millau edition, the hotspot in the Alps has a total of 18 toques and thus has the highest density of toques in Tyrol. One of the best venues is “Heimatliebe” at A-ROSA Kitzbühel (attention wellness fans: the spacious spa area is also a dream), the “Petit Tirolia” at Grand Tirolia Kitzbühel (a paradise for golfers with one of the most beautiful golf courses in Europe), the “Neuwirt” and the “Relais & Chateaux Tennerhof”. Rosi’s Sonnenbergstuben is also a popular venue, as is the Landhäusl, the mountain inn Sonnenbühel at 1,700 metres above sea level and the Stanglwirt, Going. At the Hotel zur Tenne not only does the star-studded “Audi Night” take place during the Hahnenkamm race, but polo players will also spend their nights here during the Snow Polo World Cup. Parties take place at the in-club “Take Five” and the traditional bars of Kitzbühel, “Fünferl” and “Stamperl”.

Kitzbühel: Hahnenkamm race

The Hahnenkamm race has been held since 1931 and is considered the most famous and spectacular ski race in the world. The downhill run of the Streif racecourse, with jumps up to 80 metres, steep slopes with up to 85 per cent inclines and speeds of up to 140 km/h, demands that even the best athletes give it their all. The 75th edition will be held from 23rd to 25th January 2015. www.hahnenkamm.com (© Medialounge)

Kitzbühel

Whether hiking, climbing, golfing and swimming, mountain biking, canyoning, rafting, paragliding or archery – even in summer Kitzbühel lives up to its name as a legendary sports town in the Alps. The range of sports available to choose from is huge. If you prefer a calmer pace of life, you can enjoy wellness and spa treatments, benefit from the exclusive shopping opportunities in the beautiful city centre or enjoy the overwhelming mountain panorama on a ride with the Hahnenkammbahn. (© Albin Niederstrasser)

Kitzbühel: Skispaß pur

Full skiing pleasure: 170 km of slopes, 60 downhill runs, 53 lifts and cable cars, 32 km of ski trails, unique free ride possibilities and 155 days of snow reliability make the Kitzbühel ski resort one of the best and most popular in the world. (© Michael Werlberger)

Kitzbühel: Schwarzsee

In June, the Triathlon Championship 2014 was held in Kitzbühel. The athletes completed the swimming part at the Schwarzsee. Due to its content of marsh, the Schwarzsee is not only one of the warmest lakes in the Alps, but the water also has a pleasant curative effect. (© Kitzbühel Tourismus)

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