Kitzbühel Calling

When A Local Hiking Guide At Hotel Weisses Rössl Kitzbühel Plans Your Vacation, You’re In For A Feast For All The Senses
Engelbert Prohaska (right) and the team of hiking guides at Hotel Weisses Rössl Kitzbühel. Photo courtesy of De Francesco.
Engelbert Prohaska
Hiking Guide, Hotel Weisses Rössl Kitzbühel

Kitzbühel is a medieval village full of narrow, intriguing streets. It’s set amongst mountains so big anyone would feel tiny beside them. And there is no one who knows the area better than Engelbert Prohaska. He’s lived here for over a decade, making it his mission to find Kitzbühel’s greatest treasures, both large and small, famous and off-the-radar. And he knows how they stack up against the rest of the world’s treasures too, having worked at the Alpine School in Innsbruck where he organized hiking trips to Nepal, Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Scandinavia. Engelbert will gladly share Kitzbühel’s secrets guests of Hotel Weisses Rössl Kitzbühel.

The spa at Hotel Weisses Rössl Kitzbühel.
Hotel Weisses Rössl Kitzbühel

Welcome to one of the preeminent luxury hotels in the Austrian Alps. Built in the 16th century and refurbished in 2017, the hotel is located next to the 700-year-old historic center of Kitzbühel, full of boutiques, restaurants, cafés, and the casino. In addition to its well-equipped rooms and suites, the hotel features two restaurants, a lobby bar with an open fireplace, and an extensive spa with an indoor pool, saunas, and a fitness center, all surrounded by the region’s stunning mountains.

Local Recommendations

Explore A Medieval Mountain Hideaway With Hiking Guide Engelbert Prohaska

As a hiking guide for more than 15 years, Engelbert has seen the Austrian peaks covered in snow in the winter and bright green grass in the summer. He also knows that the best way to take in the majestic land is to combine it with exploring other delights: the food and drink that comes from the ground and the cultural traditions its people have created over centuries. “You start the hiking day with the perfect breakfast,” he said. “And then you end up at the spa and at a wine dinner.” From the most dangerous ski run in the world to an unlikely flower garden, and everything in between, Engelbert shares Kitzbühel’s greatest treasures.

On The Slopes With Giants

Ski Where The Sport Was Invented

Few people know that it was in Kitzbühel where Franz Reisch pioneered the sport of skiing. This Austrian merchant put thin sleds on his feet and slid down a steep hill over a mile long named the Streif (Mount Hahnenkamm). It was the first Alpine ski run in the country, and it’s still the site of a fierce ski race that attracts the world’s most daring athletes. Engelbert encourages all guests to frequent this legendary spot. In the winter he helps skiers navigate the 2,000-foot vertical, teaching them how to avoid all the pitfalls. In the summer his groups of explorers meander down the path at a slower pace, taking in all the dramatic scenery and wildlife.

Skiing in Kitzbühel. Photo courtesy of Michael Werlberger | Kitzbühel Tourismus

Untamed Paradise

Hundreds Of Flowers Defy The Laws Of Nature

Nestled on top of the Kitzbüheler Horn, one of the most important peaks in this part of the Alps, in between jagged rock formations and sharp cliffs, is the Alpine Garden (6 Ried am Horn; +43-5356-6951-1411). Over 300 species from all over the world grow in this unlikely spot, taking turns blooming and showing off their full splendor. One day you can admire the purity of the edelweiss; another, the purple bellflower or Arnica. Some of these delights are local. Others come as far away as the Himalayas. The locals call the new species constantly popping up zuagroaste, meaning newcomer. Looking past the multiple flowers, all with their own colors, aromas, and shapes, you can see the mountain ranges below. “My favorite thing about taking guests on hikes is seeing the outstanding views from the top of this mountain,” says Engelbert.

Kitzbühel's verdant landscape. Photo courtesy of Michael Werlberger | Kitzbühel Tourismus.

Medieval Memories

Journey To A Storybook Past

When a town is born in 1,000 BCE it has a rich story to tell. And all that history is preserved at the Kitzbühel Museum (32 Hinterstadt; +43-5356-67274). Even the building that houses the archives, which dates back to 1271, is intriguing. It was once part of the southwest tower that protected the town from its hungry neighbors. Later, it served as the municipal granary. Once inside you’ll uncover visions from the past: there are mining tools, crafts, and religious objects that date back thousands of years. You can learn how ancient people lived every day. In the more modern exhibitions you can learn about how skiing was invented in this tiny town. This off-the-beaten path museum also contains hundreds of works by Austrian expressionist and architect Alfons Walde. Known for his winter landscapes, you’ll be able to easily tell where the famed artist got his inspiration.

The medieval town of Kitzbühel. Photo courtesy of Michael Werlberger | Kitzbühel Tourismus.

Sky High Dining

Italian Cuisine Up In The Clouds

The Sonnenbühel (11 Hahnenkamm; +43-5356-62776) just might be the oldest ski lodge in the world. This charming mountain hut was built in 1924 before ski resorts even existed as a concept, and being there feels like being on the moon, as if civilization doesn’t. As of December 2015, this perfectly placed venue has a new destiny as a restaurant serving premium Italian cuisine. It is the creation of Ivan Marzola, a retired professional skier who discovered the lodge when he was 20-years-old and in town for the Alpine Skiing World Cup. He was a member of the Italian National Ski Team, but he fell in love with the Austria. One day, he said, he would return to Kitzbühel. And return he has. His restaurant offers the best creations taken from the sea and the mountains, with many items paying homage to his home country. As you savor marinated sea bream, spaghetti all vongole, and schnitzel, you can admire the snowcapped peaks engulfing you in a wonderland. “It is one of my favorite spots in the mountains,” says Engelbert.

The delicacies of Kitzbühel. Photo courtesy of Michael Werlberger | Kitzbühel Tourismus.

Uninhibited Tranquility

A Spa Day In The Austrian Alps

After an adventurous day in Kitzbühel, relaxation and rejuvenation are in order. “Go back to the hotel, get a relaxing massage, and enjoy the spa area,” orders Engelbert. He’s referring to the Cheval Blanc Spa (Hotel Weisses Rössl Kitzbühel, 5 Bichlstrasse; +43-5356-71900), located more than 3,000 feet above sea level. Here you’ll find the best spa traditions from cultures around the world. Floating in the indoor pool, lined with a stunning white horse mosaic, gives you a rare feeling of lightness. The Laconium, where heat emerges from the pure stone walls and floor removes any stress or ache. In the aroma grotto you’ll be engulfed in a cloud of peace and happiness. Let talented massage therapists work miracles, kneading natural oils into your aching body. The treatments are designed to be as extravagant as possible. In one such treatment, two professionals work on you, head to toe, at the same time. In another, they drizzle honey onto you letting the natural exfoliant work its wonders.

The Spa at Hotel Weisses Rössl Kitzbühel.