Bad Gastein, Austria
How to get there
Bad Gastein is located in the middle of the Gastein Valley, which is situated to the south of Salzburg. It is extremely easy to travel to the ski resort from the UK, making it a popular destination for a winter break with British skiers. The beautiful village is just 90 kilometres away from the international airport located in Salzburg. Many Brits choose to hire a car once they reach the airport and drive the relatively short distance along the A-10 autobahn to the resort. It should take you approximately an hour and a half to reach Bad Gastein.
Alternatively, you could choose to take advantage of cheap flights destined for the airport at Munich. Bad Gastein is located 230 kilometres away from Munich and the airport has a train station which offers an indirect service (travelling via the city centre) to the ski resort. You could also choose to hire a car at the airport and drive to the resort. This should take approximately three hours.
If you prefer travelling by train, take the Eurostar from London to Paris. Once you arrive in Paris, there is an overnight service which travels to Munich, from where a Eurocity train will take you to Salzburg (although some services travel straight to the ski resort). In total, this journey will take approximately 17 hours.
Driving from the UK to Bad Gastein is another option. Once you have reached Calais, the most convenient route will take you via Reims, Metz, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Munich and Salzburg. Once you reach Salzburg, travel south on the A-10 and take the exit which leads to the B-311. Overall, the journey will take approximately 11 or 12 hours. It can be convenient to have a car during your stay in the ski resort but you should bear in mind that driving in icy conditions can be very dangerous. Always ensure that your snow chains are in good condition and have an alternative route in mind.
Who does the resort cater for?
The resort is one of the most popular in Austria. Intermediate skiers will be the happiest at Bad Gastein but beginners are well-catered for as well. Advanced skiers and those seeking a real challenge may want to look elsewhere. The ski resort is not just famous for its skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Visitors can also take advantage of the resort’s famous nineteenth century hot springs. The resort is great for snowboarders because there is an impressive half-pipe, a snow park and suitably wide, open slopes. Cross-country skiers can take advantage of the numerous trails which offer fantastic views of the surrounding scenery.
Other activities on offer include hiking, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice-skating, curling, paragliding, indulging in the thermal pools, playing tennis, working out at the fitness centre and playing winter golf. The nightlife is lively, with numerous restaurants, discotheques and bars offering entertainment during the long winter evenings. There are interesting folklore evenings for those looking for something quieter, and films are regularly screened at the local cinema.
What accommodation the resort offers
There is a wide range of accommodation on offer in the resort itself. Those travelling on a budget will be kept happy by the numerous cheap options available. The Euro Youth Hotel is located close to a ski lift and just metres away from the resort’s train station. It offers over 50 private rooms which sleep between one and five people. All the rooms are comfortably furnished, en-suite and offer free Internet access. There is a bar and a restaurant on the premises as well as a chill-out room which provides games and a television.
If you have slightly more money to spend, you should try the Gruner Baum Hoteldorf. This hotel boasts its own thermal spring and has a national park right on its doorstep. The rooms are luxurious and the service is fantastic. Alternatively, you could choose to stay in one of the resort’s private apartments or chalets. These are particularly suitable for large families or a group of friends.
There are four black runs (suitable for expert skiers), 15 red runs (suitable for intermediate skiers) and six blue runs (suitable for beginners). The resort is part of the popular Gastein Ski Area, which has 102 individual pistes. The correct ski pass will allow you to access the ski resorts of Bad Hofgastein, Dorfgastein, Graukogel and Sportgastein. The slopes are served by very reliable lifts, which take approximately 70,000 skiers per hour up the mountains. The resort has 120 snow cannons which generate artificial snow to supplement the natural snow.
- Downhill Pistes: 250 km
- Cross Country Trails: 90 km
- Number of Ski Lifts: 16
- Maximum Vertical: 1,650 m
- Highest Lift: 2,700 m
- Altitude of Resort: 1,050 m
- Lowest Piste: 1,100 m