Bad Hofgastein, Austria
Bad Hofgastein is a small resort town in the state of Salzburg, Austria. The town belongs to the Gastein ski region and is a popular escape for snowboarders and skiers. The Gastein Mountains are also home to the Alpentherme and Felsentherme spas, two extensive health and well-being complexes.
Geysers are scattered throughout the region and the Gastein Healing Gallery has become a magnet for tourists seeking pain relief, enrichment, and natural rheumatic treatments. Bad Hofgastein is close to the resorts of Bad Gastein and Dorfgastein, and is an ideal location for weekend breaks due to its proximity to three major international airports.
How to Get There
The Gastein Valley is located within an hour’s drive of both Munich and Salzburg airports. Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport is to the northwest of Bad Hofgastein in the neighbouring state of Tyrol, but is not served by many UK-based holiday providers. London Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, and Doncaster airports all provide direct, but infrequent, flights to Salzburg. London Gatwick, for example, offers a direct flight once a month for between £20 and £40 per return ticket.
The Tauern Autobahn (motorway) bisects the state of Salzburg and provides a handy route to the Gastein Valley for motorists travelling from the airports in the north. Tourists arriving from further afield are advised to take a direct route through Stuttgart and Munich in Germany, joining the Tauern Autobahn at Salzburg. The Gastein Valley is accessible via the B167 highway from Bischofshofen in the centre of the state. Care hire is provided by Hertz and Avis at many European airports, and many ski resorts can arrange airport transfers in advance.
The train stations at Bad Hofgastein and Bad Gastein are served by Eurocity and Intercity trains. You can travel to the Gastein Valley throughout the year by following routes departing from European cities including Dover, Munich, and Paris. A motorail service (a train capable of carrying cars) is also available but the closest unloading facility to the Gastein Valley is in Bischofshofen.
Who the Resort Caters for
The Bad Hofgastein resort is suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities but the facilities available for novice skiers are limited. Bad Hofgastein’s chief attractions are the health spas on the nearby mountains. Tourists looking for a busier holiday should consider visiting the nearby Bad Gastein resort instead.
Having a car in the resort is very important for skiers on a budget. Ski Europe warns tourists to “choose their location with care or budget for a lot of pricey taxi rides. The (cable car) lift bases are widely spread and the bus service is a disgrace.”
The après-ski scene is very quiet but the town is a peaceful oasis for those tired of Bad Gastein. The resort boasts a number of quaint mountain restaurants that are ideal for family groups. Children are very welcome in the Gastein Valley and the two ski schools at the site are ideal for youngsters wanting to test their mettle against the curves and lines in the gentle Schlossalm area. The Alpentherme Gastein spa has a water park for children, and toboggan races are held in the evenings.
What Accommodation the Resort Offers
Bad Hofgastein offers camping facilities and a variety of two and three-star hotels. The Kurcamping Bertahof campsite is open all year round and at €10.60 per person/per night provides budget holiday makers with an ideal base for their skiing trip. The site is excellent for children and the horse-drawn carriages, playgrounds, and sandpits are sure to keep them entertained for hours. Kurcamping Bertahof is fully wheelchair accessible and provides storage facilities for ski equipment. The Gastein Valley website provides additional information and booking facilities for the campsite.
A typical Bad Hofgastein hotel offers half-board accommodation for around €30.00 per person/per night. Haus Sponfeldner is a popular hotel located close to the nightlife of Bad Gastein and the gentle slopes of Bad Hofgastein. It is situated beside a waterfall and has a ski-bus stop right outside the front door. Children are very well-catered for and babysitters can be provided at short notice. Booking facilities for the Haus Sponfeldner hotel are available from the same website as the campsite booking facilities. Nightlife aficionados should make use of the nearby Grand Hotel de l’Europe and its casinos and bars.
The Gastein Ski Region provides access to 102 pistes over five different resorts. The two ski schools are an important asset to the Bad Hofgastein resort but novices and freestyle snowboarders will find little joy beyond the Schlossalm sector. The nearby resort of Angertal has a number of nursery slopes accessible via the purchase of a ski pass (£132 per adult skier).
Bad Hofgastein has 175km of groomed slopes which will keep experts and confident intermediates entertained for days. There are a total of eight red runs (challenging), four blue runs (easy) and one black run (expert), making Bad Hofgastein a haven for experienced skiers. The resort does not have a snow park but determined snowboarders can still enjoy the large variety of downhill slopes in the region. There are 120 snow cannons at the Bad Hofgastein resort.
|Cross Country Trails||37km|
The Bad Hofgastein ski season begins at the end of November and runs until the following April.