The pleasant ski resort of Sölden is the largest municipality in Austria and is located in the Ötztal region of the Tyrol valley. The resort’s name literally means ‘winter-world’. Its population is approximately 3,500 in low season but this figure rises to over 15,000 during the ski season.
Beautiful capital city, Vienna, aside, Sölden is the most popular tourist destination in Austria. It attracts 2 million tourists per year. The Sölden municipality is dominated by mountains, forests, pastures, alpine peaks, and glaciers. Only about 1% of the region has been influenced or changed by man.
The resort contains the second highest mountain in Austria, the Wildspitze, which is 3768 metres, or 4488 feet, high. The town itself is located at 1377 metres above sea level. Sölden usually hosts the first ski race of the World Cup, although this was cancelled in 2006 due to bad weather.
Skiing aside, Sölden offers numerous off-piste activities, including the Aquadome, which is ideal for rest and relaxation after a hard day’s skiing. The Freizeit Arena provides a large water world and a summer sunbathing terrace, as well as a sauna and tanning area.
You can also go ice-skating or indulge in a horse-carriage ride through this icy paradise. Sölden also offers many restaurants and cafes and it boasts a fantastic nightlife. In April 2009, Sölden’s floodlit slopes will present a performance of ‘Hannibal’, a theatrical depiction of the Carthagian army crossing the Tyrol.
How to get there
- By air: The nearest airport to the ski resort is Innsbruck. Flights between London and Innsbruck start at around £70 return if you book early. Once in Innsbruck, you will have to decide whether to drive, take the train, or catch a shuttle bus to Sölden.
- By car:
- From Innsbruck: Take the A12 Autobahn towards Switzerland, exiting at Ötztal. Then, take the B186 Federal Road to Sölden.
- From Munich or Salzburg: Take the A93 Autobahn to Kufstein. Transfer to the A12 Autobahn towards Innsbruck, exiting at Ötztal. Take the B186 Federal Road to Sölden.
- From Vorarlberg and the Western Tyrol: Take the Arlberg Pass or Arlberg Tunnel (S16 Federal Road) towards Landeck, changing onto the A12 Autobahn and exiting at Ötztal. Then take the B186 to Sölden. Travelling from southern Tyrol can be difficult during the ski season because the main toll road is only open between June and October.
- By train: There are frequent trains from Innsbruck to Ötztal Bahnhof at reasonable prices. A full timetable can be found here. After reaching the station, you will have to take a bus to Sölden. Bus timetables can be found here.
- By shuttle bus: Shuttle buses travel from Innsbruck airport to the front door of your hotel from €40,00 per person. Discounts are available if you book a return journey. Prices and timetable information can be found here.
- Skier’s Shuttle Bus: If you are coming from further afield, you may wish to use the Skier’s Shuttle Bus, which transports skiers between the North Rhine and Sölden. Information on this option can be found here.
Who does the resort cater for?
Sölden ski resort offers facilities for both beginners and advanced skiers in the Giggijoch area. Expert skiers and fans of off-piste skiing will love the Gaislachkogl peak, which is 3058 metres high.
The resort also offers glacial skiing in the autumn. The glacier is easily accessible by car or bus. For absolute beginners, there are ski and snowboard schools, which have very reasonable rates with discounts available for online bookings. For more information on prices and making bookings, please click here. The resort also provides facilities for tobogganing, which will appeal to younger visitors and families.
Sölden offers a wide range of accommodation, from bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels.
Hotels: Prices for hotels in Sölden start at around €52 (around £40) per night and can rise to as much as €150 (around £120) per night. For further information on availability and bookings, please click here.
Bed and Breakfasts: There are numerous bed and breakfasts and ‘gasthofs’ in Sölden. For contact and booking information, please click here.
Private accommodation and holiday houses: Sölden offers many holiday homes in picturesque settings. The accommodation ranges from 2-star to 4-star. For further information, please click here.
Sölden offers 146 kilometres of slopes. Of these, 57 kilometres are classified as blue (ideal for beginners) and 61 kilometres are perceived to be red (for intermediate and experienced skiers). There are 31 kilometres of black ski trails (often steep and unmarked).
Sölden also boasts the ‘BIG 3’. It is the only Austrian ski area with three mountains higher than 3000 metres. Gaislachkogl is 3058 metres high, Tiefenbachkogl is 3250 metres high, and Schwarze Schneide, the highest, is 3340 metres high.
Snow is guaranteed in Sölden between November and May as a result of the high altitude and the two glacial ski areas. Snow-making facilities are provided for all ski runs up to a height of 2200 metres.
- 146km Downhill Pistes
- 19.5km Cross-Country trails
- 36 Ski Lifts
- 1,872m Max Vertical
- 3,249m Highest Lift
- 1,350m Resort Altitude
- 10km Longest Run
For tourist information and booking information, please click here.