Bad Hofgastein | Ski Resort Review

5 Aug 202318 min
By Arjen Hartman
Image of the village of Bad Hofgastein in Austria at the Foot of Snowy Mountains

Bad Hofgastein is an old spa town at the heart of one of Austria's largest ski resorts, the stunning Gastein Valley, and offers winter enthusiasts a captivating ski resort experience. The town is also renowned for its thermal waters, which are accessible via several tranquil spa retreats. Read the Exploreo review.

Bad Hofgastein - Overview

Bad Hofgastein presents itself as a haven for intermediate skiers, with the 198km Gasteinertal area offering a delightful mix of tree-lined trails and sun-kissed bowls, inviting adventurers to explore its diverse slopes. The vast and varied ski area is connected to several other resorts in the region, making for an exhilarating skiing experience. The town is also renowned for its thermal waters, which are accessible via several tranquil spa retreats.

Stroll through the cobbled centre of Bad Hofgastein, where centuries-old buildings with painted shutters and frescoed walls create a tranquil atmosphere. In contrast to the bustling après-ski scene of other Austrian resorts, the village has a more relaxed feel, with inviting bars and cafes - ideal for unwinding after a day on the slopes. The old village of Bad Hofgastein has a pleasant pedestrianised centre and a good range of restaurants, shops, hotels and other facilities to cater for most holiday needs. This charming alpine village strikes the perfect balance and caters for all types of travellers.

Bad Hofgastein - A bit of history

At the heart of the village stands the imposing parish church, built between 1498 and 1507. Its centrepiece is an exquisite Baroque altar, celebrated as a masterpiece by the painter Josef Andrä Eisl and the sculptor Paul Mödlhammer.

After the Second World War, skiing developed in the area during the difficult post-war years. The first lift, the Haimalm on the Graukogel, was completed on 30 December 1945. Chair lifts and gondolas were introduced over the next decade.

The construction of the new Nassfeld alpine road (1970-1972) finally linked the region for winter sports, creating the popular destination of "Sportgastein". In 1958, Bad Hofgastein proudly hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships, where Austrian skier Toni Sailer achieved a remarkable feat by winning three gold medals in the downhill, giant slalom and combination.

Gastein's thermal waters, renowned for their healing properties due to their radon content, offer a range of therapeutic options, from classic thermal baths to the Gastein Healing Gallery and Steam Bath. Over the years, Gastein has attracted many distinguished visitors in search of its restorative waters, including presidents, kings, queens, emperors, empresses and prime ministers from various countries around the world.

Notable guests have included Mozart's mother in 1750, followed almost 90 years later by his widow in 1839. Johann Strauss in 1850, Mrs Winston Churchill in 1912 and during the Second World War Emma Göring, wife of Nazi Party member Marshal Hermann Göring, came to Bad Gastein for a cure. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels also visited the area twice.

Film stars have also graced the region, such as Douglas Fairbank Junior, who visited with his family in 1950, and Thomas Mann a year later. The area's illustrious past includes a reputation for gold mining, thought to have been started by the Celts over two thousand years ago and later continued by the Romans. Gold was said to be only about five metres below the surface.

Ski Resort Highlights

Ski area
Apres ski
Ski area: 210km
Summit: 2686m
Resort height: 859m
Altitude range: 859 - 2300m
Vertical drop: 1441m
Parks: 1
Salzburg (1h 10min)
Train stations:
Bad Hofgastein (5min)

Bad Hofgastein - Ski Map & Pistes

The Gastein ski resort, one of the largest in Austria, is divided into five ski areas and reaches up to 2,700 metres. It is served by three main resorts and several smaller lift base areas. With over 200 meticulously groomed pistes, this vast ski area is one of the longest and highest in Austria and caters for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, from beginners to experts.

Just above Bad Hofgastein is the Schlossalm ski area, which is conveniently linked to Bad Gastein, the valley's largest town, via the Angertal Ski Centre. This link leads to the extensive skiing area on the Stubnerkogel above Bad Gastein.

Beginners usually start their skiing in the Angertal area, which can be reached by ski bus from the resort. A second, lower area, accessible by train or bus down the valley, links Grossarl (in the neighbouring valley) with Dorfgastein at the bottom of the Gastein Valley, a short ski bus ride away.

The ski link between these resorts is via the Kreuzkogel (2027m). The third and highest ski area is the small sector above Sport Gastein, with a base at 1600m and a snow-assured top lift at 2685m on the Kreuzkogel. This area is particularly prized for its off-piste powder runs, making it a favourite with powder lovers.

Skiers have the luxury of choosing from several ski circuit connections, including Stubnerkogel-Angertal-Schlossalm and Dorfgastein-Großarl, the World Championship area of Graukogel and the high-alpine Sportgastein. Guest card holders staying in local accommodation are offered free guided tours to maximise their enjoyment of the ski area. There are also weekly ski races for guests to take part in.

Thanks to the high altitude terrain and extensive snowmaking facilities, poor snow cover is rarely an issue in this region. Advanced skiers will find the black runs of the Stubnerkogel challenging, and experienced guides can often uncover excellent off-piste powder runs from the Kreuzkogel.

If the entire Gastein Valley isn't enough to satisfy your skiing appetite, you'll be pleased to know that it's part of the sprawling 760km Ski Amadé ticket system, one of the largest in the world. This ticket gives access to two dozen resorts in the region, making it a skier's and snowboarder's paradise - just remember to bring your (electric) car for convenient exploration.

Skimap of the Großarltal-Dorfgastein area in Ski Amade, AustriaSkimap of the Großarltal-Dorfgastein area in Ski Amade, Austria, including the Bad Hofgastein ski resort. Click here or on the image to go to the big ski map.

Bad Hofgastein - Off-Piste, Backcountry & Ski Touring

Bad Hofgastein offers intrepid skiers and snowboarders excellent off-piste opportunities. Beyond the marked slopes, the resort reveals a vast playground of untamed powder and untouched terrain, beckoning thrill-seekers to embark on unforgettable backcountry adventures and immerse themselves in a truly unique alpine experience.

The sprawling 198km Gasteinertal ski area offers plenty of opportunities for off-piste exploration, with tree-lined trails and sun-drenched bowls allowing skiers to carve their own paths among the majestic peaks. To discover the best off-piste treasures, venture to hidden gems such as the Kreuzkogel and Graukogel, where breathtaking backcountry journeys await.

Snowboarders will find plenty of deep powder slopes (fingers crossed) to indulge their freeriding passion in this vast area, known for hosting World Cup snowboarding events. The Boarder's Paradise fun park on the Dorfgastein-Grossarl link, conveniently located on the Grossarl side near piste number 9, serves as a haven for freestylers. Bad Hofgastein's ski schools teach snowboarders from the age of six to master park and piste techniques, ensuring an exhilarating and skilful experience on the slopes.

Off-piste skiing is exhilarating, but it also demands caution and respect for the environment. Safety should always be paramount and it's important to be aware of the stability of the snowpack. It is advisable to use local guides or instructors to ensure safe exploration. Responsible skiing practices, such as avoiding fragile vegetation and wildlife, play a crucial role in preserving the pristine wilderness for future generations.

Those venturing into the backcountry should be well prepared and equipped with avalanche safety equipment, including transceivers, shovels and probes. Many freeriders also choose to undergo avalanche safety training to understand the risks associated with skiing in uncontrolled areas.

For the best and safest touring experience, it is wise to seek advice from local ski schools or tourist offices on current conditions and access to specific areas. Armed with the right equipment and knowledge of backcountry safety, ski touring in Bad Hofgastein offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature and embrace the essence of the alpine wilderness.

Bad Hofgastein - Family Skiing

They say the family that skis together stays together, and there's no better place for that than Bad Hofgastein. To help ease the financial burden, the resort offers a Family Bonus, which provides additional graduated discounts for children up to 19 years old when families buy lift tickets together. Families of five or more can even enjoy free tickets for the third and subsequent children.

During the low season at the end of March and in April, the terms are even more generous, with free ski passes for children up to 15 years old, even for family groups of three or four, when purchased with their parents' tickets. Discounts apply to ski school, ski hire, mountain restaurant bills and lift tickets.

Childcare is available in the Angertal from the age of two years and six months at the Schneesportschule Gastein. There is an 800 square metre Kids Park for the little ones. Several ski schools offer special courses for children from the age of four for skiing and from the age of six for snowboarding. An exciting attraction for children and teenagers is the Fun Centre, located at an altitude of 2,200 metres on the Stubnerkogel. This exciting place has a children's cinema, ball pool, Sony Playstations and free internet access.

Bad Hofgastein - Environmental Responsibility

While adventurers revel in the freedom of off-piste skiing, the responsibility to protect it rests on the shoulders of every skier. Bad Hofgastein holds a special place in the region's natural heritage, and eco-conscious skiing is crucial to preserving this breathtaking environment for future generations.

Fortunately, the area has taken steps to promote sustainable practices. Local ski schools and guiding services follow Leave No Trace principles, ensuring minimal impact on the fragile ecosystem. In addition, eco-friendly transport options such as shared shuttles and public transport help to reduce the carbon footprint.

Embrace the spirit of responsible skiing by respecting the terrain, staying on designated routes and avoiding fragile alpine vegetation. Mindful skiing practices, such as packing your litter and choosing reusable containers, further protect the natural beauty that captivates us.

Bad Hofgastein - Restaurants, Bars & The Town

As Bad Hofgastein is quite a large resort, there are dozens of places to eat, offering a diverse range of restaurants to satisfy every palate, with a focus on both traditional Austrian cuisine and healthy eating to complement the healthy mountain sports and thermal springs.

The pedestrianised centre of Bad Hofgastein has a good selection of bars and cafes and there are also several sophisticated nightclubs for the night owls.

In addition, Bad Hofgastein offers a wide range of non-skiing activities and attractions to suit all interests and ages. Check out our tips below.

Bad Hofgastein - Restaurants

Here are some recommended restaurants that promise an exceptional dining experience:

A rare find is Kraut & Rüben, a delightful vegetarian restaurant on Pirkerstrasse in the heart of Bad Hofgastein. It has a philosophy of sustainability and mindful eating.

Gasthof Zur Alten Post near the church is a charming and historic restaurant that embodies the essence of alpine hospitality and is another of the many serving traditional Austrian fare.

Wirtshaus Schweizerhof: Located in the heart of Bad Hofgastein, Restaurant Wirtshaus Schweizerhof delights guests with its warm ambience and delicious Austrian cuisine. Indulge in traditional dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients while soaking up the charming alpine atmosphere.

Weitmoser Schlossl: Nestled in a picturesque setting, a bit outside the village centre, Weitmoser Schlossl is a charming restaurant renowned for its exquisite Austrian cuisine and impeccable service. The seasonal menu offers a fusion of regional and international flavours for an unforgettable dining experience.

Dorfstubn Bad Hofgastein: For a taste of true Tyrolean charm, head to Dorfstubn Bad Hofgastein. This rustic eatery serves hearty Austrian dishes and alpine specialities, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy.

Cafe-Restaurant Kraftwerk: Located near the Alpentherme Gastein thermal spa, Cafe-Restaurant Kraftwerk serves delicious meals and delicious cakes. Enjoy a leisurely meal on the terrace surrounded by breathtaking mountain views.

Steak & Meer: For a good old-fashioned steak or schnitzels, go to restaunt Steak & Meer in the centre of Bad Hofgastein. They have an incredibly kind service and really delicious lunch menu and if you manage to get a place in the winter garden you will get an extremely nice view to enjoy your meal.

Restaurant Aurum: For a great and cosy dining experience head for Restaurant Aurum in the centre of Bad Hofgastein. The restaurant's welcoming atmosphere complements the varied menu, which offers classic dishes and innovative creations to suit all tastes.

Restaurant Gastein Alm: is an authentic alpine restaurant in Bad Hofgastein, known for their friendly staff and fast service. You can expect a cozy ambiance, friendly service, and a selection of mouthwatering and generous Austrian dishes with a modern twist.

Kupferstube at the Norica Hotel: For a touch of elegance, dine at Kupferstube in the Norica Hotel. This fine dining restaurant combines gourmet cuisine with attentive service, offering a culinary journey through Austrian and international flavours.

Restaurant Alpenhaus Gasteinertal: Idyllically situated in the Gasteinertal ski resort, the Alpenhaus Gasteinertal restaurant offers breathtaking views and a delicious menu of regional and international dishes.

Bad Hofgastein - Après Ski

Bad Hofgastein has a vibrant après-ski scene, with lively bars and cosy lounges where you can unwind after a day on the slopes. Here are some recommended après-ski bars and nightclubs in Bad Hofgastein:

Goldberg Feuer.Bar: A grreat place to end a days skiing. This lively bar comes with nice live music and atmosphere and cosy table firepits to cook their freshly made kebabs. Dance to the latest tunes, enjoy refreshing drinks and socialise with fellow skiers in a lively atmosphere.

Weitmoser Schlossl Après Ski Bar: After a day on the slopes, head to the Weitmoser Schlossl's Après Ski Bar for a relaxing and convivial atmosphere. Enjoy delicious drinks and snacks while basking in the alpine charm of this cosy bar.

Eberlalm: Located on the mountain, the Eberlalm is an authentic alpine hut with a lively après-ski atmosphere. Accessible by ski or on foot, this rustic retreat offers warm hospitality, live music and the chance to sample local schnapps and hearty fare.

Paradise Table Dance: For those looking for a special late night experience, the Paradise Table Dance Club is a popular nightclub in Bad Hofgastein. Dance the night away to upbeat music, enjoy themed parties and create lasting memories in a lively atmosphere.

As with any nightlife scene, opening times and offerings can vary, so it's a good idea to check the schedule and make reservations if necessary. Soak up the lively atmosphere, mingle with fellow travellers and enjoy the vibrant après-ski and nightlife experiences that Bad Hofgastein has to offer.

Bad Hofgastein - Activities

In addition to skiing, Bad Hofgastein as well as nearby Badgastein offer a wide range of activities and attractions to suit all interests and ages. Here are some other things to do in Bad Hofgastein:

Alpentherme Gastein: Treat yourself to relaxation and rejuvenation at Alpentherme Gastein, a luxurious spa and wellness centre. Unwind in the thermal pools, saunas and wellness areas - the perfect escape after a day on the slopes.

Felsentherme Gastein: Another excellent option for wellness enthusiasts is the Felsentherme Gastein. This modern spa complex offers indoor and outdoor thermal pools, saunas and a variety of treatments, providing visitors with a blissful retreat.

Gastein Healing Caves: Experience the therapeutic benefits of the Gastein Healing Gallery, a natural radon therapy centre in the Gastein Valley. This unique treatment is believed to have healing properties and is a popular choice for those seeking alternative therapies.

Gastein Museum: Immerse yourself in the history and culture of the region at the Gastein Museum. Discover fascinating exhibits that showcase the area's rich heritage and traditions.

Children's Playground - Angertal Adventure Park: Families with children will enjoy the Angertal Adventure Park, a playground set in picturesque surroundings. Children can have fun on the playground equipment and explore the natural play areas.

Ice skating: Soak up the winter atmosphere while skating at the ice rink in Bad Hofgastein. Enjoy gliding on the ice beneath the enchanting alpine scenery.

Shopping: Stroll through the charming streets of Bad Hofgastein and explore a variety of shops and boutiques selling local handicrafts, souvenirs and winter gear.

Cross-country skiing: For cross-country skiing enthusiasts, the Gastein Valley offers well-maintained trails that provide a peaceful and scenic experience amidst the winter wonderland.

Horse-drawn sleigh rides: Experience the romance of winter with a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the picturesque landscapes of the Gastein Valley.

Please note that some activities or attractions may have specific opening times or seasonal availability, so it's advisable to check in advance.

Whether you are looking for relaxation, cultural experiences or family-friendly fun, Bad Hofgastein offers a wealth of opportunities to make your stay enjoyable and memorable.

Bad Hofgastein - Ski Rental

Whether you're an experienced skier, a daredevil snowboarder or a first-time winter sports enthusiast, you may need to equip yourself for an unforgettable adventure on the slopes. The many ski hire companies in Bad Hofgastein are dedicated to providing quality equipment and exceptional service.

Below is a selection of some of the top ski hire companies offering quality equipment and expert advice:

Intersport Fleiss: Located in the heart of Bad Hofgastein, Intersport Fleiss is a renowned ski hire shop known for its wide range of top quality equipment. From skis and snowboards to boots and helmets, their friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to help you find the perfect equipment for all levels. Enjoy the convenience of on-site fitting and take advantage of their well-maintained equipment for a seamless start to your alpine journey.

Adventure Snowboard School: For snowboarders looking for the latest and greatest in snowboarding equipment, Snowboardschule Adventure is a top choice. Not only do they offer top quality snowboard hire, they also provide expert instruction and tuition for riders of all levels. Whether you're looking to master tricks in the terrain park or carve through the powder, their passionate instructors are here to elevate your snowboarding experience.

Alpinsport Rental & Service: Located near the Schlossalmbahn, Alpinsport Rent & Service is a one-stop shop for all your ski and snowboard rental needs. Their wide range of equipment ensures that skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities will find the perfect fit for their alpine pursuits. The shop also offers professional tuning and repair services to keep your equipment in top condition throughout your stay.

Alpentherme Gastein Ski Rental: Conveniently located near the Alpentherme Gastein spa, this ski rental facility ensures a seamless transition from relaxation to the slopes. With quality equipment and friendly staff, Alpentherme Gastein Ski Rental caters for both adults and children, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable winter sports experience.

Skirent Discount: Situated at the SkiHotel Alpenparks Residence Bad Hofgastein you can find affordable ski rental options, with even 25% discount when booking online.

Bad Hofgastein - Ski Schools

Bad Hofgastein welcomes skiers and snowboarders of all levels to perfect their winter sports skills under the expert guidance of the area's top ski and snowboard schools. Whether you're a beginner eager to hit the snow for the first time or an experienced rider looking to refine your technique, here are some reputable ski schools to enhance your alpine experience.

Snow Academy: Snow Academy is a leading ski school in Badgastein that caters for individuals and groups of all ages and abilities. Their team of certified instructors offer tailor-made lessons that focus on building confidence, improving technique and ensuring safety on the slopes. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced skier looking for off-piste adventure, the Snow Academy's personalised approach guarantees an enjoyable and educational experience.

Ski School Schlossalm-Angertal-Stubnerkogel: Located at the base of the Schlossalm-Angertal-Stubnerkogel ski area, this renowned ski school offers comprehensive tuition for skiers and snowboarders. Their experienced instructors create a supportive learning environment, making them a top choice for families and beginners. With a focus on fun and progression, students can gain the confidence to explore the varied terrain of the Gastein Valley.

Adventure Snowsports School: Adventure Snowsportschule is a specialised snowboard school dedicated to improving snowboarding skills and fostering a love of the sport. With experienced instructors who are passionate about snowboarding, students receive individual attention to help them master tricks, freestyle manoeuvres and off-piste riding. The school's emphasis on camaraderie and friendship fosters a vibrant snowboarding community.

Gastein Ski School: One of the largest ski schools in the Gastein Valley, the Gastein Ski School offers a wide range of group and private lessons for skiers of all ages. Their experienced instructors focus on technical precision and instilling a love of the mountains. From beginners to experts, students benefit from a supportive learning environment and first-class instruction.

Ski School Bad Hofgastein: is an excellent choice for those seeking a holistic approach to skiing. Their experienced instructors prioritise personal attention and use innovative teaching methods to help students progress at their own pace. Their commitment to excellence and passion for the sport ensures an enriching and enjoyable learning experience.

Whether you're a beginner taking your first turns or an experienced rider looking to hone your skills, the ski and snowboard schools in Bad Hofgastein offer first-class tuition and a range of lesson options. With expert guidance and a supportive learning environment, you can embrace the thrill of the mountains and take your winter sports skills to new heights.

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