Seefeld is one of the leading family ski resorts in the Austrian Tirol and among the best cross-country skiing destinations in the world. There’s also 45km of downhill skiing mainly for beginners and intermediates.
Seefeld has long been a popular venue for Austrian skiers living in the Tirol, but the vast majority of skiers visiting Seefeld are from Germany, many of whom come for the day from Munich or Garmisch. English skiers are the next biggest tourist group (8% of visitors) followed by Italians and Swiss.
Best known for cross-country skiing, Seefeld's Alpine skiing is unexceptional and relatively limited in extent with only 45km of downhill skiing, mostly blue and red runs for beginners and intermediates and only 10% of runs are black. What is exceptional about Seefeld, however, is its reputation as one of the world's best cross-country ski resorts with 266km of well-prepared cross-country ski trails from beginner to expert and competition level.
The après-ski scene is quiet but the majority of guests are seniors, families and couples content to relax after skiing in the comfort of their hotel.
Relax & Spa Hotel Astoria Seefeld 5-star
Hotel Klosterbräu Seefeld 5-star
Krumers Post Hotel & Spa Seefeld 4-star
Aktivhotel Veronika Seefeld 4-star
St Peter Hotel & Chalets Seefeld 4-star
Hotel Lärchenhof & Spa Seefeld 4-star
Hotel Seelos Seefeld 4-star
Alpenhotel Seefeld Seefeld 4-star
Bergresort Seefeld Seefeld 4-star
Dorint Alpin Resort 4-star
Seefeld has 28 ski runs in total, 50% for beginners, 40% for intermediates, just 10% for advanced skiers and boarders and the longest ski run is about 5km.
Seefeld's two downhill ski areas, soon to be connected by a new ski lift, are Rosshütte and Gschwandtkopf. Rosshütte, the larger of the two, is ideal for snowboarding, skiing, paragliding and even sunbathing. It is the hub in Seefeld's piste network, linking via cable car to skiing on the Härmelekopf.
The Gschwandtkopf is by far the smaller of the two areas and is skiable in a morning. Spread out over three small faces, most of the skiing here is for beginners. Geigenbühel and Birkenlift is a special ski area for children and beginners which is tucked away in a corner of Seefeld village. There are no expert pistes. Neither the Gschwandtkopf nor the Rosshütte is within walking distance of most lodging properties and getting from one to the other is most easily accomplished by car, although there is a ski bus.
Seefeld's ski season runs from early December to the beginning of April. There are 27 ski lifts transporting up to 11,000 riders per hour and the ski lifts, which are open from 09.00 am - 4.30 pm. The ski lifts also open for night skiing on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 6.30 - 9.30 pm.
Sitting on a relatively wide plateau Seefeld was the official cross-country ski venue for the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics as well the Nordic Ski World Championship in 1985 and the Cross Country Skiing Cup 1999. Since 2003 Seefeld has been the base of the Nordic Combination World Cup and will continue to be so until 2011.
The valleys that make up Olympiaregion Seefeld include a total of 266km trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Many top cross-country skiers train here and Seefeld's long-term goal is to be acknowledged as the best cross country skiing centre in the world.
The cross country (and downhill) ski area extends by Happy Ski passes to the surrounding villages of Leutasch, Mösern/Buchen, Reith and Scharnitz. Low-lying Leutasch is the starting point of the annual Ganghofer race, a 42 km cross country ski marathon. Mösern has the best views in the Upper Valley and some good nursery slopes. The old mountain-climbing village of Reith overlooks the Inn Valley while Scharnitz is a small, traditional village on the Bavarian Tyrolean border that is the gateway to the Karwendel Alpine Park.
The Seefeld Happy Ski Card is also valid for the surrounding resorts of Reith (towards Innsbruck), Mittenwald, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Grainau, Lermoos, Ehrwald, Biberwier, Berwang, Lähn, Billbach, Heiterwang and a number of smaller villages in between. While a number of these resorts are linked and can be reached by skiing safari style from one mountain to another, the bus service may well be the best way of getting back. Buses to other resorts go from Seefeld railway station.
By paying 10 euro for a sticker to put on your guest card (available from the tourist board and from hotels) there's no further charge to travel to and from other regional resorts like Mösern, Scharnitz, Leutasch and Reith.
At the Apothekenplatz bus station in Seefeld you can catch the Wildmoos bus; and ski shuttle buses. Two free Ski buses work a figure of eight route from Apothekenparkplatz (Zentrum) every 20 minutes. Skibus 1 with red lettering goes first to Rosshutte and then Geschwandtkopf while Skibus 2 (Green) does the Gschwandtkopf circuit first and then Rosshutte.
There is also a shuttle bus that links Seefeld with the Wildmoos area; where higher winter walks and cross country routes can be easily reached. This shuttle link runs every 30 minutes from 9-12am and from 1-6pm.
A small shuttle bus runs round the town and links up with various winter walking/cross country routes. This completes its circuit every 30 minutes and is easily recognised by the golden unicorn horn on the bonnet of the bus. Because so many Tyrolean resorts had chosen the goat as its symbol the Seefelders opted for a unicorn.
Seefeld's main ski lift complex is Talstation Seefeld, which is within walking distance from town if you're not carrying skis. From here there is a funicular to the top of Rosshütte (1760m) as well as two cable cars, three T-bars serving a number of blue runs halfway up the Rosshütte and two high-speed six-person chair lifts leading to the Härmelekopf.
Seefeld's newest lift, installed in 2007/08, is the 6-person high-speed Rosshütten Express chairlift with heated seats; known as "Rex", it bypasses the main Rosshütte hub and avoids the necessity of skiing back down to the Talstation in order to get up again.
On the Gschwandtkopf there is one 4-person chair lift that takes you to the full 300mvertical to the top of the mountain and a number of intermediary drag lifts rising half way up. There's also a slow single-person chair that runs from Reith to the Oetzihütte. For ski history aficionados, a ride on one of the world's few remaining single chairs in a must.
Just outside the centre of Seefeld, tucked in behind Münchnerstrasse, there is a ski area for beginners and children with three draglifts, one at Geigenbühel and two above the Birkenliftstuberl.
Bergbahnen Rosshütte Seefeld-Reith AG Seefeld
Tel: +43 5212 24160
Tel: +43 5212 2490
The Gschwandtkopf is an ideal mountain for beginners. Almost the entire mountain is rated blue. Beginners will enjoy exploring several different faces gently rolling terrain and excellent views of Innsbruck and the Bavarian Alps.
While intermediates may quickly tire of the Gschwandtkopf, beginners will find it an ample playground for a least day or two. Because the terrain is spread out and connected by several surface lifts, it allows beginners to get their first taste of what skiing in the Alps is all about - wandering from village to village, over, around, and between the snow-covered hills.
From the Rosshütte Talstation, beginners can start easily by skiing blue descents from the lowest draglift, then work their way up the mountain and use the Rosshütte restaurant as a base. Alternatively the new Rex (Rosshütte Express) now takes beginners to a choice of blue ski runs above the restaurant.
For something more magical beginners can try the gentle 3 km night ski route dropping 400m down the Harmelkopf (accessed by the luxurious heated 6 seater Hochangerbahn lift near the Talstation). The route is illuminated 6.30pm-9.30pm every Wednesday and Friday, usually from around 20 December until 20 March.
Beginners may also enjoy the Kaiserstand Natural Toboggan Run. Toboggans can be rented for € 4.50 at the Reitherjoch-Alm (Tel: +43 (0) 664 3375 803) above Reith.
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Seefeld ski area is small, but fun for intermediate skiers who will be able to enjoy the entirety of both mountains including the two black pistes, neither of which is particularly challenging.
Intermediates will be able to ski the Gschwandtkopf area in a half day. We recommend a morning visit to the Gschwandtkopft because its low elevation can leave it slushy in the afternoons. Start with a ride up the main quad chairlift and try a red run down to the Sonnenlift Reith, a single chair. After exploring the rest of the area's gently rolling blue runs, intermediates can ski the main face down to the base area and take a shuttle to the Rosshütte side.
The Rosshütte offers more skiing than its little brother, the Gschwandtkopf. The skiing is also at higher elevation and more varied. From the Talstation, the new 6-passenger Hochangerbahn whisks skiers to the Reitheralmbahn for access to the sporty Härmeleabfahrt. On the Seefelder Joch side of the Rosshütte, the Jochabfahrt and Sportabfahrt are popular choices. The former offers a 2,500 ft descent if taken to the Talstation.
Though picturesque, Seefeld's two mountains have unimpressive drops. The Gschwandtkopf offers no more than 1,000 feet vertical descent and Rosshütte 2,500 feet. There are no black pistes at the Gschwandtkopf area and even the red pistes are overclassified.
On the Rosshütte side, experts will find a handful of short black pistes, such as the Jochabfahrt. However, Seefeld's black pistes are hardly distinguishable from their reds. Both, while fun, will not challenge skilled skiers. Advanced skiers and ambitious intermediates will enjoy cruising Rosshűtte for the first day or so but will soon want to take their Happy Ski Card to find more adventurous skiing elsewhere.
Mittenwald across the border in Germany is just 15 minutes drive away. Here the foothills of the Wetterstein mountain range include the Kranzberg downhill ski area. Opposite, the sharper peaks of the Karwendel range offer the unpisted Dammkar run, providing a long and challenging descent in good conditions.
The Zugspitze, across the border, at Garmisch-Partenkirchen is 20 minutes drive from Seefeld and has more to offer adventurous skiers.
While Seefeld's ski pistes are relatively benign, in Seefeld as anywhere else there are risks involved in skiing off-piste. The death of an experienced local skier in an off-piste avalanche between Rosshütte and Harmelekopf in March 2009 reminded everyone of the dangers of off-piste skiing even in a resort as safety-conscious as Seefeld.Ambitious freeriders in the Rosshütte and Gschwandtkopf area will find the usual warning signs declaring 'here you leave the safety of the marked piste' so if you are intending to ski off-piste we recommend you hire a local mountain guide.
In Leutasch Moos it's popular to climb 400m up to the Rauthhütte restaurant (the lift has been removed) and then using touring skis you can climb to the top of the Hohe Munde (1,000 metres above) and then ski back down. This area is also popular with snow walkers and those who want toboggan down.
Snowboarderpark Crazy-hole is a small fun park between the Rosshütte and Murmelebau restaurants, with two rails and a pro-jump but it is showing its age having been built in 2000. There are also a few jumps built informally by locals in this area. The Snowboarderpark is maintained daily during the ski season.
Geschwandtkopf has three table tops on its lower slopes above the Talstation (not marked on the piste map).
Zugspitze also across the border at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (20km) is also rewarding for boarders.
Sitting on a relatively wide plateau Seefeld was the official cross country skiing venue for the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics as well the Nordic Ski World Championship in 1985 and the Cross Country Skiing Cup 1999. The Olympiaregion Seefeld boasts a total of 266 km trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
The rolling terrain allows enough turns, dips and downhill spurts to be interesting and the forest sections, of which there are many, are enchantingly scenic.
The 266 km of interconnected trails include 156km "Classic" and 110km "Skating". All trails are free to use with a Seefeld guest card (which comes with your accommodation) and 3km of trails are flood-lit six times a week during the winter season. Trails are set and groomed daily.
A satisfying but not overchallenging 6 km circular langlaufe trail is the B2 that leaves Seekirchl heading southeast towards Innsbruck but turning back before Reith Other routes can be found at Mosern and Leutasch. All these villages can be reached by taking the shuttle bus from the Apothekerparkplatz. Routes are graded blue, red and black for difficulty as for downhill skiing.
On select days, access to the biathlon course is also available. Be sure to call in advance for prices and availability.
A detailed cross country map can be bought at the tourist office for 3 Euros and is worth the outlay. The free A4 sheet is insufficiently detailed. There is also a useful website www.seefeld-langlauf.at for those who want to plan routes in detail.
The substantial and serviceable Rosshütte is unmissable with its flock of very healthy looking alpine choughs that perch above the outdoor terrace and has given its name to the mountainslope on which it stands. The sun terraces at Rosshűtte offer fill up quickly in fine weather and are popular for après ski from mid-afternoon until the lifts close.
The two huts below Rosshütte are owned by the lift company Bergbahnen Rosshütte which also owns the big restaurant up top. Murmelebau gets a lot of trade from snowboarders. Hochegg Alm is the most picturesque, a tiny log cabin overlooking a pond named, rather grandly, called the Kaltwassersee.
On Harmelekopf Johannes Marthe runs the Reitherjochalm at the bottom of a sequence of very enjoyable red runs. Good mountain après-ski can be found at the base station in the Tyrolean style Skialm.
On top of the Gschwandtkopf the Sonnenalm and the Oetzihütte are more traditional alpine gasthofs and more appealing than the shiny glass and concrete Rosshütte. There is good mountain après-ski at the Sportalm with the best hot orange punch in Tyrol.
Hochegg Alm is small and cosy and the Reitherjochalm hut is famed for its "Kaiserschmarren", a sweet pancake. The walk takes an hour but toboggans can be rented for a quick journey back down.
Rosshütte Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2416
Murmelebau Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2416
Hochegg Alm Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2416
Reitherjochalm Tel: +43 (0) 664 3375803
Skialm Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2416
Sonnenalm Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2490 35
Oetzihütte Tel: +39 347 3867058
Sportalm Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2689
Long before Seefeld became famous as a major cross-country skiing destination, the broad Seefeld plateau was a major route for pilgrims and traders through the Alps. In medieval times 70% of European trade passed through the city of Innsbruck on its way to and from Venice.
Pilgrims from northern Europe also passed through the village of "Sevelt" and a chapel was built for them. A small artificial lake was later added to provide fish for the local monastery. The monks of this large ecclesiastical institution produced good beer and beer production continued even after the monastery was closed at the end of the 18th century. The monastery was sold in the 19th century to a private buyer who turned the monastery into Hotel Klosterbräu, now one of Seefeld's 5-star hotels.
The village today retains its medieval centre around the pedestrianised Dorfplatz, Klosterstrasse and Bahnhofstrasse while major roads lead north to Munich, south to Innsbruck and west towards Switzerland. It is pleasant, affluent but unremarkable despite a smattering of older buildings. Seefeld has become an important tourist destination because of its cross-country skiing but is also a popular summer destination for golf, walking and biking.
The train route between Munich and Innsbruck stops just to the east of the old medieval centre next to the casino and all hotels are within walking distance from the railway station. There is a post office, several banks, a supermarket, tourist information centre and five doctors all within a few metres of the red-roofed church, which is in the centre of Dorfplatz in the pedestrianised area.
Compared to some Austrian resorts Seefeld is not a shopping destination although Sport Shop Sailer sells designer fashion from a dozen or so well-known brands including Prada, Bogner and Valentino. There are five jewellery shops, including a working goldsmiths and a Swarovski outlet. There's also a Spar supermarket. A day trip to Innsbruck (20km) offers plenty more retail therapy.
To the south of the old village centre, the Olympia Sport and Congress Centre on Klosterstrasse (Tel: +43 (0) 5212 3220) has recently been renovated. As well as a decent-size pool, there is a separate childrens' and baby area, 140m wild-water flume, seven different saunas, cold-water baths and relaxation baths. Massages are available. There are also solariums and infra-red cabins and a restaurant.
To the south of the village there are two cross country ski circuits either side of the Gschwandtwald and another across the Wildsee where the golf academy is in the summer.
Seefeld Tourist Office
Tel: +43 (0) 5 0880-50
There is live music is at Batzenhäusl in Leutascherstrasse and a 5 o'clock tea dance at the Alt Seefeld and Kurpark Restaurant as well as piano bar music in Hotel Klosterbräu.
There is dancing at the Fundisco Jeep in Olympiastrasse, which is opposite Siglu, a small Igloo bar outside Hotel Klosterbräu, which is always full and claims to play rock music through till sunrise or the last client leaves. Wildfang in Bahnhofstrasse, underneath Hotel Karwendelhof is a sophisticated late bar for night owls.
Fledermaus at Casino Seefeld is currently the in disco-bar in Seefeld. The casino itself spices up the month of February with its annual Casino Seefeld Body Painting Award, sponsored by Svarovski. The "After Paint" Party in Bar Fledermaus offers an opportunity for the public to mix with the models, not something you get at every ski resort.
The casino has recently celebrated its 40 years anniversary. As well as being a good place for after dinner gambling, Casino Seefeld (www.casino.seefeld.at) also organises all kind of gambling including the Baccara World Championships, Poker Challenge and Black Jack tournaments.
Batzenhäusl Tel: +43 5212 2292
Kurpark Restaurant Tel: + 43 5212 2191
Fundisco Jeep Tel: +43 5212 2191
Hotel Klosterbräu Tel: +43 5212 2621
Wildfang Tel: +43 5212 2340
Fledermaus Tel: +43 5212 2340
What Seefeld lacks in vibrant après-ski it makes up for in good restaurants. There are some 40 restaurants in this comparatively small town, many of which like Südtiroler Stube have been in business for decades if not centuries.
The Südtiroler Stube in Reitherspitzstrasse is a sequence of small interlinked rooms offering meat dishes of all kind, grilled on charcoal as their speciality. The Hotel Klosterbräu in Klosterstrasse has been in business even longer and its Ritter Oswald Stube was awarded two Gault Millau "toques" in 2007. The hotel's 500 year old wine cellar makes for an atmosheric dining experience by candlelight
Kracherle Moos in Moosweg 758 consists of four rooms carved out of old Tyrolean farm houses. Excellent cuisine, all four of them, in a very cosy Tyrolean style with tile stoves each of them in a different colour.
Erlebniswirtshaus Alt-Seefeld in Klosterstraße is new and unusual in having a both a range of décor styles and a show kitchen. Good terrace service in winter and summer. The home made pastries and strudels and Sachertorte are recommended
Waldgasthof Triendlsäge at Triendlsäge 259 is a rural Tyrolean gasthaus that gets its name from the old saw mill (restored in 2000). Dishes tend to be Tyrolean specialities using fresh local farm produce plus seasonal venison and locally picked wild mushrooms. Many couples arrange in advance to arrive by horse drawn carriage and walk back after the meal (walking time approximately 30 minutes).
For something more casual Adams Bistro Bar inside the shocking pink Hotel Eden on Münchner-Strasse has a good wine list, comfy leather armchairs and live music on Fridays until midnight.
La Traviata in Dorfplatz is a pizzeria restaurant for those who hanker after Italian food. There is also the Chinarestauarnt Asia on Münchner-Strasse, with all the dragons, lanterns and oriental decor you'd expect of a traditional Chinese restaurant anywhere.
Südtiroler StubeTel: +43 5212 50446
Hotel Klosterbräu Tel: +43 5212 26210
Kracherle Moos Tel: +43 5212 4680
Erlebniswirtshaus Alt-Seefeld Tel: +43 5212 2951
Waldgasthof Triendlsäge Tel: +43 5212 2580
Adams Bistro Bar Tel: +43 5212 50495
La Traviata Pizzeria Tel: +43 5212 5070
Chinarestaurant Asia Tel: +43 5212 3065
The Olympiaregion Seefeld is a real walkers' paradise. In the winter there are approximately 142 km of cleared and salted walking paths with many traditional huts for refreshments. Over at Scharnitz there's a 2½ hour walk from the village up to the Pleissenhütte and then to the top of Pleissen spitze. The view from the top is majestic and the descent, as long as you don't encounter too many toboggans, a delight. A map with descriptions of all winter hiking paths and trails can be obtained from Seefeld Tourist Information Office. Snowshoe hikers can also discover breathtaking views high up above the Seefeld plateau.
Olympicregion Seefeld is a centre of excellence for Nordic walking and running all year round and attracts experienced Nordic walkers including top athletes as well as beginners in winter and summer. Nordic walking with poles is easy on the joints and offers a whole body aerobic work-out and is an increasingly popular activity for fit outdoor enthusiasts to train at an altitude of 1,200-1,400m. The Nordic walking and running area includes 30 well-signposted routes with options for beginners and experts in three levels of difficulty and with varying types of route requiring different levels of experience and fitness. For more information or to book a beginners or advanced Nordic walking course in Seefeld contact Sport Norz Seefeld (www.sport-norz.at) or go to www.seefeld.at.
Tobogganing in Olympiaregion Seefeld includes five toboggan runs, the Hoher Sattel, Hämmermoos, Katzenkopf, Rauthhütte (www.rauthhuette.at) and Wettersteinhütte in Leutasch, two natural toboggan runs at Kreidegraben and Mühlberg in Scharnitz and the Kaiserstand Natural toboggan run in Reitherjoch-Alm. Toboggans can be rented locally at sports shops and valley lift stations. For more information go to www.seefeld.at
Parashuttle Seefeld and the Human Eagle Air Academy offer panoramic paragliding flights over Seefeld all the year round when weather conditions are fine and the cable cars are open. Both companies employ only certified flying instructors and passengers do not need any prior experience. For more information contact the operators listed below or go to www.seefeld.at
Contact Christian Lindner
Tel: +43 664 124 40 10
Human Eagle-Air Academy
Contact Alban Klose
The Olympia Sport & Conference Centre in Seefeld includes a large artificial ice rink open daily in winter from 10 am - 1.45 pm and 2.15 pm - 6.00 pm. (Tel: +43 5212 3050) with changing rooms and skate hire for ½ day or a full day. For more information go to www.seefeld-sports.at (German language only) or www.seefeld.at
The recently renovated Olympic Sports & Conference Centre includes indoor and outdoor swimming with special areas for families and children, a waterpark with special features including a 140m long whitewater river and SilverStar family slide, a sun terrace for relaxing and a restaurant. Wellness facilities include a 2,000 square meter two-storey sauna with seven different saunas, cold pool and themed relaxation rooms, a 33 degree warm relaxation pool, solarium, infra red cabins and massage facilities.
Olympia Sport & Conference Centre Seefeld
6100 Seefeld in Tirol
Tel. +43 (0) 5212 3220
Seefeld has five supermarkets, bakeries and Tirolean Speck shops (selling ham and sausages), numerous sports and fashion shops, leather goods and shoe shops, jewellers and the usual newspaper kiosk and souvenir shops.
Innsbruck 20 km to the south east of Seefeld is worth visiting for a day out. There is a good train service from the Seefeld bahnhof and the descent is spectacular. While in Innsbruck, check out the new Hungerburgbahn station behind the Hofburg (Royal Palace). This rapid shuttle gets Innsbruckers up to the SeegrUbe ski area in less than half an hour. No other city in the world has such a rapid transit from urban life to the ski slopes. The controversial Pritzker-prize winning architect Zaha Hadid designed the station.
For more information contact Seefld Tourist Information:
Seefeld Tourist Information
6100 Seefeld, Austria
Tel.: +43 (0) 5 0880 50