Apres Ski in Wildschonau

The Wildschonau is 20 km long cul-de-sac valley with three picturesque ski resort villages, the biggest and best known of which is Niederau, 6km south of Worgl. The even prettier and quieter villages of Oberau and Auffach are 5km and 9km further along the valley.

Villages in Wildschonau


Located at 828 metres above sea level, the small village of Niederau is the biggest and best-known of Wildschonau’s ski resorts. With three airports nearby, getting to Niederau is easy and transfer times from Innsbruck, Munich or Salzburg airports are short. Best known for its ski schools and beginner skiing including easy blue runs and excellent nursery slopes for novices and young children, Niederau is a picturesque family-friendly ski resort with around 1,000 inhabitants and accommodation for over 2,700 guests in traditional Austrian guesthouses, apartments and a reasonable selection of 2-4 star hotels.

Though quieter than better-known resorts in Tirol, Niederau has an adequate choice of bars and restaurants and offers both relaxed and lively apres ski with Austrian ambience and appropriate touches of local Tirolean culture. The village is spread along the valley road and approximately 1km from end to end, but it’s easy to get around on foot. Niederau has very few shops unconnected with snowsports, although there are plenty of shops (and more restaurants) nearby in Worgl.

Niedrau’s 24km ski area, best for beginners and early intermediates, is easily reached by an 8-person gondola departing from the main base station near the centre of the village to Markbachjoch (1,500m) and a 4-person chairlift from the nursery slopes to Lanerkopfl (1,600m).


The quietest and loveliest of Wildschonau’s ski resort villages, Oberau is absolutely delightful. This is where you’ll find many of the prettiest buildings in the valley, many of which are decorated with charming murals or other Tirolean and Austrian hallmarks such as “Anton Sollerer Shuhmacher-Meister 1850”, the Gasthof Starchenthof with dark wooden balconies partly painted red and white, the Gasthof Kellerwirt dating from the 12th Century and an Inn since 1750 and the Church of St Margarethe ( aka “the Wildschonau cathedral”). With four brass bands in the valley, the region has strong musical traditions and Oberau, home to the Hauptschule Wildschonau in Oberau, is the Wildschonau’s music capital.

Though Oberau has over 2,000 inhabitants and accommodation for nearly 3,000 guests in chalet style pensions and hotels, the village, built on both sides of the valley road at an altitude of 936m and about 2km from end to end, is sometimes so peacefully quiet you could hear a pin drop. That said, for those who like to chill out and relax after skiing, there are some delightful apres ski spots, the two most popular being the Kellerwirt and Weinstuberl at the Starchenthof.

Oberau has a tiny ski area, just 3km at Roggenboden, about 1.5km from the village, but the vast majority of guests travel by car or regular free ski bus to the main ski area at Auffach or Niederau; and Oberau is conveniently situated half way between them. Look out for Café Unterberger, definitely the most characterful café building in the Wildschonau and among the prettiest in Austria.


Home to nearly 1,000 inhabitants and offering accommodation for 1,400 guests, Auffach is 4km farther along the valley from Oberau, 9km from Niederau, at 875 metres above sea level. Built on each side of the uphill valley road, picturesque Auffach includes a large gondola base station and free car park, a few ski rental shops and a selection of hotels including the 4-star Auffacherhof, Hotel Platz and Hotel Weisbacher, both 3-star, and a reasonable selection of guesthouses.

Apres ski options include Gipfo Hit and the Schatzbergeralm, the small but lively Gruttn Stadl, a purpose-built circular wooden apres ski bar at the bottom of the slopes opposite the gondola base station, Charlie’s Pizza restaurant next door and the small south-facing sun terrace at the Hotel Weisbacher, at the far end of the village.

Auffach is the access point to the Schatzberg ski area (55km), the biggest and highest ski area in the Wildschonau, now connected by a new gondola to the Wiedersberger Horn ski area (also 55km) above Alpbach; together they form the backbone of the “Ski Juwel” region (145km).


The Wilschonau’s smallest and highest village at an altitude of 1,175m, Thierbach has just 188 inhabitants, 484 guest beds and is home to Austria’s smallest school – just 8 pupils – but there’s no lift access to the ski area from here.

Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants in Wildschonau

Wildschonau has a reasonable selection of apres ski bars and restaurants (including hotel restaurants) and a few clubs open for dancing until late at night. Niederau has the most apres ski, but not enough to win any awards.

Though the Wildschonau valley is unspoiled, hidden away in each of the calm and pretty villages are some lively apres ski bars. Dining in or out in the Wildschonau mostly involves eating in your hotel or picking the best hotel restaurants to visit. Most offer reasonably high standards of cuisine backed up with an adequate selection of wines, and a few restaurants such as the Gasthof Kellerwirt in Oberau are worth making an extra effort to visit and will help make your Wildschonau ski holiday more memorable.

Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants in Niederau

Most of the lively apres ski bars and clubs can be found in Niederau where Bobo’s Heustadl Bar, a circular wooden building next to the base area, is a popular first bar stop and the favourite of many locals. Other lively apres ski bars in Neiderau are O’Malley’s Irish Pub at the Sport Hotel next to the Markbachjoch base station and opposite the Schnappshutte apres ski bar, the Sport Café at Pension Flatscher, and the Dorfstub’n. Later in the evening, clubbers might like to try the Cave Bar disco in the Hotel Staffer.

The 4-star Hotel Wastlhof (Tel: +43 5339 8247) is Niederau’s best for fine dining and the Hotel Austria Stuberl (Tel: +43 5339 8188) in Niederau is the most popular restaurant in the village and serves international dishes as well as specialities of the region. For eating out Italian style, try Pizzeria Ferrari (Tel: +43 5339 2733) and Pizzeria Milano.

Just a 10-minute drive from Niederau, the small town of Worgl offers a bigger choice of restaurants including Austrian, Italian, Spanish, Indian and Chinese restaurants and with a touch more sophistication.

Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants in Oberau

Next along the valley and much quieter is Oberau, where the Hotel Tirolerhof’s Sno Blau Bar is a popular hotspot along with the Starchenstubl at the Gasthof Starchenthof and the Keller Bar at Gasthof Kellerwirt which are also popular for apres ski, but to experience the Kellerwirt at its best, a table reservation for dinner is highly recommended.

The Gasthof Kellerwirt (Tel: +43 5339 8116) in Oberau is among the best restaurant experience in Wildschonau and highly recommended. An historic building dating from the 12th Century, the Kellerwirt has been a traditional Tirolean coaching Inn owned and managed by the Keller family since 1750. Hans Keller, the most genial of hosts with a keen sense of humour (often seen riding his bicycle down the piste after night skiing) will delight you with his tales of the history of the Kellerwirt. Book a table for dinner, ideally to coincide with a wine tasting in the cellar deep within the 12th Century walls and be sure to visit the Monkey Room.

Also in Oberau, the Hotel Talhof (Tel: +43 5339 8465) serves home produced lamb and fresh trout from its own farm and the Landgasthof Dorfwirt (Tel: +43 5339 8113) is especially well regarded for its authentic Tirolean specialities. The Riedlhof Hut at Oberau would be a strong contender in any “biggest Wiener schnitzel” contest with chips hidden underneath.

Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants in Auffach

The circular wooden Grutt’n Stadl Bar (Tel: +43 664 163 4182) in an unmissable location at the bottom of the slopes next to the main Schatzberg lift station is purpose built and ideal for apres ski. Apart from a few local hotel bars, it’s possibly the only apres ski bar in Auffach which adds to its popularity.

Still in Auffach, the 4-star Hotel Auffacherhof just 80m from the Schatzbergbahn lift has reasonably priced daily menus and a choice of international and traditional Austrian cuisine including lamb, beef and fish dishes using locally sourced products. The 3-star Hotel Platzl (Tel: +43 5339 8928), located 120m from the Schatzberg lift, has a popular restaurant serving innovative dishes prepared by Chef Walter Frey who adds his own twist to traditional dishes. Examples are venison in a pumpkin seed crust or pear with pear croquettes and red cabbage with chestnuts or bream in a red curry sauce.

Night Bus Service in Wildschonau

For those guests who don’t have access to a car, the Auffach-Oberau-Niederau night bus service operates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from late December until early April (13 stops en route) in both directions every half hour from 8 pm until the last bus from Niederau at 02:30 arriving in Auffach at 02:55 am. Free for Wildschonau Guest Card holders otherwise a small charge applies. A timetable is available from Wildschonau Tourist Offices.

Other Activities in Wildschonau

Wildschonau has a range of other activities in winter including cross-country skiing, tobogganing, paragliding, sleigh rides, snowshoeing and winter walking amid beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

Cross-Country Skiing in Wildschonau

The Wildschonau has 50km of cross-country skiing tracks including seven tracks running the length of the valley between Niederau and Auffach, and a cross-country ski circuit on the Schonanger Alm at 1,070m and located at the far end of the valley, 10km beyond Auffach.

Tobogganing in Wildschonau

Auffach has a 5 km long toboggan run starting from the Schatzberg gondola middle station and winding down to the village. Oberau has tobogganing on Wednesday and Thursday nights on floodlit slopes on Roggenboden. Toboggan hire is available at the lift station. Tel: +43 (0) 664 125 4031. Contact the Wildschonau Tourist Office for more information.

Paragliding in Wildschonau

The Markbachjoch above Niederau is an ideal starting point for tandem paragliding flights and to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Wildschönau Valley. The Flyingschool Wildschonau’s highly qualified instructors also teach paragliding.  Options in winter include a 4-day Beginners Course from Thursday to Sunday including one high altitude flight, 2-day Soaring Weekends for those who have completed the 4-day course for beginners and a 6-day course including elementary and altitude flight training, five mountain and cable car rides, flight equipment hire, theory papers, all taxes and fees and a completion guarantee. Meeting point at Hotel Harfenwirt in Niederau at 9:00 am

Flightschool Wildschönau
A-6314 Niederau 325, Wildschonau
Tel.: + 43 (0) 664 262 2646 or 664 5169 274
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.paragliding.at (German language only)

Sleigh Rides in Wildschonau

The Wildschonau is an idyllic place for romantic sleigh rides and five Wildschonau families offer sleigh rides from 1- 2½ hours and for 4-12 people. Hintersalcher sleigh rides from Auffach to Schönangeralm especially are highly recommended.

Hintersalcher, Family Haas, Auffach: T +43 5339 2164 or 2789
Hotel Tirolerhof, Family Erhater, Oberau: Tel: +43 5339 8118 0
Lehenbauer, Family Klingler, Thierbach: Tel: +43 5339 8817
Foischinghof, Famiy Hausberger , Niederau: Tel: +43 699 1841 6034 

Snowshoeing in Wildschonau

Snowshoeing is easy, especially if you are reasonably fit and enjoy walking, and an enjoyable way to experience the winter landscape and deep snow away from the ski pistes.  

Snowshoes are available at sports shops in Niederau, Oberau or Auffach, and guided snowshoe tours including snow shoes are free for Wildschönau Guest Card holders. Contact the Wildschonau Tourist Office for more information and to book.

Winter Walking in Wildschonau

The Wildschonau Valley has 40 km of cleared paths exclusively for winter walking past beautiful old farms, onion-domed churches and picturesque guesthouses in the stunningly pretty winter landscape. Wildschonau’s 50km of cross-country ski tracks are also available for winter walking, but not in the tracks.  Recommended walks include the Path of Reflection, the cross-country ski area at Schonanger Alm and the tiny village of Thierbach.

Dedicated to St Francis of Assisi, the Path of Reflection winds its way 3km through the beautiful winter landscape from Neiderau to Oberau. Stop at the Z’Bach Mountain Farmer’s Museum (free entry to guest card holders) featuring over 1,200 exhibits illustrating the life and times of Wildschonau farmers over the past 200 years.

The famous “cure-for-all” Krautinger Schnapps has been uniquely distilled in the Wildschonau from locally grown White Beet since the mid-18th Century. Josef Thaler, one of only 15 farming families still making Krautinger according to ancient traditions, provides a taste to walkers arriving at the Steinerhof in Oberau. Walk or stagger a few hundred meters more and you will arrive at the village of Oberau, dominated by the Baroque church of St Margarethe (“the Wildschonau Cathedral”) with its tower and onion dome rising to 52 metres. Just opposite the church, the charming Gasthof Kellerwirt, dating from the 12th Century and a Gasthof since 1750, is a perfect place to stop for lunch or an early evening meal.

Wildschonau Leisure Train to Thierbach

A motorised road-going leisure train, the type you see in fun parks, is great for families and the 15-minute ride from Auffach (875m) to Thierbach (1,175m) is an easy alternative to a 90-minute walk. Thierbach is the highest village in Wildschonau / Kitzbuheler Alps and home to the smallest school in Austria with 8 pupils, a church, a graveyard, a few scattered farmhouses and splendid views.

Ironically, the tiny village of Thierbach at 1,175m is also the home of star engine tuner Conrad Gruber and his Albrex workshop providing high-technology performance tuning for Lamborghini, Lotus, Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche, Viper, BMW and Audi. Delivering explosive performance upgrades from 400 to 1,000 horsepower, Conrad’s wealthy customers include many A-list celebs, but it’s all discreetly hidden from view and presumably fully soundproofed.

Wildschonau Guest Card

The Wildschonau Guest Card entitles guests to travel freely on ski buses and night buses running frequently between Niederau and Auffach. It’s almost as useful as your ski pass, so keep your guest card handy and check the guest card booklet at the beginning of your holiday for more information about entitlements.

Riedel Wine Glass Company Factory & Shop

The Riedel glass works at Kuftsein, just 8km northeast of Worgl, is well worth visiting. Take a guided tour of the factory and see how Riedel’s best glassmakers use the ancient blow-pipe method to create the world-famous handcrafted Riedel glasses. Enjoy the “Sinfonie” multimedia presentation about seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting and allow time for shopping in Riedel’s flagship store at the factory. Riedel, Weissachstrasse 28-34, A-6330 Kufstein, Austria.Tel: +43 (0) 5372 64896. Web: www.riedel.com

Wildschonau Tourist Information

For more information, contact the Tourist Office:

Wildschonau Tourist Office
Hauserweg, Oberau 337, Tirol
A-6311 Wildschonau
Tel: +43 5339 82550
Web: www.wildschoenau.com


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