Tucked away in the Alpbach Valley, the village of Alpbach has long been isolated and seldom-visited. In fact, it wasn’t accessible by road until the 1920s, making it one of the most rural villages in the Alps. Today, Alpbach is an excellent ski resort with a traditional, unspoiled feel that is unmatched by most of its peers.
Matching its status as a small, unspoiled area, Alpbach village is renowned for its pristine beauty. With traditional architecture all around, it has a lovely, cohesive look and feel. At certain times of the year you’ll find that its flowerbeds and gardens overflow with blooms – in the 90s the village’s beautiful horticulture even earned it an award for being “The Most Beautiful Floral Village in Europe”!
As well as the lush, magnificent gardens, Alpbach’s buildings are renowned for their prettiness, and, as the locals will proudly tell you, the village has also been voted “The Most Beautiful Village in Austria”.
Alpbach’s surroundings feature dramatic Alpine crags and rolling green meadows, all of which are silvered with a thick dusting of snow come winter. This makes the village a popular place for hikers and mountaineers as well as photographers, as, even for the region, it’s a spot of rare charm. While the village’s tourist industry has expanded over the 1900s, it still has the same number of farms as it did a century ago, helping it to retain the feel of a proper village rather than a set of buildings attached to a ski area.
That’s not to say, however, that the village is no good for skiing. Uncrowded and with a broad selection of runs, Alpbach’s ski area is one of the best in the region. While very seasoned skiers in search of a challenge may find that they exhaust the area’s most challenging opportunities fairly quickly, the varied selection of well-maintained slopes mean that a group running almost the full gamut of skill levels will be well-taken care of.
If you’re a fan of Alpine culture and charming, rural settlements, Alpbach is certainly one to visit. Its ski area makes it a good choice for winter sports enthusiasts as well.
How to Get to Alpbach
Though Alpbach has a secluded feel, it isn’t very hard to get to. In just under two hours you can fly from London to Alpbach’s nearest airport, Munich International. You can easily arrange for a Munich airport taxi to collect you at arrivals by booking online through Shuttle Direct. Skip the hassle and let an experienced professional driver handle the scenic two-hour drive on winding mountain roads.
You also have the option to hire a rental care at Munich airport and make the drive yourself. Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt all operate from the terminal, so you have a range of vehicles from which to choose. To get to Alpbach, take the A92 and A8 south into the mountains. Remember that the road conditions may be icy, and in peak ski season there’s likely to be a lot of traffic.
If you’re the road tripping type, consider driving from London to Alpbach. The 13-hour drive is easily divided over two days, and there are plenty of sights to see along the way! The road to Alpbach takes you through such gems as Strasbourg and Munich, both of which are definitely worth a look! Remember to book your passage across the Eurotunnel ahead of time and pay the fee, otherwise you won’t get past Dover!
Where to Stay
Haus Sandra – for maximum convenience at a low price, we’d recommend Haus Sandra. This two-bedroom flat sleeps up to six people, making it ideal for small-medium holiday groups, and is located within Alpbach itself. Perfect for those visiting the village, and close to a ski-lift as well.
Gastehaus Leirerhausl – with its charming cottage décor and warm, cosy feel, Gastehaus Leirerhausl is a good mid-priced choice for those hoping to spend a little time relaxing in comfort as well as exploring. With its glorious views and homemade foods (available upon request) the guesthouse is comfortable and pleasant and comes with ski storage and reduced rates at the local bike rental for its guests.
Haus Hotter – this property has a similar feel and charm to the Leirerhausl. However, Haus Hotter is more spacious and all around more luxurious than the Liererhausl. It sleeps five, making it big enough for most families and small-medium travel groups, and it’s located within easy distance of both the village and the pistes.