Made famous as the location of the snow sequence in the James Bond movie Spectre, Sölden, in Austria’s Ötz valley in Tirol, is a great place for a winter sports getaway.
But don’t limit yourself to the excellent intermediate runs or to the two snow-guaranteed glaciers, because there’s much more going on in this popular resort than just skiing. (And I’m not even talking about the very lively après ski scene in this bustling resort.)
There are so many winter activities on offer that, whether you are travelling alone or with a group, you will always find something rewarding and challenging to fill your time. From the high octane adventure of ski mountaineering and winter hiking to laidback ice skating and curling, the activities here are a great way to meet other visitors and make new friends.
If you haven’t tried ski mountaineering before, you’re in for a treat: this really is the best of both worlds for fit skiers looking for a new challenge.
This activity is a combination of skiing and mountaineering. Ski mountaineers wear specially adapted boots and skis that allow them to walk up mountains and into remote areas without lifts, before strapping on their skis and descending pristine off-piste snowfields.
If this sounds like the kind of adventure you are looking for, it’s worth joining a group with a qualified mountain guide, who will take you on a tour of the stunning Ötzal Alps. Choose between a one-day trail or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, a tour that takes up to five days, during which you’ll sleep in mountain huts along the route.
Highlights here include the Vent Loop Trail, which will take you to the summits of both Sölden and Vent, one of the most stunning of the Hautes Routes in this part of the Alps.
Another great snow-based activity is winter hiking, which allows solo travellers to join a larger group to explore the stunning scenery of this region. Simply rent or buy some snowshoes and sticks and join a guided group to take on some of the 49.5km of winter hiking trails in the Ötzal area.
There is a wonderful range of trails here, depending on which landscape you want to explore. Some run along the snowfields in the valley beside the Ötztaler Ache river, while others, like the Panoramaweg Sölden, will take you up into the mountains for some spectacular views.
Many of the trails will take between an hour and a half to two hours, and it’s up to you how steep or flat you want your hike to be. This is a wonderful way to take in the full range of Alpine scenery, which many skiers miss as they travel up and down the same runs and lifts.
Ice Skating and Curling
Let’s remember that you are on holiday, so maybe you don’t want to overdo it, or maybe you’re looking for something to do once the sun goes down. Either way, a trip to the ice skating rink at the Sölden sports field is great fun.
Skates are available for hire at the rink, and it’s open every afternoon during the holidays (and every afternoon except Saturdays during the rest of the season). Head over to the rink for a bit of skating, or join a curling team in one of the regular events for some competitive fun on the ice.
How to Get to Sölden
There are three airports close to Sölden, which all provide easy access to the resort, but the most convenient is Munich Airport. It offers a wide range of international flights, including around thirty a day from airports across the UK. Flights to Munich from London take just under two hours, and the transfer from the airport then takes another three.
A great way of getting from the airport to the resort is by booking a Shuttle Direct group transfer before you leave home. A group transfer will give you the ideal opportunity to meet other winter sports enthusiasts on the way to your accommodation, and maybe even set up a group to try some of the winter activities on offer.
Where to Stay
Die Berge Lifestyle-Hotel Sölden – The four-star Die Berge Lifestyle-Hotel Sölden, set in the heart of the resort, is a great choice for those looking for more than just a place to rest their skis. There’s a free spa on site, including an outdoor heated pool and a drying room for airing out damp clothing. The rooms are decorated with traditional Alpine wood and all have a balcony.
Regina’s Alp Deluxe – Stylish apartment accommodation, close to one of the resort’s cable cars, can be found at the Regina’s Alp Deluxe. After a day out on the mountain, you’ll love the spa and outdoor pool. There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
Vaya Sölden – For a touch of modern Alpine style, try the four-star Vaya Sölden. The restaurant, bar and communal spaces all feature a hip combination of Alpine stone and wood. The rooms carry on the theme, featuring plenty of fur throws and rugs, and all have balconies with wonderful mountain views.
About Shuttle Direct
Save yourself the stress of searching for affordable transportation at the airport by booking a transfer with Shuttle Direct before you leave home. Book online, using the simple booking system, and then relax, knowing that your shuttle bus or group transfer will be ready to take you to the resort when you arrive. Just let the Shuttle Direct team know what sports equipment you will have with you, and they’ll ensure that there’s plenty of room to store your skis or boards… and will even carry them to the resort free of charge.