Ischgl is probably best known for having one of the most raucous après ski scenes in all of Austria with everything from pole and lap dancing clubs to all night bars and restaurants. But the real highlight of this party capital in the Alps are the three Top of the Mountain music festivals held in the resort every year.
Kicked off in 1995 with Elton John as the headline act, Top of the Mountain events are held at the beginning of the season, Easter, and at the end of the season in the last week in April (although actually, thanks to the high altitude, Ischgl often stays open into May). Created by the resort to draw skiers to the village, one of the best things about this event, which regularly attracts crowds of up to 24,000 people, is that it’s completely free for ski pass holders.
Top of the Mountain
With previous headline acts reading as a list of who’s who in the music industry (Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, Bon Jovi and The Beach Boys to name but a few), you know this event is something special. But it’s not until you’ve stood with a crowd of more than 20,000 people on the mid-level base of Idalp, 2320m above sea level, that you’ll understand what makes this one of the most popular open air music events in the Alps.
Free for anyone with a ski pass, don’t fret when the music stops – the party is guaranteed to carry on in the resort for much of the week.
Closing Day 2017
Make the end of this year’s ski season one you’ll never forget by joining the crowd of music fans who will enjoy Italian Rock sensation Zucchero for Top of the Mountain Closing Day on 30 April. You may never have heard of him but, believe me, he’s big news in Europe and is sure to draw a lively, party-going crowd.
Kicking off at 1pm against a stunning backdrop of snow-covered mountains, Zucchero will perform tracks from his current album as well as some of the famous hits of the last 30 years which have made him a leading name in European rock.
What Else is There to do in Ischgl?
So Ischgl has great nightlife and one of the biggest open air music events in the Alps, but don’t let all that distract you from the fact that this is also a great place to ski. There are 238km of pistes surrounding this Tirolean resort, most of which are connected by a range of fast, modern gondolas, so it’s easy to access all the best skiing quickly.
Located just beside the Swiss border, you can ski from one country to the next, taking advantage of a bit of duty-free shopping as you pass through the Swiss resort of Samnaun.
In days gone by villagers living in these areas would smuggle goods across the border here and today you can follow in their footsteps (or ski tracks) by spending the day doing one of the new ‘Smuggler’s Runs’, a network of pistes which take you over the border and back.
Once you’ve put away your skis for the night and warmed yourself up with a few hits of Dutch courage, you might even want to try the resort’s hair-raising toboggan run which drops a pulse-quickening 950m over 7km.
How to Get to Ischgl
The closest airport to Ischgl is Innsbruck with a transfer time of around 90 minutes. There are regular flights from the UK to Innsbruck on a number of airlines including: Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, easyJet and Monarch. Other nearby international airports include Munich and Zurich, both of which have a journey time of around 3 hours.
The quickest and most convenient way to get to Ischgl from any of the major international airports is to book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you set off. Shuttle Direct offer shared or private transfers to ski resorts across Europe. Remember to let them know when you are booking what ski equipment you will be carrying with you and they will take it to your resort free of charge.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Arnika – The smart, contemporary Hotel Arnika in the centre of Ischgl will put you right at the heart of the action. With its own spa and restaurant you’ll have everything you need to revive yourself after a day on the slopes before hitting the town. The ski pass you’ll need to be part of the Top of the Mountain event is available to buy at the hotel and it is only three minutes walk to the nearest lift.
Hotel Garni Passeier – Close to the bars and clubs of Ischgl’s main drag, the three-star Hotel Garni Passeier offers a great place to stay close to both the nightlife and the lifts. Unwind and relax tired muscles in the hotel’s sauna before hitting the town. You’ll be able to snapchat your friends pictures of your holiday, your nights out and your time at Top of the Mountain with WiFi available throughout the hotel.
Hotel Martha – For a little extra luxury try the four-star Hotel Martha. Just three minutes walk from the centre of the resort, you can choose between a private room or an apartment. Ski passes can be bought in the hotel, saving you time and getting you up to the Top of the Mountain event even faster.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of airport transfers to destinations across Europe and North Africa; with over a million routes in over 50 countries, it offers the most convenient way of getting from the airport to the ski resort of your choice. Book online and let Shuttle Direct know what sports equipment you will be bringing with you and they will transport all your skis, boots and boards at no extra charge.