Gurgl is situated near to major airports, convenient train stations and a large autobahn, making it easy to reach by any mode of transportation.
Both Innsbruck (100kms) and Munich airports provide the most convenient air access to the region, with Munich serving flights to all major European cities and beyond. From the airport, you can reach Gurgl by bus; alternatively go by rail to Otztal, then bus to the resort.
Gurgl is 1,060kms by road from Calais, and is easily reached by following a comfortable network of motorways. From the A12 motorway, take junction 123 (Otztal) and follow route 186 to the ski resort.
It takes around 15 hours from London’s Waterloo station to reach Innsbruck station, where you can opt to take a bus or continue by rail to Otztal, adding a further three hours. Take the Eurostar to Paris Nord, transfer to Paris Est and take the Internationaler Schnellzug to Mulhouse Ville. From there, take the RegionalExpress to Zurich, EuroNight to Innsbruck, and finally Euronight to Otztal. There are regular bus connections from Otztal to the ski resort.
Gurgl may not have the exciting après-ski action of many of the surrounding Tyrol resorts; however, this traditional little village is refreshing in other ways. The snow is sure, lift lines are short, and nights are quiet due to the general driving ban at night.
Accommodation in Gurgl is mainly hotel-oriented, with a sprinkling of inns and guesthouses. All hotels have their own excellent restaurants, and there are several other restaurants, cafés and bars spread around the village. There are a few interesting sights in Gurgl, as well as some quality shops in which to kill a few hours.
Obergurgl is proud of being a ski resort where ski-in/ski-out is a special feature. Twenty-three uphill facilities, 110kms of ski runs and a 10-kilometre long, high elevation cross-country skiing track guarantee outstanding skiing pleasures from mid-November onwards.
There are really two ski areas, separated by two massive canyons which are connected by a gondola that doesn’t move up and down but sideways across the canyons. Advanced skiers will be impressed by the vertical drop of 1,276m and the longest run of 8.5kms. A terrain park and half-pipe are available for snowboarders, and more advanced snowboarders can head off-piste.
Other recreational activities include curling, hiking, ice-skating, squash, indoor swimming, mountaineering and bowling. After dark, entertainment is provided by several bars and discos, and there is a casino for those wishing to try their luck. For more exciting skiing and après-ski, head down the valley to Solden.
Quality snow is guaranteed from mid-November to the end of April, with the best months being February and March. Discounts are available in December and January.
Innsbruck and Munich are the main transportation hubs for the region, with most flights, rail and bus services routing through those cities. Gurgl is just off the A12 motorway, while Otztal is also the nearest railway station to the ski resort.
Gurgl is used to refer to two resorts, Obergurgl and Hochgurgl, located at the end of the Otz Valley near Austria’s border with Italy. Obergurgl sits at 1,930m, while Hochgurgl is reached via the Top Express Gondola. Gurgl is renowned for its uncrowded and unhurried ambience, and is very private, if a little expensive, hence its appeal to the rich and famous.
With a population of just 420, Gurgl is a typical small Austrian ski resort village situated amid soaring mountains. There are a few sights around the village worth exploring, most notably the Gothic 18th century St Johannes Nepomuk Church (Europe’s highest); the Piccard Monument, in memory of the forced landing of Auguste Piccard on the Gurgl Glacier on May 27, 1931; and the quaint 150-year-old Pirchhütter Kornmuhle water mill.
The accommodation is a pleasant mix of modern, tastefully adorned hotels along with traditional inns and guesthouses. While the resort caters to the more affluent, it is still possible to find reasonable priced accommodation suitable for families on a budget. Après-ski consists of five bar/restaurants, several cafés, four discos, four ice bars, a casino, folklore evenings and concerts; while up on the slopes are nine mountain restaurants with stunning views. There is also a kindergarten to look after the little ones while you ski or snowboard.
Gurgl skiers constitute an older crowd, more interested in rounded turns than straight-line schusses. There are 110kms of groomed runs catering to all levels of ability, with 23 lifts creating a lift capacity of 37,000 skiers per hour. Snowboarders are provided with a terrain park and a half-pipe. Best of all, top snow conditions are guaranteed from mid-November through April.
If Gurgl seems too tame for you, there is always the wilder Solden ski resort 20 minutes back up the Otz Valley to challenge you. Highlights at Solden include two skiable glaciers as well as a much livelier après-ski scene. Also, from one vantage point above Solden, you can look towards the area where the 4,000-year-old Ice Man of Similaun was found several years ago. If bad weather sets in, Tyrol’s capital, Innsbruck, is just an hour away.
The best deals to be had at Gurgl are the Ski-Fit weeks in December and Powdersnow weeks in January. Gurgl is convenient to Innsbruck and Munich airports, while Otztal is the nearest railway station.