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'It's an Alpine Idyl' said Ernest Hemmingway in 1926 and, sitting up at 1584 metres (5197 feet), Galtür is a skiing Idyl too. One of Austria's highest resorts, it is the highest ski village in the famous Silvetta Region which includes the lifts of Ischgl, Kappl, Samnaun and See im Paznauntal. The picturesque village, with a population of nearly 800, is of traditional Tyrolean style and at least 600 years old , and still centred on the old pilgrimage church. Apart from Ernest Hemmingway famous visitors have included Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Albert Einstein. Galtür offers 'the best of both worlds' to its visitors - Austrian traditional and quality, with modern facilities and a go ahead attitude. Among the natural assets is the fact that the village centre is compact, with all amenities, except the ski lifts1.8km (1.1 miles) away. But there is a good bus service, which is free of charge. The stunning scenery of the Paznauntal, the area in which Galtür is located, helps to add to the peaceful magic of the place.

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Located in the Paznaun Valley, Galtür is one of Austria's highest resorts. The skiing is best suited to intermediates, but there is plenty for experts too, including a memorable 3.2km black over the regional border in to Vorarlberg. A ski bus links the resort to Ischgl, opening up 310km of trails on the Silvretta Lift Pass.


Galtür's ski area begins at the tiny settlement of Wirl, 1.8km (1.1 miles) further up the valley, reached by a free ski bus. Chair lifts ascend the Alpkogel, opening up many excellent blue and red runs over the open hillsides. For more advanced skiers there are several challenging blacks including a very steep 3.5km (2 mile) descent into the neighbouring region of Vorarlberg. This is part of the Kopsalpe bowl accessed by a covered quad chair over to the back of the mountain. Here there are plenty of mid-range off-piste opportunities that are especially good for those just progressing in to this type of skiing, as well as some steeps for those already adept at it. Of course many advanced skiers will not wish to miss the opportunity to make full use of their Silvretta area pass opening up 310km (nearly 200 miles) of terrain at several separate areas and linked by a ski bus, the cost of which is included in the area lift pass. Back country tours around the Silvretta mountains, accompanied by one of the local ski mountaineering schools' guides, are especially popular. The largest single sector, with 200km (125 miles) of lift-linked terrain, is above Galtür's famous neighbour Ischgl, some 10km (6 miles) down the valley. Here the lifts ascend to some of the highest and most snowsure skiing in Austria, at 2872m (9422 feet), as well of the country's most challenging terrain. Trails are up to 9 km (6 miles) in length and continue over the border to Samnaun in Switzerland (carry your passport.) Cross country skiers will find 45km (28 miles) of trails up to 2100m (6900 feet) in altitude around the valley. Night skiing is on offer every Wednesday night throughout the season at the Birkhahnbahn from 1930 to 2230.


Galtür is a good choice in many respects for families with children aged three and over. To begin with it is a quiet, pretty, compact centre which means children don't have to face long walks or the risk of exposure to the excesses of some of the bigger international resorts. On the other hand the village does boast the impressive sports centre with its indoor pool that the kids will enjoy, along with activities like toboganning and sleigh rides. The ski school also has a good reputation, and a large proportion of English-speaking staff, with a kindergarten taking children from age 3 and ski school proper from age 4. There is no day-care facility. The only possible downside is the need to use the ski bus to get to the slopes which may not be convenient if you have younger children needing help in carrying their kit, as well as themselves, when you already have your own kit to handle.

Eating Out

Galtür's 21 restaurants are almost all linked to hotels and mostly serve traditional Austrian and Tyrolean meals, again with the emphasis on value. Popular choices include the Almhof, Silbertaler, Zontaja and the Tirolerstube.


A quieter choice than neighbouring Ischgl, none-the-less it's possible to find plenty going on in Galtür if you know where to look! First enjoy the après-ski in the cosy atmosphere of the Weiberhimml ski hut is the meeting point for old and young, from there you may ski back to the valley under floodlighting. Straight after the lifts close the après-ski at the Huber's Stadl (Alpenromantikhotel Wirlerhof) starts to take off, or alternatively the Almhof-Tenne (Hotel Almhof) and the Platzli (Hotel Rössle) are also popular. Later on there's more happening at the Pyramide (Hotel Luggi) and at Tommy's Garage. For all action nightlife take one of the late afternoon or early evening buses over to Ischgl for a bigger choice of bars or restaurants and greater numbers of "party types" from the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany. Bear in mind however that outside skiing hours the bus service is limited and you are likely to need a taxi back. Back in Galtür, there are seven late night spots: Hubers Stadl, Bierkessel, Postillion, Pyramide, S'Platzli, Almhof Tenne and Tommy's Garage. If you fancy something different before you reach them, try a traditional Tirolean Zither music evening, or a traditional Tirolean bowling evening (more skittles than 10 pin) or the floodlit toboggan run or barrel stove race course - the common factor in all being a lot of good clean fun! Every Sunday the ski school performs "under the lights", where it's important not to forget the Glühwein. The ski school and Tourist Office also occasionally organise events such as open air parties, often with big-name entertainers, at Eastertime and at the end of the season, as well as special balls and dances.


The Silvretta area was one of the earliest in Austria to embrace snowboarding, hosting the European Cup in 1991. Galtür has a fun park of its own and a good number of 'boarder friendly' chair lifts. However for added action experienced 'boarders will undoubtedly want to spend some time down in Ischgl to increase their enjoyment of all that Silvretta has to offer. This also includes a snow park with half pipe in Kappl and at Samnaun, over in Switzerland, one of the largest snowboard parks in Europe, incorporating a 90 metre half pipe.

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