Adventure Destination Guide | Ischgl

It’s never been quicker to get to the top of this off-piste and entertainment paradise in Tirol

Featured Image Copyright: Ischgl

If there’s one thing that sorts the go-hards from the go-homes on a winter ski holiday, it’s a 7am wake-up call. Whilst the latter is reaching for the snooze button and some extra post-après kip, the hardcore and powder-hungry are up and at ‘em, downing coffee so they can down a few runs before the corduroy gets totally cut up.

If you’ve got a ski boot lodged firmly in the second camp, Austria’s Ischgl is for you. With lifts (including some brand new super speeders) that start moving at 8am, this place is all about early-morning enjoyment. But also, as the following list explains, it’s about so much more too, including a world-renowned party scene that gives its late-risers a reason to get that extra hour or two under the duvet…

Copyright: TVB Paznaun Ischgl

How To Get There

Ideally you’d fly direct to Innsbruck, which is regularly serviced by British Airways and EasyJet and is a little over 100km outside of Ischgl, meaning you’ll be there in 90 minutes by car. Otherwise, Zurich is a 2hrs 40mins drive away, and Munich 3hrs. The Tirol region has excellent rail links from these hubs too, so a rail transfer is a great (and scenic) transfer option, especially when you consider that the heart of Ischgl is car-free.

Why Go

The small and glitzy village of Ischgl is very much the Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde of the Austrian Alps. When it comes to the slopes, the resort offers 239km of spotlessly groomed piste, serviced by some of the area’s fastest lifts, including the all-new six-seater Velilleck F1,which will rocket you to the top of the Pardatschgrat ridge at six-metres per second.

“And then, the party monster awakens”

As well as that, there are near-limitless opportunities for the more advanced and adventurous, with a handful of ungroomed but marked runs to test your mettle on, plenty of all-day off-piste action, and freeride guides and the unofficial freeride zone under the Val Gronda lift for those of us who prefer flying through the air than down the pow.

And then, the party monster awakens with waves of après-ragers descending upon Ischgl for the world-famous Top Of The Mountain concerts, which last year saw rock heavyweight Lenny Kravitz close out the season, on a stage that’s hosted a list of household names such as include Elton John, Muse, Kylie Minogue and Rihanna. If it’s round-the-clock good times you’re after this winter, this is where you’ll find it.

Image Copyright: Ischgl

Where To Stay

Opened back in 2018, the smart and contemporary apart-hotel Residenz Gramaser is a great option if there’s a crew of you looking to make your money go a little further. It’s 4km from the centre of Ischgl but is close to the Mathon ski lift and has a free shuttle to the Silvretta gondola.

If you’re willing to throw your credit card at your accommodation, though, Hotel Madlein is the spot to be seen staying at. It was the first design hotel ever opened in the Alps, has its own wellness area and “cuddle rooms” (!) and is home to Pacha, the famous club that’s often frequented by top-drawer celebs, and is widely considered to be Ischgl’s – and probably Tirol’s – number one late-night haunt.

For more information on the accommodation options in Ischgl, head here.

Image Copyright: Ischgl

Eating and Drinking

Everyone needs at least one big on-mountain blowout meal during their holiday, and in Ischgl, that should absolutely be at Restaurant Alpenhaus. Another celeb fave (so much so that it has its own VIP Lounge), the beef carpaccio is a total winner. For a more restrained pitstop, the glass-fronted self-service Pardorama has you covered. Meanwhile, down in the town, try Salz & Pfeffer’s decent pizzas, or Paznauner Stube’s award-winning and very special cuisine, depending on how hard you want to dent your bank balance.

Après Action

Oooft, where to even begin? Once you’ve pulled yourself away from mountain lodge Paznauner Thaya and the odd post-shred ‘Jäger-tree’, how about a 4pm sesh with oompah beats, sing-a-longs and beer sloshing at Kitzloch, right by the Pardatschgrat gondola? With the dopamine flowing, the weird and wonderful Niki’s Stadl, with more than three decades of rowdy crowds and traditional Austrian tunes, is an epic option, as is the now-legendary and always crammed Kuhstall. Round your night off by getting down to serious party business at either Pacha or the ultra high-end Champagnerhütte.

Image Copyright: Ischgl

Hit This Run

It’s not every day you can retrace the tracks of border-hopping Alpine smugglers, but Ischgl’s Smuggler’s Circuit is exactly that – a series of routes that’ll take you through 36km of paths used by sneaky old contraband runners looking to cross the Austrian-Swiss country lines without detection.

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For more information on Ischgl, head to the official website.

For more information on Austria, visit the tourist board’s official website.

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