Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein Review

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Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein Review

Updated on the 26th of October 2021

Rating: ★★★★ 8.3 out of 10

“Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein are combinations of ski and spa resorts. Bad Gastein is older, full of big historic hotels visited by emperors and important persons in the past. Bad Hofgastein is more modern but also exclusive. The whole ski area called Ski Gastein consists of four parts: Bad Gastein region, Bad Hofgastein, Sportgastein (not connected to the rest with lifts, you will have to use a ski bus or car to get there as it does not have its own accommodation) and Dorfgastein (a separate village, also not connected to the rest, 8 km away from Bad Hofgastein). The resort has good snow reliability due to its altitude compared to other Austrian spots, and it is best suited for intermediate skiers.“

PROS: excellent snow reliability, Bad Gastein has rich historical heritage and buildings, ski and spa resorts, great restaurants.

CONS: Parts of the ski area are not connected by lifts, some readers of this Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein Review found walking around steep streets of Bad Gastein exhausting.

Bad Gastein ski map

click to enlarge 

Easy 65.6 km 33%
Intermediate 102.9 km 52%
Difficult 7.5 km 4%
Ski routes 20.9 km 11%
Total 196.9 km


I will start this Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein review with the most important thing, a description of the slopes.  Ski Gastein (ski area around Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein) consists of 4 sections which are not connected. The first one is around Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein, with 84 km. Sportgastein has 25,9 km of slopes. The third section is Dorfgastein with additional 73 km. The last part is called Graukogel and it has 14 km of runs. The entire Ski Gastein area has 197 km of slopes and it is a part of the Ski Amade domain (28 ski areas around Salzburg, 760 km of pistes). Although it is one of the biggest ski domains in Europe, be aware that separate areas are not connected meaning that you will be able to ski all of them with one ski pass but you will have to use a bus or car to get from one to the other. You should definitely visit Flachau and Schladming.

Slopes are fairly steep, and red pistes are dominant. They are well groomed and there are no wooded areas except Graukogel. The highest point in the whole Ski Amade and Ski Gastein is situated in the Sportgastein area at 2,686 m. The Sportgastein area is a regular host of the world snowboard cup and snowboard cross races.

If your accommodation is in Bad Hofgastein, a funicular will take you out of the village and from the top you will be able to reach Bad Gastein. From there you can also go to the area called Hohe Scharte and catch a red slope which will take you all the way down to the village (around 1,440 m of height difference, one of the longest runs in this part of the Alps).  If you are in Bad Gastein you will have to take the gondola to get to the rest of the mountain (don’t miss a visit to the Stubnerkogel suspension bridge at the top).

Due to only one funicular or gondola out of village, queues are possible in peak season. Lifts are dominantly new and fast but there are also old drag lifts in some places. Speaking of drag, I have to say that it is such a drag when you must plan your whole day in the morning because you have to catch a bus if you want to reach some parts of a resort. At least the ski buses are free, as opposed to costly taxi rides. In order to get to Dorfgastein you will have to catch a bus from Bad Hofgastein (worth visiting).

Gastein panorama


You will find the best spots for off-piste skiing in Sportgasteinand around Hoche Scharte area and Goldbergbahn lift. At Sportgastein you can also receive avalanche search and rescue training for free, in cooperation with the Pieps company. The 2016-17 season brought us a separate free ride map (hard copy and mob app). All slopes are divided into 3 different difficulties. The downside is that it costs around 20 EUR. You can save your money by visiting Freeride Info Base, an outdoor terminal with all necessary info about snow conditions, marked off piste routs, descriptions etc. 

Ski Gastein has a great snow park. You can access it with the Stubnerkogel lift. It has varying difficulty lines with all possible elements except for a half-pipe. It even has its own mobile application where you can catch the latest news. There is a spectacular Red Bull PlayStreets event in February in Bad Gastein (freestyle skiing competition where kickers, ramps, gaps and wall rides are integrated into the city’s streets).

Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein Review panorama


The closest airport is situated in Salzburg, 90 km away from Bad Hofgastein and 97 km from Bad Gastein, so you will need around an hour to get there from airport by car. There are shuttle buses from airport and back, 8 times a day.

If you prefer travelling by train you are lucky because both Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein have their own stations, thanks to the status of Bad Gastein in the past and the fact that famous people loved to travel by train (it was Emperor Franz Josef’s favorite resort, German Kaiser Wilhelm with his chancellor Otto von Bismarck also visited the city, Franz Schubert used to compose here…). Now you can choose between Intercity, Eurostar or other express trains to get you there.

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Bad Gastein is built inside a gorge, on steep hills. It is full of big buildings and old hotels, making it look more like a Viennese district than an alpine village. Bad Hofgastein is situated on level ground with more modern buildings and hotels. You will have a wide choice of hotels from 3 to 5 stars, often with their own spas. Be very careful about the location of your accommodation because you will have to walk to/from bus stop, or the base station of the gondola or funicular.

Bad Gastein waterfall


Go to a spa. If you are staying in Bad Hofgastein and your hotel doesn’t have one visit the Alpentherme complex (some hotels offer free admission). It is not cheap but if you are there you should try it.

If you are staying in Bad Gastein explore the streets, don’t miss the waterfall in the centre. Visit the Red Bull Playstreets competition if you are there in February. The Silver Bullet is a place where you can go out in the evening. They have live music and DJs.

Have a taste of food at the Bellevue Alm and Ginger n’ Gin in Bad Gastein. You should also visit Wirtshaus Tropferl in Bad Hofgastein.

If you liked this Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein Review and you think that the area is great idea for your next holiday, feel free to book your ski holiday at Booking.com.

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