Family Skiing in Bad Hofgastein, Austria

I don’t exactly love skiing, in fact I have a love-hate relationship with it. However I do love a skiing holiday and Bad Hofgastein was absolutely perfect for a week skiing during our February half term holiday.

We booked through Crystal and flew Newcastle to Salzburg with Tui. Flight time was about 2 hours and the transfer from Salzburg airport was 1.5 hours. We went in February 2022 and Pip was 9 years old.

Bad Hofgastein is in the Gastein Valley surrounded by mountains and breathtaking scenery. There are a lot of hotels but primarily it is an Austrian town which means it feels really authentic, the kids walk past you on their way to school and everyone you meet is Austrian.

There is a long history here of skiing but it is also a thermal spa town and people have come for over 100 years to take the water.


There are 3 main towns in the Gastein valley; Bad Hofgastein, Bad Gastein and Dorfgastein. The area is one of Asutria’s biggest ski areas with 760 kilometers, 356 pistes, 270 lifts. The skiing is excellent and although it was obviously quieter due to Covid it was definitely less busy than some of the other resorts we have been to, there was no waiting for ski lifts.

The base station at Bad Hofgastein has the Intersport ski shop for all your rental needs and lockers for your equipment. The lockers cleverly work on your lift passes and you can set them up so that more than one person’s lift pass opens them. This worked brilliantly for when we were all finishing at different times. They also have heated boot racks which blow warm air in to your boots so they are nice and dry in the morning when you come to put them back on. Lockers are available for 2 or 4 people.

Ski Schools

There are 2 main ski schools in Bad Hofgastein, Die Schlossalm Skischule and Skischule Bad Hofgastein. We had one child in full day ski lessons with Skischule, this was the tradition full day lessons and included lunch and race day and medal ceremony on the last day. We used Die Schlossalm Skischule for 1 to 1 lessons and were really impressed with the instructors and the help from the office staff. Pip was a bit wobbly after her first day’s skiing and they changed her instructor and her confidence soared!


Alpentherme is the thermal aquatic centre in the middle of Bad Hofgastein. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but is huge on the inside.

A number of the hotels in Bad Hofgastein are partnered with Alpentherme and have ‘bath robe access’ to the spa. This is an underground tunnel that runs from the hotel to a separate entrance meaning you can walk down in your swimwear and bathrobe and shower in your room. It’s a genius idea as getting changed back in to ski gear when you are wet is never fun! Entrance to Alpentherme was included with our hotel package and we were given wristbands which got us in and out whenever we wanted.

Alpentherme is split up in to several areas, each has seating areas and sun beds and there are lockers and changing room next to each area so you can base yourself in one area and then go off and explore.

Family World – which compromises of a splash pool for younger children, a pool that feeds in to the lazy river and the multimedia dome. There are 2 indoor slides, one very fast and dark one and one bigger one that you can take rubber rings down and choose the colour of lights you want. There is also an outdoor area for the main pool.

Relax World – this area has a pool which has both indoor and outdoor areas and a large hot tub. It doesn’t really have bubbles and isn’t too warm so is suitable for kids as well as adults. This was great for helping with sore muscles after skiing. You can also access the outdoor lane swimming pool from here.

Sauna World – this is an adults only area with saunas and steam rooms of various temperatures and an outdoor pool area. It’s really well done as all the rooms are labelled with the temperature so that you can choose how warm an experience you want. Most of the saunas have windows so that you can look at the beautiful mountains while you relax. There are also ‘sauna shows’ at various points throughout the day, the queues were long for these, where an attendant will whoosh the steam around using a towel and control the heat levels. This is a naked area and mixed sex. If you’d like to try Austrian therme culture but aren’t quite sure where to start this is a great blog post from Austrian Adaption.

Ladies World – this is a much smaller version of Sauna World but for ladies only so if you would like to try the therme culture but can’t get your head around stripping off in front of everyone this is a gentler way to do it.

In the summer the hot spring fed swimming lake and outdoor slides are also open.
There is a restaurant and bar areas inside Sauna world as well as a cocktail bar on the roof called the Ice Cube.

The Gastein Card

The card is free from your accommodation and gets you discounts on activities in the area as well as lists activities that you are able to join for free. There are a wide variety of activities from skiing and snowsports, winter hiking, trekking with alpacas, pony riding, ice skating and much more.

Rodelbahn (tobogganing)

If skiing isn’t your thing then Bad Hofgastein has a 3.3 km natural toboggan run. The run starts just above the middle station and twists and turns through the trees back to the bottom of the mountain. It is a dedicated toboggan run so there are no skiers or snow boarders to contend with on your way down.

It costs €9,00 for adults or €4,50 for children (under 6’s are free) to get up to the middle station in the gondola or during the day you can use your lift pass. From the middle station it is a 15 minute walk up the mountain to the Aeroplanstadl restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat or a drink and hire your toboggans. Tobogan’s are €6,00 each and we found that one fit an adult and a 9 year old easily.

The run was very fast in some places and did have some sharp corners and big drops so younger children should definitely share with an adult.

On Tuesdays and Fridays the gondola also runs between 6:30 -7:30pm so you can go up to the Aeroplanstadl and then toboggan down in the dark any time up to 10:30pm. Then route is illuminated by a string of lights.

The route finishes in a field about 20 minutes walk outside of Bad Hofgastein, which is perfect for letting the kids have some sledging time on their own. You can also catch the bus back or call a taxi if the walk is too far.

The kids loved this activity and so did the grown ups.


In the summer there are many hiking routes around the mountains, in the winter some of these routes are closed for safety but you can hike up to the cafes on the hill above Bad Hofgastein. The roads were quiet and so easy to walk on and the view was amazing.

Bad Hofgastein as a non-skier

I knew before we went that I didn’t want to spend every day skiing and in fact there is so much to do that I ran out of time for everything I wanted to try. Bad Hofgastein is definitely a great place for a non skiing winter holiday whether you want to relax or try something a bit more adventurous.

We also took a day out from snow and skiing to visit Salzburg, you can find details of our day here.

Things we didn’t get chance to do

Ice skating

Bavarian Curling

Horse Riding

Accommodation Options

We stayed at Hotel Österreichischer Hof, a 4 star hotel in the middle of Bad Hofgastein. Our review of the hotel is here. This is one of the Alpentherme partner hotels.

There are many other options from self catering chalets to apartments to hotels of different price levels. If you are going to self cater then there are a couple of small supermarkets and plenty of restaurants and cafes to try. Bad Hofgastein is a fairly compact town so most hotels will be in easy walking distance of the base station and other activities.

Getting to Bad Hofgastein

The coach transfer from Salzburg airport was about 1 hour and 45 minutes. You can also take the train from Salzburg or Vienna airport, the train station is slightly outside of town and you will need to get a bus or taxi.

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