As sparkling snowflakes start falling and the temperatures drop, it's time for families to start getting excited about their annual winter sports holiday. Is there anything better than enjoying a carefree holiday together in a paradisiacal winter wonderland? This winter, make all your dreams come true in Tyrol's Zillertal!
Happy children are all it takes to make happy parents, and the Zillertal understands just what's needed for successful family holidays. Motivated ski instructors prepare fun lessons for the little ones while helping them develop the proper ski technique. Every region of the valley, which is named after the Ziller river, offers its own ski schools with specially adapted children's lessons. Adults haven't been forgotten either, with lessons for beginners, advanced skiers and those who are returning to skiing.(Photo: © Zillertal Tourismus / Tom Klocker)
The Zillertal has no less than 535 kilometres of slopes just waiting to be explored by you and your family. Beginners can learn to ski in a peaceful setting on 167 kilomeres of blue runs, while skiers and snowboarders who already have some experience under their belt can venture out on the 276 kilometres of red slopes. With rock-bottom prices, it's really a no-brainer: the Zillertal Super Ski Pass grants access to the four major ski areas of Hochzillertal-Hochfügen-Spieljoch, Zillertal Arena, Mayrhofner Bergbahnen and the Ski and Glacier World Zillertal 3000, with discounts for children and teenagers.
Young skiers and snowboarders play a major role in the many Zillertal ski areas, with plenty of options including fun parks, speed slopes and dedicated children's areas. Adventurous families can challenge themselves with the "Arena Champion" in the Zillertal Arena, where SkiMovie runs, speed runs and photo points are combined into one big challenge. Over at the Hochzillertal-Hochfügen there is the Zwergerl Club and a covered magic carpet. The Mayrhofner Bergbahnen has extended the Fun Ride on the Ahorn and introduced a Family Park with spectacular family-friendly obstacles. Families can also have fun on the new children's slop at Tux-Finkenberg, part of the Ski and Glacier World Zillertal 3000. Under the guidance of Glacier Flea Luis, kids can undertake a voyage of discovery. The Hintertux Glacier is the only ski resort in Austria that opens for skiing all year long.
No matter how different the ski areas of the Zillertal are, they have one thing in common: Tyrolean hospitality. A break at one of the 80 ski huts is always worth it. Here you can enjoy the view of the mountains of the Zillertal, with peaks over 3000 metres, and indulge in local specialties such as Kaspressknödelsuppe, Tiroler Gröstl and Kaiserschmarrn.(Photo: © Zillertal Tourismus / Tom Klocker)
Even off the slopes, there are plenty of ways to keep the kids happy and occupied. An essential part of any winter sports holiday in the Zillertal is a descent on one of the 14 toboggan runs (of which 7 are floodlit at night), measuring a total combined length of 46 kilometres. Do your kids like skating? Challenge the youngsters to a skating competition on one of the valley's 9 ice skating rinks.
A dip in the warm water is also possible. The Erlebnistherme Zillertal in Fügen is equipped with a wave pool, salt bath, rapids and two water slides. Measuring 133 metres long, the "Black Hole" is the longest water slide in western Austria. Mayrhofen also has a wonderful swimming pool complete with waterfall, rapids and slide.Erlebnistherme Zillertal Fügen (Photo: © Ebenbichler)
Zillertal is located in the west of Austria in the midst of numerous "three-thousander" mountains. Scheduled direct and connecting flights from destinations throughout Europe such as London and Edinburgh land daily at the surrounding airports. The Four Seasons airport shuttle service runs from the airports of Innsbruck (1 hour to Zillertal), Munich (2 hours) and Salzburg (2 hours). The taxi will take you directly to your accommodation and pick you up from your hotel on the way back.
The train is a stress-free and traffic-free alternative, and also good for the environment. From London, you can take the Eurostar to Brussels, change to a Thalys or ICE train that takes you to Cologne, then take the ÖBB NightJet to Tyrol.
Driving to the Zillertal from London takes about 13 hours, passing through Calais, Stuttgart and Munich on your way. After Munich you'll follow the 93 down into Austria and then the E45 to the Zillertal.
More information about family-friendly Zillertal: www.zillertal.at
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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