The town of Obergurgl is surrounded by numerous glaciers and this is reflected in its name. Gurgl can be traced to the word ‘Gurgall’ and means something like ‘town encircled by glaciers’.
It is located in Tyrol, to the west of Austria. In terms of politics, Obergurgl is a part of the district of Sölden, at the end of the Ötztal - a valley which proceeds in a north-south direction. Ötztal starts some 45 km to the west of Innsbruck and is the longest lateral valley in the Inntal. The little mountain village of Obergurgl, which the settlement of Hochgurgl is also a part of, has a total of 564 inhabitants and is located at 1930 metres above sea level. This means it is also Austria’s highest located church village. Around it is the Alpine main ridge of the Ötztal Alps, while the Italian border is less than 5km away, linear distance.
Gurgl was first mentioned in documents dating from 1250. However, the traces of a first settlement date back to around 7500 B.C. Since around 4500 B.C. there has been slash-and-burn clearances and pasture farming in the Obergurgl area. The village has also not been populated from the Inntal, instead, this has taken place via the main Alpine ridge from Vinschgau. Obergurgl is fameous for the balloon landing by Auguste Piccard on the Gurgler Ferner glacier on 27th May 1931, with an altitude record being set.
The most convenient way to get to the Hochfirst is in your own car. Coming from Germany, just follow the A7 until the end of the motorway. Then drive, toll-free, across the Fernpass to Imst. Continue to Ötztal and finally via the B186 to Obergurgl. Anyone travelling via the A9, should drive to Munich, then via the A8 to Innsbruck and Bregenz. From the border near Kufstein, the motorway becomes the A12, for which a ‘Vignette’ tax disc is required.
At the Ötztal exit, leave the motorway and follow the B186 to Obergurgl. An alternative is to travel from Munich via the A95 to Garmisch and continue to Mittenwald, Seefeld and Telfs. Once you get there, follow the B171, continuing to Ötztal train station, where you can then take the B186 to Obergurgl. A relaxing arrival by train is of course possible too.
Most standard service trains and express services stop at Ötztal train station, from where you can continue your journey to Obergurgl by bus – around 1 hour 25 minutes - or by taxi – around 50 minutes. Innsbruck Kranebitten (INN) is the closest international airport. It is around 100 km away. A taxi is the quickest way to continue to Obergurgl, with a journey time of around 1 hour and 20 minutes.
For your journey to Obergurgl your vehicle should definitely be fitted with winter tyres. Between 1st November and 15th April winter tyres are compulsory in Austria when there are wintry conditions. Winter tyres are also compulsory for cars which have 4-wheel drive. If it is snowing heavily, it may even be compulsory to fit snow chains to cars. It is therefore advisable to bring snow chains with you.
There are plenty of car parking spaces right at the hotel.
It is around 225 km from Munich to Obergurgl, while from Stuttgart it is about 340 km. Frankfurt am Main is around 540 km from Obergurgl and from Düsseldorf it is about 740 km to the Hochfirst. From Berlin, Obergurgl is approx. 850 km away, while Hamburg and Obergurgl are separated by about 930 km. From Vienna it is around 570 km to Obergurgl and Zurich is about 290 km away.
Of course - Obergurgl has a first-rate ski area! It has also been described as being a diamond in the Alps and is one of the most snow-assured winter sports towns in the Alps. The joint ski area of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl starts at 1800 metres altitude – an altitude at which many ski areas have long finished - extending up to the summit of the Wurmkogel at 3080 metres. This means that nothing stands in the way of an extensive ski season, from mid-November right through to the end of April.
The region around Obergurgl Hochgurgl is rightly regarded as a ski area with guaranteed snow. On the one hand this is because the lowest point of the ski area is located at 1800 metres, where most ski areas are already finishing. By contrast, in Obergurgl ski fun lasts right up to 3080 metres. On the other hand, looking at statistics dating years back reveals that there is snow coverage for 198 days in the year.
There are 24 state-of-the-art lift facilities in the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski area, which have a total conveyance capacity of 40,000 people per hour. This means that waiting times in Obergurgl are an unknown concept. Since there are also several valley stations with cable cars that take you up the mountains, there are not any long queues, even early in the morning. Thanks to the 110 kilometres of slopes in all difficulty levels, that are also very wide, you have plenty of space to practice your turns.
There are 24 lift facilities in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl which are able to transport some 40,000 skiers each hour. For that reason there are no waiting times, even during holiday periods.
No. Although the town is surrounded by many glaciers, for instance, the Gurgler Ferner, Obergurgl is not a glacier ski area. Due to its elevation, skiing starts here from mid-November.
Skiing has been available in Obergurgl for quite a long time. Even in the past century Obergurgl had become a well-known winter sports location. The first T-bar lift was set up in 1949. 4 years later a chair lift was built on the Hohe Mut. Settlement of the Hochgurgl area began upon completion of the Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road in 1960.
Obergurgl nestles in the high mountain chains of the main Alpine ridge. Thanks to this, Gurgl has a relatively dry, inner alpine climate. As a consequence, the sun shines more often here than it does in other ski area. In total, there are more than 1260 hours of sunshine a year. You can find a latest weather forecast on our site and there are also live cams of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl.
Ski touring has become popular again in the last few years. There are lots of rewarding summits that you can access direct from the town, some of which are more than 3500 metres altitude. Thanks to the numerous glaciers, spring in particular, is a great time for high Alpine undertakings. Snow-shoe hikers can enjoy a somewhat more leisurely walk in the nearby Swiss pine forest near Obergurgl. This charming destination is easy to get to from the town and inspires thanks to its scenic beauty.
There are also a few slopes in and around Obergurgl that are available to classic style cross-country skiers and to skaters. Winter hiking can be fun too, especially when you are out and about on the well-cleared paths and can then get to enjoy the deep snow-covered landscape. There is also a toboggan run in Hochgurgl which is open several times a week - in the evening too.
Items for everyday use can be purchased in two small grocery shops and there are a wide selection of sports shops too. You will also find exclusive gifts in the Hochfirst Shop.
A G.P. is always available in the town of Obergurgl. If required, any required medication can also be organised by the G.P. surgery.