Let’s explore Sölden

Sölden ski resort guide

In my opinion, Sölden is a seriously underrated ski resort. When I first went skiing in Sölden, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t visited before. 

I think this Austrian ski resort has so much to offer. The skiing area itself is comprehensive and boasts some of my all-time favourite runs. Plus I find the locals to be incredibly welcoming, the après to be lively and its James Bond heritage a unique appeal.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury ski & travel expert with years of experience adventuring in the mountains to find the best resorts and hotels.

Located in the spectacular Ötztal Valley of Tyrol in Austria, Sölden (or Soelden) is a popular European ski resort with an impressive offering. It is host to two large glaciers: Rettenbach Glacier and Tiefenbach Glacier. The combination of these glaciers with the high altitude of much of the ski area makes it a wonderfully snow-sure ski resort. In fact, the snow is so reliable that keen skiers can hit the slopes as early as September in Sölden. 

Sölden offers a large ski area with 144km of slopes, along with even more terrain in the nearby resorts of Obergurgl and Hochgurgl. Fast and modern mountain lifts mean minimal wait times, if any. The ski resort hosts the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Opening, which is testament to Sölden’s prestige as an excellent place to ski. World Cups aside, Sölden has also made a name for itself when it appeared in the James Bond Spectre film. 

The town of Sölden itself has a traditional Tyrolean look with its wooden buildings and iconic old church in the centre. Visitors will discover a lively hub of restaurants, bars and clubs to explore. It’s a fantastically social town that is fun and welcoming in equal parts.


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Resort profile

How to get to Sölden

By air

Sölden is easily accessible by plane. The closest airport is Innsbruck, which is only a one hour drive away from Sölden. As ski resort transfer times go, it’s one of the shorter times. Innsbruck is the largest international airport in Tyrol.

The following airlines run regular flights to and from Innsbruck: Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, easyJet, Eurowings, Finnair, Jet2.com, Luxair, S7 Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Transavia, and TUI.

Alternative airports are Zürich in Switzerland and Munich in Germany. Both of which are a three hour drive away.

Airport transfers

If arriving into Innsbruck, visitors can choose between a shuttle service or private taxi. The Ötztal Shuttle offers a convenient shuttle service from Innsbruck airport or train station to Sölden.

Another budget-friendly alternative is to get the train from Innsbruck to Ötztal and then catching the shuttle from Ötztal to Sölden.

For the ultimate comfort and speed, getting a private taxi is the best option. As the journey is relatively short in good conditions, a private taxi is a more viable option than in many other resorts.

There are several taxi companies to choose from, including AlpinBus, Suntransfers, Taxi Lenz, Arno’s Taxi, Taxi Sölden, Taxi Förg Sölden, and more. Get a few different quotes to find the best price. Note that weekday prices are usually lower than weekends.

I personally used Alpstria Taxis and I’d highly recommend them. 

By car

Depending where you’re travelling from, driving to Sölden can take a long time. If travelling from the UK, it’s approximately a 13 hour drive (660 miles) from Calais – plus the time it takes to get to Calais from your start destination.

I’d only advise driving to Sölden if you live within a few hours’ drive, or if you plan on staying out for a long time and need the additional luggage space.

During the day, visitors can park at any of the following places completely free of charge:

  • Base station of Gaislachkogl Mountain Gondola
  • Base station of Giggijoch Mountain Gondola
    Postplatz square in the village centre

However, nighttime parking is not allowed in Sölden. As a result, long-term parking is not encouraged in Sölden and you need a special ticket if staying for a few days. It’s therefore only a good idea to drive if your chalet or hotel has parking provisions in place.

Best hotels in Sölden

The town of Sölden itself is spread along the Ötztal Valley, meaning that a lot of hotels involve a short walk to the nearest lifts. The main hub of the town is a lively area and ideal if you love the aprés scene, plus it’s also the closest to the main lifts. 

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How to get around Sölden

Most of Sölden is very walkable, with all the restaurants, bars and shops easily accessible on foot within the town centre. For journeys outside of the centre, it’s best to make use of the free local bus.

There are several bus stops throughout the town and buses run regularly. The buses also take you to the nearby resorts of Obergurgl and Hochgurgl if you fancy a change of skiing scene. 

Alternatively, taxis are readily available, especially outside the main gondola stations. They usually have room for skis and snowboards on the back too, in case you need transporting with all your snow equipment. 

Best apartments & chalets in Sölden

Sölden does not have a particularly wide range of chalets, especially for those after a more high-end option. For those seeking ultimate luxury, I’d suggest a stay in one of the beautiful five-star hotels in Sölden as a better option. There are a few 3- and 4- star chalets worth considering.

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Ski hire in Sölden

As with any popular ski resort in Europe, ski hire is readily available in the town of Sölden. These include the recognisable ski hire establishments like Skiset and Intersport. Although I’m a big advocate of having your own boots, the advantage of hiring skis and snowboards is that you can benefit from the season’s latest equipment. 

You can usually get a better price if you book online in advance. It also means that your ski or snowboard hire will be ready and waiting for you to collect, saving you time once in the resort. 


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Skiing in Sölden

Sölden offers a diverse range of skiing for all skills and levels of ability. Skiers and snowboarders will love the high-speed lifts and long, linked runs. In fact, Sölden is home to two of the most powerful feeder mountain gondolas in the world. 

The other benefit of skiing in Sölden is the excellent snow conditions throughout the whole season. This is due to its two glaciers, effective snow-making systems on 77% of the ski slopes, and the fact that most of the ski area sits above 2,000m. It’s the only ski resort with three peaks over 3,000m high! So make sure you pack your snow goggles!

If you want to explore these peaks, consider doing the Big 3 Rally. It’s a 50km tour encompassing viewpoints of Sölden’s three highest peaks.

There are a number of wide, gentle blue slopes which are suitable for beginners. But Sölden is definitely best suited for intermediate skiers, with its wide range of fun red runs and playful off-piste sections.

For the more experienced skiers, there are a handful of challenging blacks throughout the resort. Although advanced skiers and snowboarders may be better off exploring the off-piste opportunities when the snow conditions allow.

Jessie Skiing in Soelden

What lift pass do I need?

In terms of ski areas, there are two different types of lift pass pass:

  • Sölden Only Ski Pass
  • Ötztal Super Ski Pass

The latter allows you to ski in Sölden, Gurgl, Hochötz-Kühtai, Vent, Niederthai, and Gries. Beginners will be fine with a Sölden-only ski pass, but intermediates and advanced should definitely consider the Ötztal Valley Area Pass.

Other than the different area passes, there are a range of different ski pass types on offer too. These include beginners’ tickets, day passes, multi-day passes, flexible passes, and season tickets

Depending on your length of stay and how much you wish to ski, it’s worth exploring the different available options.

Good to know:

  • The earlier you buy a ski pass, the lower the price.
  • Online prices are cheaper, but they are only available up to five days before the first skiing day. After that, regular cash desk rates apply.
  • Ski passes purchased online cannot be refunded, but you can take out an additional cancellation guarantee when buying a multi-day skipass.
  • Ski passes purchased online can be collected at pick-up machines or at any cash desk of Bergbahnen Sölden.


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Is it worth heading over to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl?

Yes! Even if you only have a week, it’s worth spending a day or two in the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski area. Here you’ll discover some beautiful runs and excellent mountain restaurants.

Regular buses run between Sölden and the Gurgl ski area. It takes around 20 minutes to get to Hochgurgl and 25 minutes to get to Obergurgl. Gurgl is also one of the best ski resorts for beginners. Remember that you’ll need an area lift pass to ski in the Gurgl area.

If you fancy staying over, browse and book hotels in Obergurgl and Hochgurgl.

Best ski runs

Intermediates will love piste #11. It’s a long and wide red run which can be accessed from the top of the Silberbrünnel chairlift. It’s the perfect piste for getting those satisfying carving turns in.

Just watch out for other skiers, as it’s a popular run with all levels and abilities navigating it.

For unbroken skiing, you can ski from the highest point in the resort, Schwarze Schneide at 3,340m, all the way to the bottom of the resort. Most of the runs are blue, giving skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to take in the scenery as they glide down the mountain.

In bad weather, there are a handful of tree-lined runs lower down in the resort. One of the best is piste #21, which offers super fun twists and turns, as well as some wider sections which are perfect for carving down. This run is best done in the morning, as it can get pretty icy and a little crowded in the afternoon.
Skiing Sölden Austria

Off-piste & backcountry

Due to its excellent snow record, Sölden is a popular European resort for ski touring and backcountry. Even better, much of Sölden’s best backcountry offerings are extremely accessible. All it takes is a short hike from the top of the lifts – and it’s time to shred!

Some of the best off-piste skiing in Sölden can be found in the Wasserkar bowl, which is situated underneath the Gaislachkogl lift. There’s also more to discover on the Rettenbach glacier from the top of the gondola down to Tiefenbach. From here, go left at the top of the T-bar and follow the ridge to find a deep bowl of powder.

Of course, remember that it’s always best to explore the backcountry with an experienced mountain guide. Be sure to have the appropriate avalanche equipment on you too.

Snow park

Sölden is home to the AREA 47 Snow Park, which is easily accessible from the Hainbachkar and Silberbrünnel chairlifts at Giggijoch. There are a variety of jumps and obstacles on offer, with a range of elements for different abilities. These include kickers, rails, boxes, and wall rides.

As well as the various elements, the snow park benefits from being set against the backdrop of truly breathtaking views. Plus, it occupies a wonderfully sunny spot on the mountain. You know what this all means? The perfect photo and video opportunities!

Aside from the snow park itself, kids and adults alike will love the 60m long Fun Slope. Whizz through tunnels, turns and over jumps until your heart’s content.

Ben Freestyle Skiing Soelden


Heli-skiing is only allowed in two locations in the whole of Austria: Schneetäli and Mehlsack in the Arlberg region. Therefore, if you’re keen to go heli-skiing then you’re better off heading to the ski resorts of Lech or St Anton. Nevertheless, it is still possible to charter a helicopter from Sölden. Although freeriders are probably better off exploring the resort’s backcountry via the lifts or ski touring.


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Beginners & ski school

Sölden is a reasonable ski resort for beginners, with a manageable slope offering and a beginner’s area. The Tiefenbach glacier provides a number of wide, gentle slopes for beginners to hone their skills on.

Beginners can access plenty of easy blue slopes from the top of the Giggijoch lift. For those just starting out, a separate lift pass is available for beginners, so no money is wasted on a vast ski area that isn’t used.

Solden Ski Resort

Nearby Hochgurgl and Obergurgl offer some excellent slopes for beginners and are more suitable for beginners than Sölden. Both Sölden and Gurgl offer excellent ski schools with experienced, certified instructors. 

Good to know: The Sölden resort run down to Giggijoch is quite steep (the last section is a black) and can get icy. There is an alternative route that ends a little further into town, right next to some lively après ski bars (don’t mind if we do!). It may be worth bearing this in mind when booking accommodation.

James Bond and Sölden

One of the big appeals of Sölden is that it was a key filming location in the James Bond Spectre film. To embrace its James Bond heritage, there is an impressive James Bond cinematic installation in Sölden called 007 Elements.

It features interactive high-tech galleries and an immersive exhibition set against a stunning backdrop. Guaranteed to take your breath away and a must-visit for any James Bond fan.

007 Elements

The installation is perched on the side of the mountain at 3050m. You can ski to it or take the Gaislachkogl Mountain Gondolas up and down. For the whole experience, be sure to indulge in a fine dining meal at the Ice Q restaurant – another location used in the film.

Best restaurants in Sölden

The town of Sölden itself is bursting with restaurants, from casual diners through to more high-end offerings. On the mountain, there are plenty of traditional cosy mountain huts serving local delicacies like goulash and schnitzel.

Top mountain restaurants

Ice Q is the destination for fine dining in Sölden. Famous as a filming location for the James Bond Spectre film, it’s easy to see why it was chosen. Think breathtaking views, striking architecture, and exceptional cuisine.
An inviting and super cosy hut awaits you at Bratkartoffelhütte. Fuel up on Tyrolean specialities, perfectly cooked and executed by the chefs. This restaurant is ideal for that authentic Austrian mountain-hut experience.
Wirtshaus Giggijoch
Another cosy mountain hut offering a warm welcome and delicious, hearty food. This is also a place for wine lovers, as the restaurant offers an impressive assortment of Austrian wines. If the sun is shining, there’s a popular outdoor terrace.
Gampe Thaya
Indulge in an array of Tyrolean specialties at Gampe Thaya, including Tiroler Gröstl, Kasspatzen, and Speckknödel. Depending on the weather, choose between the cosy indoor dining room or the sunny terrace.
Eugen's Obstlerhütte
Eugen’s Obstlerhütte is a rustic ski hut with table service and a varied menu. Indulge in classic Tyrolean dishes or opt for pasta, steak, salad, and more. This is also a great place for aprés ski parties in the afternoon.
Gampe Alm
Hearty food and traditional hut decor greet you at Gampe Alm. Its crowning jewel is the big outdoor terrace with an umbrella bar, offering spectacular views across the valley. The perfect spot for a beer or gluhwein and a bite to eat.
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Top dinner restaurants

Ötztlar Stube
For indulgent fine dining, book a table at Ötztlar Stube. Located in the five-star Das Central hotel, this award-winning gourmet restaurant offers impeccable flavours and the best local ingredients.
Gusto is an Italian pizzeria that looks relatively unassuming from the outside. Yet here you can enjoy truly delicious food and excellent service. Come with an empty stomach because the portions are epic!
A friendly restaurant serving fresh sushi, as well as a selection of Chinese, Thai and Japanese plates. The food is beautifully presented and is extremely tasty, while the atmosphere is relaxed.
'S Pfandl
‘S Pfandl is the place to go for truly traditional Austrian cuisine. It serves up a range of Tyrolean specialities in a rustic setting, with charming hospitality. It’s located a little out of town but it’s worth the trip.
Werkstatt Sölden
Situated underneath the Die Berge Lifestyle Hotel, Werkstatt is an American style restaurant with big portions and a lively atmosphere. It has a whole menu dedicated to ribs, along with an enticing cocktail menu.
Vaya Bar & Grill
Part of the Vaya Hotel, this restaurant offers a diverse menu, from traditional cuisine to lighter bites and vegetarian options. Its speciality lies in freshly grilled steaks and burgers, as well as excellent wines.
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Other things to do in Sölden

Not a skier, or simply fancy a day off from the slopes? There are a number of other things to do in Sölden, from rest and relaxation to other snow sports.

Ice skating: Sölden is home to a scenic ice rink, just a five minute walk from the base of the Gaislachkogl gondola. Go ice skating against the beautiful backdrop of alpine landscapes.

You can also try your hand at ice curling or ice hockey, or take to the ice on skates in the evening for a magical atmosphere. Ice skates are available to rent at the ice rink.

Tobogganing: Fun for adults and kids alike, take the toboggan run from the middle station of Gaislachkogl Gondola. Covering over 7km, it’s a thrilling ride down the slopes.

The toboggan run is open from 09:00 – 16:15. For even more thrills, go night tobogganing in Sölden. Every Wednesday night, the toboggan run is floodlit and open from 17:30-21:00.


Snowshoeing: Fun for adults and kids alike, take the toboggan run from the middle station of Gaislachkogl Gondola. Covering over 7km, it’s a thrilling ride down the slopes.

The toboggan run is open from 09:00 – 16:15. For even more thrills, go night tobogganing in Sölden. Every Wednesday night, the toboggan run is floodlit and open from 17:30-21:00.

Freizeit Arena: Whether you’re after rest and relaxation or more fitness provisions, the Freizeit Arena in Sölden is a multi-functional leisure and recreation centre.

A family-friendly place, the kids will love the adventure pool – while you can relax in the sauna. Or have a game of tennis, badminton, indoor ball, basketball or bowling.

Freizeit Arena

Paragliding: For an adrenaline fuelled adventure, take to the air with a paraglider. Glide over the stunning Ötztal Alps and take in the spectacular alpine scenery of North Tyrol.

You can enjoy a tandem paraglide, or experienced paragliders can take to the air solo. The launch points can be reached by mountain lift.

James Bond: As mentioned, a visit to the 007 Elements exhibition is an absolute must. Even if you’re not a James Bond fan, it’s still an impressive cinematic installation complete with unforgettable vistas.

If you’re feeling fancy, stop by the gorgeous Ice Q fine dining restaurant – treat yourself to the Chef’s Table for guaranteed views.

Sölden nightlife & après

Sölden offers a fantastic après scene, with a lively town that’s popular with young visitors. It doesn’t quite have the après reputation of St Anton, but it is a little cheaper and offers the next best thing in Austria. Discover the best ski resorts for après.

A famous après ski bar in Sölden that you can always rely on for a good time. Philipp combines friendly service and tasty food with a great atmosphere and beautiful views over town. It can be reached on the way home from the Gaislachkogl gondola.
You can almost ski straight into the terrace of this bar, being situated right at the bottom of the slopes. It’s a popular après ski bar in Sölden that gets very busy. A good atmosphere and golden oldies being played are guaranteed.
Halli Valli
For lively après and classic Austrian hits, head to Halli Valli between 15:00-18:00. It is part of the Valentin hotel located next to the Gaislachkogl gondola. Later on in the evening, the vibe is more relaxed in the hotel’s Fireplace Bar.
A funky Austrian bar with a laid-back but lively vibe and friendly staff. Marco’s is in an ideal location on the main street and has a heated outdoor area. It’s also one for the sports fans, as they screen key sporting events on the TVs.
Mogul is a great place to party the afternoon, evening and night away! Starting at 15:00, a mix of lively music is played and dancing on tables ensues. Later in the evening it becomes a club that stays open until 03:00.
The largest club in Sölden, Katapult brings a whole spectacle to its nighttime programme. Think DJs, aerial dancers, and an ice bar. Note that you won’t be let in with ski clothes and it only gets busy from midnight onwards.
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Events & festivals in Sölden

From weekly night ski shows to yearly festivals and shows, Sölden hosts a number of spectacular events in the ski resort.

Night Ski Show: Every Wednesday evening, Sölden hosts a riveting ‘Night Ski Show’ alongside the night skiing and tobogganing.

Witness gravity defying ski acrobatics, live performances and a flashy fireworks show with music. It’s not to be missed!

Hannibal: Known as ‘the Alp’s most gigantic show’, the Glacier Spectacle HANNIBAL is a spectacular live show on the Rettenbach Glacier. In 2022, it will take place on 22nd April.

Hannibal Show

The show involves precise choreography of dancers and avalanches, snow grooming machines, base jumpers, helicopters, aircrafts, skidoos, paragliders, and skiers. Count us in! 

Electric Mountain Festival: The Electric Mountain Festival brings together world-renowned DJs from the electronic dance music scene for this two day festival in April.

Combining party music with après fun, experience a raucous party atmosphere in the heart of the Alps.

Want to save up to 25% on hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.