Visiting The Stubai Valley [Winter Destination]

Check out what's waiting for you in the Stubai Valley near Innsbruck, Austria. Beautiful all year, this needs to be on your winter destination travel list!

If you’re thinking about your next winter destination, look no further than Innsbruck & the Stubai Valley. Where lush valleys extend to crisp alpine peaks, and you can explore everywhere in between. Whether you’re a winter sports person, a lover of nature, or just looking to experience somewhere new this winter, Austria has the place for you.

The Stubai Valley is right between Germany and Italy and leads to the highest point in all of the Tyrolean state of Austria. This is home to the largest ski resort in Austria, which is saying something since this is where downhill skiing was born! 

I was fortunate to spend a month in Stubai this winter, check out everything I learned about the region and what’s waiting for you on your next trip!

Painted houses in Innsbruck over the river

Where Is The Stubai Valley

The Stubai Valley is centrally located in the Tyrol region, which spans from Austria across the border into ‘South Tyrol’ in northern Italy. The valley runs North/South and leads to the highest point in the Tyrol region, located at the Stubai Glacier ski resort.

Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol and a central location to access the Alps, making Stubai a perfect valley to be tucked into the mountains, while still accessible to everything else you’d want to do. No matter where you go, there are winter activities for everyone! Major towns include Neustift and Schönberg!

Table of Contents

Winter Activities

Major Towns

Ski Resorts

Stubai Winter Guest Card

If you’re staying in Stubai, ask your accommodation host about the Winter Guest Card. When you pay the local Tourist Tax (2.5 euros/night), you will receive a receipt that represents the Guest Card (Summer stays receive a physical card).

Keep this receipt on you to receive some of the benefits that come with being a tourist! This card grants free bus rides between Stubai Gletscher and Schönberg (south of Innsbruck), as well as discounts on many of the excursions in the valley!

A major bonus of the guest card is free transport on arrival and departure, so no matter where you’re staying, you will get a free bus ride from Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof to your nearest stop! Just be sure to print out the vouchers before arriving! 

Winter Activities In The Stubai Valley

Tobogganing

The Stubai Valley is home to the longest Toboggan run in all of Tyrol! Right in the heart of Neustift, you can zip down a 6.6km trail through the forest on an authentic toboggan. If you used to sled as a kid, you’ll feel your inner child light up with this high-speed extreme version! 

At the Elferbahnen cable car valley station, you can rent your sleds and head up the cable car, where you’ll get insane views of the valley! It takes some getting used to, and we were so surprised at how fast we went! It felt like a real-life Mario Kart. If you’re up for the challenge, they also offer night sledding 3 days a week. Don’t forget your helmet, goggles, and a headlamp!

There are a few other options in the region, but as the longest in Tyrol, the Elfer Toboggan run is by far the best!

Ice Skating

With the Stubai Guest Card, you get a discount on any of the 3 public ice rinks! All three locations offer ice skate rentals for a small fee if you don’t have your own, and have various times available. There are 2 rink options, one in Fulpmes, and the other in Neustift which cost 5 euros and 4 euros respectively (in addition to the rental cost).

The only natural (outdoor on frozen water) option is the southernmost, at Klaus Äuele, which is totally free to use! This location also hosts family-friendly ‘Winter Hiking Nights‘ events throughout the winter season, where ice sculptors, dog sleds, curling equipment, and local foods are set up after 7:00 pm to enjoy a night in the winter forest!

For information on future events, follow @stubai_tirol on social media!

Paragliding

Austria is definitely a base for many extreme sports enthusiasts, especially paragliders. No matter where you are in the mountains, it’s hard not to see a few soaring above the peaks, flying with the birds. Although it is quite a sport to get into (money and fear), there are plenty of options to try it

There are at least 5 flight schools in the Stubai Valley, where you can learn to go solo or with a trained pilot in a tandem flight. This life is a dream, where people take a cable car up to a summit at sunrise, fly down and land in their work parking lot to go on with the day!

Snowshoe & Cross-Country Skiing

There are cross-country trails all over the valley, mainly at the lower elevations following the tree line on both sides. Even if skiing isn’t your thing, give snowshoeing a try! There are a few local sports stores that will rent you all the gear you need so you can get out and explore the mountains.

The alps have been getting less snow than usual in the winter, so be prepared for a potential hiking trek instead! This only means that you’ll have to go higher in elevation to reach the snow, but you’ll have many more options you can explore on foot!

Downhill Skiing

It’s no surprise that you’re interested in the Stubai region in winter, especially if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding. The king of the valley for resorts is Stubai Glacier, which is the largest ski resort in Austria! Since skiing is so big in this area, it gets a whole section dedicated to it next…

Skiing in the Stubai Valley

Stubai Gletscher / Glacier

Stubai Glacier is an impressive ski area to say the least. Not only is it the highest point in all of Tyrol, but it’s also the largest ski area in all of Austria. With other 110 km of piste runs and 26 chair lifts, Stubai also has the best views in the area. The resort has runs on both sides of the mountain, so when the afternoon shade rolls in, head to the south side to soak up the sun until 4:00 when the lifts close. From there, take a groomed run all the way to the bottom with breathe-taking views the whole way!

With the Stubai Guest Card, you get a discount on the lift prices, which are usually 57 euros/day. If you buy online ahead of time, they are also a few euros cheaper than bought at the ticket counter!

Sign reading 'Top of Tyrol' at Gletscher Resort
Mountain hut on top of snowy ridge line in the Alps of the Stubai Valley

Schlick 2000

Located right in Fulpmes, Schlick 2000 is a great ski area for skiers of all levels. Schlick is a great option especially if you’re closer to Innsbruck and not looking to make the journey all the way down to Stubai. The crowd is often smaller than Stubai and Nordkette, and the view is spectacular. You can do a full day of skiing here for only €46, which can’t be beaten!

The resort is east-facing, so it does get shaded earlier in the day than the backside of Stubai and Nordkette, but don’t let that hold you back from getting out there and exploring the slopes!

Man wearing black snow suit, white backpack, and skis, standing on a wooden deck in the Austrian Alps

Nordkette

Although not technically in the Stubai Valley, Nordkette is a notable ski area on the north end of Innsbruck. Although there are only 5 lifts, this area has some gnarly runs for more advanced-level skiers. While up there, you may even see some Red Bull athletes in the terrain park!

Even if you don’t make it up there for a ski day, a ride up the Nordkettenbahn cable car is definitely worth the €42 for the view at the Top of Innsbruck. This area is always in the sun, with an amazing restaurant and apré ski bars for a drink!

Snowy peak in Innsbruck, Austria with the Nordkette cable car

Accommodation In The Stubai Valley

The Stubai Region is designed for tourists and travelers. Whether you have a family or are a solo traveler looking to meet people, you’ll find a perfect accommodation here. 

There are at least 3 hostels in Innsbruck, with dorms and private rooms available. Innsbruck is a very young city due to the university and advanced-level skiing, so you’ll meet some chill locals and travelers in Innsbruck.

There are endless hotels, some with a water park, food provided, and more. You’ll often see the word ‘pension’ on the name of a hotel, meaning it is a specific style of guest house offering food and accommodation to guests only. The hotels at the ski resorts get pretty rowdy in the afternoon for some apré ski drinking, so beware if you are trying to avoid the parties!

Another great option is Airbnb, with hosts all over the valley. We stayed in an Airbnb for 1 month in Kampl just north of Neustift, and the location was a perfect distance right between Innsbruck and Stubai Glacier. This is a great way to get to know the locals, get an authentic experience of what it’s like to live in Austria and have some privacy in your own space.

Plus at your own place, you can come back after a long day of skiing to cold beers and schnapps 🙂

Two glasses of beer, with two shots of Schnapps on a deck ledge with the mountain valley in the background

Transportation In The Stubai Valley

As mentioned above, the guest card permits FREE rides on the ski bus. Typically the drivers don’t ask for any information if you have your ski gear, but it’s good to keep your guest card on you just in case. Bus 590a and 590b run the valley, every 15 minutes and can take you to the glacier or north into Innsbruck and beyond!

The guest card only permits free rides to Schönberg, just south of Innsbruck. If you’re looking to get to Innsbruck from the valley, you’ll need to pay 4 euros to cover the ride between Schönberg and Innsbruck. Once in Innsbruck, you can get to any other destination from the main station, ‘Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof‘.

No matter where you’re trying to go in Austria, the Verkehr-Salzburg website will be reliable and accurate. This website will provide the exact bus number, platform, time, and cost of the ride so you can plan accordingly. 

Summary - Visitng The Stubai Valley [Winter Destination]

The Stubai Valley is a winter wonderland, with skiing, the best views in the alps, and a buzzing social atmosphere. You’ll find good food, and great beer, and have the time to sit back and relax as you enjoy the crisp mountain air. With the Stubai Guest Card, you can get all of this at a discount, with free transport on top of that so you can fit this into your budget travel destination! Especially if you’re not a pro at winter sports, here you can give it all a try with the easy-to-rent gear for ice skating, tobogganing, and skiing. 

What other destinations are on your bucket list? Find your Travel Inspiration here. 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber

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