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Lying on a fairly flat, scenic stretch just back from the main road that winds through the Gastein Valley, Bad Hofgastein is situated in W-central Austria, 58 mls S of Salzburg and its airport.

It is one of the best ski-areas in the province of Salzburg, the village centres on the bustling pedestrian zone, which exudes typical Austrian charm. Because of the resort's compact nature, ski-lifts, shops and entertainment are all close at hand. Many visitors prefer Bad Hofgastein to its bigger neighbour Bad Gastein. It has better snow and easier access to the skiing, but it does experience many of the same disadvantages. You'll have to take a bus to the lifts and most of the skiing favours better intermediates. None of the Gastein Valley area is very well interconnected and the linking buses are infrequent and busy. Beginners have a better deal here, but are still inconvenienced. Queues are also longer than at Bad Gastein. The valley has good cross-country skiing and Hofgastein is the best base for accessing it.

Hofgastein is a spa town as well, but is prettier with more traditional buildings and a traffic-free centre. It is mainly a hotel resort and most of the better eateries are found in the 50 or so hotels. For non-skiers there are lots of activities including the baths, but as with Bad Gastein some may not warm to the subdued ambience. It is also important to check the location of your accommodation, as that found in the centre has quicker access to the gondola and the skiing. There isn't too much to choose between the 2 resorts, but Hofgastein might just shade it, as it's prettier and closer to the slopes.

Ski Information:

Number of lifts: 31, Uplift capacity: 25000 p/hr, Number of slopes: 38, Beginner: 26%, Intermediate: 61%, Expert: 13%, Total piste length: 175km, Cross country: 37km.