Ischgl is a municipality in Tyrol (Austria) with 1604 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020). The municipality is located in the judicial district of Landeck on the border with Switzerland.

Located at almost 1400 meters above sea level in Paznaun, the place is known for its Silvretta Arena ski area with 238 kilometers of slopes and 45 lifts, which is connected to the Swiss community of Samnaun. The former mountain farming village was transformed in the 20th century into a hotel settlement that caters to mass tourism. In the ski season, numerous après-ski parties and concerts by various international pop stars take place there, to which up to 25,000 visitors are expected. In January 2020 there were almost 12,000 beds for tourists in 390 hotels for every 1,600 inhabitants.

In March 2020, Ischgl was a focus of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. According to research by Spiegel, more than 11,000 infections are said to be due to the location. Since then, the Innsbruck public prosecutor's office has been investigating whether events in the holiday resort could have led to the epidemic spreading across Europe and whether there is a well-founded suspicion of a “risk of infectious diseases”.



Ischgl is a border town of the Alemannic dialect area in the Tyrol and Vorarlberg area, on the one hand between Höchst Alemannic and Bavarian, on the other hand between Höchst Alemannic and Vallader.

From the settlement to the 19th century
The former mountain farming village (Yscla, Rhaeto-Romanic for "island") was settled by Rhaeto-Romans from the Engadine around 1000 years ago and by the Walsers in the 13th century. There was no navigable connection to the Tyrolean Oberinntal, so that Ischgl was more economically connected to the Engadin and Vorarlberg and also traded with the Vinschgau, Swabia and Bavaria. In addition, there was a privilege granted by Archduke Siegmund in 1460, which allowed Ischgl to export duty-free cattle to certain areas and import duty-free grain. From 1505, the right to collect a road fee was added, with the condition that the roads from the Engadin via the Zeinisjoch into the Montafon had to be maintained.

As early as the 17th century, trade was decreasing because the Engadin broke away from Tyrol and the relationship became looser. After the Jamtaler Ferner had grown so much in the middle of the 18th century that the path could no longer even be crossed with pack horses, trade came to a standstill. Since the town was sacked by the Engadin in 1622, all taxes were waived for five years.

Tax registers have been handed down for the years 1697 (Tyrolean Provincial Archives Cat. 45/1) and 1775. In 1849 Ischgl and Galtür were finally merged with the Landeck court.

The Ischgl music band was founded in 1852 and was only able to use a rehearsal room in the elementary school from 1904.

In the nineteenth century there was a strong emigration with families as far as America. Due to the decline in trade, the population in the barren valley could no longer be fed. Many residents left the region and children were sent abroad to work (see Schwabenkinder).

At the end of the 19th century, tourism opened up a new source of income. In the 1880s, sections of the Austrian Alpine Club (ÖAV) and the German Alpine Club (DAV) built several shelters (see also list of ÖAV huts and list of DAV huts).

First half of the 20th century
During the First World War, 23 people from Ischgl fell and 3 were missing; in the Second World War there were 30 dead and 7 missing. Zm 24./25. In July 1938, numerous hero commemorations took place in Tyrol, and a report was also available from Ischgl. From 1943 to 1945 Ischgl and Galtür were among the destinations of the Kinderlandverschickung, specifically from Essen-Steele. Apparently, the region was largely spared from acts of war until 1945. At the end of the Second World War, on May 6, 1945 in Paznaun, American troops met French units near Ischgl who had come from the Montafon via the Zeinisjoch. At the beginning of July 1945 the Americans handed the area over to the French troops, who exercised control here until the Austrian State Treaty in 1955.

Increasing change to a tourist destination
The former image of a mountain farming village has been completely lost in recent decades in favor of a hotel complex. With its numerous après-ski events, Ischgl is now an example of mass and event tourism and is therefore also known as the “Ibiza of the Alps”.

The beginnings of the ski school and tourist association go back to 1929. Erwin Aloys (1910–2002) was one of the first ski instructors in Ischgl and the innkeeper at the Heidelberger Hütte. He built the Hotel Madlein and was mayor of Ischgl for many years. Elementary school director Josef Parth (1921–2011) had good relationships with German tour operators and thus brought many guests to the still unknown Ischgl in his early years. His contacts with state politicians were of great importance in the construction of the cable car. Xaver Zangerl (1927–1997) was the head of the Ischgl ski school for many years.

Rudolf Wolf and Franz Kurz were one of the decisive factors behind the departure in the 1960s. The hotelier Günther Aloys, son of Erwin Aloys, played a role in Ischgl's international breakthrough as a holiday destination with the establishment of the first design hotel in Ischgl. Alfons Parth (* 1957) has been the chairman of the tourism association since 1989. During this time he had a decisive influence on the development of Ischgl, and during his chairmanship Ischgl has become an internationally known holiday destination. His successor has been the hotelier Alexander von der Thannen (* 1971) since December 2019.


Getting there

By plane
The closest international airports are Innsbruck Airport (distance approx. 100 km, a good hour's drive) and north of Munich Munich Airport (also "Franz Josef Strauss", distance approx. 232 km).

By train
There is no railway line in Paznaun.

The next train station in the Upper Inn Valley is Landeck-Zams train station, 30 km away, further by bus or taxi.

The 4240 bus to Paznaun starts at the station forecourt.

By street
By car via Bundesstraße 188: from the east / Inntal motorway A12 (Landeck), from the west via Bludenz and Galtür;