Zell am See is a pocket-sized town with a bluer-than-blue Lake Zell and the magnificent snowcapped peaks, towering above the vibrant colored chalets.
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Holidays in Austria are a very smart decision to make. This country has a handful of attractive mountain destinations for every tourist, and Zell am See is just one of them. You don’t really have to think twice, compare or hesitate. Look at the pictures of Lake Zell and the panoramic views overlooking Hoher Tenn massif, and the decision will come immediately. As if under a spell, you feel determined to go for it. You are ready to make a reservation, and you believe firmly that you will not find a better place.
Zell am See is a well-known and picturesque resort, which is popular among visitors all year round. It is scenically located on the shores of Lake Zell and offers a variety of activities. From here, one can explore the nearest mountain slopes and green valleys. From here, one can reach the famous Hohe Tauern National Park. From here, one can get to the Grossglockner mountain area in an instant.
History of Zell am See
Historically, Zell am See is no less peculiar than geographically. It used to be associated with a monastery, and the name itself makes reference to a monk’s cell. The land of Zell valley has been inhabited by the Romans, Germans, the French and the Austrians, but it has never seen so much tranquility and international concord as it does now. Zell am See is 1300 years old, but the atmosphere of this town is always vibrant and youthful.
When it comes to attractions, you can plan a visit to the 600-year-old St. Hippolyte’s Church, which is a mixture of architectural styles. Exploring the town, you will inevitably walk to the shores of Lake Zell, where the beautiful chalet, the Grand Hotel Zell, is situated. Its location is by no means accidental: the panoramic views from here are especially great! Alternatively, you can come to the Porsche family farm and learn about the local traditions of farming.
The decision to visit Zell am See is always well-reasoned
Despite the remoteness and the sheer size of Zell am See, you can hardly suffer from fits of loneliness here. The town seems to be frequented by Austrian and international tourists in equal proportions. It has made its name and reputation, and it carefully protects them from any damage. Indeed, there are several reasons why Zell am See is always flooded by tourists.
First of all, Zell am See is an administrative center of an eponymous district and a transportation hub, easy to get to and quick to leave. Innsbruck and Salzburg are less than 100 kilometers away. There is a local bus, which can take you to mountain villages, such as Kaprun. Many people consider it the best cycling and walking destination, offering a lot of mountain routes and trails.
Secondly, it makes an outstanding tourist destination due to its location in the heart of the Austrian Alps and on the shore of Lake Zell. Proximity to the Kitzbühel Alps is an advantage, and Zell valley serves like a perfect corridor between different resorts. Enjoying the lakefront location, the villages of Thumersbach, Erlberg, and Schüttdorf are equally iconic! Among other things, Erlberg is known for a nature reserve. Another neighboring settlement, Schmitten, is a cobweb of cableways and chairlifts, operating throughout the year.
Next, the town is very comfortable, and its central streets are traffic-free. You can forget about big cities and enjoy the relaxed pace of life. As you walk along the streets, you will see a lot of terraced cafes and shops against the backdrop of medieval buildings. Located on the western shore of Lake Zell, the old town district, Altstadt, is a splendid location for a stay.
Zell am See is a year-round destination with activities to every taste
This region is equally beautiful regardless of the season. Stopping here for a few days will contribute to your holidays in Austria and make them even more stunning!
Zell am See is a place where you always feel welcome. Families and individuals can find various housing options in the vicinity. Finding shelter, which is an essential worry in the mountains, is not a problem! Spending a few days in Zell am See and around brings relaxation and pleasure. In addition, you can taste the local delicacies and homemade products. Needless to say that you will find the finest homegrown vegetables, local Austrian delicacies, drinks, and spices.
Yet, sleeping and eating do not drive people to the mountains. You must be a true seeker of adventures – thirsty for adrenaline and longing for an active pastime. Zell am See-Kaprun area boasts having at least three dozen mountain peaks that are higher than 3,000 meters. As you climb them, you will come across many scenic photo points and unforgettable panoramas. If only you could turn into an eagle, hover and observe the views from the sky!
For the little ones, there is the mystical forest where fairy tales and fancy creatures are brought to life in myths and legends. Besides, you can always play active outdoor games with kids. For families, there are comfortable walks, like the Sisi trail or one of the herb trails.
Yet, nothing can be better than the joy of reaching an alpine summit, and a medium-difficulty hike to the Maurerkogel is perhaps the best offer. If you are well-trained, you may think of a long-distance hike, such as the Pinzgauer Spaziergang Trail walk. It is about 17 kilometers long and takes approximately six hours to complete.
Fans of speed and vehicles can find something for themselves without causing damage to the environment. Eco-friendly electric vehicles in Austria’s highest e-Motocross Park will contribute to a great cycling experience.
Crystal-clear waters of Lake Zell arrest your attention as strongly as the surrounding mountain landscapes. Cruises, paddling, and boat trips on Lake Zell are something you must experience during your stay in the region. This is an affordable way to enjoy breathtaking natural locations, such as Schmittenhöhe, in an energy-saving mode. Bathing, surfing, rafting, kayaking, and sailing are all encouraged, whereas motorized boats are not permitted.
If you are keen on festivals and cultural activities, summer is the best time to come to Zell am See. It is also the Austrian summer that makes quiet lake cruises in the light of the setting sun especially romantic and memorable.
Skiing options are bountiful for beginners and professionals
Sandwiched between the towering mountains, Zell am See is a busy resort. Most skiers certainly come to Zell am See in winter. The relatively small Schmittenhöhe ski area manages to draw every beginning and proficient skier. Besides, the magnificent Kitzsteinhorn glacial peak is just a short ride away. Another curt bus trip will take you to the much bigger ski venue, the 270-kilometer Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn.
A local gondola called CityXpress, comfortable cable cars and chairlifts can help you reach the Schmittenhöhe slopes. Schmitten and Schüttdorf offer low-difficulty slopes for beginners, and these are also accessible by gondola lifts. Intermediate skiers can go for the moderately steep slopes of Leogang, boasting the best quality snow. More confident or advanced skiers will flock to the Sonnkogel area. Don’t miss the 1.3-kilometer fun slope, one of the longest on earth, with tunnels and other highlights. At the height of 2,900 m, near Kitzsteinhorn peak, there is the beautiful Glacier Park with runs for beginners and experts, and a 160 meter-long superpipe.
Zell am See is the starting point of many hiking trails
The local mountains and valleys are a real mecca for fans of hiking. Families with children will also find lots of offers here. Most of them are not physically strenuous, but look and feel adventurous and motivating. While exploring the trails, you don’t have to worry about your safety – they seem created for walking! Instead, you can focus on the surrounding landscapes. Be sure to take a few pictures and keep the memory of this wonderful panorama. High-altitude walks on a fine sunny day can revitalize your body and refresh your mind. The best options for these invigorating strolls are the Pinzgau Walk, the Schmittenhöhe mountain or the Sisi round hiking trail.
Many tourists prefer guided hiking tours, combining physical exercise and good company. Guided tours will take you to the glaciers of the Kitzsteinhorn or the Hohe Tauern mountain, Maiskogel mountain or Alexander Enzinger Trail. The local guides are well aware of the fauna and flora, so tourists with an inquisitive mind will have their curiosity quenched beyond measure. Their experience and qualification are your true allies, when you challenge yourself and dream of alpine heights.
While walking and climbing, you will see mountain huts and cosy villages, go through woods and valleys, reach the snowy mountain tops and admire the amazing alpine slopes. Every hiking route is different. Moreover, the locals say that these trails, like humans, are easy to differentiate by their character. They unanimously believe that frequent walking in this area produces a healing effect on the soul, to say nothing of the body!
This being a mountainous region, treat every encounter with nature seriously. Consider putting your hiking boots on, study the signposts and navigate carefully, keep the weather in mind. In short, be well-prepared before you start walking.
Delicious food and comfortable accommodation are an advantage at Lake Zell
The Zell am See resort is known for its countless bars and rich après-ski. There is also a good range of comfy hotels for all tastes and pockets.
Generally, restaurants here serve traditional Austrian food, which is as delicious as it is satisfying. You should definitely treat yourself to a hearty serving of Tiroler gröstl (fried potatoes with egg and meat), Käserspätzle (egg noodles served with cheese sauce) or Kaiserschmarren (shredded pancakes served with fruity sauces). However, dining options are really wide here – from inexpensive pizza and burgers to exquisite dishes like rabbit paté or stewed veal escalope. With plenty of Austrian and international wine varieties to wash it all down with, be sure to get utmost satisfaction from your meal in one of the local restaurants.
There is plenty of accommodation facilities to choose from in Zell am See – both on and off the mountains. You can stay in an ancient-looking hut with a woody interior tucked in the middle of a mountain slope, a cozy chalet, or an exquisite hotel in smart modern style. One of the best places to stay is probably the atmospheric medieval town center, which boasts a splendid church and a number of impressive historic buildings. It is a short walk from there to the CityXpress gondola, and you can easily access the Schmittenhöhe ski area.
Zell am See mostly offers tourists three- and four-star hotels. You can also book apartments and spend the vacation in the comfort of having the whole place to yourself. Pay attention that many apartments can only be booked locally and they aren’t usually featured by tour operators.
Zell am See is an immediate heart-stealer. The pleasures that this divine place offers will keep you busy for days – diving into the clear lake, cycling along the tree-lined lanes, exquisite skiing possibilities and many more. Even a stroll in the charming center with its vehicle-free cobbled streets and ancient buildings is immense pleasure in itself.
No wonder that around a million visitors from every corner of the world come here to see this Austrian dream with their own eyes.