Zell am See Travel Guide

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Night View from Eichenhof Hotel

Night View from Eichenhof Hotel

Michael Ho

Zell am See is kind of an unusual resort - not a rustic village like most of its small Austrian competitors, but a lakeside town with a charming old center that seems more geared to summer than winter visitors. It's a pleasant place, and - since a tunnel now takes through traffic to Schüttdorf - less plagued by traffic. The town makes an attractive base for holidaymakers who enjoy travelling around. Having a car makes it easy to visit numerous other resorts - including Saalbach -Hinterglemm, Bad Gastein -Bad Hofgastein, Wagrain, Schladming and Obertauern . Zell am See is one of the most significant Austrian ski resorts. Its three parts, the all year glacial resort Kitzsteinhorn in Kaprun, the Maiskogel in Kaprun, and the Schmittenhöhe in Zell am See open an area of 130 kilometers (81 miles) of pistes and 54 lift systems. Although not combined via lifts, this distance is comfortably passable with the constantly running ski-buses, and the slopes also go all the way down into the villages, so each one can easily be reached via ski. The runs satisfy every skill level with a ratio of about 40-40-20 easy-intermediate-demanding.
Off-piste skiing in Zell is part of every skiing day and neither broad nor bumpy pistes should be missed. For the snowboarder, two half-pipes and two parks, of which one is an all year FIS-Boardercross course where the annual November World Cup is held, create a great environment for training and fun. The village of Zell, with its 9,727 inhabitants, is situated in the valley of Prinzgau in the Salzburgerland, right in the middle of the Hohe Tauern, a mountainous region with 30 mountaintops that reach the 3,000-meter (9,834-foot) limit (one of these mountains is the Großglockner, Austria’s highest). Zell is nested between the Schmittenhöhe and the waterfront of one of the cleanest European swimming lakes, Lake Zell. The town was founded by monks from Salzburg in 740 as Cella in Bisonzio. With its medieval center, it creates a calm, rustic, and adorned atmosphere - somewhat typically Austrian - that attracts guests to fill the 14,000 beds almost constantly. Kaprun is a smaller village that is mostly known for its year-round skiable glacier, its Roman castle from the 12th century (one of the largest ruins of the Prinzgau), and its two large water reservoirs. The two villages have a fascinating and fairly priced program of sportive, cultural, and just simply entertaining offerings throughout the year which include skiing, snowboarding, cross country (about 200 kilometers/125miles of trails), snow hiking, snowshoeing, tobogganing (on slides, truck tires, and boats), ice sailing, ice skating, hockey, sleigh rides, llama hikes, ballooning, paragliding, ice climbing, swimming in- and outdoors, horse back riding, concerts, fests, festivals, theater, musicals, exhibitions - and of course, the regular après-ski activities found in restaurants, bars, pubs, and nightclubs. Overall, the resort has an impressive off-piste program for any taste, but still is mainly centered on the sportive aspect-skiing. That means fun off-piste is guaranteed, but it is not as much of a partying and exclusively après-ski resort as spots like Sölden and Ischgl. Kaprun and Zell together create a large all-year resort with outstanding offerings in a cozy, Austrian atmosphere with international flair. All those who visit will be impressed with how relaxing and at the same time exciting a skiing resort can be. All Zell am See and Kaprun information is provided through a partnership with SkiEurope

Contributors

October 21, 2007 change by vanilja

February 22, 2005 change by hasekamp

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