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Six ways to experience the Austrian region of Zell am See-Kaprun in summer

Situated in Salzburgerland, around a 90-minute drive from the UNESCO-listed city of Salzburg, Zell am See-Kaprun is home to majestic mountains, mellow pastures and mesmeric lakes.

Between late June and early September, yoga fans can enjoy outdoor classes on the lush, grassy slopes of the Schmittenhöhe mountain — a beautiful and tranquil setting that promises spectacular views over Lake Zell. 

Photograph by Zell Am See-Kaprun
By Zell am See-Kaprun
Published 29 Mar 2022, 10:00 BST

Located on the edge of the idyllic Alpine world of the Hohe Tauern National Park, the Austrian region of Zell am See-Kaprun is one that brings skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports enthusiasts flocking to its 254 miles of pristine slopes. It's unsurprising, therefore, that the region also offers endless scope for outdoor adventure and relaxation in the summer months. From the sparkling, tranquil playground of Lake Zell, to the grassy slopes of Schmittenhöhe mountain and the rocky summit of the Kitzsteinhorn glacier, there’s plenty to get excited about here, whatever kind of holiday you’re after. We’ve rounded up some of the best summer experiences and adventures for every type of traveller — from hikes among breathtaking natural scenery to foodie experiences and brilliant activities for all the family.

Lake Zell offers plenty of family fun, from stand-up paddleboarding to kayaking and waterskiing. 

Photograph by Zell am See-Kaprun

1. Watersports on Lake Zell

Best for: families

While there are plenty of easy hiking trails suitable for families on the surrounding hills and mountains, Lake Zell itself offers oodles of family fun. Get paddling in a kayak, sign up for some water-skiing lessons, rent a rowing boat or stand-up paddleboard, or just enjoy a refreshing swim with a view — motorboats are prohibited on the lake and the water is remarkably clean. There are also several lidos around the shores, with swimming pools, playgrounds and plenty of scope for lounging in the sun.

My First 3,000m Peak is a guided summit tour of the Kitzsteinhorn peak with a state-certified mountain guide.

Photograph by Zell Am See-Kaprun

2. Scale the Kitzsteinhorn peak

Best for: active travellers

Feeling a tad more intrepid? From late June to late September, adventure-enthusiasts can tackle My First 3,000m Peak — a guided summit tour of the Kitzsteinhorn mountain, which starts at the highest accessible point in Salzburgerland, the 3,029m platform. From there, visitors scale the final 650 feet secured with ropes, following the lead of a state-certified mountain guide. Once at the top, the Kitzsteinhorn’s airy summit has epic views across the Alpine peaks of the Hohe Tauern, including the Grossvenediger and the 12,500 foot Grossglockner — the highest mountain in Austria and the Eastern Alps. The tours take place on Wednesdays at 9am, meeting at the Gletscherjet Valley station. Helmets and harnesses are available for hire.

The National Park Gallery, located inside the Kitzsteinhorn mountain, has a variety of interactive displays about the Hohe Tauern National Park. 

Photograph by Zell Am See-Kaprun

3. Take the Kitzsteinhorn Explorer Tour 

Best for: nature enthusiasts

In the expert company of a national park ranger, the Kitzsteinhorn Explorer Tour is an amazing opportunity to see and learn about the majestic Kitzsteinhorn mountain up close. Using the Kaprun-Maiskogel-Kitzsteinhorn cable car routes — the longest lift axis in the Eastern Alps, covering a staggering seven-and-a-half miles, with an altitude gain of 7,400 feet — with short spells of walking in between, the tour takes in four climate zones. This highlights the amazing geology, flora and fauna of the area, including the majestic golden eagle, of which there are around 40 breeding pairs in the national park.

You can also learn more about the Hohe Tauern through the interactive displays in the National Park Gallery, located inside the mountain itself, and watch the award-winning documentary at Cinema 3000. Finally, don’t miss the jaw-dropping view from the metal platform just 650 feet below the Kitzsteinhorn’s summit. In a country with no shortage of superlative mountain vistas, this is surely one of the best.

The historic city centre of Zell am See is located at the base of the Schmittenhohe, on the shores of Lake Zell. 

Photograph by Zell Am See-Kaprun

4. Stroll through the Old Town of Zell am See

Best for: culture-seekers

Culture-seekers should opt to take a guided walking tour of the old town centre in Zell am See using their smartphone. Local Guide is a digital platform that tells the history of the city, not only through facts but also through the voices and stories of local people, who really help bring the place to life – from the medieval town square to the Austria Fountain designed by artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. There’s no need to download an app – just scan the QR codes at the tour’s 10 information points or connect via Bluetooth to access all the information and local stories.

The boat tour of Lake Zell, onboard the twin-decked MS Schmittenhöhe, includes a delicious, organic breakfast on its sundeck.

Photograph by Zell am See-Kaprun

5. Gourmet breakfast on a boat

Best for: gastronomes

Take a relaxing boat tour on Lake Zell aboard the twin-decked MS Schmittenhöhe. During the tour, you’ll enjoy unobstructed views of the Schmittenhöhe, its ridge enclosing the western side of the lake in a gentle arc and the snow-capped sprawl of the Hohe Tauern to the south. To the north, you can see the Steinerne Meer or ‘sea of rock’ — a huge limestone plateau that forms part of the Berchtesgaden Alps on the border between Salzburgerland and Bavaria. The delicious, organic breakfast on the sundeck features some of the best locally sourced produce from the BijoFARM at Fusch an der Grossglockner — a family-run, organic farm located at the foot of the Grossglockner Alpine High Road, where they grow their own organic vegetables and roses, and raise free-range geese and dwarf zebu cattle.

Breathe in great lungfuls of fresh air on a yoga session on the Schmittenhöhe mountain.

Photograph by Zell am see-Kaprun

6. Outdoor yoga on the Schmittenhöhe 

Best for: those seeking a wellness retreat

Between late June and early September, there are outdoor yoga sessions on the lush, grassy slopes of Schmittenhöhe — a beautiful and tranquil setting that promises spectacular, natural views over Lake Zell and fresh mountain air. Led by power yoga instructor Monika Rauter, the two-hour sessions take place on Wednesday mornings and are free with a valid cable-car ticket. Yoga sessions are also on offer down on the water at Lake Zell, where yoga mats are exchanged with stand-up paddleboards to encourage an increased awareness of movement, balance and focus.

Plan your visit

Zell am See-Kaprun lies southwest of Salzburg, around 60 miles by road via the A10. From Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, there are frequent, direct trains to Zell am See-Kaprun that take around 90 minutes.

EasyJet, British Airways and other airlines fly direct from the UK to Salzburg, or travelling by rail can take as little as 11 hours. Alternatively, you can take the Eurostar to Brussels and continue via Frankfurt and Munich.

Once you’ve arrived in Zell am See-Kaprun, take advantage of the excellent, free mobility card, which gives free use of public transport throughout the surrounding Pinzgau region, including local trains and buses. The mobility card is available through the Zell am See-Kaprun app, or from your hotel. The Zell am See-Kaprun ski pass offers access to all 254 miles of the region's pristine slopes, including the Kitzsteinhorn Kaprun, Schmittenhöhe Zell am See and Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. 

For more information and to book your trip, visit

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