12 Amazing Things to Do in Zell am See: Top Attractions to Visit

by Emil Backup
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Are you thinking about visiting Zell am See, Austria this year? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Zell am See. These idyllic sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Zell am See, nestled in Austria’s Salzburg region, is a hub for travelers seeking a mix of outdoor adventures and quaint town exploration. Not just a winter hotspot, this town offers year-round activities that cater to various interests and fitness levels. From the serene Lake Zell to the towering Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, opportunities for exploration and adventure are abundant and diverse.

Hiking trails? Check. Ski slopes? Absolutely. Picturesque lake views? Without a doubt. Whether navigating through snowy landscapes, embarking on a summer hike, or enjoying the local cuisine after a day of exploring, Zell am See doesn’t disappoint. It’s a destination that balances natural beauty with a hearty dose of adventure, providing a robust travel experience for those keen to explore Austria’s diverse landscapes and culture.

Let’s dive into the specifics and explore what Zell am See has in store for your next adventure. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Zell am See.

The top things to do in Zell am See right now.

Best Places to Visit in Zell am See

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Zell am See? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this enchanted vacation spot in Austria. So keep reading to discover all these unique Zell am See places to visit.

Are you looking to go hiking and skiing? Or would you prefer water sports and leisurely lakeside strolls? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Zell am See can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Zell am See that you should know about.

1. Zeller See

Zeller See, a stunning lake in Zell am See, is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and the surrounding alpine scenery. The lake is not only a visual treat but also a center for various recreational activities. This ensures visitors can enjoy its beauty both from the shore and on the water. From swimming and boating in the summer to enjoying the serene, icy views in the winter, Zeller See offers a range of experiences across seasons.

Among the unique things to do in Zell am See, exploring Zeller See stands out prominently. Visitors can embark on boat tours, engage in water sports, or simply stroll along the promenade. The lake, with its clear, tranquil waters, provides a peaceful escape. It is particularly popular among those looking to combine relaxation with gentle outdoor activities.

Families, couples, and solo travelers alike find the lake a refreshing stop. Whether it’s renting a pedal boat, taking a refreshing swim, or enjoying a leisurely walk along its banks, Zeller See, catering to all ages and preferences, is a must-visit destination offering a variety of activities to its visitors.

Serene reflections at Zeller See—a tranquil oasis nestled in nature's embrace, captivating in its beauty.
Serene reflections at Zeller See—a tranquil oasis nestled in nature’s embrace, captivating in its beauty.

2. Old Town

When wondering where to go in Zell am See, the Old Town invariably tops the list. It presents a charming blend of history and contemporary Austrian culture. The area, with its cobblestone streets and traditional architecture, offers a picturesque stroll through the town’s history. Visitors can explore various shops, cafes, and historical buildings, each narrating a piece of the town’s past and vibrant present. More than a historical exhibit, the Old Town is a lively part of the city.

The buildings, many of which date back centuries, house modern amenities, shops, and eateries. They provide a delightful mix of the old and the new. Visitors can shop for local crafts, enjoy Austrian delicacies, and explore the historical aspects of the town. All of these activities are available within a short walking distance. The juxtaposition of historical architecture and modern-day shops creates a unique atmosphere that captivates every visitor.

As for the best places in Zell am See, the Old Town certainly qualifies, offering a rich, immersive experience into the local culture and history. It’s a place where every stroll feels like a step through time. Yet, it offers the comforts and conveniences of the modern day, ensuring every visitor leaves with cherished memories and perhaps a souvenir or two.

Charming cobblestone streets, medieval charm, and alpine beauty converge in Zell am See's captivating Old Town.
Charming cobblestone streets, medieval charm, and alpine beauty converge in Zell am See’s captivating Old Town. | Photo credits: placesofjuma

3. Schmittenhöhe

Schmittenhöhe, a prominent mountain in Zell am See, is renowned for its extensive range of outdoor activities and breathtaking views. The mountain, standing at 2,000 meters, is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. It offers a variety of experiences across different seasons. In winter, the mountain transforms into a bustling ski resort, providing slopes for various skill levels. During summer, it unveils numerous hiking and biking trails.

Among the coolest things to do in Zell am See, exploring Schmittenhöhe stands out for adventure seekers and nature lovers. The mountain offers well-maintained trails, facilitating exploration and ensuring visitors can safely navigate through the scenic landscapes. Cable cars operate year-round, providing easy access to the summit and revealing stunning views of the surrounding alps and Lake Zell below.

Visitors to Schmittenhöhe can also indulge in local cuisine at the mountain’s restaurants, which provide not only delicious meals but also panoramic views. Furthermore, numerous events, from ski races in winter to mountain biking competitions in summer, are hosted here. They offer entertainment and excitement to participants and spectators alike. Schmittenhöhe, with its versatile offerings, ensures a memorable visit, regardless of the season.

Zell am See's enchanting Old Town: cobblestone streets, medieval allure, and alpine splendor create a picturesque blend.
Zell am See’s enchanting Old Town: cobblestone streets, medieval allure, and alpine splendor create a picturesque blend.

4. Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Grossglockner High Alpine Road is a famed route that promises an exhilarating drive through Austria’s stunning alpine scenery. The panoramic road spans 48 kilometers, offering engineered access to the core of the Hohe Tauern National Park. It winds through diverse landscapes, from lush meadows to rugged peaks, offering a visual feast for visitors.

When considering Zell am See things to do, embarking on a journey along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road is a must, especially for those who appreciate scenic drives. The road, with its 36 bends, leads you to the foot of the Grossglockner, Austria’s highest peak. It provides numerous vantage points to marvel at the impressive mountain and its glacier. Various hiking trails and exhibitions along the route offer opportunities to delve deeper into the region’s natural beauty and history.

The road is a driver’s delight and a haven for cyclists, motorcyclists, and nature enthusiasts. It provides different perspectives of the alpine environment, from the lush, green landscapes of the foothills to the stark, icy vistas of the Pasterze Glacier.

As a thing to do in Zell am See, traversing the Grossglockner High Alpine Road provides an unforgettable experience. It blends adventure, natural beauty, and the thrill of exploring Austria’s alpine wonders.

Scenic journey through Grossglockner High Alpine Road, where majestic peaks meet winding roads in breathtaking harmony.
Scenic journey through Grossglockner High Alpine Road, where majestic peaks meet winding roads in breathtaking harmony.

5. Plettsaukopf Reservoir

Plettsaukopf Reservoir stands out as one of the unique places in Zell am See. This artificial lake, situated on the Schmittenhöhe mountain, plays a pivotal role in snow production for the region’s ski slopes during the winter months. The reservoir, with its tranquil waters, is enveloped by picturesque mountain scenery, offering a peaceful retreat for visitors.

The area around Plettsaukopf is a haven for hikers and nature lovers, providing a range of trails that offer varying levels of difficulty and diverse views. The reservoir itself is accessible via several routes, each providing its own unique perspective of the surrounding alpine landscapes. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, the trails around Plettsaukopf cater to a range of preferences.

In the summer, the reservoir area blooms with alpine flora, providing a colorful display against the backdrop of rugged peaks. Meanwhile, winter transforms the area into a snowy wonderland, offering a different, yet equally enchanting, aesthetic.

When considering where to visit in Zell am See, Plettsaukopf ranks high on your bucket list. It provides a blend of serene nature and outdoor activity, ensuring a memorable experience in this alpine paradise.

Plettsaukopf Reservoir: Serene waters nestled in the Austrian Alps, a tranquil escape surrounded by majestic mountain vistas.
Plettsaukopf Reservoir: Serene waters nestled in the Austrian Alps, a tranquil escape surrounded by majestic mountain vistas.

6. Vogtturm Tower

Vogtturm Tower is a historical gem that invites visitors to step back in time. One of the oldest structures in the town, this tower stands as a testament to the rich history and heritage of the region. With its distinctive architecture and notable presence, it has become a symbol of Zell am See’s past.

As one of the cool destinations in Zell am See, Vogtturm Tower is also a cultural exhibit. Inside, the tower houses a museum that showcases the history and development of the town through various exhibits. Visitors can explore a range of displays, from archaeological finds to historical artifacts, telling a story of the region’s evolution.

The tower also offers a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding landscapes from its top. The ascent to the viewing platform is a rewarding experience. This provides a unique perspective of Zell am See and its stunning natural and urban landscapes.

For those compiling a list of Zell am See places to visit, Vogtturm Tower offers a blend of historical insight, cultural exploration, and scenic views. This is a must-visit during your stay in the town.

Vogtturm Tower: A medieval sentinel in Zell am See's Old Town, standing tall amidst alpine enchantment.
Vogtturm Tower: A medieval sentinel in Zell am See’s Old Town, standing tall amidst alpine enchantment. | Photo credits: zellamsee-kaprun.com

7. Sigmund-Thun-Klamm

Sigmund-Thun-Klamm offers a straightforward, engaging experience for visitors interested in nature and easy walks. The gorge, shaped by the Kapruner Ache river, showcases the impact of water on the landscape over time. Visitors navigate through the gorge using wooden walkways, observing the waterfalls and rock formations along the way.

The experience of walking through the gorge is immersive, with the consistent sound of water providing a lively atmosphere. The walkways and bridges are designed for safe exploration without disrupting the natural environment. It’s an adventure that provides a new scene at every turn.

Sigmund-Thun-Klamm offers visual appeal and adventurous exploration, catering to all thrill-seekers and those seeking a calm nature escape. The gorge presents various water scenes, from active cascades to calm pools, each offering a different aspect of nature.

In conclusion, a visit to Sigmund-Thun-Klamm is vital for its combination of natural beauty and accessible adventure, marking it as a must-visit spot in Zell am See.

Nature's masterpiece near Zell am See, where water cascades through a stunning gorge in harmony with alpine beauty.
Nature’s masterpiece near Zell am See, where water cascades through a stunning gorge in harmony with alpine beauty.

8. Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel, situated in the heart of Zell am See, stands as a testament to elegant accommodation and impeccable service. With its prime location, guests are treated to stunning views of Lake Zell, creating a serene backdrop for their stay. The hotel, with its classic architecture and refined interior, offers a luxurious retreat for travelers.

When considering what to do in Zell am See, the Grand Hotel itself provides a range of activities and amenities. Guests can indulge in the on-site spa, savor gourmet meals in the restaurant, or simply relax in the meticulously designed rooms. The hotel also facilitates various seasonal activities, ensuring guests have access to both relaxation and adventure during their stay.

Among the Zell am See attractions, the Grand Hotel doesn’t just serve as a place to stay. It acts as a gateway to the myriad of experiences available in the town. The hotel’s proximity to key attractions and activities ensures that guests can easily explore the offerings of Zell am See. This makes the hotel a strategic and delightful choice for travelers.

In essence, the Grand Hotel seamlessly blends luxury, comfort, and accessibility, ensuring guests can fully immerse themselves in both the hotel and the vibrant surroundings of Zell am See.

Grandeur meets alpine elegance at Zell am See's Grand Hotel, a luxurious retreat amid breathtaking Austrian landscapes.
Grandeur meets alpine elegance at Zell am See’s Grand Hotel, a luxurious retreat amid breathtaking Austrian landscapes.

9. Krimml Waterfalls

Krimml Waterfalls, located in the Hohe Tauern National Park, is a must-see in Zell am See for nature enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. As the highest waterfall in Austria, it presents a spectacular natural display, cascading impressively over three tiers. More than just a visual treat, the waterfalls are known for their therapeutic properties, offering health benefits to visitors.

A well-maintained path allows visitors to explore the waterfalls at various points, providing different perspectives of this natural wonder. The hike to the upper stages of the waterfall is accessible and rewarding, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Visitors can immerse themselves in the soothing sounds of cascading waters and the refreshing mist that permeates the area.

Among the best places to go in Zell am See, Krimml Waterfalls offers a refreshing escape into nature. It’s a destination that combines awe-inspiring views with a peaceful atmosphere, providing a memorable experience for all age groups. Whether you choose to explore the various viewpoints or simply enjoy the sight from the base, the waterfalls offer a rejuvenating outing. This natural spectacle provides an impressive experience in the Zell am See region.

In summary, Krimml Waterfalls stands as a testament to the stunning natural beauty and therapeutic ambiance that characterizes the Zell am See area, ensuring a delightful visit for all.

Krimml Waterfalls, an awe-inspiring cascade amidst Austria's stunning landscapes.
Krimml Waterfalls, an awe-inspiring cascade amidst Austria’s stunning landscapes.

10. Kitzsteinhorn Glacier

Kitzsteinhorn Glacier is a remarkable destination, offering a blend of adventure and stunning natural vistas. This glacier is a winter sports paradise and also a year-round attraction, providing visitors with a range of activities and breathtaking views of the surrounding alpine landscape. The glacier is accessible via cable cars, ensuring that its beauty can be admired by all.

Among the unique things to do in Zell am See, exploring the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier stands out. It is notable for those seeking a blend of excitement and scenic beauty. From skiing and snowboarding during winter to hiking and mountaineering in the summer, the glacier offers a myriad of activities. The Gipfelwelt 3000, a glacier’s attraction, provides an immersive experience, offering insights into the alpine world and panoramic views.

Visitors can also explore the Ice Arena in the summer, where snow beach, ice slides, and a variety of fun activities await. The glacier also hosts several restaurants and huts, where visitors can savor local cuisine. While dining, they can soak in the spectacular views, making the visit both delightful and satisfying.

As one of the Zell am See places to visit, Kitzsteinhorn Glacier offers a unique, adventurous experience. It ensures visually stunning memories that will linger long after the trip concludes.

Majestic beauty unfolds where the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier graces the alpine panorama.
Majestic beauty unfolds where the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier graces the alpine panorama.

11. Steinerwirt 1493

Steinerwirt 1493 is a traditional Austrian inn that combines culinary delights with a rich history, making it one of the best things to do in Zell am See for food enthusiasts. This establishment is a cultural and gastronomic experience, offering guests a taste of authentic Austrian cuisine and hospitality. The centuries-old inn serves hearty yet refined dishes, ensuring a memorable dining experience for all patrons.

The ambiance of Steinerwirt 1493 is a blend of the traditional and the contemporary. While the building itself is steeped in history, the interior design and culinary offerings have a modern twist. This provides a delightful contrast that appeals to a wide range of visitors. The menu features a variety of Austrian dishes, each prepared with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients. This ensures freshness and quality in every bite.

In addition to the exquisite dining, Steinerwirt 1493 also offers accommodation. This makes it a convenient option for travelers seeking a comfortable stay with easy access to delicious meals. Whether you’re indulging in their renowned dishes or simply enjoying a drink, a visit to Steinerwirt 1493 is worthwhile. It adds a flavorful and historic layer to your Zell am See adventure.

A historic gem in Old Town, where tradition and charm harmonize.
A historic gem in Old Town, where tradition and charm harmonize.steinerwirt.com

12. Pinzgauer Lokalbahn

The Pinzgauer Lokalbahn, a narrow-gauge railway, operates between Zell am See and Krimml, traversing the scenic landscapes of the Pinzgau region. This railway serves as a mode and a means for tourists to explore the area in a distinctive way. With various stops along its route, it allows passengers to disembark, explore local attractions, and then continue their journey through the picturesque region.

Engaging in a journey on the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn is undeniably one of the coolest activities in Zell am See. The railway offers a unique perspective of the region, allowing passengers to absorb the scenic beauty while traveling between destinations. It’s particularly popular among train enthusiasts and families, providing a leisurely and charming way to navigate through the area.

The railway is a historical entity, having been in operation since the late 19th century. It has witnessed the evolution of the region and stands as a testament to the area’s rich history and development.

Among the unique places in Zell am See, the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn holds its position firmly. It blends the charm of historical travel with the allure of scenic exploration, offering an experience that is both delightful and informative.

Scenic railway journey through the alpine wonders, connecting Zell am See to breathtaking landscapes.
Scenic railway journey through the alpine wonders, connecting Zell am See to breathtaking landscapes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Zell am See

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Zell am See? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Zell am See:

What is the best time to visit Zell am See?

Summer and winter are both fantastic in Zell am See. June to August offers lush landscapes and lake activities, while December to February provides a winter wonderland perfect for skiing and snowboarding, each season offering its unique charm and array of activities.

Is Zell am See suitable for family vacations?

Absolutely, Zell am See is a family-friendly destination. With activities ranging from serene boat rides on the lake, gentle hiking trails suitable for young adventurers, and various winter activities, it ensures a fun-filled vacation for all age groups throughout the year.

How accessible is Zell am See for international travelers?

Zell am See is conveniently accessible for international visitors. The nearest airport is Salzburg Airport. From there, travelers can utilize efficient train services, buses, or car rentals to reach the destination, ensuring a smooth journey amidst stunning Austrian landscapes.

Zell am See: Alpine allure and medieval magic converge in the charming Old Town's cobblestone streets.
Zell am See: Alpine allure and medieval magic converge in the charming Old Town’s cobblestone streets.

Are there vegetarian or vegan dining options available in Zell am See?

Yes, Zell am See boasts a variety of dining options that cater to vegetarian and vegan preferences. Numerous restaurants offer delightful meals crafted from fresh, local ingredients, ensuring that every dietary requirement is not only met but celebrated with culinary flair.

Can I explore Zell am See without knowing German?

Exploring Zell am See without knowing German is quite feasible. English is widely spoken, especially within the tourism sector, ensuring that visitors can navigate, explore, and communicate effectively and comfortably throughout their stay in this enchanting Austrian town.

What is the name of the mountain in Zell am See?

The prominent mountain in Zell am See is the Schmittenhöhe. It’s renowned for its stunning panoramic views, winter skiing opportunities, and various outdoor activities during the summer, making it a pivotal attraction for visitors seeking both adventure and natural beauty in the Austrian Alps.

What does Zell am See mean in German?

“Zell am See” translates to “Zell by the Lake” in English. “Zell” is the name of the town, “am” means “by” or “at,” and “See” translates to “lake” in German. The name reflects the town’s picturesque location beside the beautiful Lake Zell in the state of Salzburg, Austria.

Is Zell am See worth visiting?

Absolutely, Zell am See is worth visiting for its stunning natural beauty, recreational activities, and charming ambiance. The town offers a blend of serene lake views, majestic mountain landscapes, and a variety of activities, such as skiing, hiking, and boating, catering to both relaxation and adventure seekers alike.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Zell am See

Zell am See is more than just a picturesque spot in Austria; it’s an adventure waiting to happen. Forget the typical tourist trails and dive into a world where every turn is a new story, from the serene Lake Zell to the rugged trails of the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking solitude in the mountains or a family looking for a wholesome getaway, Zell am See doesn’t just meet expectations; it surpasses them.

It’s not about ticking off a checklist; it’s about immersing yourself in the experience, the culture, and the stunning backdrops. So, grab your backpack, lace up those hiking boots, and let’s uncover the hidden gems that make Zell am See an unmissable stop on your Austrian adventure.

Best things to do in Zell am See for all types of travelers.
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