Zell am See is part of the Salzburg region in Austria. The nearest airports are Salzburg, which is about a 90 minute drive, or Munich which is about 2.5 hours by car. Salzburg is a much smaller airport, and thus will have more limited options. If you decide to travel via Salzburg, there are three main options to reach Zell am See.
For those traveling via Munich, there are two options to reach Zell am See:
Zell am See is a small town which is easily walkable. If looking to visit areas around Zell am See, there are some different options. The bus system works well and provides access to the start of various hikes, gondolas, nearby towns and more.
Additionally, you can rent bikes to provide more mobility around the area and check out areas outside Zell am See. For those hoping to explore on a more flexible timetable, it's recommended to bring or rent a car as this enables you to drive to different locations, using Zell am See as a convenient homebase.
Zell am See is a lovely town right along Lake Zell, with many small hotels or pensions to pick from. If visiting in the summer, a big perk of booking a hotel or similar is the addition of the Zell am See Summer Card.
Sporthotel Alpin - this hotel is located right next to the CityXpress gondola and a 3 minute walk from the Postplatz bus station. The hotel is perfect for a summer or winter visit to Zell am See. The owner and staff are incredibly friendly, always available to help and provide excellent recommendations for activities and dining in the area. The hotel has a pool and sauna, and has two bikes available for guests to use at any time. Breakfast is served daily for guests with a variety of options, including eggs cooked your way, waffles, fruit, porridge, cold cuts, cereal and more. The rooms are spacious and very nice, some with gorgeous views over Lake Zell.
The clear and calm water offers different options to enjoy the stunning lake.
From the town of Zell am See, those without a car can take the 660 bus from Postplatz to Kitzsteinhorn. The bus journey takes 40 minutes and has about 25 stops along the way so if not staying in Zell am See, this bus may still have stops near your location. Check the bus schedule to be sure of times. The bus takes you right to the base of the Panoramabahn gondola. This is the first of 3 gondolas which take you to the top of the Kitzsteinhorn at 3029 meters, also known as the "Top of Salzburg". The entire journey is covered with the Zell am See Summercard if you take the noted route. There is another gondola which can be taken from the base at a slightly different location, but this gondola is not fully covered by the Summercard and requires an additional cost.
For those taking the gondola from Kitzsteinhorn, the first gondola is about 12 minutes where you then get off and transfer to a second that is another 10 - 15 minutes, and finally the last gondola to Gipfelwelt 3000. There is a transition station between 3 & 4 which is connected and you do not need to leave the gondola. For those interested in hiking, there are hiking trails you can take at any of the gondola stations instead. The highest point is at 3029 meters, approximately 9937 feet. It will be chillier up here so bring a jacket!
The total journey takes about 40 minutes to reach the top on the gondolas. Once at the top, there are different areas to explore. For those who would like to avoid a climb, head left at the top of the gondola and enter the tunnel towards the funicular. The funicular will then take you to a higher point. From here, you can enjoy the views over the area. This stop also has a restaurant and a cinema. Once satisfied with this stop, head through 360m the tunnel through the mountain which takes you to another spectacular viewpoint. Fortunately, if visiting this direction, the walk through the tunnel is downhill. Take some time at the next viewpoint if you have a clear day and admire the view of the surrounding peaks. Then head down along the outside path. There's a little area where you can borrow a sled and take it down a small hill or head back to the gondola and make your trek down. If you don’t mind a bit of a climb, complete the visit in the opposite direction so you end with the funicular rather than start. Keep in mind you are at elevation where air is thinner so take it slow and listen to your body! You may need to stop more for air to catch your breath.
Covered in the Summer Pass, take the gondola up for a gorgeous view over the Lake on the way up. At the top, hike around the area or relax with a snack.
Zell am see is in the mountains; what better way to explore than to get out for a nice cycle. Normal and electric bike rentals are available in town and provides you the opportunity to explore the area on two wheels. There are endless options to explore.
One stunning, but challenging route to try is the 90km cycle route used during the Zell am See half ironman.
In an outdoor paradise, there are tons of mountains around with short and long hiking trails around.
A crazier reason to visit, but one for the adventurous and highly active group. Every year, Ironman puts on a half ironman event in Zell am See & Kaprun on a Sunday in the late summer. This event includes a 1900 meter swim in Lake Zell, followed by a 90km cycle through the Austrian Alps, and ends with a 22.1 km run (half marathon) along Lake Zell. The course is spectacular and a fun race for triathletes.
The winter months bring visitors from all over to Zell am See to hit the slopes and experience a ski holiday.
The mountains often bring out paragliders. If you're intrigued by the idea of getting a bird's eye view of the area, look into booking a paragliding flight to get some adrenaline pumping and take-in some spectacular views .
Offering indoor and outdoor dining, Flos is part of the Boutique Hotel Martha. Located about 1 km up the hill from the town center, the food and service here are excellent. The restaurant serves Austrian food and offers a tasting menu as well as options to order a la carte.
Sitting right near the CityXpress gondola, this restaurant is great for food connoisseurs and wine lovers. They offer a tasting menu or the option to order off the menu a la carte. The restaurants serves some speciality Austrian wines from their own vineyard and provides a menu with some unique pairings and typical Austrian dishes.
Located just a few minutes off Lake Zell, this spot has a nice patio and is great for a drink or meal. In the evenings, there may be live music and the atmosphere here is generally friendly and fun. The filet steak was excellent here and definitely recommended!
Plan at least 3 days in Zell am See, if not longer. There's a lot to do in and around the area and it is also just a beautiful and peaceful location to visit.
Summer or Winter are both great times to visit the area. In the winter you can take advantage of the ski slopes, while in the summer you'll have the mountains as your playground with options ranging from walking, running, cycling, swimming and more. For summer months, expect July and August to be busier while in the winter, it is busiest in January and February.
June and September can be beautiful months as well to visit and often a bit quieter which can be a perk.
As you're in the mountains, the weather can change quickly. Summer will bring warm weather, and winter will bring snow for the slopes. Shoulder season can be excellent weather or can bring surprises so be flexible and ready for a variety of weather conditions!
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks