Zell am See & Kaprun
The Zell am See Ski Area is a low resort . Base elevation at 1220 m and top elevation at 2005 m . This creates a snow problem . If however you there when the snow is good you will find that the slopes receive a lot of sun . Add some Austrian mountain side reataurants , Austrian beer, weiners and sauerkraut and you have a memorable day.
The ski pass allows access to nearby Kaprun , a higher ski area , an area which can get very crowded.
St Hippolyt Parish Church
St Hippolyt Parish Church is a landmark located at the Zell Am See town centre. It is made of Roman construction with Gothic extensions, dating from the 11th century. This church also contains a series of ancient red marble tombstones originating from the year 1371.
A visit to Zell am See - Austria
"Zell am See (ZAS) - General"
Nestled amidst snow-capped mountains and set aside a picturesque lake, ZAS town is an ideal locale for families to unwind, hike and bike.
Though the town is more famous for winter sports, the summer time provides a much different and serene ambience enough to rejuvenate souls that are run down by the rigmarole of a metropolitan lifestyle.
An excellent network of rail and road allows one to explore the region comfortably, with Innsbruck and Salzburg just a two hour drive by bus. However, would suggest a stay at Innsbruck and Salzburg should one wish to explore the towns more comprehensively.
Apart from innumerable walking / hiking paths, ZAS has some great attractions within easy reach such as the Kaprun Glacier (30 min by public bus to the cable car stop) and the Krimml waterfalls (highest waterfalls in Europe and the source of Danube river) - 1 hour 20 min by public bus.....we used the public bus (Post bus) which makes several stops enroute. Having one's own car will make the trip much faster.
The lakeside is vibrant with boating, sailing, biking, gliding and musical activities with traditional dances by the local population, especially over the week-end.
"Accommodation, transport and food"
Several cottage style, as well as luxury hotels are available. We, being a large family group of 12 persons !! opted for self catered apartment and got an excellent deal of a large Villa "Day" for 12 persons. The villa was handed over to us in pristine condition with facilities you would expect in your own villa. The view from the villa is just breath-taking, and the local train station 50 metres to the front and the bus stop 50 metres to the back of the villa! The villa is in Zellermoos village, just 10 min by bus from the town and 5 min by the local commuter train. Supermarket and other stores are in vicinity which was quite handy.
Transport - opted for the Postbus "5 day" pass which costs Euro 41 for adults and Euro 20.50 for children (6-14 yrs). This pass covers the Pinzgau region and covers a wide range of attarctions covering the stop to Kaprun Glacier and Krimml waterfalls. A surcharge is applicable should one wish to travel to Salzburg or Innsbruck. I availed the pass from the Post bus station which is a two minute walk from the ZAS Railway station. The lady at the desk was extremely polite and helpful and provided the necessary timetables and brochures. The general "Information" office is also a two minute walk from the Railway station (Bahnhof).
The local commuter train (cute little red train which the kids would love), runs all the way from ZAS to Mittersill with a connecting bus to Krimml. A week pass costs around 9 Euros, however, Postbus pass is better as the network is more diverse and the bus takes you right to the tourist stop. Train tickets are available on-board and the train starts from the ZAS railway station with many small stations enroute.
Taxis are readily available at the railway station and on call - +43-6542-73232.
Renting a car is an excellent option for a small family as the sites are well served by road.
Zell am See is well served by rail from Innsbruck, Vienna and Salzburg and one can easily make on-line booking from the following site: http://www.oebb.at/en/index.jsp
Several trains are available with changes enroute, however, there are also direct trains available which we opted for. It is convenient to make a prior seat reservation especially when travelling with kids (we opted for 2 second class cabin which gave us total freedom ..each cabin accommodates 6). Ensure to check at the railway station beforehand where the Compartment / bogie will be positioned...this saves lot of last minute hassles esp. at small station like ZAS where the train stops just for a minute. We reached Zell am See by train from Italy (Desenzano - Lake Garda, Verona) with a change at Innsbruck....the scenary was just spectacular with kilometres of apple orchards, vineyards and streams running alongside the rail (Desenzano - Innsbruck) and snow capped mountains and beautiful valleys with streams (Innsbruck - Zell am See).
Food - plenty of outlets and supermarkets with diverse cuisine and variety. There are supermarkets and restaurants that serve muslim halal food which was apt for us ("Basmati-Antonio" and "Ali Baba" - 2 min from Railway station. One Arabic food joint is right opposite the railway station). One supermarket which is located next to "Basmati-Antonio" restaurant is open until 23:00 hrs (a big relief in Europe where most shops close by 18:00)....opposite the Postbus station, near the Church.
"Excursions to Kaprun Glacier and Krimml waterfall"
Though there are various side excursions, we took the two main excursions which were easily accessible by the Post bus # 660 :
1. Kaprun Kesselfall / Mooserboden reservoir.
Last stop on bus # 660. Alight at a small waterfall and obtain tickets at the ticket office for a trip to the reservoir (costed me total 154 Euro for a group of 9 adults 3 children < 15 yrs). The journey involves trip through the mountain tunnels (steep incline) by the special Postbus (the 5 day bus pass does not cover this) and a steep ride in Euope's largest open funicular lift.
The trip to the top is amazing and a dream for the photographers. The way the bus drivers negotiate turns on narrow mountain inclines is quite breathtaking and commendable. The lake at the top is very scenic with the glacier as the back-drop.
2. Kaprun Glacier - Kitzsteinhorn
Alight at the second last Postbus # 660 stop (Kaprun Kitzsteinhorn - Glacierjet). We took this trip on our return from Kesselfall, however, note that the snow play area at the summit (which is great fun for kids) closes around 15:30 and during bad weather.
Ask for the tickets right to the top which involves three different cable car trips - need to change twice. Once you reach the summit, you take the funicular down to the snow plateau which has abundant snow and lots of opportunity for the kids and adults alike, to play in the snow.
A must visit.
A 1 hr 20 min "Postbus# 670" drive through some spectacular scenary, drops you at the foothill of the falls. We took the combo ticket of the Watermuseum (just before you reach the falls) and the Waterfall. Ticket costed a total of Euro 50 for our group of 12 persons. The museum is worth the visit, especially for the kids, as there is lot to learn and to enjoy the forces of water.
The water fall drops around 380 metres in three main stages....each stage is just awesome. First stage is 10 min walk on a well paved path whilst the top stage is 1 hr walk (4 Kms ...1460 metres high). The walk uphil is quite enjoyable for adult and kids alike amidst the tall pine trees and the waterfall mist (which has scientifically proven health benefits). We managed to reach the end of second stage, and unfortunately due to time limitations had to make a return. The second stage leads you on to a beautiful stream where one can relax on the rocks amidst the flowing water and enjoy the ice cream from the nearby parlour !!