One of the most popular resorts in the mountainous Pinzgau area of Austria, this town attracts more than 1 million visitors each year with its pretty setting and exciting activities.
Zell am See is a picturesque town located on the shore of the Zeller See (Lake Zell) and surrounded by the Hohe Tauern mountain range. Founded by monks in the 8th century, Zell am See is now a chic, year-round resort destination. Come in winter for superb skiing or in summer to cycle along the lake’s pretty shores and take a dip in its refreshingly chilly waters.
View gorgeous Lake Zell’s bright blue alpine waters. Strong mountain breezes make the lake an excellent spot for windsurfing. Wakeboarding and waterskiing are also popular. If you find the lake’s waters too chilly, head to Freizeitzentrum instead. This leisure center has an 80-foot-long (25-meter) pool as well as saunas and an ice rink.
Don’t miss the town’s Romanesque Pfarrkirche (Parish Church), which dates back to the early 12th century. Inside, look for a late-Gothic choir and splendid statues of St. George and St. Florian.
Near the town square, find the interesting Stadtmuseum Vogtturm, a folklore museum inside an 11th-century tower. The museum’s display of old clothing and historic artifacts creates a picture of life in Salzburg in days past. The town center is also home to 16th-century Castle Rosenberg. Once a family residence, the handsome Bavarian-style building now houses the Rathaus (Town Hall).
Take the cable car from the center of Zell am See up the Schmittenhöhe, a 6,453-foot (1,967-meter) peak. The view from the top is one of the best in the Kitzbühel Alps, encompassing the Grossglockner and Tauern granite ranges to the south and west as well as the northern limestone ranges. Four other cablecar lines run up the mountain and are used by winter skiers and summer hikers and bikers.
Reach Zell am See by regular trains departing from Salzburg and Innsbruck. Buses can also be taken, but trains are more convenient because they typically require fewer connections. The town may be extremely busy during peak season. Avoid July and August if you prefer minimal crowds.