Kaprun lies in the Kaprunertal (Kaprun valley) of the Pinzgau region surrounded by the Hohe Tauern Mountains with the majestic Kitzsteinhorn rising above the village.
With the long summer days, there are a number of enjoyable day trips from Kaprun.
Here are six more reasons to start planning your next your next summer vacation in Kaprun.
To the north of Kaprun, is the village of Zell am See, which sits on the beautiful glacier lake Zell. The Kaprun/Zell am See region is a holiday paradise where pristine lakes are surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The region is a well-known winter skiing destination. But in the summer, sailboats glide across the crystal clear lakes and the grassy slopes are now the realm of the hikers and mountain bikers.
The Pinzgau region is the mountainous area south-west of Salzburg characterised by high mountains of the Tauern mountain range, Lake Zell and the river valleys of the Salzach and the Saalach.
Kaprun is a unique destination for your next summer holidays. You can spend the morning carving down snowy slopes of Kaprun’s Kitzteinhorn, the afternoon swimming in pristine lakes and the evenings enjoying the region’s hospitality and delectable cuisines.
The plenitude diverse activities, makes Kaprun an ideal location to base your alpine summer holidays.
The Ultimate Guide to Summer Adventures in Kaprun, had the 8 top activities to do in Kaprun.
In Guide to Summer Adventures in Kaprun’s Mountains, I took you up the Maiskogel, along the Kapruner Ache River, to the mountain reservoirs and up the majestic Kitzsteinhorn.
In this post, we will be venturing further afield from Kaprun, exploring the surrounding Pinzgau region.
Kaprun Day Trip #1 -The Krimml Waterfalls-
The Krimml waterfall is the largest waterfall in Europe and the 5th highest in the world. Going to the Krimml waterfalls is a must-do excursion from Kaprun!
The village of Krimml is located approximately 50 km east of Kaprun and can easily be reached by car, by the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn (train) or if you are lucky- the special steam train (see below). For bikers, it is possible to take the Pinzgauer train to Krimml in the morning and cycle the Tauern Cycling Trail (Tauernradweg) following the Salzach river through the Oberpinzgau valley and the picturesque villages of Neunkirchen, Mittersill and Piesendorf to arrive in Kaprun ( approximately 55km).
The waterfalls begin at the end of the Krimml Ache Valley and at first gently flow over 20km before they are transformed into a thunderous glacial stream which cumulates into the Krimml Waterfalls.
From kilometres away, as we approached Krimml, we could hear the unmistakable roar of the thunderous water as it plunged over the falls. An average of 5.6 m3/second of water from the Ache River plummets into the valley over the three cascades – with a total waterfall drop of 380 m !!
After parking in one of the three designated parking lots, you reach the first viewpoint (Kürsingerplatz) of the falls on foot in 10-15 minutes. From here you see the first view of the lower cascade and feel the mist from the falls. Not only are the Krimml waterfalls awe-inspiring, but it has been scientifically proven that close proximity to the waterfalls allows the negative ions of air to stimulate the immune system and help those suffering from allergies and asthma!
A four km serpentine trail leads up from the Kürsingerplatz up the ~400 m ascent to the uppermost waterfall (approx. 1.5 hours on foot) and then further to the Krimml Ache Valley. The path has 11 vantage points and platforms which provide spectacular views of the thunderous water.
After you have checked out the lower falls, the path winds up the mountain. The middle part of the falls can be viewed from the Jaga Sprung and Bergersteig (1245m) lookouts. Further along the trail, just after viewpoint 8, Gasthof Schönangerl provides a beautiful sun terrace adjacent to the falls and the perfect spot to take a break. The 10th viewpoint, Bergerblick (1390m), provides the best view of the waterfalls and the Schettkanzel (1460m) has views of the upper cascades.
Although we did not stop, there is also an aquatic theme park “WasserWunderWelt” adjacent to the falls.
The Krimml waterfalls are open from mid-April to Late October.
Check the website for details.
For a special trip take the Nostalgia Steam Train which transports visitors from Zell am See, via Kaprun, to Krimml. The local narrow gauge Pinzgau train has been around since 1898 and transports travellers on a romantic journey from yesteryear through the wonderful Upper Pinzgau landscape.
- Connecting bus from the train station Krimml to the Krimml waterfalls (free with the steam train ticket).
- Prices: round trip € 35 adults and € 17,50 children
- Wednesday is family day – children ride free
How to get to Krimml from Kaprun:
- By car: Take Kaprunerstraβe to Mittersiller Straβe/B168 in the direction of Piesendorf. At Wald im Pinzgau take Gerlos Straβe in the direction of Krimml. The trip is approximately 51 Km.
- Bus: Take the Bus 670 “Krimml Wasserfälle” from the Fürth- Kaprun Bahnhof
- Train: Take the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn (daily) from Fürth- Kaprun Bahnhof to Krimml
Kaprun Day Trip #2 – Groβglockner High Alpine Road
The Groβglockner High Alpine Road (14km from Kaprun) leads up Austria’s highest mountain, the Groβglockner and its glacier, the Pasterze. Its 48 km of 36 hairpin turns and serpentine bends ascending to 2504 m is one of the greatest alpine drives. The Groβglockner Road, can be travelled by car, bus, motorbike or bicycle.
As some members of our family are car enthusiasts and driving crazy- a journey on the Groβglockner Road was a definite must do!
And in fact around 900,000 guests visit the Groβglockner High Alpine Road every year.
The Groβglockner Road leads from Fusch-Ferleiten in Salzburger Land to Heiligenblut in Carinthia via the Fuscher Törl and the Hochtor Pass at 2504 m.
As the road wound its way higher into the mountains, the landscape changed from green grass and tall trees to jagged rocky outcrops covered with snow. Towering above the road are the peaks of the Groβes Wiesbachhorn (3564 m) and the Groβglockner (3798 m). At every turn, there are vistas of snow-capped peaks, forested slopes and wildflower bedecked pastures. The valley seems to fall away on the passenger’s side of the car and luckily we did not need to see if the small blocks of stone located at the edge of the road would stop us from plummeting down the crevasse. But, there was no reason to be alarmed as this is a road for slow driving with the windows down to allow you to breathe in the fresh mountain air and appreciate the spectacular panoramas.
At the Fuscher Törl, we took a slight detour on the road leading to the Edelweißspitze viewpoint, the highest point of the road (2572 m). From here, we had the best vantage point of the majestic Höhe Tauern National Park. The Edelweißspitze (open from 7:30 am for early-birds!) , is a restaurant with a beautiful sunny terrace where you can leisurely view 37 3000m peaks and 19 glaciers. And the Edelweisshütte provides accommodation on the Groβglockner Road!
Further along the road, a slight detour will take you to the Franz Josefs Höhe a stone terrace named after the Emperor, who once visited the site. Now there is a parking garage, visitors’ centre, observation tower and 3 restaurants. It is also the starting point for hiking trails leading to the Pasterze glacier.
- Open from early May to early November (weather permitting) from 6am to 8 pm.
- A round trip costs: €35,50 (car); €25,50 (motorcycle).
It is advisable to get an early start and to check the weather conditions before setting out.
How to get there from Kaprun:
- By Car: head east on Schloβstraβe; turn right onto Salzachuferstaβe, Turn left onto Gewerbestraße At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Pinzgauer Str./B311 then onto Glocknerstraβe and continue to follow the B107 to Ferleiten.
- For those that do not have a car, there are a number of bus tours that will take you towards Austria’s tallest peak.
- The Großglockner Bus runs from Hinterglemm and departs from Kaprun at 9:00 am and travels via Fusch-Ferleiten up to the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe from late May to Late September. Reservations essential
- Prices: Round trip Adults €30,50 Children (from, 4-12 years) €16
Kaprun Day Trip #3 – Visit the Village of Zell am See
The village of Zell am See lies on the western shore of the Zeller See (Lake Zell) under the backdrop of the Schmittenhöhe Mountain (1967m). Zell am See has been populated since Roman times and the village was founded by monks in the 8th century. The village was mentioned in a 743 deed as Cella in Bisonzio. Cella or German Zelle refers to a monk’s cell in a monastery and Bisonzio was the name of the Pinzgau region. In 1357, Zell am See was designated as a market town and was occupied by French troops during the Napoleonic Wars.
Compact and picturesque, Zell am See is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Austria.
You could easily spend a day in Zell am See exploring the village, lake and mountain.
Walk around the Altstadt
Zell am See’s Altstadt (old town) has numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. You could find everything in this small village from sportswear & equipment; jewellery, home-made crafts, souvenirs and quaint shops selling traditional Austrian clothing, art and antiques.
Note: If you plan on visiting Zell am See on a Sunday, many of the shops will be closed. During the peak summer season, select grocery stores may be open with limited hours on Sundays.
For a pleasant walk around the Altstadt, start on Brucknerstraβe near Schlosspark. Directly across the road is the Schloss Rosenberg. A 16th century castle was built in the southern Bavarian style. The castle’s architecture is a typical example for residences in the Salzburg region. It consists of a four-story white chalet, with quadratic foundations complete with four corner towers and a tower at the centre, slated roof and wooden shutters. Through the centuries, the castle has been a private residence (the last private owner was in 1820), also a beer brewery and a college. Since 1970, castle houses the Rathaus (town hall) and a gallery.
From Schloss Rosenburg walk north and turn right onto Dreifaltigkeitsgasse. At the end of the street on the left hand side is Sportshotel Lebzelter, a historic 18th century building first mentioned as guest house in 1482. It is routinely photographed due to its traditional yellow colour (Maria Theresa yellow made popular by the Empress) and ornamentation typical of an Austrian chalet.
Next to the hotel, is the Vogtturm (also known as the Kasnerturm or Constable’s tower), the oldest building in town was first mentioned in 926. The Vogttrum is a six storey tower with thick stone walls covered by a worn saddle roof. It is assumed that the tower was built as a defence by aristocracy and has been used as an escape tower, residential building and as a grain silo. Since its renovation in 1984, the first four floors of the tower house the Zell am See museum with traditional costumes, furniture and handicrafts.
- The Vogtturm is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from mid-May to late October and again from Christmas to Easter.
Directly in front of the Vogtturm is the Stadtplatz (town square), the centre of the village. In the middle of the Stadtplatz stands the Stadtbrunen (fountain) which depicts important historical events on its side panels.
Across the square is the Bezirkshauptmannschaft (District Council Office). It was built before 1500, and at the time was owned by the Panichner family. The Gothic building was the administrative centre for the rural judges in the 17th century. Between 1841 and 1848, the building was completely redesigned. In the 20th century, it came into the federal government’s possession. The entrance hall is decorated with the Pinzgauer Municipality coat of arms.
Continue along the square, at the south-eastern end of the Stadtplatz stands the St. Hippolyte’s Parish Church. The 11th century church is a symbol of Zell am See’s old town and is the oldest church in the Pinzgau municipality. The most recognizable feature is the 36m high tower which is decorated with a gabled roof and various Gothic friezes. The medieval church features Romanesque style, with Gothic transformations and additions that were added over the centuries. The church has three naves and used to have a Gothic vault, which in 1898 was replaced by a flat wooden ceiling. The highlight of the church is the gallery with its magnificent balustrade and four marble pillars . The arched Gothic decorations feature carved figures of St. Hippolytus and Florian. The walls are decorated with original frescoes from the 14th to 17th centuries.
Behind St. Hippolyte’s is the Marienkapelle (chapel) a pilgrimage church built in 1770.
Walk north along Kirchgasse (Church St) turn left on Kreuzgasse, then left onto Salzmannstraβe and then right onto Seegasse. The Grand Hotel is one of the most prominent landmarks in town, being the most prestigious destination during the Belle Epoque. The distinctive elongated building is visually remarkable, mainly for its snow-white facade and mansard roof. It was built between 1894 and 1896. The four star Grand Hotel is located on a private peninsula on the shore of lake Zell.
Next to the Grand Hotel is the new Casino Zell am See that opened in 2016. Wander into the hotel courtyard where you will find the Hundertwasser Österreich-Brunnen. The Austria Fountain is the work of the famous contemporary Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The fountain was envisaged in 1996 and installed in 2003. Hundertwasser dedicated the fountain to the provinces of Austria, where each of the nine columns represents one particular province.
Continuing along the Esplanade, you will arrive in the Stadtpark, located on the waterfront of Lake Zell. The park is small but it features a nice promenade along the lake, shaded paths, several lake–side cafe tables to enjoy the view and coffee, and a children’s playground. Further north, the town’s beach, (Strandbad) is located.
Kaprun Day Trip #4 – Enjoy an afternoon at Zeller See
Zeller See is a crystal clear glacial alpine lake located at the base of the Schmittenhöhe Mountain. The lake is surrounded by deep green pastures and it is one of the cleanest lakes in Europe. Lake Zell is only 3.8 km long and up to 1.5 km wide, making it an ideal to get around on the electric boats, paddle boats and row boats that can be rented at various kiosks along the lake.
Lake Zell is also a paradise for fishermen with whitefish, pike, perch, lake char, zander and lake trout which can be caught from April to November.
There are several lidos (public beaches), sunbathing lawns and lake cafes at Zell am See, Thumersbach and Schüttdorf. These spots provide the perfect opportunity to jump into the lake whose average summer water temperature is 21 °C.
The Zell am See lido (Daily 9 am- 7 pm; €4 for adults) is one of the largest public beaches and has a restaurant, giant slide, diving platform, water trampolines and a solar-heated outdoor pool (if the lake is too cool).
Private motorised boats are prohibited on the lake, but for leisurely views of the mountain and lake there are 45 minute panorama cruises which depart from the Esplanade.
On summer evenings, Lake Zell explodes with colour and the water dances to the rhythm in the Laser and light show. The show can be watched from in front of the music pavilion at the lake promenade.
Zell am See light show: Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (May- October)
Walk around Lake Zell
The relatively level 12km walk around Zeller See has lovely views and plenty of cafés for refreshment stops.
The walk follows the lake on a pedestrian path on the north and west side. The south side is through a quiet residential area and along a path near the wildlife reserve. The east side is on the pavement along the road.
From the Grand Hotel, follow the esplanade passing the Stadtpark and Strandbad. Heading north, there are views of the seemingly impenetrable Steinernes Meer (Sea of Stones) of the Northern Alps.
In 30 minutes you arrive at the northern end of the lake, where the path curves eastward. The path continues through a marshy area arriving at the Zell am See Yacht club. Turn right onto Zell-Thumersbach road, opposite the Gasthof Wieshof, and follow into Thumersbach. As you enter Thumersbach, a short walk along the Lindenalle will take you to the Thumersbach beach (entry fee). Continuing along Seeuferstraβe, there is a lakeside jetty where it is possible to catch a ferry back to Zell am See. Continue along the road through Thumersbach, and turn right onto Thomas-Bernhardweg (path) which takes you through the Zeller Moos, a nature reserve on the southern end of Zeller See. As you enter Schüttdorf you will follow the quiet road, Karl-Vogt-Strasseand, turn right onto Seespitzstraβe which will take you to the southwestern corner of the lake and the Esplanade.
The Elisabeth-Promenade has a park and a small music pavilion where the local orchestra plays holiday concerts.
Kaprun Day Trip #5 – Visit the Schmittenhöhe Mountain
The Schmittenhöhe Mountain (1965m) is on the eastern edge of the Kitzbühel Alps, separated from the Hohe Tauern range (Kitzsteinhorn) by the Salzach valley. Although not as high as the Kitzsteinhorn, it still is worth a visit to the summit for the fantastic vistas. The panorama from the summit has views to the verdant valley with Lake Zell glistening at its base and in the distance up to thirty 3,000m mountains including the Kitzsteinhorn, Groβglockner and Groβvenediger of the Hohe Tauren Range and to the east the Steinernes Meer.
The Schmittenhöhebahn takes visitors up to the summit.
(Note: There is also the Sonnenalmbahn and Sonnkogelbahn that ascends the mountain to the Sonnkogel (1,835m)
At the summit, there is a cafe / restaurant and the Empress Elizabeth chapel. The Sisi Roundabout Trail is Schmitten’s shortest walking path (about 2 km long) and is dedicated to Austria’s former empress. It takes you around the Schmittenhöhe summit, starts and finishes at the Elisabeth Chapel.
- Lift tickets: There is a range of ticket options- check the website for details.
- The Summit charger ticket allows one ascent and descent (Schmittenhöhe- or Sonnenalm- and Sonnkogelbahn)
- 2017 Prices: Adult €27,50; Youth €20,50 (Age 16-18 yrs); Children €13,50 (Age 6-15 yrs)
From the summit, there are a number of easy walks descending the mountain. As well, these hikes can be done in reverse to ascend the Schmittenhöhe.
i) Lake Walk
From the summit Route 50 will lead you on the lakes walk. The walk first arrives at the Hirschkogel Reservoir. At the fork, the right path (Route 51) will take you around the Brunnermais Reservoir to the Glocknerhaus (Open mid-June to end September) and join back to Route 50. Continuing on the path (Route 50) will lead you around the eastern edge of the Brunnermais Reservoir. Gasthof Mittelstation located at the top of the CityExpress lift is open from middle July- mid September. From here you can descend to Zell am See (following Route 50) or continue on along route 55. The Schmittenhöhe’s biggest reservoir is located on the Plettsaukopf, and you will find a water-playground, a play boat and a sandbox. From Plettsaukopf follow the signage to Zell am See to arrive at the fourth lake- Zeller See.
ii) The Schmittenhöhe to Sonnkogel- Sonnalm
From the summit, follow the Erlebniswerg Höhenpromenade (No. 68). The path continues along the Salersbachköfpfl ridge sink, via the Hochzelleralm. Lots of presentation boards, viewing platforms and telescopes do offer magnificent prospects. The Sonnkogel (1835m) the Sonnkogel restaurant (open end of May to End September) terrace with mega-views pouring in on all sides, and what’s more, the comfy lounge chairs are free-of-charge. In summertime it is the undisputed favourite restaurant of the children, located adjacent to the playground. Follow path No 65 which serpentines under the Sonnkogelbahn. from Sonnalm (1,400m) descend along the Sonnkogelweg path (No 64) which follows along the Sonnenalmbahn lift to arrive at the Schmittenhöhenbahn parking lot.
iii) Pinzgauer Spaziergang
The Pinzgauer Spaziergang (route 719) is a high level footpath that runs along the ridge that separates the Glemm valley from the Pinzgau valley. It is an easy, but long walk (~20km), but difficulty can be added if you ascend one or two of the major summits along the trail.
The Pinzgauer Spaziergang (route 719), starts at the Elizabeth chapel and descends passing the Hahnkopflift below the Kettingkopf (1780m) to the Kesselscharte. The path continues along the ridge below the Maurerkogel (2074 m). At this point, you can return to the Schmittenhöhe summit on the trail 1A/719 via the Pinzgauer Hütte. Otherwise the path continues to the Rohrertörl, underneath the Niedere Gernkogel (2163m) and then the signpost leads in a north-westerly direction to the Kammerscharte (1993m). From the Seetorl you can either take the path that branches off along the ridge of the Saalbachkogels and Stemmerkogels to the Schattberg lift which descends into Saalbach. Otherwise, you can follow the path which branches off to the Hacklbergalm which will descend into Hinterglemm. Buses can transport you back from Saalbach or Hinterglemm to Zell am See.
How to get to Zell am See from Kaprun:
- Zell am See is an easy day trip from Kaprun. Located only 12 km away, it is a scenic bike ride away or a 10 minute drive by car.
- Alternatively Bus 660 connects the villages of Kaprun and Zell am See.
Kaprun Day Trip #6 – Saalfelden Summer Toboggan
Saalfelden is an old market town lying in the Saalbach River valley set against the backdrop of the Steinernes Meer (Sea of Stones). Saalfelden is an excellent starting point for exploring the over hiking trails of the Steinernes Meer and the Hochkönig (2941m).
The Saalfelden Biberg Mountain is home to Austria’s longest Summer Toboggan run (Sommerrodelbahn). From the valley, the Huggenburg Chair lift will whisk you and your toboggan up the mountain.
Once you take your seat and release the brake- you are off on the action-packed ride as you cruise down 345 vertical meters, 61 fun curves, and 3 super jumps on the 1.6 km track. Whether you chose to dash down the mountain or take a leisurely ride down into the valley, as you can set your own pace with the brake.
If the Sommerrodelbahn is too much excitement, you can gaze out at the beautiful vista from the Berggasthof Huggenberg. The Gasthaus is located directly on the mountain station of the Biberg Sommerrrodelbahn or can be reached by car up the serpentine gravel road. The beautiful sun terrace has amazing views of the Saalfeld Basin with the Steinernen Meer and the Hochkönig Massif in the background. The restaurant serves delicious traditional Austrian cuisine.
Summer Toboggan Run: Open May to October; weather permitting.
How to get to Saalfelden from Kaprun:
Saalfelden is located approximately 20 km from Kaprun along the B311As you near Saalfelden at Biberg, turn left onto Kehlbach. Signs will direct you to the bottom of the Huggenburg Chair lift. To arrive at the Berggasthof Huggenberg continue along Kehlbach.
Ready to plan your trip to Kaprun?
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