Zell am See is located in Salzburger Land right in the heart of the mountainous Hohe Tauern National Park, close to the Grossglockner Mountain which is Austria's highest peak. Zell am See is a quaint little town set next to Lake Zell. It is set in some of the most exquisite scenery I've ever seen, I'm so glad I let Martyn persuade me to join him on a camping trip there. I'm normally much more at home on a city break and it wouldn't have been my first choice destination for our summer holiday but I was completely won over. The resort is best known for winter skiing but there is loads to do in the summer.
There is a Romanesque church, St. Hippolytes, the tower of which can be seen standing tall in the Zell am See skyline. The reservoires Mooserboden and Wasserfallboden in the mountains of the Hohe Tauern are well worth a visit (on a clear day, we didn't see much). The dam is 107m high and 500m long and have a very interesting history. Construction began in the late 1930s, continuing under the Nazi regime with slave labour and in conditions so harsh that Verbund, the owner, has recently paid war reparations. US funding under the Marshall Plan allowed work to recommence in 1947.
Basing yourself in the Zell am See area means you can explore the neighboring village of Kaprun and get a cable car up to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier.
This is the highest cable car pylon in the world at 373 ft tall. There is a viewing platform on the roof of the station, at 3,035 m above sea level. We didn't have spectacular views when we went up because of the cloud but there was still snow on the mountain even in June.
Museums & Attractions
Heimatmuseum - Here you can browse through diligently gathered evidence of the history of Zell. It's full of all sorts of weird and wonderful curios and some things are just down right bizarre in there. It's well worth the 3 euro entrance fee and a good place to spend an hour if the weather isn't good. Want to see a photo of a dog wearing glasses and a pipe? A stuffed owl with horns added on or skis from the ages then this is the place to go...
From 17th of May until 15th of October 2015, there is a water, light and laser show three times a week on the Elisabethpromenade overlooking the lake. It starts at 10pm and I went to the Sound of Music themed one which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In summer the crystal-clear (drinking water quality) Zeller lake is the perfect place for swimming and paddling. You can walk or cycle aroud the lake and take in the lovely views. If you're big kids like me and Martyn I suggest heading to the "Maisiflitzer" Alpine toboggan. Take a look at this video if you're not convinced. I was a bit scared and kept the brakes on all the way down but Martyn hurtled down the track.
Went went to theTauern Spa on Martyn's Birthday and we loved it so much we went back again the next evening. It's a modern spa with wonderful views from the outdoor pools. There was a salt water pool where music played under water, slides, a grotto, a relaxing pool with jet bubbles and lounge areas bith inside and out. Go after 6pm like we did if you want to pay a little less for your entrance.