Zell am See Travel Guide

Discover the beauty of Zell am See, Austria with this comprehensive travel guide featuring information on places to visit, hiking/biking routes, best things to do, food and drink scene, where to stay, local culture and customs, safety and health, transportation options, and nearby destinations.

Introduction to Zell am See

Welcome to Zell am See, a breathtaking alpine town situated in the Salzburg state of Austria. Zell am See is a popular travel destination year-round, and it’s no surprise why. Nestled between the Hohe Tauern mountain range and the crystal-clear Lake Zell, the town’s natural beauty is unparalleled. Boasting a rich history and culture, visitors can enjoy a variety of attractions, activities, and culinary delights. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Zell am See.

List of Places to Visit in Zell am See

When visiting Zell am See, there are plenty of places to visit to add to the enjoyment of your trip.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

The town has a rich history, and there is no better place to learn about it than at the following museums and historical places:

  • The Kammerlanderhütte Museum - located on the Schmittenhöhe mountain, it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the region’s history.
  • The Vogtturm Museum - a historical landmark that offers great views of the town and lake.
  • Zell am See Parish Church - a 15th-century church located in the town center.

Natural Attractions of Zell am See: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Nature lovers won’t be disappointed as Zell am See offers some of the most impressive natural attractions and activities in Austria:

  • Lake Zell - perfect for swimming on a hot summer day, or Winter kayaking in colder season.
  • Schmittenhöhe mountain - hiking, biking, skiing, paragliding, and great views of the town and lake.
  • Kitzsteinhorn Glacier - a year-round skiing and snowboarding paradise.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Zell am See

Zell am See has an incredible range of hiking and biking trails, including:

  • Pinzgauer Spaziergang - a leisurely walk that offers great views of Lake Zell.
  • Schmittenhöhe Mountain - one of the most famous hikes for panoramic views.
  • Tauernradweg - one of the most scenic bike routes, going through the region’s diverse scenery.

Best Things to Do in Zell am See: Activities and Tours

In addition to hiking, biking and outdoor activities, Zell am See offers a range of other activities and tours including:

  • Skiing/Snowboarding - Zell am See is a major winter destination, with 77km of pistes and off-piste areas open from November to May.
  • Christmas Markets - Visit Zell am See in December to experience traditional Christmas markets.
  • Boat tours – A leisurely outing around Lake Zell is a great way to take in the stunning view of the Austrian Alps.

Week-Long Itinerary for Zell am See

A week-long itinerary for Zell am See could include the following:

  • Day 1: Explore the town of Zell am See’s centers, shops, and local restaurants.
  • Day 2: Kayaking or Stand Up Paddleboarding on Lake Zell.
  • Day 3-4: Hiking and Biking in Schmittenhöhe Mountain and its surrounding areas
  • Day 5-6: Skiing and snowboarding at the local skiing resorts such as Kaprun and Zell am See.
  • Day 7: Relax and soak in the local thermal baths.

Food and Drink Scene of Zell am See

The town of Zell am See offers a fantastic range of cuisines and local dishes.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Kaiserschmarrn - traditional Austrian sweet dish that tastes like shredded pancakes.
  • Tafelspitz - flavorful boiled beef dish accompanied by horseradish
  • Salzburger Nockerl - a sweet souffle served with fruit compote.

Local Beverages

  • Stiegl Beer - an Austrian beer served on tap in most restaurants and bars.
  • Schnapps - alcoholic beverage distilled from fruit juice and available in various fruity flavors.
  • Glühwein - mulled wine traditionally served at Christmas Markets.

Where to Stay in Zell am See: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Zell am See offers a variety of accommodation options for all budgets:

  • Grand Hotel Zell am See - a luxurious option with a private beach and spa.
  • The Kaprunerhof - a mid-range hotel offering a range of skiing packages and leisure and wellness facilities.
  • Hostel Zell am See - a cheap option that’s perfect for backpackers or solo travelers.

What to Buy in Zell am See: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

There are various local products available in town which you can take home with you:

  • Snow Globes - the town’s history is celebrated in snow globes sold in local shops.
  • Mozartkugeln - chocolate marzipan Mozart Kugeln is one of the most famous treats offered in the region.
  • Trachten- traditional Austrian clothes, such as dirndls and lederhosen.

Local Culture and Customs of Zell am See

Being in Austria, Zell am See is steeped in classical music, art, and a rich cultural heritage.

  • Lederhosen and Dirndl - depending on the season, locals may wear the regional dress.
  • Yodeling - a traditional Alpine singing technique that is still enjoyed in Zell am See.
  • Festivals and Events - The town hosts traditional and cultural events throughout the year.

Best Time to Visit Zell am See

The best time to visit Zell am See depends on the activities you would like to enjoy.

  • Summer months: June-August with pleasant temperatures, making it great for swimming, hiking, and outdoor activities.
  • Winter months: December-March is the peak ski season, with plenty of snow, skiing and snowboarding activities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Zell am See


  • Respect the local culture and traditions.
  • Dress appropriately depending on the activities and season.
  • Keep the town clean by throwing trash away appropriately.


  • Smoke in public areas.
  • Litter or deface public property.
  • Make too much noise after certain hours of the night.

Safety and Health

Safety in Zell am See

Zell am See is a relatively safe town with low crime rates; however, it’s still crucial to take the necessary precautions like:

  • Use common sense when exploring hiking trails, mountains, and the lake.
  • Keep an emergency number with you in case of an accident.

Health in Zell am See

It’s always advisable to carry necessary medical supplies and to have travel insurance when visiting Zell am See.

Getting to Zell am See: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Zell am See

The nearest airports to Zell am See are:

  • Salzburg Airport (69 km) - served by several airlines
  • Innsbruck Airport (129 km) - served by a few airlines
  • Munich Airport (202 km) - served by many airlines.

From these airports, you can take a taxi, bus, or train to reach Zell am See.

Bus Stations Near Zell am See

Zell am See is well connected by bus to several towns and cities in Austria and neighboring countries.

Other Options

Car is also a great option as Zell am See is easily reachable via highways.

How to Get Around in Zell am See

Public transport in Zell am See is efficient and convenient, with bus routes that connect the town with its nearby attractions. Taxis and rental cars are also available if you’re looking for more freedom and flexibility.

Where to Go Next from Zell am See: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Zell am see is surrounded by several tourist attractions that you can easily reach:

  • Krimml Falls - the highest waterfalls in Austria.
  • Salzburg - the birthplace of Mozart and one of the most popular destinations in Austria.
  • Berchtesgaden - A picturesque German town situated only an hour’s drive from Zell am See.


Zell am See is a fantastic destination in Austria, and visitors will enjoy the town’s stunning landscapes, outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and local cuisine. We hope this comprehensive guide has given you a good idea of all there is to explore and experience in Zell am See.