A Day with the Zell am See-Kaprun Summer Card


Time for a self-experiment: How many attractions, excursion destinations and adventures can possibly be visited and experienced with the Zell am See-Kaprun Summer Card in one day? Good question because the list of services and possibilities is very long and extensive. One will have to make a choice and opt for a few highlights. No sooner said than done – I got myself a Zell am See-Kaprun Summer Card and just headed off. Just one more thing; the Zell am See-Kaprun Summer Card is only included in the rate of participating accommodation providers and cannot be purchased. And now about my day of adventures. If you want to experience this adventure rally yourself, then heed my advice: find a cosy partner accommodation offering very comfortable beds and a delicious evening meal – you will be tired in the evening. I am not kidding here; a day on your feet looking for ultimate adventures around Zell am See-Kaprun makes you hungry and tired. Just as well that our region offers many fantastic restaurants, cosy hotels and places to chill and relax.


Choosing a selection for my experiment wasn’t easy. How do you choose from so many TOP adventures!? The weather - yes, the weather - is an important factor. My day promised to be a warm, beautiful summer’s day with perfect weather. In keeping with the theme MOUNTAIN | GLACIER | LAKE, I choose my adventure route across our fantastic big three. Here a TIP: opt for either MOUNTAIN or GLACIER. Why? Because it will not be possible to spend a relaxing day otherwise. The mountain, meaning the Schmittenhöhe, invites to many great views, hiking trails and places for a stop. Not to mention the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. With these regional premium excursion destinations, you simply need time to take advantage of the whole package of adventures, impressions and benefits. I experienced both options in one day. But I was doing this as part of a self-experiment. As stress and time pressure shouldn’t be part of your holiday vocabulary, you best opt just for one of the two adventures in dizzy heights!


It’s quite a strange thing: you are on holiday and actually want to enjoy your time. A good breakfast is important and is time well spent. After all, you stay at one of the cosy participating hotels in Zell am See or Kaprun; so, off you go to enjoy the breakfast buffet and charge your batteries for the day. 09:00 am – the gondola in Porsche design on the Schmittenhöhe is waiting. I enter the stylish glass cabin of the gondola lift and start an interesting conversation with the gondola operator. He tells me about the Schmittenhöhe, the building of the mountain railway, how long the ride takes and that there is an increasing likelihood of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Another reason not to waste any time.

Once arrived on the Schmittenhöhe, I realise immediately why you need to plan a bit more time for this tour. A fantastic world of hiking trails, viewpoints, boards with information about fauna and flora and cosy huts for a delicious culinary stop are waiting here. I opt for the High Altitude Promenade in direction Sonnkogel where, apart from interesting information boards, also the famous art at the mountain is waiting for me with many fantastic photo scenes. The sun climbs higher and summer can clearly be felt even 2.000 m above sea level. I am really looking forward to a dive into Lake Zell. But first things first, there is still the Gipfelwelt 3000 at the Kitzsteinhorn ahead of me.


... High Noon in Kaprun. Instead of enjoying more time on the Schmittenhöhe and going on a longer hiking tour with a culinary stop at one of the huts, I get on the Gletscher Jet in direction Kitzsteinhorn Glacier at exactly 12:00 pm. This is bliss in two respects; first, it is interesting to see how one can conquer 2.000 altitude metres in just 20 minutes, and second, it is great to swop the midday heat of this summer’s day for the alpine mountains. If I have to wait for my dive into Lake Zell, then I might as well spend that time in a more moderate climate in 2.500 metres above sea level. I just whip out my Zell am See-Kaprun Summer Card and off I go by gondola towards the sky. Having changed twice and after a surprisingly quick uphill ride, I leave the gondola at the upper terminus, just below the summit of the Kitzsteinhorn, after less than 30 minutes. Now, where to first?

Although the tempting smell from the mountain restaurant’s lunch menu beckons, it’s not time for a stop yet. TOP OF SALZBURG and NATIONAL PARK GALLERY are on the agenda now. Salzburg‘s highest viewing platform has again attracted many visitors today. The National Park Gallery allows me a deep insight into the mountain before it releases me after approx. 360 metres and I find myself on a stunning viewing platform. In between, there is a tunnel in the mountain with plenty of cool information about the Hohe Tauern, the rock formations, the permafrost, nature and many other interesting topics. The just mentioned viewing platform offers a great view into the Hohe Tauern National Park and to the surrounding summits. The gondola operator of the Schmittenhöhe was right, the first low clouds already rise along the steep rock faces of the Hohe Tauern and, unfortunately, obstruct the view to the Grossglockner, Grossvenediger and their just as famous companions. For my return into the valley, I choose the inclined glacier lift and the new Gletscherjet 3 & 4 cable cars. Back at the Alpincenter, the circle of my journey into the glaciated alpine mountains closes. I skip the ICE ARENA with summer snow and a funny slide paradise because the glistening water of Lake Zell beckons in the distance!


The temperature has risen quickly metre by metre during the downhill ride from the Kitzsteinhorn in around 3.000 metres above sea level. I really can’t wait to jump into Lake Zell. But I want to arrive in style at the Thumersbach Lido. Not by car, not by bike but on the "Großglockner" excursion boat, which takes me to the eastern shores of Lake Zell and directly to the gates of the Thumersbach Lido. The trip on the excursion boat is included in the Zell am See Summer Card, and the boat leaves the esplanade in Zell am See every 30 minutes. TIP: If you plan a longer excursion boat trip, then best get on the MS Schmittenhöhe, the largest boat of the Lake Zell fleet of ships. The MS Schmittenhöhe leaves from the esplanade on the hour every hour. But I have no time. I WANT TO GO SWIMMING NOW. I enjoy the airstream on board during the wonderful and swift crossing of Lake Zell, and I take delight in the amazing views to the lake’s shores – this sight of Zell am See and the surrounding villages is something you don’t see every day.

I say goodbye to the captain and the crew, check when the Großglockner picks me up again and head to the lido. Admission here is free of charge. After all, I am proud holder of a summer card. Finally! The sun is still high above the Schmittenhöhe when I finally dive into the refreshing water of Lake Zell. TIP: For swimming fun in the afternoon/evening, opt for the Thumersbach Lido. The summer sun can be enjoyed the longest at the eastern shores of the lake. After some swimming and with the reassurance that I have made the best of my day with the Zell am See-Kaprun Summer Card, I start feeling very hungry. The Großglockner leaves Thumersbach for the last time today at 6:10 pm, taking me back to Zell am See. Now I will head off to find a great restaurant in the beautiful old town of Zell am See to fill my, by now, empty stomach with a selection of regional delicacies. The gondola operator of the Schmittenhöhe wasn’t right after all: no thunderstorm in sight. Time to enjoy a pleasant evening after an eventful day.


And what about all the other attractions, experiences and excursion destinations included in the summer card? I am all for enjoying eventful summer days, but I just didn’t have the time. Just as well that YOU spend not only one day of your holiday here. Next time, I will take more time and will soon tell you how your programme could look like on two or three days with the summer card.

Until then, I wish you a fantastic holiday in Zell am See-Kaprun. Enjoy your time and have fun with the many included services and excursion destinations waiting here for you!