Zell am See Ski Holidays
Skiing in Zell am See, Austria...
The picture-postcard town of Zell am See on the shores of the beautiful Lake Zell offers an amazing destination for all abilities, with a huge ski area and lots of activities off the slopes.
Since the introduction of the Alpin Card a few years ago you now have arguably the largest ski area in Austria to explore, including high-altitude glacier skiing on the Kitzsteinhorn. Ski holidays to Zell am See aren’t just about the skiing though – as the lake freezes over during winter it offers ice skating and curling, and the medieval town has so much to do, including an indoor ice rink, bowling, a casino, the Tauern Spa, and a leisure centre with swimming pool, not forgetting to mention a good number of lively après ski bars.
SKIING IN ZELL AM SEE
What to expect…
Zell am See sits at the foot of the Schmittenhöhe mountain, which is now linked by cable car to the Skicircus region of Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang, all covered on the Alpin Card ski pass, plus you also have the nearby Kitzsteinhorn in Kaprun offering skiing up to 3,029 metres, so altogether 408km of slopes catering for all abilities. Much of the skiing in Zell am See is tree-lined, and intermediate skiers are well catered for, then for freestylers you have ‘Funpark Schmitten’ which includes a half-pipe.
Zell am See Expert
"The mountain scenery is spectacular here, especially looking up to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier."
LOCAL SKI AREA - ZELL AM SEE - KAPRUN
The local area is great for beginners and developing skiers, and the snow-sure glacier is perfect for early and late season.
Zell am See has a fast and modern lift system, with the cityXpress close to the town centre, so a lot of accommodation options only a short walk away. Intermediates have plenty to explore, including a superb 8km descent down the Schmittenhöhe, with a breath-taking 1,200m vertical drop. There is also enough for beginners and advanced skiers to enjoy too, including plenty of blue runs and some excellent blacks.
You can’t ski from Zell am See to Kaprun, but it’s very easy to get there on the free ski bus, either from the main bus station in the middle of Zell am See (which takes 20 minutes) or you can ski to the bottom of the areitXpress (which cuts the bus journey down to only 10 minutes).
Aside from the beginner slopes in Kaprun village, you can either head to the Maiskogel which offers 20km of pistes, or choose the Kitzsteinhorn for glacier skiing up to 3,029 metres! Kaprun is a paradise for progressing beginners and intermediates, with lots of the runs being wide and open. The glacier has good range from gentle blues to steep blacks, and freestylers will love the jumps, rails, and half pipes in the Gletscher Terrain park.
WIDER SKI AREA - ALPIN CARD
Arguably now the largest ski area in Austria, it's the perfect choice for intermediates.
In 2019 the area of Zell am Zee – Kaprun joined up with the Skicircus region of Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang to offer the Alpin Card, so now your Zell am See ski pass covers the whole 408km of all three areas, now arguably the largest ski area in Austria. In the direction of Zell to Saalbach you’ll need to take a quick bus to link between the areas, but coming back you can usually ski the whole way.
The Skicircus is by far the largest area on the Alpin Card, covering 270km of slopes. Intermediate and advanced skiers will love heading across to explore this area, with plenty of challenging runs as well as off-piste areas. If you want to test yourself make sure you try the 3km long world cup run down from the Zwölferkogel, and the area 15km of designated off-piste trails.
Min Ski Elevation:
Max Ski Elevation:
Gondolas / Cable Cars:
Approximate transfer times:
- SALZBURG: 1 hr 30 mins
- INNSBRUCK: 2 hrs 30 MINS
- MUNICH: 2 hrS 45 MINS
ZELL AM SEE TOWN
Zell am See was founded by monks in the 8th century.
Zell am See is a pretty town nestled on the shores of Lake Zell and surrounded by imposing mountains. Zell is popular in summer as well as in winter, which means it is well equipped to keep visitors entertained off the slopes, so a great choice of resort if you have any non-skiers in your party.
The pedestrianised centre dates back to medieval times in the 13th century and buzzes with restaurants, bars, and shops, and when the lake freezes over mid-winter you can enjoy ice skating and curling on the lake, in this area of outstanding natural beauty.
When choosing where to stay you have a complete choice from small family run guest houses to high-end spa hotels, so we’ll be able to find you the ideal accommodation for your ski holiday.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
For a great Tiroler gröstl head to the Steinerwirt.
The choice of restaurants in Zell am See is excellent, ranging from traditional Austrian cuisine to many international options.
For informal dining you can try the Burger Factory, or the Crazy Daisy which has a lovely terrace and regular live music as well as DJs.
If you’ve got children with you, check out Brasserie Traube which has a very good kids menu, and Pizzeria Giuseppe gets very good reviews, and also offers gluten free pizzas.
There's an excellent choice of traditional mountain restaurants throughout the ski area, and usually great value too.
As is typical of Austrian ski resorts, you’ll find plenty of excellent independent restaurants throughout the ski area offering traditional dishes which prove popular. Don’t miss the Pinzgauer Hut, with beautiful views of the Hohe Tauern, which serves delicious food and even offers a complimentary snowmobile service to get you back down to town. Another favourite is Sonnkogel, serving hearty food with stunning views. For many the après ski party starts at Schnaps-Hans bar at the top of the Schmittenhohe before making your way back down to town.
Zell has a well-deserved reputation for fantastic après ski, with plenty of live music and DJs to keep you entertained.
Après ski in Zell am See can be as lively as you want to make it, and you’ll be spoiled for choice of places to have a drink and a dance. The Ginhouse is very popular, offering over 60 different gins in a cosy atmosphere, or the Off Piste Bar has live music during après ski and turns into a nightclub later in the evening. However no holiday in Zell am See would be complete without a visit to Villa Crazy Daisy which gets very lively and is probably the most famous après venue in Zell am See.
A visit to th Tauern Spa is highly recommended, where you can relax in the spa whilst taking in the stunning mountain views.
Zell am See has a great choice of activities away from the mountain, which makes it a super resort for families with younger children who might not spend a full day on the slopes. The leisure centre has an indoor swimming pool, which has a slide for the kids, and a sauna, as well as an ice rink next door. If you prefer more pampering then try the Tauern Spa just outside Zell on the way to Kaprun, which has 12 pools, 10 saunas & steam rooms, and even has a children’s spa too.
Lake Zell is a gorgeous setting, and in mid-winter when it’s frozen you can ice skate on the lake, but it’s also a beautiful place to go for a walk. Other activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, bowling, and a climbing wall.
If you're lucky you'll be in town to see the Zeller Eisbären local ice hockey team in action!
Non-skiers will enjoy exploring the shops and cafes of Zell am See, especially the pedestrianised centre. If you like walking you can walk around the lake on the Zeller Lake Loop, which is 11km long and would take 3-4 hours, offering incredible views of the mountains.
If you want to explore the region then Salzburg is very easy to get to, just 90 minutes on the train, where you can see the medieval and baroque buildings of the old town, and visit the Mozart museum displaying his childhood instruments.
WHO IS ZELL AM SEE SUITABLE FOR?
Here are the highlights...
With 408km of slopes to enjoy, and 40% of them for intermediates, you'll love the variety of slopes on offer, with plenty of room to help you progress.
Zell am See is one of the best ski resorts for intermediate skiers. From the town it’s quick to get on the mountain on the cityXpress gondola, and you’ve got some really lovely tree-lined pistes to enjoy. However, now that the area is linked up with Saalbach you can really rack up the distance with 408km of slopes covered with the Alpin Card, of which 40% are red level.
If you’re looking to develop your freeride and off-piste skills, then head to the Kitzteinhorn near Kaprun where the school offer great lessons to introduce you to the new techniques.
It's so easy to get to Salzburg for a day trip, you'll be spoiled for choice when planning your visit.
With a pedestrianised town centre, and plenty of shops and cafes to watch the world go by, it’s very easy to find ways to pass the time in Zell am See if you’re not a skier. If you like to keep active then you’ll love the footpath around Lake Zell, with the stunning views to admire, plus you can go ice skating either on the lake or at the indoor rink, and don’t miss the excellent spa in Kaprun.
Many visitors also like to take a day off the slopes to explore Salzburg, which is very easy to get to on the train, which is another reason why so many people love ski holidays to Zell am See.
Great ski schools, fantastic family facilities, and a pedestrianised town centre all help make this one of our top family resorts.
Schmidolin the fun dragon is ready to welcome younger visitors to the Schmittenhöhe, and the ski area is well prepared to get kids loving snowsports, with plenty of family-friendly skiing including the Funslope XXL. The nursery slopes at the base of the lifts at Schuttdorf and Schmittental are great for kids to learn on, and then the blue slopes of the Kitzsteinhorn are perfect for them to develop their skills.
Another great aspect of ski holidays to Zell am See is the short transfer time from Salzburg, only around 90 minutes, which is great for families. Also, make sure you try out the Tauern Spa with its very only kids spa area.
Keep an eye on the weather...
- High / Low
- Feels Like
- Freezing LevelM
- Snow CM
MAP OF ZELL AM SEE
Find your way…
Here's our map of Zell am See showing you the key hotels and apartments as well as some of the main points of interest.