Summer holiday in Austria

  We love  Austria and just had to return to Zell am See and Kaprun! This was our  4th summer visit since 2009 and even now there are plenty of things for us still to do and new places to go such is the variety on offer in the area for all ages.   ( For further  information  on  two  of  our  previous  visits  see  the  following  links  second  visit and  our third  visit ) .

In fact to make even more of our holiday this time we again  stayed at  Austria Holiday Apartment  wonderfully located apartment in Kaprun for ten nights.

This is an account of what we did  as  a  family  - that’s a mum, dad and two girls aged 8 and 10.
What we get most enjoyment from is walking in the mountains and swimming…lots of swimming!  So we checked the weather forecast, via the apartment’s WiFi and the local TV channels, and decided to immediately go for the ‘hike and swim’ card again which is perfect for us. For a family of 4 it costs €205.50 for 6 days and provides unlimited use of the cable cars, gondolas and; chairlifts at the Kitzsteinhorn, Schmittenhohe and Maiskogel mountains and the three outdoor swimming areas around Lake Zell and the indoor pool in Zell am See.  This is a great economic way of using the facilities.

Dragons  Walk  on the  Schmitten great  for  children  and  dragons / adults alike
We asked the children what they’d like to do first, both immediately responded “the Schmidolin walk!” This is a great way of getting into the mountains and keeping the children entertained. The circular walk has over 12 different activity stations, some of which change from year to year, for children to have fun and help the dragon Schmidolin in his quest. It’s best to start at the Areitbahn gondola where the parking is free and the ticket office is in the Intersport shop. The staff are very helpful, they will give the children a card to mark off at each activity station, and with all the right answers on return they will be given something to remember the occasion.

New! This year at the top of the Areitbahn lift, there is a motocross course on e-bikes which boys might like, have a look here at the Freeride E-center

 Swimming  in  a  Lake  with  Mountain views

Lake  a  Zell am See  beautifully  clean with  great views

It was sooooo hot on this our first day (obviously the fire breathing dragon had been busy!), that the temperature gauge in the car was reading 42°c!  So we just had to go to the lido and jump in Lake Zell to cool off,  aaaaaaahhhhhhh. 

The lido can be busy but it has a heated pool  with a slide, a pool for the very little ones, a café and is  right next to the lake and with stunning scenery too.

Sledging on a Mountain in the  Summer

View  from the top  of  the Kitzstienhorn with  glacier above  Kaprun
‘What would you like to do next?’ we asked. “Can we go sledging?” was the response. Why not it’s only August! Our second day we ascended the Kitzsteinhorn  which is just a few kilometres drive up the road from the apartment. Two gondolas and a cable car take you to the summit station – the Gipfelwelt 3000 – where there is a fantastic café/restaurant, a cinema and a panoramic platform at 3029m. On a clear day the views are unbelievable. We made our way to the Ice Arena on the glacier where everyone, young & old, can go tobogganing / sledging and have fantastic fun. The less energetic can watch from a deckchair with a hot or cold drink.

Summer  Sledging  on the  Kitzsteinhorn  in August
In fact we had so much fun that we went back a few days later and when we arrived at the summit this time it was actually -2°c and snowing!  As always its best to be prepared for the conditions but winter clothes can be bought or hired from the Intersport shops that are at each gondola station. 

We  built  a  snowman

The cloud soon gave way to some sunshine and it ‘warmed up’ to 7°c so we built a snowman, in fact three, which became an instant tourist attraction. Just wonderful!

In the summer months there are always many events happening, some occur each week and some are special one-off events so it’s definitely worth checking with the Tourist Information Centre as there is something for everyone.

Summer  Evenings  in Austria

Every Wednesday evening in Zell am  See there is a festival with street bars, entertainment, food vendors and traditional music. Whilst busy the atmosphere is fabulous. We were lucky enough to go twice and the children loved the pancakes and candy floss stalls!   

Great  evening with Live music in Medieval town center of  Zell am See  
We only just missed out on Kaprun’s own festival and mountain bike extravaganza – Bike Infection which takes place in mid-August, we went in 2011 and it was well worth a visit.

Football fans will be interested to know that the area is also a magnet to top football sides who like to take training camps. One evening the top Qatari side Al-Sadd were training on the pitch opposite the apartment so I watched them for some time. When they finished I had my photograph taken with one of their players – ex-Real Madrid and Spain legend ‘Raul’. Football gold!

Mountain Views to  take  the  breath  away

View  from the  Schmitten  above  Zell am See

Anyway back to normality and the next walk we did was on the Schmitten, where we took the cable car to the summit station and walked the route from the St Elisabeth chapel down the ridge to the Sonnkogel, this is a lovely short walk, not that strenuous, with amazing views again and plenty to keep children entertained along the way. There are lots of information stations too that describe the area, the history, the wildlife and the fauna of the mountain which is interesting and of course importantly there is a café/restaurant at either end. The coffee and apfelstrudel should not be missed!

On a rainy day we wandered into Kaprun, found a lovely café at the bakery and then later visited the indoor pool in Zell am See which had a 74m water slide and diving boards. The pool is also adjacent to the ice rink, home of the EK Zeller ice hockey team, on the main road.

High Dams  Above  Kaprun

Kaprun  Reservoirs
 One place we’d not visited previously were the high altitude reservoirs at Kaprun including the Mooserboden reservoir and dams. The start of this excursion is just a few km past the Kitzsteinhorn gondola station where you park your car, get a ticket €39 per family, which includes the bus ride up to the higher reservoir.. We were fortunate enough to go on a good weather day when the power company Verbund had also organised a day specifically aimed at children with lots of activities going on. We walked along the dam walls (  you  can  also  walk  in the  dam wall)  and had a nice picnic next to the reservoir amongst the glacial mountains, simply stunning.

Piesendorf pool
Swimming  Lido at Piesendorf
When our ‘hike and swim’ card had expired we had three days to choose what to do. Firstly we decided to venture to the outdoor pool, the Hinkelsteinbad, at Piesendorf. This was a little difficult to find at first so I would advise checking the map, it’s next to FC Piesendorf (the football team), but an alternative would be to travel by the Pinzgau Lokalbahn train from Furth-Kaprun as the pool is next door to the railway station. Anyway the pool was much quieter than the lido in Zell and equipped with a heated pool, sports pool, a jacuzzi, a longer slide, a café and with a beautiful vista up the valley. Idyllic!  For the family it was just €10.50 for the day and we stayed for over 5 hours. We had a fabulous time there and would definitely recommend it.

The following day was forecast to be poor, so we decided to take the train from Zell am See to visit Salzburg. This cost just €32 for a return ticket for us all and included parking in the ‘Park and Ride’ at Zell station. I would recommend going early as the journey takes 1.5 hours and the parking spaces are limited. We enjoyed walking around Salzburg and visited the house that was the birthplace of Mozart. We would like to have visited the Science and Natural History Museum science museum (again) but ran out of time(!)

Tauern  Spa  Kaprun 
Salt / brine swimming  pool  at Tauern Spa  Kaprun
Our final day ended on a real high where we spent virtually the whole day at the Tauern Spa, Kaprun which is described as the ‘Base Camp for Body  Soul’ and that is a pretty accurate summary. The complex is 5 star and the ‘wasserwelt’ (waterworld) is nothing short of fantastic with lots of different indoor and outdoor pools, jacuzzis, slides and even a heated salt water pool. Very very relaxing, and lots of fun too. What was even better was that it was much less busy than our previous visit and the weather was good! A day pass cost €61.50 but it was worth it. On entry you are given a wrist band that contains a chip, which not only controls a changing room that acts as a locker but also can be used to purchase food, which is very nice, from the restaurant and cafes (note when not using cash this can be a little dangerous to the wallet!). I am looking forward to the day when we can also visit the sauna and masseuse and leave the children to entertain themselves!

Before we returned to the airport we had fun on the Maisiflitzer roller coaster at the Maiskogel in Kaprun which follows the gradient of the ski slope and has bumps and turns. At the point where the photograph is taken we were doing 42kmph, awesome! One run down the track for the four of us, in two carts, cost €24. The area has also been developed with a go-kart track €2 for 10 mins and large slides which are €0.50c per go. Plenty to keep the children entertained here!

So there it is our 4th, and most enjoyable to date, visit to Kaprun. Many thanks to the  Austria Holiday  Apartment again for the hire of their apartment which looked as fresh as it did when we first arrived in 2009. It’s well equipped and very conveniently placed for walking into Kaprun, travelling by road and only a few metres from the Billa supermarket.

The dilemma is now whether to return for a winter ski trip or another amazing summer adventure. We now love Austria even more!

Richards Family

Tauern  Spa  Kaprun - a  great  place  to  visit  throughout  the  year



  1. Hi to all, the сontents pгesеnt at thіs web page агe genuіnelу amаzing for people experience,
    ωell,keep uρ the good woгk fellows.

    My wеblog;

  2. It looks beautiful there.


    Tony from


We would very much welcome your comments, suggestions and ideas. To share with others to get the most from their stay or holiday in Austria:-