Skiers have long been drawn to the scenic charms of Zell Am See-Kaprun in Austria's Eastern Alps at the edge of Hohe Tauern National Park. But once the winter snows have melted away, the mountains, woods and meadows above Lake Zell become a playground for walkers.
Many hiking trails are threaded through this stunning terrain, offering wonderful views and clean, fresh, mountain air. And when you've worked up an appetite there are the mountain huts waiting to welcome you with delicious local food and wine.
Try these walking routes around Zell and you'll discover why it's the perfect holiday destination for hikers.
The Mystical Forest
A gentle hiking adventure in the forest for the whole family. Starting at the mountain station of the Sonnkogelbahn cable car, the mystical forest route down to the Schmiedhofalm takes walkers on gradual descent into the local world of legends. Numerous stops along the forest path offer a fun family experience and at the end point there is a great adventure playground where the youngest walkers can let off any steam they might have left!
Don't miss: Kick off your hike with a visit to the lovely Sonnkogel restaurant.
Alexander Enzinger Path
One for lovers of mountain flora as the landscape is often laced with delicate mountain flowers. Ride up to the Alpincenter with the Kitzsteinhorn cable cars, then take a hike on the Alexander Enzinger path along ridge trails and past a charming waterfall, down to the Maiskogel. There are several opportunities to break the walk at mountain restaurants and the views of the high alpine peaks are truly inspiring.
Don't miss: Ride down from the Maiskogel with the new MK Maiskogel cable car directly to the centre of Kaprun.
A wonderful circular trail with three summits! This mountain route above Lake Zell has nearly 1,000m of ascent and descent and takes in some spectacular views. Start at the mountain restaurant Mitterberg where there are parking places for hikers (or you can walk up, allowing an extra hour) - or from Thumersbach. From the Mitterberg you walk on a broad forest road and continue on a narrow, steep path through the wood to the Schwalbenwand.
Don't miss: From Berggasthof Mitterberg you have one of the most beautiful views of the Zell am See-Kaprun region.
- READ NEXT: 10 Best Cycling Holidays in Europe
Thumersbach 'guestbook' trail
In the hillsides above Lake Zell, is this short beautiful forest path with stations in honour of famous people from Zell am See-Kaprun. Starting from the Thumersbach village square, the 'guestbook'-theme trail can be reached on foot within 10 minutes. Spaced out along the lovely forest path you’ll find information about 6 people who left their mark in the area. You can return the same way or along the shore of the lake Zell to the starting point.
Don't miss: The sculpture park in Thumersbach.
Time: 6hr 30mins
This full day hike to the summit of the Imbachborn at 2,470m takes in glorious high mountain scenery around Kaprun. The path starts in the upper car park of the Gletscherbahn cable car (Kitzsteinhorn). From here you follow route no. 724 heading up through mixed forest and beautiful alpine meadows to the summit of Imbachhorn and back to Kaprun. And your ever-present companion is an absolutely breath-taking view of Lake Zell.
Don't miss: Just be sure to allow enough time as there is no railway route back down!
Maiskogel hut tour
Time: 1hr 30mins
A baby-buggy friendly tour, this hike across alpine pastures to mountain huts is easy, filled with variety and suitable for families as well as nature lovers. From the town centre of Kaprun, you will first enjoy a comfortable lift ride on the MK Maiskogelbahn up to the Maiskogel mountain terminal at 1,570m, where the actual Hut Tour begins. From here, the route continues to Alpengasthaus Glocknerblick and Maiskogel Alm Ranch, with 20–30 min between each hut.
Don 't miss: Young children will love the petting zoo at Maiskogel Alm Ranch.
- READ NEXT: 10 of The Best Alpine Hiking Trails