Psst! Austria's Hidden Treasures are here!
Whether it’s outdoor adventure, a helping of culture, an indulgent escape, spending time with friends or family, mingling with the locals, or simply good old-fashioned sightseeing you’re looking for, Austria will end your summer holiday search.
To anyone used to being in the Alps in winter, when the whole region is a snowy wonderland, visiting in summer can be quite an eye-opener, and nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in the area around Zell am See-Kaprun.
The villages themselves are picturesquely situated in low, broad valleys, ranged around a freshwater lake that, on most days, represents a picture-postcard view of hot summer idyll. Yet a few minutes on a cable-car whisks you upwards into a different climate, past the tree line to where only grasses and lichens survive, and finally, on the highest cable cars, into the high mountains, where permanent snowfields, glaciers and rocks abound.
Whatever you do during your visit, be sure to obtain a Zell am See-Kaprun Card which enables you to visit the most popular attractions in the region, and the different methods of transport used to get there, for free.
High-Altitude Hi-TechThis summer sees the opening of the ‘Peak World 3000', at the very top of the Kitzsteinhorn, the summit that towers over the area. Gipfelwelt is a highmountain adventure zone, with a dramatic suspended viewing platform, giant screen cinema, and a 360 metrelong ‘summit gallery' that features hi-tech exhibits on themes like local mountain crystals, gold and silver, and the permafrost layer that holds the mountain together. There's also a slickly decorated panoramic restaurant. The star of the show is the view, and the name ‘summit world' is no exaggeration.Spot the Big FiveAnd this is the third great attraction of Zell am See-Kaprun: as well as its lakeside life and views, it is the gateway to the wonders of the Hohe Tauern. At each height level, you are effectively in a different biosphere. Lower down, look out for rhododendron and dwarf mountain pines; higher up it's evergreens like spruce and fir. Blink and you'll miss the wildlife: chamois, ibex, and earth toads are three species to cross off your list at lower altitudes. In fact, the Hohe Tauern even has an informal, safari-style ‘Big Five' of creatures to spot: running from relatively common to ‘Oh my gosh do you know what I just saw?', these are the chamois, ibex, griffon vulture, golden eagle and bearded vulture. But don't forget the marmots, cute furry critters that often sit on rocks taking in the sun.