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The best summer adventures in the mountains in Austria!

Even though I’m a sea person, I’m always happy in the mountains. Nowhere else can you experience so many adventures – whether it’s rafting, paragliding, canyoning, or alpine hiking for several hours. An especially fantastic place for me has been the mountains in Austria and the region around Zell am See-Kaprun. I’ll tell you everything you can experience here in the summer in this post!

“Zell am See-Kaprun”

The best summer adventures in the mountains in Austria!

1. Climbing the mountains

In Zell am See you have several options to awaken the climber inside you! It has something to offer whether you fancy the various climbing routes in the climbing areas, or you like the climbing gyms – especially in bad weather. An especially nice climb is the 3,229 meter summit of the Kitzsteinhorn. On the Kitzsteinhorn glacier there’s snow all year round, so you’ll find some lovely white patches of snow even in the summer!

Altogether there are around 25 climbs in Zell am See-Kaprun, all with a different degree of difficulty. Whether you’re a novice or professional climber there’s something for everyone! You can even go on alpine climbing tours here! A cool climb to go on is Ferrata Arena Höhenburg on Mooserboden Reservoir.

Whichever climbing adventure you choose, Mark can definitely help you out! He is part of the Mountain Guides in Zell am See-Kaprun and can organize various tours for you. You can write him an email or call directly. All contact information, and more about tours and climbing courses, can be found here (German only):

2. Rafting on the Salzach

Do you prefer something rather wet and really action-packed? Then you should definitely go rafting! A rafting tour on the Salzach is especially cool because you’ll be looking at a difficult level of 2-4. You’ll get to go through white water, crass gushes, and demanding paddling passages that can see you climbing some high waves. This tour takes approximately 4 hours.
In good weather you can take a great day trip where you go rafting for the first two hours, make a delicious BBQ during your break, and then head back! A day tour like that costs 67 euros per person and includes tons of fun and grilling delicious food! More information on the different rafting tours can be found here and here.

3. Hiking in the mountains and through canyons

The cool thing about the mountains is that you can always have an adventure here, whether in warm weather and sunshine, or snow and even rain. Hiking tours are always a great way to get out and in the mountains! From one hour to several days, you can hike around Zell am See-Kaprun on a multitude of adventures, and have experiences you can only imagine.

A fairly easy hike is the Ebenbergalm on the Schmittenhöhe. The hike takes around 40 minutes, and although it’s got quite a steep start, you get amazing views of Zell am See in a very short time. On the Alm there is also great food. You can get a nice snack with cheese and different sausages or even the typical Kaiserschmarrn out on the terrace and a beautiful view! You can also extend your hike to Plettsauberg. Including this fairly short hike, you’ll spend around three hours on the trail.


A somewhat more difficult hike is the one from Metterberg to Schwalbenwand. The starting point is the Berggasthof Mitterberg, from where you set out on Schwalbenwanderweg no. 82 route. On the way back you take the no. 83 route. The whole tour takes about 4 hours. If you’d like to get a little more extreme, you can wander along the Hochkammerweg. This is a high alpine tour where you can get incredible views of the reservoirs. This hike also takes around 4 hours and goes along the no. 726 path.

Although the hike along the Sigmund-Thun-Klamm is more of a walk, the trail was definitely worth it! You get to walk on really cool timber paths and stairs that bring you increasingly higher in the canyon. You even pass by a bunch of small waterfalls and beautiful rock formations. Overall it only takes 20 minutes, and you can even walk around the Klammsee for another 20 minutes if you feel like it. You should definitely bring a raincoat though, because the gorge is often pretty narrow and very wet!


4. Stand-up paddling and SUP Yoga

I’m a huge SUP fan! Probably because I generally like to do water sports, and it’s even better when it includes some kind of board like surfing or kiteboarding! In Zell am See-Kaprun you have several options for trying SUP. You can either take a casual tour or try SUP yoga!

I must admit that I was rather skeptical about this new yoga trend, but after my first SUP yoga session in Zell am See, I feel quite different – it is tons of fun! Instead of normal yoga with a yoga mat, you get to stretch and pose on an SUP board with water beneath you. The shaky “ground” makes you tense all your core muscles so much more, and really focus on you and your body. Although I fell into the water several times, it was definitely the coolest yoga class I’ve ever taken!

You begin your class by paddling your SUP into a small nature reserve, and then it’s straight into your first yoga exercises. The teacher, Maria, is a super teacher. She’s not overly spiritual about the whole thing, but is just plain cool and relaxed! You don’t have to be a yoga professional or anything to join, because Maria explains each exercise and even gives you tips and corrections too. The class itself takes around an hour, but you should give yourself around an hour and a half to two hours for the SUP yoga schedule.

Heinz, the owner of the SUP Center, told me that they offer really cool SUP tours in the mountains as well. On the tour you start out walking with an inflatable SUP board on your back, and then get to paddle along various mountain reservoirs up to several thousand feet. I imagine this adventure is incredible, and now I have another reason to come back to Zell am See-Kaprun in the summer!

5. Paragliding from the Schmittenhöhe

The hottest activity on Zell am See-Kaprun and the surrounding mountains is, naturally, paragliding! Most adventures start from the Schmittenhöhe and take an average of 20 minutes. The best part is you not only see the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, but you also get a clear view of 30 3,000 m high mountains! There are several groups that can take you on paragliding trips, a great overview can be found here.

If you’re loking for even more thrills you can also be trained to go parachute flying! You can either take a short “taster” course, or go on a full five-day basic course. The training will cost 480 euros per person, and after the third day you’ve already gone on flights of up to 300 meters! All the equipment, of course, is provided and the different peaks of the region offer the perfect training ground for your first flights alone. You can find everything you need to know on Airstar’s website.

6. Test your limits while canyoning!

For me there’s almost no better adventure than canyoning! I love to wade through the water, rappel down rocks, and climb around. Canyoning is definitely one adrenaline rush after another!

The Salzburger canyons offer the perfect canyoning experience and you can choose between light and really difficult tours. Here you’re doing 15 jumps and you can be up to 6 hours in the canyon! If you do it as extremely as I like it, the Canyoning tour “Vertical Limit” is exactly right for you. You start with a 45-minute climb, and then get yourself together to prepare for some amazing abseiling.

More information about different canyoning tours can be found here.

7. Horseback riding in the Zeller nature reserve

Around Zell am See-Kaprun you will find several stables that offer horseback rides in the beautiful surroundings. A good place, for example, is the Porsche Equestrian Club. Their tours go past flowering meadows, and along a babbling brook in the nature reserve on the southern shore of Lake Zell. Depending on how you learn in the saddle, there are a few sections you can go cantering through – very cool! A one-hour ride here costs 20 euros. Several-hour rides are negotiable but are definitely possible and go towards Kaprun. You get all the beautiful views of the Kitzsteinhorn along the way!

The horse farm Nigglgut, around 40 kilometers south of Zell lake, also offers rides. You should, however, have some extensive riding experience! These rides take up to eight hours through the National Park Hohe Tauern, and get up to 1800 meters above sea level. The views you have here, of course, are gigantic!

8. Mountain biking

Even better than horseback riding in Zell am See-Kaprun are the mountain biking tours! The Maiskogel and Hundstein, especially, offer many great tours. More recently they’ve added on three fantastic freeride trails at Kitzsteinhorn. One of them is about three kilometers along the Geißstein-Trail which takes you from Alpincenter to Häuslalm.

Even longer and more demanding is the Wüstlau trail. It’s almost eight kilometers long and takes you up and down 1070 meters of altitude difference. This leads you through pastures and wooded areas of the Häuslalm and way down into the valley. In that area you go through some rocky and root-filled passages where you have to concentrate pretty hard. A somewhat easier trail, which is very beautiful, is the Bachler trail. Before you reach the trail you do have to go through a short climb, so you should definitely take a bike capable of going uphill well.

You can find a great overview of the mountain bike trails here (German only).

9. Of course, a bit of relaxation is a must!

After each adventure a little relaxation is definitely a necessity. The best course to take is to go to a sauna and spa. A great place for this is the Tauern Spa in Kaprun. There are several saunas here. The block sauna outside is especially neat, because you get great views of the surrounding mountains! As a guest at the hotel you have access to the sauna area included in your stay, and can also use the pool on the top floor.

Bonus: The Zell am See-Kaprun Summer Card

When you reserve a room at the Tauern Spa hotel, you’ll also get a Zell am See-Kaprun summer Card that allows you entry to many activities in the region. This can definitely save you some money! You can typically use the card between mid-May and mid-October. More information on the card and reservations can be found here.

If you want a really cozy place with nice service, you should stay in the Hotel Stadt Wien. The owners and staff are super nice, and you get to stay in bright rooms that are modern, yet rustic – I absolutely love this style! From the hotel you only need to walk a few minutes to get to some awesome adventures, and a few trails on the Schmittenhöhe start right behind the building!

The mountains in Austria are waiting this summer with awesome adventures for you!

Whether in summer or winter, the mountains in Austria offer you awesome adventures around Zell am See-Kaprun! My absolute favorite highlight is the canyoning in the Salzburg gorges. I will definitely be coming back again, even if it’s only for a brilliant SUP tour in the mountains!

Sebastian Canaves
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