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Zell Am See

With a terrific blend of top class skiing, a lively après scene and a beautiful location, Zell am See offers a lot more than you might expect from a small Austrian resort. The 15th Century village hides a fantastic array of bars and restaurants and the lakeside location is sure to dazzle even the most seasoned ski bums.

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Intermediate

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At a glance: • Unparalleled panoramic skiing • Exceptional on piste dining • Culture rich town centre

Great for: • Families • Shopping • Non skiers

With a terrific blend of top class skiing, a lively après scene and a beautiful location, Zell am See offers a lot more than you might expect from a small Austrian resort. The 15th Century village hides a fantastic array of bars and restaurants and the lakeside location is sure to dazzle even the most seasoned ski bums.

Zell Am See Resort

With its gorgeous lakeside location and buildings harking back to the Middle Ages, Zell am See is a resort that flawlessly combines traditional charm with modern efficiency.

The town is easily accessible from anywhere in Europe - it’s only an hour from Salzburg by train which takes you to the station right in Zell’s city centre. The drive is only half an hour longer, making it perfect for last minute breaks and long weekends. With chic hotels and boutique-lined promenades, the pedestrianised town centre is incredibly family friendly. You can always judge a resort’s authenticity by its clientele and frequented by well heeled Salzburgers, you’re in for a first class treat in Zell am See.

The area is one of outstanding natural beauty, with local Lake Zell the piece de la resistance. Mid-winter sees it freeze over completely, allowing for ice skating and curling - nearer the end of the season its vivid blue provides a spectacular contrast with the surrounding mountains. The lake water is reportedly clean enough to drink and the town has been awarded ‘climatic spa’ status, representing outstanding air purity and environmental cleanliness.

At 2000m the peak of the Schmittenhohe, the imposing mountain overlooking the village, offers staggering views of over thirty local mountains higher than 3000m. It’s accessible through a variety of routes from the village centre, so peak season crowds can be easily avoided. Designed by the Porsche Design Studio, the Schmittenhöhebahn gondola itself is almost as much of an attraction as some of the fine runs accessible from its peak, and ensures you at least start your day on the mountain in impeccable style.

As well as the local area, the ski pass covers nearby Kaprun and Maiskogel including the glacier at Kitzsteinhorn which is only a short bus ride away.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Austria Alps.

Established: 1927

Open: December- April

Downhill: 77km

View our detailed Zell Am See snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Zell Am See snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Salzburg80km, 1.5 hours
Munich200km, 2.5 hours
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 25km 38%

  • 27km 38%

  • 25km 24%

Top Altitude:1956m
Bottom Altitude:755m
Resort Altitude:755m
Longest run:7km
Slope Orientation:N, E, S
Vertical Drop:1201m
Skiable Vertical:1201m
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 6cm
  • Base
  • 20cm
  • Forecast
  • 70cm

Web Cam

Zell Am See web cams
Downhill Runs:77km
Beginner slopes:38%
Intermediate:38%
Advanced slopes:24%
Lift Pass Price: 225€ 6 days
Nearby resorts: Europa Sport ski area, Kaprun, Salbaach, Dienten am Hochkönig, Hinterthal

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Zell Am See

The skiing on the Schmitten above Zell am See is some of the most visually appealing in the world, with stunning views of the local peaks. Three quarters of the slopes are appropriate for beginners and intermediates, though the lengthy black Trassabfahrt is one of the most challenging in the country, so will be sure to keep the more advanced on their toes.

The picturesque appeal doesn’t end with the panoramas from the peak - there’s little skiing above the treeline on the Schmitten, so visitors are treated to some fantastic gladed runs all over the mountain. The Panorama is one of the longest blue runs in resort, winding through the trees all the way from the peak.

There is a children’s play area at the top of the Areitbahn, open throughout the season, where the ‘piste dwarves’ (children to you and I) in your group can master their first few snow ploughs under the watchful eye of Schmidolin, ‘the world’s nicest dragon’.

The recent addition of the ‘SkiMovie’ feature to the mountain allows you to be recorded on a slalom course, the footage of which is available immediately online and also at the Cabrio Bar Restaurant in the valley.

The sunny east facing slopes on the Sonnkogel offer some varied off piste terrain, and those seeking to spend more time amongst powder filled bowls will love the freeriding routes in the nearby Kaprun- also included in the lift pass.

The ‘Funpark Schmitten’ is a reasonable sized terrain park with features for those of all abilities, and the resorts half pipe is maintained throughout the season. More serious freestylers will relish the challenge of a day in the Central Park and the superpipe at the nearby Kitzsteinhorn glacier- luckily only a free bus ride around the corner.

Zell Am See Apres Ski

With runs that end up virtually in the middle of the village and plenty of opportunity for a quick bite or drink on the mountain, the après ski gets going long before the last skiers leave the slopes. The Pinzgauer Hut is a hidden gem on the mountain, serving delicious local fare and offers a complimentary snowmobile service to return you back to town. At the top of the Schmittenhohe, you can dance the afternoon away at the outside bar, before making your way down to the village to carry on the party. The Cabrio is often the next port of call, where you can watch the footage of your earlier attempts at the SkiMovie slalom accompanied by a jagertee - a local speciality. They say variety is the spice of life and that has never been truer than amongst streets of Zell. Traditional fare can be enjoyed at the Hotel & Brasserie Traube. The Ginhouse, as its name suggests, boasts over 60 different varieties of gin alongside an extensive cocktail list. The wooden interior and leather furniture provide a quiet and cosy place to relax after a day on the slopes and a measure of sloe gin is sure to keep the winter chills at bay for the rest of the evening. Those seeking a more familiar feel will be heartened by a visit to O'Flannigans Irish Pub - meet friendly locals, a lot of British tourists and catch up on the latest live sports. If you’ve ended up in Shakers again, you’ll probably wake up the next day with a sore head, but plenty of happy memories (their stock market themed happy hour, where drink prices are affected by demand, can often get out of hand…).

Best time to go

Best time to ski Zell Am See

When is the best time to ski Zell Am See?

With all of the runs comprehensively covered by snowmaking equipment and the Kitzsteinhorn glacier just around the corner in case of emergency, Zell am See is a decent bet for a snowy week throughout the season.

The slopes can be accessed from a number of points in the village ensuring that even during busy weeks, long queues can be avoided- the consecutive Areitbahn gondolas can get busy first thing in the morning during peak weeks.

A popular destination year round, the festive season is habitually busier here due to the variety of the off slope diversions and the lasting appeal of the medieval town centre. Local artisan markets are also a regular occurrence throughout the year.

This ensures that there is more than enough to keep you entertained in the resort if the conditions aren’t quite up to scratch, or the pistes are getting a little too crowded.

Peak Dates

Christmas in Zell am See is likely to be the holiday of a lifetime as this famously picturesque 15th century town comes alive with festive spirit. The advent market usually fills the air with festive aromas and decorations and lights create a magical yuletide atmosphere. Browse Zell Am See Christmas ski holidays ‣

Spending New Year’s in Zell am See will give you long-lasting memories, regardless of how you choose to celebrate. There’s scope to dance the night away if you so desire, or if you’d rather a romantic starlight stroll by the lake then you’ve come to the right place. Who knows- maybe you’ll end up doing both! Browse Zell Am See New Year ski holidays ‣

The whole family will love spending February Half Term in Zell am See. The variety of terrain and on slope dining will suit every member of the family, and the diverse après scene will make certain nobody wants to get back to school! Browse Zell Am See Half Term ski holidays ‣

A snowy Easter in Zell am See is pretty much assured by some world class snowmaking and a neighbourhood glacier. With al fresco dining very much in vogue on and off the mountain, you’re more likely to return home with a sun tan than a cold! Browse Zell Am See Easter ski holidays ‣

Zell Am See Ratings & Customer Feedback
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Average Rating 4.5 out of 5
Loved the skiing here, the village is very pretty and typically Austrian and the après ski is great with plenty of bars and restaurants. There’s a place called the Gin House which was fantastic, I would go back almost for this alone! You go down the stairs and they have something like 250 varieties of gin. ... + more
Mrs Allibone, Towcester
4 out of 5
Zell am See is lovely! I’ve been to lots of places and this is my favourite, we came here a few years ago and I am so glad we came back. We stayed right on the lake at the Grand Hotel (brilliant hotel) and when I first visited, the lake was frozen solid – you could have a horse and carriage ride across it. Th... + more
The Boyce Family, Bristol
5 out of 5
This was the first time I had been to Zell am See, we’d gone to St Anton and Ischgl before and it doesn’t compete with these but then again it doesn’t claim to. It’s a nice town and has its own train station so you can get the train all over the place which adds another element – we went over to Kitzbüh... + more
Mike T,
4 out of 5
I love it. There are plenty of bars and restaurants. It wasn’t too expensive, probably no more expensive Austrian resorts, definitely cheaper than France and many other resorts. The skiing was good. My only complaint is that there are too many good shops! My missus always wanted to go shopping! + more
Paul McGinty, Castleberg
5 out of 5
Zell am See is a really beautiful resort, the transfer wasn’t too long and you go through some really beautiful scenery. The weather for the week was 21°C all week and sometimes if the snow isn’t so good, that’s your holiday done and you end up having to sit and read for the week... In Zell am See, ther... + more
John and Stephanie, Colchester
5 out of 5
We had a very nice week but if it wasn’t for Kaprun I don’t think the holiday would have been as good. There’s not too much après in Zell am See and it was quite hard to find where everyone was going out. Zell’s slopes are low and definitely towards the beginner – intermediate end of the scale. The runs... + more
Andy, Birmingham
4 out of 5
My first snow holiday and I loved it, Zell am See is really picturesque with the lake and everything, and the resort wasn’t too busy. My daughter had ski lessons and my wife was snowboarding, I was babysitting and there was enough for me to do in the town, with lots of places to eat etc. We did the Kitzsteinho... + more
Bruce Attenborrow, London
4 out of 5
I’ve already recommended this resort to people, we had a great week! It’s a nice little Austrian village and the transfer is quite short too. Zell am See’s ski area is nice as it’s in the trees if there’s snow, while Kaprun is on the glacier so on a clear day it’s amazing. The other good thing is that S... + more
Mr Somers,
4 out of 5
The resort was superb and beautiful. It was really good and I would go back. There were also plenty of bars on the slopes for the younger crowd which was great. + more
Hilary, Oldham
5 out of 5
Zell am See is a very nice resort, I liked everything about it and had a brilliant week away. It was the back end of the season so the snow wasn’t the best but I still managed to find some good slopes. I’d say it’s a good resort for everyone, I really couldn’t fault it. + more
Martyn, West Yorkshire
5 out of 5
This was my first time in Austria (I’ve always been to France before) and the whole experience was amazing. We were here as a group of nine and there was absolutely enough for everyone to ski, we were here with a couple of beginners who found it fine and the rest of us who are fairly well seasoned had a great ... + more
Chris Bush, Kent
5 out of 5
We really liked Zell. We went over Christmas for a family ski holiday and we needed somewhere that was snow-sure but also had plenty to do, so it needed to tick a lot of boxes. There was snow even though Austria had quite a bad snow season in the early months. Kaprun was meant to be the most snow-sure area, bu... + more
Tara O'Reilly, Wembley
4 out of 5
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Families in Zell Am See

With a resort mascot as loveable as Schmidolin the friendly dragon, what family could resist the charms of a winter holiday in Zell am See?

The majority of accommodation available in Zell is hotels, allowing you to tailor your holiday to your specific requirements. B&B can be great for families - explore the town independently before meeting at one of the great local restaurants for dinner (the Pfefferbauer serves a delicious range of local delicacies, including locally sourced venison). The convenience accorded by full or half-board accommodation will allow the parents to relax from day one, as everything will already have been taken care of before they arrive.

If any member of the family is in need of tuition, the Zell am See ski school is the answer to all your problems, offering private and group instruction for all ages. From their first steps on the magic carpet at the Areitbahn base station, young beginners will quickly progress through the children’s area at the Glocknerwiese into the big wide world of skiing solo on the mountains. Power Teens is a programme aimed at progressive teenage riders, focusing on freestyle and freeriding. Mum and Dad are well looked after as well, whether they’re complete beginners or just need a quick brush up lesson at the start of the week to get back in the zone. There’s a kindergarten for youngsters not yet old enough for the slopes and some of our hotels also have their own childcare services too.

Many of our hotels here have their own swimming pool, but if you want to head further afield the Freizeitzentrum could be just what you’re after. Boasting a toddlers pool with a pirate ship game, 3 diving boards and a 75m waterslide and an ice rink (not forgetting hot tubs, and a selection of saunas and massage treatments) you could have a hard time persuading everyone to leave. If they enjoyed the ice skating indoors, why not have a go on Lake Zell? During the height of the winter the lake freezes over completely and ice skating and curling (for the more sedate) can be enjoyed at various locations.

GroupsGroup Holidays Zell Am See

A combination of the accommodation, the resort itself and the variety of the skiable terrain make Zell am See an ideal resort for a group ski trip.

Most of the accommodation available in Zell is in hotels; ideal for group trips. Large communal areas and regular meal times keep the group together over the week, while private rooms mean you won’t be tripping over each other whilst getting ready in the mornings. Half and full-board options stop any arguments over where to have dinner before they’ve even begun and staying in a B&B gives you freedom to explore the town and split up for meals if you choose.

This is a great resort if you’re all of varying abilities - runs of different difficulties often terminate at the same location and the variety of routes on offer mean that everyone can make their way down the mountain at their own pace. The agreeable quantity of mountain restaurants and their varied locations ensures that even if everyone doesn’t ski together they can still meet up regularly throughout the day.

The Sonnkogel area in the sunny east facing side of the mountain is a particular favourite for mixed ability groups. Some of the best off piste skiing on the mountain is right next door to some great intermediate terrain. The three restaurants in the area are ideal if some of you’re taking a little longer to get those ski legs back and fancy a glühwein to assist your development- Blaickner's Sonnalm has good wine to be enjoyed in its cosy fireside couches or popular terrace.

After a hard day’s skiing, the diversity of the bars and restaurants in the resort cater for every eventuality. Those looking to celebrate a special event should check out Mayer’s restaurant. A few minutes out of Zell, it’s home to award winning Michelin starred Chef Andreas Mayer who has devised a delicious traditional menu with a French twist that’s sure to get your taste buds tingling. If a more low key evening is in order, the B-17 bar offers a selection of cocktails sure to please every palate in a relaxed lounge setting or a more lively outdoor area.

Most holidays come with flights and transfers, taking the hassle out of booking and making travel easy. The pan-European drive to Austria is a popular choice for groups, especially later in the season and allows those with their own equipment to avoid the excess charges incurred whilst flying. You can also stock up on the essentials for the trip on the way – check out our self-drive holidays if this sounds good to you!


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"Chococalate box pretty Austrian village"

Mrs Allibone, Towcester
4/ out of 5
Loved the skiing here, the village is very pretty and typically Austrian and the après ski is great with plenty of bars and restaurants. There’s a place called the Gin House which was fantastic, I would go back almost for this alone! You go down the stairs and they have something like 250 varieties of gin. There are some really nice mountain restaurants, including one where you ski down into some trees and then they pull you back up on ski doos after you’ve eaten, which was good fun. We had great snow with a couple of falls while we were actually there. There’s a good variety of slopes including lots for intermediates – really liked the Sunny Side section. Not being a fanatic black run skier I can’t comment on that side of things!

"Go there! Perfect resort!"

The Boyce Family, Bristol
5/ out of 5
Zell am See is lovely! I’ve been to lots of places and this is my favourite, we came here a few years ago and I am so glad we came back. We stayed right on the lake at the Grand Hotel (brilliant hotel) and when I first visited, the lake was frozen solid – you could have a horse and carriage ride across it. This year it wasn’t frozen, but they do horse and carriage trips around the lake which is worth doing. On New Year’s Eve, people were diving into the lake for champagne at 11 O’clock, we stood outside to watch – the lake was floodlit and there were fireworks, it was wonderful. The skiing is really good, you can get to loads of other places really easily, my husband skied over to Switzerland and the kids had a wonderful time. My friend and I had ski lessons with the Outdo ski school, we had an English instructor who was really nice. If he didn’t have another lesson he’d stay and ski with us which doesn’t happen with most instructors. I would definitely recommend staying here and we'll come back again.

"Nice Austrian town"

Mike T
4/ out of 5
This was the first time I had been to Zell am See, we’d gone to St Anton and Ischgl before and it doesn’t compete with these but then again it doesn’t claim to. It’s a nice town and has its own train station so you can get the train all over the place which adds another element – we went over to Kitzbühel one day. It’s a decent sized town with a really nice lake and there are quite a few places to go out, the 6 nations were on when we were there which was good fun to watch. The snow was pretty good towards the end of March and you’ve got Kaprun there as well which is much higher. It’s not a huge ski area but it’s what it claims to be, there’s a lot for intermediates, we’re advanced skiers and the area wasn’t very challenging.

"Lovely Austrian town"

Paul McGinty, Castleberg
5/ out of 5
I love it. There are plenty of bars and restaurants. It wasn’t too expensive, probably no more expensive Austrian resorts, definitely cheaper than France and many other resorts. The skiing was good. My only complaint is that there are too many good shops! My missus always wanted to go shopping!

"One of the most relaxing ski holidays we’ve ever had!"

John and Stephanie, Colchester
5/ out of 5
Zell am See is a really beautiful resort, the transfer wasn’t too long and you go through some really beautiful scenery. The weather for the week was 21°C all week and sometimes if the snow isn’t so good, that’s your holiday done and you end up having to sit and read for the week... In Zell am See, there’s so much else to do. Our hotel sorted out transfers to the glacier nearby which has some great skiing and is much less busy. The skiing around Zell am See is a little limited but the glacier gives you a whole different experience and there are other ski areas really close by if you feel like travelling. We also did some cycling around the lake which I would definitely recommend; it’s very relaxed and safe, I’d be happy to bring children there. If you’re more advanced, you can go off into the hills where they have lots of routes marked out but we were happy cycling around the lake. Another thing I’d recommend is having afternoon tea in the Grand which is a beautiful old hotel overlooking the lake, sit out on their terrace if it’s sunny.

"A good week thanks to Kaprun"

Andy, Birmingham
4/ out of 5
We had a very nice week but if it wasn’t for Kaprun I don’t think the holiday would have been as good. There’s not too much après in Zell am See and it was quite hard to find where everyone was going out. Zell’s slopes are low and definitely towards the beginner – intermediate end of the scale. The runs didn’t always link together very nicely either. It was nearing the end of the season so we tended to go over to Kaprun which is higher and well linked. The snow was a lot better, with some fresh powder and we managed to do the marked off piste routes (known as x1, x2, x3, x4, x5) which were fantastically steep and challenging.

"Family trip to Zell am See"

Bruce Attenborrow, London
4/ out of 5
My first snow holiday and I loved it, Zell am See is really picturesque with the lake and everything, and the resort wasn’t too busy. My daughter had ski lessons and my wife was snowboarding, I was babysitting and there was enough for me to do in the town, with lots of places to eat etc. We did the Kitzsteinhorn one day which was really good, can’t comment on the view as it was chucking it down with snow but we had fun!

"Zell February 2015"

Mr Somers
4/ out of 5
I’ve already recommended this resort to people, we had a great week! It’s a nice little Austrian village and the transfer is quite short too. Zell am See’s ski area is nice as it’s in the trees if there’s snow, while Kaprun is on the glacier so on a clear day it’s amazing. The other good thing is that Saalbach and Hinterglemm are round the corner, a 20 minute bus ride away and covered by the same ski pass – their ski area is massive on its own so there’s a lot of variety between the different resorts.

"Beautiful place"

Hilary, Oldham
5/ out of 5
The resort was superb and beautiful. It was really good and I would go back. There were also plenty of bars on the slopes for the younger crowd which was great.

"Can't fault Zell am See"

Martyn, West Yorkshire
5/ out of 5
Zell am See is a very nice resort, I liked everything about it and had a brilliant week away. It was the back end of the season so the snow wasn’t the best but I still managed to find some good slopes. I’d say it’s a good resort for everyone, I really couldn’t fault it.

"Great group holiday in Zell am See"

Chris Bush, Kent
5/ out of 5
This was my first time in Austria (I’ve always been to France before) and the whole experience was amazing. We were here as a group of nine and there was absolutely enough for everyone to ski, we were here with a couple of beginners who found it fine and the rest of us who are fairly well seasoned had a great time. We didn’t even bother going over to Kaprun in the end, we just stuck to the Schmitten area. The resort had entertainment in the evenings, and when they didn’t we made our own entertainment in the bars!

"A beautiful resort to visit at Christmas"

Tara O'Reilly, Wembley
4/ out of 5
We really liked Zell. We went over Christmas for a family ski holiday and we needed somewhere that was snow-sure but also had plenty to do, so it needed to tick a lot of boxes. There was snow even though Austria had quite a bad snow season in the early months. Kaprun was meant to be the most snow-sure area, but we didn’t actually ski much there because the weather was bad – we almost got blown off the mountain! But we went skiing every day. We quite enjoyed the skiing although I did miss the range of skiing you get at the larger French ski resorts like the 3 Valleys and the Espace Killy. Also the snow wasn’t brilliant and I felt that they weren’t quite as good with their snow making facilities as some of the other resorts I’ve been to like Zermatt. We had my parents with us and we chose Zell because we knew they would like it. We needed somewhere pretty and somewhere that was good for non-skiers. My parents were very happy with it. There was plenty to keep them occupied. It’s beautiful there and so one day they went up the mountain and took photos of the views, which were stunning. The town is right on the lake so it’s lovely. They also went shopping quite a lot. My dad was going to do lots of other activities like skidoo-ing but in the end he didn’t, I think he was happy just spending time in the resort. It’s a good place to go at Christmas time as well. They had a traditional ceremony, almost like a Pagan ritual where they pulled a tree out of the lake (which had been submerged a few days before) and everyone stood around the lake with candles, it was really beautiful and very sweet. There was a fantastic bar on the last bend of the blue run that goes down into town, it was traditional and friendly and had really good food and wine. I was a bit disappointed by how quiet it was. One reason we went there is because we had heard the atmosphere was great but I was surprised there weren’t many people there at Christmas time. If it wasn’t for this I would have given the resort a higher rating.
1/12: Show Review list
Mrs Allibone
The Boyce Family
Mike T
Paul McGinty
John and Stephanie
Andy
Bruce Attenborrow
Mr Somers
Hilary
Martyn
Chris Bush
Tara O'Reilly