“And then, when each and everyone in my group realises the untamed power of the Alpine plants, this ‘medicine’ around us, I thank God for my gift and smile …”, says Christine Sperner, who is our hiking guide for the day and a sort of plant whisperer, too. You could also call her the translator of all the “green secrets” that the Panoramaweg trail offers from Schmittenhöhe to the Sonnkogelalm high above Zell am See. Here, you have the best view of over 30 three-thousand-metre peaks in the Central Alps. Awesome. We got so lucky to see them all: On a single hiking day at the end of September, I think I have never experienced such an incredible mountain panorama. And Christine’s soft voice in our ear when she speaks of her beloved protégés along the way: yarrow, lady’s mantle, nettle, blackberry, bellflower. And many, many more.
Zell am See itself with its splendid mountain scenery makes you want to explore it on a panoramic boat trip. From the lake …
… the beauty of the surrounding region becomes particularly clear, almost kitschy. Use the panorama boat’s “Rooftop Bar” for the 360° views: The surrounding mountain panorama is breathtakingly beautiful. “Up there,” says Anna Zembacher from the local Zell am See Tourist Board, “we can go for a walk along the panorama trail a little higher above the city.” Fantastic. I don’t know what was more beautiful: the boat trip, the hike over the city or the evening lake magic? Could you perhaps tell me if you see the following pictures?
The beauty of the region also continues beneath the surface: In numerous efforts towards sustainability in transport, mountain railways, and energy management in the entire Zell am See-Kaprun region.
But how to understand all this complex and often technical information, when like us you’re only here for a few days? We decided to ask the locals. These include, for example, Beate and Bernd Mondré, my hosts at Pension Hubertus. Since 2006, they are proud to have been awarded the Austrian Eco-label for their sustainability efforts in all areas: Solar heating, an electric gas station for e-cars and the use of organic products for breakfast, cleaning etc. add a number of further charismatic qualities to their personal charm as hosts.
A trip to Kitzsteinhorn mountain can also be sustainable around here: We leave our car behind and take the (hiking) bus, which comes at only € 1,- with the local Zell am See-Kaprun Card.
Last but not least, Zell am See is also home to a creative holiday. In Martha’s Waldwerkstatt, you can make pottery to your heart’s content and have your homemade souvenirs sent home to you.
Martha Zillner is a woman you should meet while in Zell am See. Just like charming herbalist Christine Sperner or our host Beate Mondré, she is alive with the passion of being able to share her pottery knowledge in creative courses for ceramic fans. Fun! From Landhotel Martha and their restaurant “Flo’s Gastwirtschaft” (Martha’s son Florian cooks at a very high level!) it’s only a stone’s throw to the Waldwerkstatt for the pottery course. Thank you Martha: What we have produced in less than three hours, without any previous knowledge or preparations, is really wonderful!
More pictures of my trip to Zell am See can be found here:
My friends Lisa, Christina & Martin have also reported about their experiences in Zell am See on their travel blogs:
- Christina Leutner | CitySeaCountry.com: “Wochenendtrip Zell am See Kaprun: Ausflugsziele und Tipps“
- Martin Moser | Gehlebt.at: “Das Umweltzeichen in Zell am See-Kaprun“
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Austrian Eco Label together with the Tourism Destination Zell am See Kaprun. All opinions are my own.