The origins of the Austrian Zell am See go way back. Already in the Bronze Age there was a settlement at the location of the current town. Nowadays Zell am See is mainly known as a ski resort.
The town has approximately 10,000 inhabitants.
Zell am See is located just west of the center of Austria, in a valley between two rivers, the Saalach and the Salzach. The city is built on the west shore of Lake Zell, about 30 kilometers north of the Großglockner. Innsbruck lies about 100 kilometers west of Zell am See.
Winter tourism is by far the main source of income for Zell am See. Skiers are attracted by the ski runs of the Schmittenhöhe. Although tourists also come to town in summer (golfing, sailing on the lake), most profits are made in winter. Zell am See is also a regional shopping center, partially nourished by tourism. The company Hagleitner, specialized in company hygiene, is headquartered in Zell am See.
The nearest airport is Salzburg Airport, in a direct line 50 kilometers north of Salzburg, but by road the distance is almost 100 kilometers. By rental car you take the Pinzgauer Strasse (B311) and freeway A10 to the airport. Travel time is about 75 minutes (longer in winter).
From the bus station in the city center, many buses run to several places in the direct vicinity; in winter also to the ski runs. In winter, buses leave at least 3 times per hour and if you have a lift pass they are free. For destinations further out, it's best to take the so-called Postbus. Zell am See has a train station with connections to for example Innsbruck and Salzburg.
In the city center you can often park for free for 30 minutes but after that you have to pay. The rule is applied stringently and the tow-away service is extremely active! There are large parking lots near the ski lifts where you can park your rental car for free, but once the lifts close you cannot leave your car here. To reduce the traffic in the city center, a tunnel has been dug west of Zell am see, the Schmittentünnel, connecting the north and the south of the city. Zell am See is a perfect operating base for trips in the vicinity. You can for example by rental car take the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, go to Salzburg or visit the ice caves of Eisriesenwelt.
With over two million stays per year, Zell am See is among the main tourist centers of Austria. There's a large choice of accommodations, especially typical Austrian winter sports hotels. In summer you don't have to book your room in advance, but in winter you absolutely have to as there will hardly be a free room in Zell am See.
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