Zell am See, Austria
A few weeks ago my girlfriends and I spent time in Salzburg, Austria. It was spectacular and likely one of the most beautiful regions of the world.
After going on a stunning hike through an alpine gorge, we loaded back into the car and ventured to the mountain lake village of Zell am See. I’d been here before during a wild 3 week post-graduation trip years ago with 30 other college grads (you can imagine the stories), I remembered it being one of the most beautiful stops on my trip and wanted to share it with the girls.
Upon arrival we skittered down to the water to take in the scene. Of course it was a dream – Austrian lake villages always are. What I hadn’t noticed during my prior visit was the illustrious Grand Hotel Zell am See, seated on the water’s edge. What a beaut!
We wandered the grounds and relaxed for a bit on the patio. A pianist played merrily under a stark white umbrella, diners chattered, and vibrant flowers bloomed in their full summer glory.Oh, Austria, you already had me, but myyy what a place.
After our brush with luxury, we strolled the lake promenade, hoping to rent a boat. An approaching storm quickly cut into our plans (don’t worry, we went boating on another alpine lake later) so instead we were treated to the sight of the world’s largest pair of lederhosen. (I still can’t figure out why they were there hanging on the boathouse, but I’ll take it.)
Heading back into town, the cloudy thunderheads miraculously vanished. The pedestrian-only town center (it’s quite petite) is a little storybook. We found outdoor seating and tucked in on traditional Austrian fare. I went with pumpkin encrusted chicken, a unique version of mac and cheese for Tara and Jen had ‘meat salad’, thin strips of chicken and turkey in a mayo-based sauce with vegetables. Despite the perhaps odd mix of ingredients, we were all quite pleased with our choices.
All and all, Zell am See is a beautiful little Austrian treat. It’s quiet, and a bit out of the way, but if you’re in search of somewhere scenic and relaxing, this is the place.
In the winter, take the cable car to the top of nearby mountain for skiing. [Side bar – can we call it an ‘Alp’ be a single mountain in the Alps? I vote yes.] We didn’t have the time, but in the summer months a massive network of hiking trails can be accessed using the same cable car. Next time!