Zell am of the Austrian Alps - Magical 20km Hiking Journey to Breathtaking Freshwater Lake

Zell am See – 20km Hiking Journey to Breathtaking Panoramic Views aboce the Lake (+hiking map, all infos and photo tips)

Beautiful freshwater Lake Zell, which can be found completely frozen in winter, melts our hearts in all seasons of the year. Hiking above Zell am See with the dreamy panoramic glacial view above the lake. Full hiking description, hiking map and pro tips for the best viewpoints and photo spots: On this 20km hiking trail in the Austrian Alps, which starts from Lehenbrücke stop and circles to the same location many hours later, will lead you along the Gries path, towards Berggasthof Mitterberg, and all the way to the summit of the Schwalbenwand.

In the province of Salzburg lies one of the most popular sights in the Alps: Zell am See and its lake (Lake Zell).  Zell am See, often audibly pronounced with an Arabic accent as “Silammsi”, has an outstanding beauty. 

This and the connection to one of the most famous Muslim legends makes Zell am See a place of longing. Perhaps modern film depictions in major Bollywood blockbusters have also ensured this status. Either way, guests have made understandable choices:  Green mountain landscapes, snow-white covered alpine peaks and a blue shining lake are definitely a harmonious sight. 

The hike presented here leads from the popular excursion inn on Pointner Berg into the quieter mountains

Directions from the panoramic Hike at Zell am See to Schwalbenwand summit

Start at the Thumersbach Lehenbrücke stop. Here, directly on the north side of the brook, turn left uphill along the Gries path. Follow the road, later a hiking trail and again a road in the direction of Berggasthof Mitterberg (1210m). 

Here follow the road uphill and finally turn left on the hiking trail following the signs to Schwalbenwand. At about 1750m a small detour of about 350m is worthwhile to stop at the nostalgic Schützlingalm. Finally, return the 350m and reach the summit of the Schwalbenwand (2011m). 

This panoramic hike route Zell am See to Schwalbenwand is graded as difficult, so it is preffered to have some hiking experience. Beginners can start with this tour and just turn around when the legs are burning – the best photo spot is right ar the beginning. If you need guiding and want to experience a photography hiking workshop, we have you covered.

Follow the path to the right over the Schönwieskopf (1994m) to the Ochsenkopf (1995m). Here there is the possibility with another 150 meters uphill to walk the Hundstein (2117m). Otherwise, shortly before the Ochsenkopf, follow the hiking trail towards Thumersbach/Gasthof Waldheim downhill via the Stoffelalm. 

Finally, you reach the parking lot on the valley floor and walk along the road back to the starting point at the Lehenbrücke stop.

Tip: The hike can be combined with a trip across the beautiful Zeller See. In a few steps you can reach the center of the village from the Bellevue Kurpark Thumersbach landing stage and board the bus here. When using a car there is the parking lot at Gasthof Waldheim. Alternatively, for a short round, the Berggasthof Mitterberg (1205m) on the Pointner Berg.

Photo tips near Zell am See that will make your Instagram pop – alpine meadow and summit at Schwalbenwand

We find the well-known photo spot with dream scenery around the mountain inn Mitterberg. A picture foreground with alpine meadow and without other distractions helps for a calm picture composition. 

The summit views at Schwalbenwand to Hundstein, however, are also worth a photo. For an extra portion of alpine romance, we should choose the detour to the old Schützlingalm.

Over alpine meadow ridges, the trail passes nostalgic alpine huts. The best photo location near Zell am See: The perfect panoramic viewpoint and landscape photography location is covered in this amazing hike. (picture: Zell am See Tourism)

Mountain Moments Photo Workshops provide Photo Tours for everybody, Alpine Experience for beginners and intermediate-level photographers with 3 to 6-hour routes, as well as Summit Experience for more advanced photographers and hikers. We have private workshops and group classes.

More information about your next hiking adventure near Zell am See

How to get there by public transport: Very good train connections from Munich, Vienna, Innsbruck, Graz, Klagenfurt to the center of Zell am See. By boat or bus to Thumersbach village center. Change direction Thumersbach Lehenbrücke, www.postbus.at.

How to get there by car: From Salzburg or Villach A10 to Bischofshofen. Take the B311 in the direction of Zell am See. North of Zell am See exit Unterreit and via Prielau along the lake to Thumersbach, in the village center turn left towards Lehenbrücke.

Start/finish: Zell am See – Lehenbrücke (915m) 47.334140,12.846837

Distance: 20km

Duration: 8h

Ascent/descent: 1470m/1470m

Highest point/lowest point: 2012m/915m

Hike difficulty level: difficult

Special features: Mobility-impaired persons can take the car to Berggasthof Mitterberg and enjoy the view there during a smaller photo tour.

Catering: Berggasthof Mitterberg, Statzerhaus, Schützlingalm, Weberalm, Thumersbach, Zell am See.

Further tips: Boat trip from Zell am See to Thumersbach.




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Here we have compiled the most beautiful locations and photo opportunities. 30 hikes with 90 photo spots are selected and described in such a way that you can easily experience these wonderful landscapes for yourself – including GPS tracks and hiking map and all other information. ie schönsten Orte und Fotogelegenheiten in den Bergen zusammengefasst. 30 Wanderungen mit 95 Fotospots sind so ausgewählt und beschrieben, dass auch du diese wunderbaren Landschaften selbst erleben kannst – inkl. GPS Tracks und Wanderkarte und allen weiteren Infos.

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Of course, you will find all the information about this hike in the ebook. After registering, you will also receive the GPS track, so you are on the safe side and won’t get lost and will find all photo locations easily.

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