Enjoy inspiring lake views from your hotel
Wonderful views over the stunning Lake Zell forms the backdrop of this fascinating Zell am See rail tour. From our base in the heart of the Austrian Alps, we explore Salzburg and Hitler's mountain retreat at The Eagle's Nest.
We meet our Tour Manager at Great Rail Journeys' dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras International today, enjoying a welcome drink, before leaving for Brussels by Eurostar. As we travel in Standard Premier Class, a light meal and drinks are served at our seats. On arrival in Brussels, we change trains and continue onwards to Germany, arriving in Cologne for an overnight stay at a centrally located hotel. We dine together in the hotel this evening.
We leave Cologne early on Day 2, continuing our journey by rail to Zell am See. From Cologne we travel in First Class to Schwarzach St Veit, where we change to a local train (Standard Class) to Zell am See, arriving in the afternoon. Zell am See is located in the Salzburger Land at the heart of the mountainous Hohe Tauern National Park, close to Grossglockner Mountain, Austria's highest peak. Zell am See is a picturesque little town full of medieval charm, set beside the shimmering, brilliant-blue waters of Lake Zell. It is perfectly located for making some fantastic excursions into this beautiful part of Austria and is a superb base from which to enjoy gentle strolls and more adventurous walking.
We stay for six nights at the Grand Hotel, superbly situated on a small promontory between the railway and the lake.
This morning sees us embark on a cruise across the glorious waters of Lake Zell. This is a fantastic opportunity to take in the magnificent backdrop of ancient, cloud-tipped mountains and pretty lakeside towns. You travel over the gentle water, taking in the view from the water of attractive Zell am See. The rest of your day is at leisure, you may wish to take a cable car to the summit of Schmittenhöhe, one of the finest viewing points in the Austrian Alps. A range of walking trails make this an excellent place for those wishing to enjoy the crisp Alpine air, and the scenery here is truly sublime. Be sure to keep an eye out for various birds of prey in this region, as they circle in the hope of spotting a stray marmoset.
Accompanied by a local guide, we travel north by coach across into Germany, for a visit to the Eagle's Nest, perched at the top of a 6,000 foot (1,829m) mountain above the town of Berchtesgaden. The Eagle's Nest was given to Adolf Hitler as his 50th birthday present. The chalet building remained unscathed by the allied bombing during World War II, and was saved from destruction in the aftermath, instead being retained as a historical monument.
Today we take a journey by steam train on the narrow-gauge Pinzgau Railroad, an archetypal rural railroad which runs between Zell am See and the village of Mittersill. The line was built in the late 1890s, with the first train leaving from Zell am See in 1898. The railroad has never closed, and now runs regular trains along the foothills of the Pinzgau Mountains, from which the line takes its name. In recent years, a special summer steam service was introduced to the line, which has proved to be immensely popular, allowing passengers to experience the beautiful line winding across barndotted meadows whilst reliving the 'Golden Age' of steam.
From Mittersill we ascend to the 'Wonder World of Water' Centre above Krimml, in the Hohe Tauern National Park. The park is the second biggest wildlife preserve in Europe and the biggest in the Alps, extending over a territory of 1,118 square miles. A variety of exotic animal and plant species that are endangered can be found in this beautiful, diverse park. From here it is a short walk to the magnificent Krimml Waterfalls themselves.
The Krimml Waterfalls are thought to be the largest in Europe, and they truly are a sight to savor. Over 1246 feet crash over the rocks and down into the Krimmler Ache Valley below, producing a thunderous roar. The white water plunges between gaps in the thick forest, and the spray drenches the various walkways that follow the waterfalls down. Down in the valley, the contrast is striking as the rush of the falls rejoins the Krimmler Ache river and becomes, once more, a tranquil river, meandering through the Hohe Tauern National Park.
Your day is free to explore Zell am See at your leisure. Perhaps enjoy a relaxing stroll along the picturesque lakeside promenade, or alternatively, visit the historic city of Innsbruck - the capital of the Tyrol region, which is easily reached by train. The delightful city has a beautiful Old Town which is ideal for exploring on foot. Visit the Imperial Palace and the famous 'Golden Roof', with 2,738 dazzling roof tiles.
The next day we take the regional train (Standard Class) to Salzburg for a full-day excursion. Salzburg is famous for being the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for the film 'The Sound of Music.' The delightful, pedestrianised city centre is a mix of halftimbered taverns, medieval stone houses and grand marble palaces. The original city was designed by architects to create a Baroque version of Rome north of the Alps. During a guided tour of the city we see the Getreidegasse, the Residenz and the magnificent Mirabell Gardens, gaining a fabulous understanding of Salzburg's fascinating history. We have a little free time to explore, perhaps to visit the magnificent Salzburg Cathedral, before returning to Zell am See.
We travel in Standard Class rail for the short journey to Worgl, before continuing by high-speed rail to Cologne, where we overnight in a central hotel. Day 9 is spent travelling to London, first by train to Brussels and then underneath the Channel on the Eurostar, on arrival in London your tour concludes and you are free to make your way home.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from, London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point, and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and end point.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enjoy inspiring lake views from your hotel