Enjoy inspiring lake views from your hotel
Wonderful views over stunning Lake Zell form the backdrop of this fascinating 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 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 this morning, 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 SalzburgerLand, at the heart of the mountainous Hohe Tauern National Park and 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. We stay for 6 nights at the Hotel Berner, a family-run hotel boasting a panoramic view over the village and lake.
Today we are free to explore the area. Why not use your included visitors card for free access to the boats and operating cable-cars in the area?
Accompanied by a local guide, we travel north by coach into Germany, for a visit to the Eagle's Nest, perched at the top of a 6,000-feet 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 reminder of the atrocities committed during WWII.
Today we take a journey by steam train on the narrow-gauge Pinzgau Railway, an archetypal rural railway 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 railway 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, allowing passengers to experience the beautiful line as it winds 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 694 square miles. A variety of endangered animal and plant species can be found in this beautiful, diverse park. From here it's a short walk to the magnificent Krimml Waterfalls. The Krimml Waterfalls are thought to be the largest in Europe, and truly are a sight to savour. Water plummets into the Krimmler Valley from a height of more than 1247 feet at a volume of about 160 million gallons per hour. The frothy water makes its way through thick forests and the spray drenches the various walkways lining the waterfalls. On reaching the valley it rejoins the Krimmler Ache River, a tranquil waterway meandering through the Hohe Tauern National Park. The stark contrast between the raging waterfalls and the placid flow of Krimmler Ache adds to the beauty of the 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 half-timbered 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.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
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 all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
NEW FOR 2020: Inclusive Luggage Transfer
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 14 verified reviews
As always, a successful holiday. Only one hiccup - as a Gold Customer I did not expect the worse room in the hotel. I overlooked railway track with trains thundering by - and just on the other side of the track there was a multi storey car park!!!!
Very enjoyable holiday with excellent weather.
a well organised tour which we thoroughly enjoyed.value for money
It was an excellent trip, the only thing that stopped me from giving 5 stars that unfortunately it poured with rain on the day we visited the Eagles Nest and we were unable to appreciate the views from the outside,whilst I was disappointed to find that inside was just a cafe.
I found the at The Grand Hotel room was quite hot at night so was difficult to sleep.
Two days off combined with four excursions was a good balance for a site with such excellent scenery. The inclusion of a diligent Group Leader was a bonus.
A very good holiday in every respect other than the weather which was not under your control! Even the locals said it was unusually hot. Pity the hotel did not have air conditioning, but it was understandable.
Excellent organisation with very good tour manager.
Well organised, a good variety of days out and enough free time to explore on our own.
Single room in hotel :no view of lake and right next to railway line Thus difficult to sleep and especially as no air conditioning in room Not a 4 star hotel in my view. Paid so easily supplement for a poor room. Disappointing.
Enjoy inspiring lake views from your hotel