At the foot of the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, ski until July
Kaprun is especially known for the Kitzsteinhorn glacier, open to skiers from October until July. There is skiing for all abilities and although truly challenging slopes are limited, it is best suited to adventurous intermediates; the off-piste is good. Visitors have a wider choice too, Zell am See is a short bus ride away offering a larger ski area and variety of piste options. Saalbach and its linked resorts are a little further, opening up one of Austria’s largest ski areas and all doable for a day trip. The town itself is attractive with typical Austrian charm, it is relatively quiet, with a year round population. The lake at Zell and surrounding areas are a fabulous visit in the summer.
What about ski chalet and apartment properties for sale in Kaprun?
To us the Austrian property market is excellent value in the context of the Alps, resorts have made a huge effort to upgrade their infrastructure and offer comprehensive snow-making, this matters to property investors. Various new and refurbished 1, 2 and 3 bedroom developments are underway in Kaprun, and there is usually a good selection of chalets and apartments starting at €5k/sqm. With over 2m overnight stays annually in the region (including Zell), the rental market is a solid proposition for property owners. For futher information, see our Insights series on the Zell am See property market.
A guide to Kaprun
Kaprun is neighbours with Zell am See, one of Austria’s best-loved ski resorts. Zell am See is a charming lakeside town and year-round destination that has a different feel to it with the picturesque lake in front and the mountains behind. Kaprun itslef has an imposing and historic castle built in the 12th century built as fortress, as residence of noble families and as status symbol in the region. Kaprun has its own skiing that is directly linked to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier ski area with the local Maiskogelbahn ski lift right in the centre. Accommodation in Kaprun is quite spread out, mainly in the central part of the village or on the road up to the old Kitzsteinhorn valley station. Many hotels, pensions and apartments to rent are available.
There is plenty here for the non-skier, such as the excellent sports centre with indoor pool and fitness studio. Or take a bus to the good leisure centre in Zell am See which has pools, saunas, steam room and indoor ice rink. Walking down by the lake is as pleasurable in winter as it is in the summer.
Getting to Kaprun is easy, just 80 km from Salzburg and Munich is 3 hours by road.
Kaprun ski area
The local ski area on the Kitzsteinhorn-Maiskogel mountains starts off with wide, scenic pistes lined with trees lower down into the valley. With its snowsure glacier, the Kitzsteinhorn tops out at 3,000m and provides reliable snow from autumn to early summer. Beginners can make a start on several easy runs on the Maiskogel mountain. Experts and intermediates alike will enjoy the good snow on the glacier, where there are also black runs (the steepest is Black Mamba, although quite short), ski routes and off-piste. Other excellent off-piste runs can be accessed here, such as the hikes to the back of the peak which takes you to Niedernsill (with a guide), another good place for off piste is Weißsee Glacier. The snow park at Kitzsteinhorn throughout the long season is good news for freestylers, and a smaller park at Maiskogel is open in the winter.
After a few days, you will be tempted to explore the wider ski area. From central Zell am See take the CityXpress gondola which is easily reached by bus. Here the Schmittenhöhe ski area has something to interest all standards and is ideal for intermediates. Sonnenalm is an intermediate’s paradise. And in poorer weather, there’s always great visibility on the long, wide, tree-lined runs. Advanced skiers have several long medium-steep blacks descending through the forest to enjoy. The new gondola on the back of Schmittenhöhe, which links the resort with a short bus ride, to the 270km Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn ski area in the next valley. To access all these slopes the Ski Alpin Card allows access to the vast 408 kilometres of pistes and 121 lifts of the Skicircus domain and is remarkably good value.
Cross country skiers have up to 200km to explore with a good choice of it in Kaprun.
Check out our blog: Skiing in Zell am See – We’ll Be Back!
Après ski in Kaprun
You can find authentic Austrian bars on the side of the slopes or down in the village. Baumbar has live music and stays open until 4 am. Paletti is more relaxed and ideal for small groups of friends. Schirmbar Zur Lederhos’n plays music really loud. Pavillon is a well-placed bar-restaurant in Kaprun centre with a good range of pizzas and beverages and is popular with the locals. Jausenstation Häuslalm is said to be the best apres ski bar on the glacier.
Or head over to Zell am See, justifiably renowned for its lively après-ski and numerous bars. Villa Crazy Daisy has a relaxed terraced for après on the terrace from 3pm, with live bands and DJs. O’Flannigan’s is the main sports bar. Dorfschenke’s known for its Austrian pop music, dancing on tables and steins of beer. Schnapps Hans Ice bar outside the Berghotel DJ has dancing on tables and on the bar, and a terrace with fabulous views. At Ginhouse pick your favourite from over 450 different gins. The Heitzmann rooftop terrace of the Hotel Heitzmann is popular. Later on, EK Zeller Eisbären, the competitive local ice-hockey team at the rink in the leisure centre of Zell am See where you will an indoor pool, skating and curling in the same complex.
Eating out in Kaprun
The wide and varied selection from the valley all the way to the summit offers something for every taste. On the Maiskogel rustic ski huts and traditional mountain restaurants such as the Alpengasthaus Glocknerblick serve local specialities with a cosy atmosphere. And the Sauloch Alm offers a large sun terrace and regional Pinzgau cuisine. The Alpincenter offers a wide range of mountain dining for every taste. The Gipfel Restaurant at the summit is Salzburg’s highest restaurant at 3,029 metres. Or try the Krefelder Hütte between the Alpincenter and Langwiedboden if you fancy delicious dumpling dishes, with a fabulous view. Häuslalm is a rustic mountain hut serving Pinzgau specialities, with a sunny terrace.
For the evening most of the hotels in Kaprun have their own restaurants. Hilberger’s Beisl is a delightful pub/restaurant located right in the centre. Quite a few Italian restaurants are to be found in and around Kaprun, including the popular Pizzeria Paletti.
Summer in Kaprun
The combination of the glacier, the mountains and a lake make the Zell am See-Kaprun region in the Salzburger Land absolutely unique. The activities are numerous: hiking, cycling or mountain bike, water sports, electric boats, swimming in the crystal clear lake, beach parties, classical concerts, festivals and theatre performances at the castle, golf. Skiing on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier is usually possible from end of September to mid-July.
Fantastic events are staged at the Kaprun Castle throughout the year. Most notably is the annual Medieval Festival in summer. The castle hosts other celebrations, where concerts and many famous events are staged. This is a special place to be at sunset and really worth a visit.
Close to the Hohe Tauern National Park and the magnificent Grossglockner mountain region or hiking on the Kitzsteinhorn, the Schmittenhöhe or the Maiskogel – quite a choice. Schmittenhöhe has family-friendly routes, a themed hike of several hours or a challenging high-alpine trail. On this mountain, the Sisi Trail is an easy place to start. The High-Altitude Promenade in Zell am See combines pristine nature with stunning views. In total 132 hikes and 14 long-distance hikes are waiting to be explored. The top of the Kitzsteinhorn is one of the best vantage points in Austria.
For mountain bikers the shared trail network with Zell am See means there is a great choice for all abilities and ambitions. Locally, Maiskogel has brilliant downhill runs a large range of XC terrain. Try the three superb freeride trails from the top of the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. Elsewhere the Bachler trail is a perfect run at the start of the day to warm up. Wuestlau is a 7.7km thrill ride with amazing views down the valley and Gleißstein is a twisty, rocky, exposed run right at the top of the mountain.
For golfers the the Zell am See-Kaprun Golf Club consists of two equally good 18-hole courses on flat terrain but with features such as ponds surrounded by reeds and fairways full of variety in park-like grounds. All in the shadow of the beautiful mountains.
If Alpine property for sale in the Kaprun area is not of interest, consider properties nearby in Zell am See.
Other Destinations in the Austrian Alps
Kitzbühel, Kirchberg, Zell am See, Fieberbrunn, Saalbach, Brixen