High Altitude Reservoir Hohe Tauern – Kaprun Austria

The High Altitude Reservoir is located in the Hohe Tauern national reserve and is accessible from the world-famous ski sports town, Kaprun.

Another excellent spot to visit is the Grossglockner high alpine road which is situated on the other side of the high altitude reservoir, but the same region of Salzburg.

alpine reservoire

The majestic mountain range is surrounded by summer greenery with its natural diversity and its timeless beauty… You would want to be in the Austrian alps now if you are looking for a quiet and serene holiday.

You would also like to be there during summer if you enjoy hiking and discovering Gaya’s simple wonders.

Austrian flag in the alps

I think most travelers that I have encountered visiting these lands, called it God’s own country.

As a local you are not always enamored, you know what I mean to say?

If you were born in a beautiful place, the beauty becomes omnipresent and therefore normal.

However, as a local, you don’t always get to the higher mountain points, but when we do, we end up as enthralled by the scenery around us.

That was the case when we were faced with a massive man-made reservoir, rich in history and which has been working so well in favor of the natural environment.

πŸš— Getting there

The village of Kaprun is situated near Zell am See and Mittersill in the region of Salzburg.

The town is a popular winter sports holiday destination for tourists from all over the world.

To reach the office of the high altitude reservoir cross the village of Kaprun and continue towards the glacier lifts which should be prominently directed.

You will come across boards directing you towards the High Altitude Reservoir Hohe Tauern.

Once you have reached your destination, find parking and get a ticket at the counter.

Shuttle buses pass frequently so you won’t have to wait for long, but keep in mind the opening hours and last ascent (more further down).

The travel up to the reservoir will take about 30 minutes, where you will change from the first shuttle bus into a cool and fun open airlift, and then you will be taken to another shuttle bus with the other visitors and at last, you will be left at your final destination.

The shuttle bus will take you through narrow short tunnel passages, we enjoyed the roller-coast-like experience.

πŸ—» What is this High Altitude Reservoir?

The Kaprun Hohe Tauern reservoir should be actually called reservoirs because there are two artificial dam lakes nestled in between the colossal glaciers, whereas the lower reservoir is known as Wasserfallboden and the upper one as Mooserboden.

The purpose of the reservoir is to generate clean electricity for the Austrian country and the 170 million mΒ³ of water generates annually a whooping 700 million kWh for the Austrian households and industry.

water dam in Austria

So, the water collected by the dams mostly comes from the Pasterze glacier where the highest mountain of Austria is located, the Grossglockner.

Glaciers are also known as eternal high altitude freshwater ice patches, which are vital for the ecological balance.

As you know glaciers have been reduced over the last 100 years due to global environmental changes.

mountains in austria
Glacier zoomed-in – eternal snow ice in the summer

The water, that has been used for the generation of electricity, is later on returned to the natural cycle.

With that, I think they mean to say that they pump it back up or similar.

The thing is we never took a guided tour and I did forget to ask the lift controller how the water is returned to the upper reservoir, but my father mentioned that they pump it back up.

You know, I am not that technical…

high altitude alpine reservoire
clear and clean glacier water

Once we reached the top destination with the last comfortable shuttle bus, we took in the pretty picture around us with its vastness and mirroring waters.

To take a walk on the upper reservoir bridge is definitely refreshing and it’s a pleasant change.

You can take in all the beauty around you and you can take your own time, nobody will disturb you.

water reservoire in Austria

From the upper reservoir, you might be able to see some wildlife so binoculars might come useful.

The whole surrounding could remind one of autumn or spring, with the snow-peak mountains and cloud-shrouded mountains.

The weather is a bit cooler up there compared to the valley but the temperatures are pleasant.

If you are more of a technical person like my father and husband, you will also enjoy the Power and Ice Museum which is situated on the other side of the bridge.

You will be able to chill out there as well, have a hot goulash and a cool beer while enjoying the peaceful and perfect scenery around you.

high altitude reservoire kaprun

The museum itself explains the history of the reservoir well with video material and showpieces such as workers’ pickaxes and helmets.

You have to know the building of the reservoir was initiated before the 2nd world war and during the war many prisoners and foreigners worked there under harsh conditions.

Later on, after the war, I was told that locals, even from my area, so to say parents and grandparents of today’s generation, worked there constructing the immense high altitude reservoir the Hohe Tauern.

aus aribeit und opfer ein werk
Of work and sacrifice a plant (or creation)

All the work and years that it took to build such a master idea deserves recognition.

A memory of the struggles reminds us that all this could have not been without the hard-working men of the time.

grosskraftwerk kaprun picture of the 50s
The project board in the village of Kaprun 1951

The above picture, the complete history, the technical details, and an introduction on how the reservoir can benefit the natural balance of the environment can be learned in the same museum.

Also, you can get an exclusive guided tour into the reservoir tunnels, etc which might be interesting if you get there in the earlier hours of the day.

Dam water reservoir kaprun

I was already satisfied by just sitting there and taking in the whole scene but we saw people too trekking and there are guesthouses where you can take a room for one or two nights so that you can take your own time to discover the area around you with its secret hideouts.

The last shuttle bus leaves around 4:30 so you will have to be there on time too or you won’t get back down to your car.

Remember Austrians are punctual!  Anyway, if you just want to escape the world, missing the bus might be a good idea after all. πŸ˜‰

βŒ› When to visit and price

Take a break from your busy life and visit from the end of May to mid-October, daily from 9 am – 4:45 pm and the last chance to get a lift up is at 3:30 pm.

The ticket price for the several shuttle buses and the lift ride is per grown-up 19,50€, per child (6-15y.) 12€ and per child under 5 for free.

For more information about group prices, contact number, email, etc visit the Reservoir’s website.

cow statue salzburg alps

17 thoughts on “High Altitude Reservoir Hohe Tauern – Kaprun Austria”

  1. What a gorgeous place!!! High altitude reservoirs have such beauty and this one is exceptional! I’m not use to seeing that much snow in July, even in the high country around here. We used to have snow in July, but things are warming up. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous trip!

  2. Can you believe I’ve never been to Austria??? I know… it’s our neighbouring country, but somehow I have never travelled there. I must make a wine shopping trip one day (the best motivation for me πŸ˜‰ ) and spread my knowledge of Austrian wines (veeeery difficult to get here…). Beautiful photographs! I can only imagine how distant these landscapes and climate seem now for you…

  3. One Easter years ago we were in a small village south of KitzbΓΌhel. The Alps were still covered in snow but the ground was mostly clear of it. The sun was shining, people were happy, everything was neater than I’d ever seen before and I loved it. We didn’t do any hiking up the mountain but we walked along the creek and threw snowballs at each other . I can’t wait to go back.

  4. What gorgeous country! That is such a pretty place — how lucky to be able to visit it. Really interesting read — thanks so much.

  5. The water is such a glorious color! And such gorgeous mountains…no wonder you long for this fresh Austrian air when you’re experiencing a heatwave!

  6. My grandparents visited Autria many times when they were young. They really liked the country and kept going back. It was very nice to see your photos as it’s been a while since they shared pictures from Austria (my grandpa passed away and grandma in nursery). I wish to visit one day. Looks so serene and beautiful!

  7. Such an amazing place. I love nature, and that is one of the reasons why I travel. You are right and I can’t agree more – with the heat wave in my country, I wish I am at this place.

  8. Beautiful!! I fell in love with Austria in my holiday to Vienna and I am looking forward to visiting such places on mt next visit.
    Psst…i am currently in Delhi and so glad to be away from the stiffling heat of Mumbai. October is in my view the worst month for us.

  9. It certainly is very beautiful, and I can imagine this part of the world has a climate the exact opposite of what you experience in Goa. How lovely that you were able to spend some time with your family back in Austria xx

  10. What a wonderful lake on top of the mountain. Seeing the view from a high ground really feels like you could reach the sky. Austria sure has a unique beauty of their nature. You can also see the top of the mountain even you’re on the two dam. It’s quite interesting using water to gain electricity from it. Many country been using this method to lessen the source of their electricity bills.


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