Last few days ago, I had a wonderful discovery in our trip to Austria and I can’t wait to share with you, but this time, it is without the winter wonderland ! In Summer, Austria is ever more grand! Imagine, over 2,040 meters of altitude, I was not prepared to see an incredible mixture of nature and great engineering! For Asians like me, the sight of a dam or water reservoirs up there in between three thousand meters Alpine peaks is not so ordinary, i thought for a minute, how did they ever built that in the mountains?!With my own eyes, I was able to see that it is a masterpiece and a modern technical wonder. It is like walking into a different world surrounded with different inter layers of glaciers, mountain peaks, blue calm waters, green pastures and beautiful rock formations, plus the highly engineered tunnels and reservoirs. Kaprun have it , it’s there in the Hochgebirgsstauseen ( or simply translated as high mountain reservoirs ) in the quaint village of Kaprun in Austria.
I think Austrians are crazy for building a dam up there in the mountains, but indeed they are brilliant! This place is a blend of nature and technology. Kaprun is not only famous for the Kitzsteinhorn- or the THE Glacier and the Grossglockner High Alpine road– which is the best panoramic road in Europe. It has so much more to offer for adventure-seeking individuals, nature lovers, families and for people who are looking for new experience, and that includes me.
We started our journey after having breakfast and packing our day’s essentials especially for our 5- year old daughter. The trip going there is enough thrill.We drove to Kessellfallstrasse up to the leveled parking area and there we’ve got tickets to go up the Hochgebirgssteuseen. One important tip – park on the highest possible floor, the way out is at the parking roof and there are no lifts, only tiny stairs. But the big bonus is that there is no parking fee!
There are also public buses ( Bus 660) which can bring you up to this place and to the Kassa (or Ticket center). Don’t forget to bring your Guest/ Summer cards because you can get reasonable discounts if you show it to the cashier.From there, we took the 1st Bus ( approx. 6 minutes) leading to the Furnicular ( or an inclined lift which is not for the faint hearted!) and another bus ride through the tunnels up to the dam.The well-known Lärchwand inclined lift is one of the highlights of our trip to the high mountain reservoirs. It is Europe’s largest open elevator and overcomes a 431 meter steep step on the way up before continuing on the higher road towards the reservoirs. It feels like riding an escalator without the steps and what is best- you feel the fresh air on your face!
It was quite a very tranquil ride. I am totally impressed of the road construction and the ride going up! I never felt a bump and the scenery of going up is an adventure itself.Another attraction that you pass by on your journey is the herb trail from the Mooserboden mountain restaurant to the Fürthermoaralm. In about 45 min. Walking time and over 237 vertical meters, you will learn a lot about local herbs and enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding peaks of the Hohe Tauern. At the Fürthermoaralm you should take a break before you take the bus back to Mooserboden. This pasture has an exciting story to tell as it had to be relocated during the construction of the reservoir. The original Alm lies at the bottom of the lake. Among other things, the new alpine pasture was used to host construction workers on the high-alpine construction sites, which is regarded as the cornerstone of today’s commercial alpine pasture in Pinzgau.
The two dams- the Mooserboden and the Wasserfallboden are like Fjords sandwiched in between the Alps mountain ranges and the way the reservoirs was built is really impressive. The views that awaits you on top is really wonderful. There are a couple of restaurants on top, an exhibition center of the Hydroelectric power system. The Moosersperre dam towers 107 meters almost straight up and at the same time curves across a width of 494 meters between the rocks .A walk through the dam is really great and my daughter enjoyed it as well. There is a beautiful playground just beside the restaurant and endless picturesque panoramic views for nature photography. The best way to enjoy this place is stay a bit longer, explore, wander and linger a bit longer.
We enjoyed a hearty lunch in the restaurant, the Bergrestaurant Mooserboden ( at 2,040 meters) and tried their regional dishes and delicacies like “Kaiserschmarren” , chicken schnitzel and Rind Gulash all at reasonable price. The service was fast,the restaurant has great ambiance, cozy and quiet despite the volume of costumers and they have clean bathrooms! This unique location on the Mooserboden reservoir offers us wonderful views of about 3,000 m mountain peaks while eating and enjoying our drinks. We had luck because we had a wonderful weather during our visit. On one note, this place is only open from June up to October and closes in Winter.
This place offers lots of hiking paths and nature wander tours.What I’ve enjoyed the most is really watching how the mountains envelops this place, its like a painting came alive. The colors, the symmetry and the way the Glacier on top spreads is simply mesmerizing. I was totally blown away of this beauty. Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful nature I have ever seen. The water changes from different colors from the levels where I’m standing. From emerald green, blue, seafoam green and torquoise. This place reminds me that we can leverage nature by not destroying it. I think this is one of the reasons we love Austria– it is really a nature jewel.
If you are visiting around Kaprun, Zell am Zee or nearby to Höhe Tauerns, make sure to drop by and see this place.You will not regret. It is very kid-friendly and you can even bring your pets up. I have seen a couple of families with their dogs with them as well as strollers for babies.It is unbelievable when I see almost newborns already being brought to this heights! One thing more– I gained high respect for the bus drivers and their route plans in the mountains—simply impeccable!
If you want to learn more about how this structure was built and how the inner system of the dam works, then you can join the tours they offer. It takes every 45 mins and meets directly at the Mooserboden kiosk from 10 a.m up to 3 p.m.
I think for many people who have never been to Austria and to Kaprun, this place may mean a MYTH. Kaprun means one thing above all: the birthplace of a myth. High above the Kaprun valley, a world of wonders of technology emerged in the post-war period, which was already ahead of its time and has lost nothing of its myth even today. The two high mountain reservoirs in Kaprun are almost like fjords. Especially when snow melts in spring, then they are bulging and the turbines, hidden behind the mighty dam walls, are running at full speed. In the mountains above Kaprun, electricity is generated at 2,040 m above sea level, a lot of electricity. It is not just for touristic purposes, it is really built with purpose. This is promoted throughout the year and for many decades. You have to see it by your own eyes.
When visiting in Summer, make sure to wear appropriate clothes and shoes. I am glad we all wear hiking shoes as it is a must for hiking especially through rocks and steep areas, plus it is safer for your feet. This is not a place for your sandals or open shoes. It is better to always bring a summer jacket or something to protect you from winds. It is always great to check the weather before going as this place needs a clear blue skies. Other activities you might want to try while visiting this place are as follows ;
- Walking and learning with children – there are 6 adventure stations that will allow young and old visitors to find out more about nature and technology in a playful manner.At the cash desk, children are handed a leaflet with a plan and directions on how to experience the kids trail. A great surprise awaits at the “Electricity Adventure World“.
- Enter the depths of the Interior of the Mooser Dam – how was the gigantic dams built in the middle of the Alps?
- Explore the Electricity Adventure World-this is a wonderful exhibition showing young and old can immerse themselves in the world of hydropower and the myth of Kaprun.
- Last but not the least — lie down in the wooden benches along the dam, close your eyes and breathe in nature! Don’t forget—Take really nice photos!
Want to learn more how to visit this place? I have posted here some helpful links that can help you with your trip.
Until next time ! Tschüss!