What is there to see at the Krimml Waterfalls?
In September 2021, we visited one of Austria’s most iconic landmarks: the Krimml Waterfalls. This spectacular sight, has been popular amongst tourists for several decades attracting visitors from all over the world. Here are some things that you should know before you go.
What is Krimml all about?
The Krimml Waterfalls are Europe’s highest water fall system*. It is one of Austria’s most popular tourist attractions, mainly because its stunning views of the impressive waterfalls, surrounded by high alpine mountains peaks are so beautiful and easily accessible.
The Krimml waterfalls are divided into three parts, all of which you can admire along the hiking path up the mountain. The trail has several mountain huts along the way that offer ideal opportunities for refreshments and some rest. It a great destination for a day trip if you are in the area but also has enough to offer to those that spend a few extra days in Krimml.
*The highest waterfalls of the continent are actually in Norway: the Mardalfossen. But because Norway isn’t part of the EU, we will treat the claim as correct.
What you must know about the Krimml waterfalls before you visit
1. The water falls are not always worth a visit
The amount of water that flows through the waterfalls varies throughout the year. During spring and summer the higher temperatures warm up the glacier above the waterfalls, which will release lots of water which makes the waterfalls a spectacular sight to watch.
Entrance fee: Adults 5 EUR, Children (6-15 years old) 2 EUR
Months opened: April to October
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 16:30 (last admission)
Official website: https://www.wasserfaelle-krimml.at/en/
Disabled access: the bottom of the first waterfall can be reached with ease and the path is well suited for wheelchairs.
We visited the waterfalls in September. In early autumn, the glacier is still melting, meaning that the waterfalls are still relatively full. If you wait another months the glacier will freeze up which means that the waterfalls will dry up for the most part. Therefore, we recommend a visit between May and August.
2. The waterfalls are difficult to reach
The Krimml waterfalls aren’t easy to reach for those that don’t have a car. With a (rental) car you can easily drive to Krimml from either Salzburg (2 hours) or Zell Am See (1 hour). A beautiful drive with views of some of the highest peaks of the Austria.
In case you prefer to use public transportation there are two options to reach the waterfalls. It must be said that these options are more time consuming and require you to walk some extra miles. The first option is to use the beautiful Pinzgauer railway which connects Krimml and Zell am See. Along the way you will have beautiful views of the valley and surrounding peaks. The alternative is Regional Bus 670 which follows the same route.
For those who book an organized round trip through Austria, the landmark is usually part of the itinerary. It is also possible to book an organized day trip to the waterfalls from several big cities in the area. In the case of an organized trip you will be brought to the entrance of the park from where you will have the opportunity to hike up. Organized tours can be booked online and usually include a coach bus fare, as well as access to the waterfalls and the surrounding park. This option gives you enough time to explore the waterfalls and often also includes other regional highlights in the Austrian Alps.
3. Hiking up the Krimml Waterfalls is serious business, wear comfortable clothes
The hike to the bottom of the lower waterfall is easily accessible and suitable for both young and old, strollers and wheelchairs. However, as is often the case when climbing a mountain, the higher you get the more challenging the path. The hike to the top of the third waterfall is steep and not always that accessible. Paths are well kept and marked but handles are sometimes missing.
We recommend you wear comfortable shoes and clothes if you want to make the most out of your day. Although the paths are suitable for sneakers, we recommend wearing basic hiking shoes. You will be sweating and temperatures drop as you ascend the mountain so keep that in mind when you choose your clothes in the morning.
4. Crowds can be huge but easily avoidable
The Krimml Waterfalls are a very popular tourist attraction in Austria. During your visit, you can see dozens of touring cars (coaches) unloading large amounts of tourists from all over Europe. This could lead to long lines at the ticket office and some lines at the best selfie-spots.
But there’s good news: the higher you get the less crowded it is. Crowds can be avoided by following the path along the waterfalls. Weekends are busier than weekdays and it is best if you can avoid the summer vacation period as well. We recommend to opt for a visit in June or early July, instead of August.
5. Parking is free but it might be worth paying for
There are several parking areas at the Krimml waterfalls. The most convenient parking areas are close to the entrance of the park for which you need to pay a fee. The further you get away from the entrance, the more free parking areas you’ll find. Because of the intensity of the hike we recommend to save your energy and park closer but the walk to the entrance is not too demanding.