The Krimml Waterfalls in Austria are Europe’s highest waterfalls with a total drop of 380 m over three tiers. Going out of your way to visit the falls in the Hohe Tauern National Park is totally worth it. This guide tells you everything you need to know for a successful visit.
We’ve visited the Krimml Falls on a day trip from Zell am See twice, six years apart, and came back with different impressions after each visit. What stands out is that it’s an immersive nature-experience that requires some physical effort which is rewarded with breathtaking views and a feeling of accomplishment.
Krimml Waterfalls Fast Facts
|Entrance fee||€4 (adults)|
€1 (kids 6-15 yrs)
|Opening times||09:00 to 17:00 from mid-April to late October (last admission 16:30)|
|Waterfall trail total length||4 km (one way)|
|Time needed for visit||1 to 5 hours depending on how much of the trail you cover|
|Official website||Krimmler Wasserfälle|
5 Reasons to Visit the Krimml Falls
- At 380 m, they’re the highest waterfall in Europe and the fifth-highest in the world after the Angel Falls (Venezuela), Yosemite Falls (USA), Sutherland Falls (Nieu Seeland), and Mardalfossen (Norway).
- The falls are in the Hohe Tauern National Park, the largest nature park in the Alps.
- No matter from which direction you approach, you’ll pass stunning natural scenery including views of some of Austria’s highest mountain peaks including the Großvenediger at 3,657 m.
- Researchers from the Paracelsus Private Medical University in Salzburg have found that the spray or mist from the Krimml Waterfalls has a cleansing effect on the lungs.
- There’s nothing like walking up and down a mountain to make you feel alive. Doing that on a forest trail next to a waterfall is even more exhilarating.
The Krimml Waterfalls Hike
Parking Area to Ticket Office
The Krimml Falls parking areas and bus stops are centred around the Gerlos Straße which passes through the village of Krimml-Hochkrimml. From here, it’s a 10 to 15-minute walk to get to the ticket office at the entrance to the waterfall trail.
The first stop on the waterfall trail is Kürsinger Platz to view the bottom most of the Krimml Falls with a drop of about 140 m. It only takes about 3 minutes to walk here after turning off from the main trail at Hanke’s Café-Restaurant.
The spray was particularly bad when we visited and there is a real risk of getting soaking wet if you get too close. We had to buy our son a dry T-shirt after he scrambled over the rocks with many other people to see into the waterfall pool. The spray also makes it hard to take clear pictures.
This part of the trail covers the middle section of the falls from Hanke’s Café-Restaurant to Gasthof Schönangerl where welcome refreshments await.
Depending on how fit you are or how long you stop at the different viewing platforms, it can take you anything from 45 minutes to 1,5 hours to reach Schönangerl. (Also see FAQ below about taking a taxi to the top.)
There are 7 places to stop and take in different views of the falls along this section:
- Riemann Kanzel (1,110 m)
- Regen Kanzel (1,150 m)
- Sendtner Kanzel (1,170 m)
- Jung Kanzel (1,210 m)
- Jaga Sprung (1,220 m)
- Bergersteig (1,245 m)
- Schönangerl (1,306)
The third and last section of the Krimml Waterfalls hike leads to the first and highest drop of 145 m.
The trail from Schönangerl is rather flat initially with pretty views of the Krimml Achen Valley. Once you start to climb again it’s not long before you reach the first viewing platform called Staubige-Reib. As we were pressed for time and were able to see the top waterfall drop from here, this is also where we turned around. However, you can continue another 20 minutes or so and climb the remaining 130 m to the top of the falls.
How to Get to Krimml Waterfalls
The quickest and easiest way to get to the Krimml Falls is by car. This table will give you an idea of the distance and travelling times from some major cities or towns.
|City||Distance||Estimated Travelling Time|
|Salzburg||158 km||2 h 20 min|
|Innsbruck||98 km||1 h 40 min|
|Zell am See||55 km||1 hour|
|Munich||185 km||2 h 40 min|
|Lienz||93 km||1 h 25|
By Train or Bus
Public transport to Krimml is more limiting. The best connections are from Zell am See, from where both a train and a bus goes to Krimml. You can choose between:
- The Pinzgauer local railway – A railway stretch of 53 km following the Salzach Valley between Zell am See and Krimml. Visited their website for the updated timetable and fares.
- Regional Bus 670 – With many stops along the way, this bus takes about 1 h 20 mins to reach the Krimml Falls from Zell am See. Check out the timetable to see if it suits you.
Hotels in Krimml
Because Krimml is a bit out of the way, you may want to consider sleeping in the town before or after visiting the falls. Here are a few options of hotels in Krimml with good reviews:
- Alpengasthof Filzstein – Only 7 km away from the falls and with a bus stop outside, this hotel offers free underground parking, scenic mountain views, and a spa area.
- Nationalparkhotel Klockerhaus – For those who would like to explore more of the Hohe Tauern National Park, this hotel is right at the entrance. Guests get free entrance to the park and the waterfalls.
- Hotel Krimmlerfälle – If you want to be walking distance from the falls, this is the hotel to stay in. After your waterfall hike, you can relax in a heated outdoor pool overlooking the mountains.
Tips for Your Krimml Waterfalls Visit
- There are public toilets to use free of charge at the Krimml Worlds of Water ticket office and at the entrance to the waterfall trail. Once you start walking, the next possibility to use the toilet is at the Gasthof Schönangerl where a small fee is charged if you’re not sitting down to eat or drink anything.
- There’s no getting around that the middle section of the trail is steep in some places. After all, you’ll be gaining about 200 m in elevation. If you’re struggling, my best advice is to rest at each viewing platform. There are also wooden benches along the way to catch your breath on.
- The many different parking areas may get confusing. We paid a once-off fee of €5 to park in parking area 3 (P3). The rules for P4 at the Krimml Water Worlds are different. It’s free to park here if you have a combined ticket for the falls and water worlds. Otherwise, it gets more expensive at €4,60 for the first two hours and an additional €0,60 for every 30 minutes thereafter.
- Dress sensibly. At least wear comfortable, flat shoes if you don’t have hiking boots or sneakers. Take a spare dry T-shirt if you plan to get close to the spray at the bottom falls (or buy a rain poncho at one of the shops).
- If you want to hike all the way to the top, allow at least 5 hours for a stressless visit. We spent 4 hours at the falls and made it almost to the top, but not quite.
- Take water along for the middle section of the trail. The chances are that you’ll work up a sweat and get thirsty before reaching Schönangerl.
The Krimml Waterfalls are in the Hohe Tauern National Park below the town of Krimml in the Salzburgerland province of Austria. Krimml is close to the borders of Tyrol, while East Tyrol and the Italian province of South Tyrol are on the other side of the mountains behind the waterfalls.
The Rhine Falls in Switzerland is Europe’s largest plain waterfall, but the Krimml Falls in Austria are the biggest in terms of its total height of 308 m. The Rhine Falls are also the most powerful, with an average waterflow of 600 m3 per second in summer. At Krimml, the average high-water volume is 57,3 m3 per second.
Yes, a taxi service is available if you’re physically unable to do the Krimml Waterfalls hike or are stressed for time. The Hohe Tauern National Park Taxi usually leaves from parking area three at 8:45 and 10:30. The taxi stops at Schönangerl and the top waterfall. According to their website, advanced notification is essential.
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