The area takes in the Valley of Kaprun and its powerful dams, as well as the surrounding heights. An ascent to the Kitzsteinhorn (2,931m/9,616 ft.) can be quite complicated, involving postal buses, funiculars, and cableways, but it's equally rewarding. Always have your routes outlined at the tourist office with a detailed area map before you set forth. An English-speaking staff member will supply the best possible routes and provide you with the most up-to-date information on hours, costs, types of services likely to be available at the time of your visit, and weather conditions. For example, after mid-October, tours to the valley of the dams might not be possible. However, a visit to the Kitzsteinhorn is an attraction in both summer and winter.

To reach the Kitzsteinhorn, you can take either a cable car, transferring to the langweidbahn (a chairlift), or the glacier railway, an underground funicular, to the Restaurant Alpincenter (2,446m/8,025 ft.), where you can enjoy lunch with a view halfway up Kitzsteinhorn. At Alpincenter, change to a cable car, which swings west, coming to a stop near the summit of the Kitzsteinhorn.

A little below the summit, you'll find the 305m (1,001-ft.) Panoramatunnel (tel. 06547/86210) cut through the mountain and opening onto an incredible view of Nationalpark Hohe Tauern. On clear days, you'll be able to see Grossglockner, the highest peak in Austria, at 3,764m (12,349 ft.). You can also eat at the Aussichtsrestaurant (talk about dining with a view!), or if you want to feel snow in summer, you can take a short cable car down to the glacier.

It's best to purchase a day ticket -- round-trip, naturally -- for both the cable railway and the glacier lift; it costs 35€ ($56) for adults and 17€ ($27) for children under 15. It's open daily from 8am to 4pm.

The Dams

The Kapruner Tal, or the Valley of Kaprun, is visited in summer for its dams, one of the more dramatic alpine sights. Constructed in tiers, the dams were originally built as part of the U.S.-financed Marshall Plan. Experts from all over the world come here to study these hydroelectric constructions, which are brilliant feats of engineering.

Visit the hydroelectric plant, Turbinenhaus, inside the Tauernkraftwerke (tel. 06547/7151527). Its shafts, tunnels, turbines, and bulwarks are an interesting change of pace for most visitors. A small museum, filled with technical drawings and photographs, conveys the magnitude of the project.

If you want to explore the region and see how the dams manage to hold back up to 19 billion gallons of alpine water, the staff at Kaprun's tourist information office offers a self-guided full-day tour for 18€ ($23) that encompasses overviews of the three lakes formed by the dams and transportation. The ascent up to the dams, including the Limsbergsperre, the Moosersperre, and the Drossensperre, is via yellow post buses and a funicular. You can visit daily from 8am to 4pm from mid-May to mid-October, depending on weather conditions.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.