Zillertal is the German name for the Ziller Valley east of Innsbruck, a resort mecca in summer and winter. Some say that this is the most beautiful valley in all of Tyrol. You might doubt this claim as you go through the first stretches of the Zillertal, but don't turn back. It gets more impressive as you travel deeper into the valley.

When you first enter the Zillertal during the warmer months, you'll pass rich meadowlands and sleek, healthy grazing cows. To the west are the Tux Alps and to the east are the Kitzb├╝hel Alps. As tempting as it might be to head for these alpine areas, continue farther into the Ziller Valley, which will suddenly grow narrower, with the scenery becoming more dramatic.

The people of the Zillertal are the finest singers in Austria, as generation after generation of valley families inherited magnificent voices and made use of their talents. Pass through the first of the little villages and resorts, since we think better ones lie ahead.

Zell am Ziller lies 479km (298 miles) west of Vienna and 60km (37 miles) east of Innsbruck. This is the first town that merits a stop, but don't confuse this resort with Zell am See in Land Salzburg. Zell am Ziller is the major town of the lower section of the Ziller Valley, and inns here are reasonably priced. Once it was a gold-mining town, but those days are long gone.