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Salzach in Salzburg, Austria
Origin Kitzbühel Alps
Mouth Inn
Basin countries Austria, Germany
Length 225 km (140 mi)
Avg. discharge 251 m3/s (8,900 cu ft/s)
Basin area 6,700 km2 (2,600 sq mi)

The Salzach is a river in Austria and Germany. It is a right tributary of the Inn and is 225 kilometres (140 mi) in length. Its drainage basin comprises large parts of the Northern Limestone and Central Eastern Alps.


  • Etymology 1
  • Course 2
  • Tributaries 3
  • Photos 4
  • See also 5
  • Sources 6


Salzach sources between Mt. Salzachgeier and Schwebenkopf

The river's name is derived from the German word Salz, meaning salt. Until the 19th century, shipping of salt down the Salza was an important part of the local economy. The shipping ended when the parallel Salzburg-Tyrol Railway line replaced the old transport system.


The Salzach is the main river in the Austrian state of Salzburg. The source is located on the edge of the Kitzbühel Alps near Krimml in the western Pinzgau region. Its headstreams drain several alpine pastures at around 2,300 metres (7,500 ft) above sea level, between Krimml and the Tyrolean state border, 3–5 km north of the Gerlos Pass on the slopes of the Salzachgeier (2,466 m (AA)) and the nearby Schwebenkopf peak (2,354 m).

From here, it runs eastwards through a large valley via Bruck south of Lake Zell to Schwarzach im Pongau. It then turns northwards, passes Sankt Johann im Pongau, flows in-between the Berchtesgaden Alps and the Tennen Mountains to Hallein and the city of Salzburg.

Lower Salzach between Laufen and Oberndorf

From the junction with its Saalach tributary in the northern Salzburg basin, the Salzach forms the border between Bavaria, Germany and the Austrian states of Salzburg and Upper Austria for almost 70 kilometres (43 mi). Cities on the banks in this lower section include Laufen and its sister town Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Tittmoning, and Burghausen. All these towns have border crossings.

The river finally joins the Inn in Haiming between Burghausen and Braunau.


Upper and lower reaches: Putzengraben, Trattenbach and Dürnbach from the Kitzbühel Alps, Krimmler Ache, Obersulzbach, Untersulzbach, Habach, Hollersbach, Felberbach, Stubache, Kapruner Ache from the High Tauern, Pinzga from Lake Zell, Fuscher Ache, Rauriser Ache from the High Tauern, Dientener Bach from the Slate Alps, Gasteiner Ache, Großarlbach, Kleinarlbach from the High Tauern, Fritzbach from the Dachstein Massif, Mühlbach and Blühnbach from the Hochkönig.

Lower reaches: Lammer from the east, Torrener Bach (Bluntautal) from the Berchtesgaden Alps, Tauglbach and Almbach from the Hintersee, both from the Osterhorn Group, Königsseer Ache from the Königssee, Kehlbach, Fischach from the Wallersee, Klausbach, Saalach the largest tributaries, Sur and Götzinger Achen on the Bavarian side, Oichten near Oberndorf and Moosach in the Salzburg-Upper Austrian border region.


See also


  • Österreichisches Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft: Die Salzach - ein Fluss bewegt! (PDF, 7,94 MB)
  • Norbert Winding und Dieter Vogel (Hrsg.): Die Salzach. Wildfluss in der Kulturlandschaft. Verlag Kiebitz Buch, Vilsbiburg 2003, ISBN 3-9807800-1-5
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