Wels is a predominant city in the region of Upper Austria and is located on the River Traun next to Linz.
The city became increasingly important during the Roman ages owing to its central location and had fortifications and city walls constructed for its protection.
During the middle ages Wels remained prosperous, however during World War II it saw heavy destruction but managed to retain some of its historical buildings like the Ledererturm and Stadtpfarrkirche.
Today Wels stands as a wonderful city to visit with a great host of activities within the city, and in the wider region like the Kalkalpen National Park.
Lets explore the best things to do in Wels:
1. River Traun Cycling Route
Wels opens itself to cycling due to its beautiful settings in the countryside and on the river Traun.
One great cycling route is the 32km stretch that runs alongside the river Traun and provides a simply stunning journey that is not too challenging.
The path leads from the Krenglbach in wells, past the Schmiding Zoo and onto Waizenkirchen past some fabulous scenery.
You will pass vineyards, orchards and of course some traditional pubs where you can stop for a breather and an ice cold drink.
For those who enjoy the outdoors and cycling, the River Traun route is a great option.
The Tiergarten or Wels Zoo is set in a beautiful parkland in the centre of Wels, not far from the river Traun.
The design of the park dates back to the 1930’s and retains its old charm and character.
The animals you can see include Lynx, Deer, Donkeys and Wild Cats among others, furthermore there are opportunities to feed some of the animals.
There is a playground for children, and also a cafe where you can buy snacks, drinks and ice-cream.
For a place with no admission fee, the Tiergarten is a great attraction and will provide the whole family with hours of fun.
3. Schmiding Zoo
The second zoo in this list, the Schmiding Zoo is actually located on the northern edges of Wels around 15 minutes from the town centre.
The quality and variety in this zoo is fantastic and the enclosures of the animals are spacious and with plenty of vegetation.
You can see the rare Siberian Tiger, Austria’s only Gorilla, African Giraffes, and an amazing range of birds from Vultures to Kites and Condors.
The zoo also contains Austria’s largest sea aquarium displaying such creatures as eels, stingrays, sturgeon and angelfish.
The brilliant displays and wide variety of animals make the Schmiding Zoo a real treat.
4. Kalkalpen National Park
Austria has a host of stunning national parks owing to its dramatic Alpine landscapes and the Kalkalpen Park is one such wonder.
The park is located approximately 1h30 drive south of Wels and spans some 20,000 hectares.
Within this immense parkland is Central Europe’s largest forest and also largest area of Karst land.
There are several visitors centres in the park, and you can enjoy the brilliant scenery through hiking, horseback riding or even mountain biking.
There is also a panoramic viewing tower near Windischgarsten which can be accessed by a chair lift.
Kalkalpen is a magnificent park and truly shows the beauty of Upper Austria.
This large imposing tower is the last remnants of medieval Wels and the fortifications that used to surround the town.
The tower stands at 37.7m and is made up of four square floors and the iconic pointed roof.
At the base of the tower is an archway where the road leading onto the popular Stadtplatz cuts through.
The Ledererturm dates back to the 13th century and has seen much restoration over the years due to damage through fires and war.
The impressive design, beautiful windows framed by Austrian flags and the decorative archway make this a really wonderful building to admire.
6. Marienwarte Tower
This ornate observation tower was built in the late 1800’s and has always served as a lookout post in the Wels area.
The main tower of the building stands at 391 meters above sea level and from the top you are treated to panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the city of Wels cut through by the Traun river.
The building is set on the top of a hill which gives it a great position, and is surrounded by a small wood which is pleasant to walk through.
7. Stadtpfarrkirche Church
This local Church stands at the opposite end of the Stadtplatz to the Ledererturm tower and some form of religious building is claimed to have stood here since 888. The church that stands here today has a Gothic design with a large onion domed tower that really stands out against the relatively low-rise nature of Wels.
The interior boasts several stunning surviving Gothic stained glass windows which date back to the 14th century and depict various stations of the cross.
There is also a Crypt beneath the church and the remains of an abandoned cemetery lie outside.
The Stadtplatz is one of the main local areas in Wels and stretches from the Ledererturm on the Pollheimerstabe, right to the Stadtpfarrkirche Church at the other end on the Alderstrabe.
There is a pedestrianized section in the middle but cars do pass through at either end.
Lining the square are many different shops and cafes to enjoy a spot of shopping, and the building they are housed in feature an array of beautiful colours.
Aside from the opulent fountain the serves as a roundabout, during the winter months an ice-rink is often erected and also market stalls will pop up selling traditional goods and crafts.
9. Burg Wels
This wonderful museum and grounds is located just beneath the eastern side of the Stadtplatz.
The grounds that the building is set in are wonderful, with a beautiful garden and flower displays set out in a small enclosed square – This is a fantastic place in its own right to just sit and relax.
The museum features over a 1000 years worth of history in a variety of displays and starts at the middle ages right through to the modern day.
The exhibits mainly centre on the history of Wels and Austria, and also the Emperor Maximillian I who died in the town.
Supported by detailed information and multimedia displays, the Burg Wels is an intriguing place to visit.
10. Welios Science Center
One of the main attractions in Wels, the Science Center provides endless amounts of fun and discovery for all ages.
With over 120 interactive exhibits mainly focusing on natural sciences and technology, and seasonal exhibits like the space themed exhibit where you can feel weightlessness and what its like to control a a space rover, the Welios center is simply wonderful.
It is worth checking before your visit what temporary exhibitions are on display at the centre, for example there is a Lego studio that operates periodically every first Saturday in the month.
11. Visit the historic town of Linz
Just a short 15 minute bus ride away, Linz is definitely worth a visit if you are stopping in Wels and has a host of popular attractions such as the Arts Electronica Center, the Lentos Art Museum and the beautiful Pöstlingberg.
Buses run regularly between Wels and Linz and getting there shouldn’t be an issue.
Take in the wonderful sights and enjoy a slice of the famous Linz Torte.
12. Wels Go-Karting
Why not enjoy something different and packed with adrenaline? Go-Karting is not for the feint hearted and the Welser Karting is a great place to test your skill as a racing driver.
The karting ring is located next to the Weldorado outdoor water park and features an intense and interesting indoor track.
Groups of 10 minimum are required so this is perfect for a stag do or a group tour and there is also a bar and restaurant on site to enjoy after a hard session of karting.
13. Walk through the town centre
Wells has a gorgeous historical town centre and is the perfect place to walk through to enjoy the local culture and sight-seeing or even do some shopping.
You could start at the wonderful Ledererturm and walk the entire length of the Stadtplatz, perhaps stopping for a Coffee and a piece of Torte, passing the Stadtpfarrkirche you could then head down to the peaceful grounds of the Burg Wels and onto the river Traun finishing up on the opposite side and making your way to the Marienwarte – See what the streets of Wels are all about and immerse yourself in its history and charm.
14. Enjoy traditional Austrian food at Obermair’s Wirtshaus
Located in the quiet district of Wimpassing, Obermair’s Wirtshaus is a first class restaurant and bar and is one of the finest places in Wels to enjoy some traditional food with a friendly and personal atmosphere.
This establishment has been around for generations in Wels and while its interior and decor have been modernised and renovated, the quality of the food remains the same as years past.
You can enjoy starters like a heart-warming beef broth, hearty Austrian mains like Schweinsbraten or Gulasch and even delicious locally made cakes and ice cream.
15. Weldorado outdoor water park
Another fun packed place to add to the list of Wels’ exciting attractions.
The Weldorado water park features both indoor and outdoor facilities together with a Sauna and is the perfect place to enjoy some splashing and swimming.
The swimming pools feature pleasant temperatures and there are water slides, adventure pools together with a standard lap pool, and a paddling pool for small children.
If you want to do some other activities, why not take part in a game of volleyball or enjoy a reasonably priced snack at the Sidewalk cafe.
After all that, maybe you want to have a snooze in the sauna? With 2000m2 of sauna facilities, including a Finnish outdoor sauna, you are sure to find a corner to yourself.