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The Salzach in Laufen, Germany
The Salzach in Laufen, Germany
Origin Kitzbühel Alps
Mouth Inn
48°12′24″N 12°55′46″E / 48.20667°N 12.92944°E / 48.20667; 12.92944Coordinates: 48°12′24″N 12°55′46″E / 48.20667°N 12.92944°E / 48.20667; 12.92944
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.

The river's name is derived from the German word Salz, meaning "salt". Until the 19th century, shipping of salt down the river was an important part of the local economy. The shipping ended when railways replaced the old transport system.

It is the main river of the Austrian state of Salzburg. The source is located in the Kitzbühel Alps near Krimml, Western Salzburg. 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 Schwebenkopf (2,354 m).

From here, it runs eastwards until Schwarzach im Pongau, then turns northwards and passes the cities of Hallein and Salzburg. Then it forms the border between Bavaria, Germany and Austria for almost 70 kilometres (43 mi). Cities on the banks in this last section include Laufen, Tittmoning and Burghausen. All these towns have border crossings. The river finally joins the Inn near 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.



  • 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