5 Romantic Towns in the Salzkammergut
The Salzkammergut is one of Austria’s most impressive and diverse regions which offers mesmerizing lakes, stunning mountains and idyllic landscapes. When you arrive in the Salzkammergut you will immediately feel like in the movie ‘The Sound Of Music’. (Almost all scenes were filmed in the Salzkammergut.) However, many tourists visit only one of the numerous attractions when in the region. While Hallstatt is becoming more and more popular there are so many other beautiful places not noticed among most tourists. Spread among the states Upper Austria, Salzburg and Styria this region is perfectly accessible for day trips from Salzburg or other capital cities like Linz or even Vienna. So when in Austria make sure to spend a couple of days in this mesmerizing region and explore the most beautiful lakes and must-see towns in the Salzkammergut! Today, here are the 5 most Romantic Towns in the Salzkammergut:
Gmunden is located on the north shore of lake Traunsee, the deepest lake in the Salzkammergut. During the Habsburg monarchy, the nobility used to spend the summer months in their residences in Gmunden which is why you still see plenty of beautiful mansions in and around the town. Since 1492 the town is also known for ‘Gmundner Keramik’ (a pottery brand) which symbolizes Austrian table culture. You find Gmundner pottery in every grandparent’s kitchen cabinet in Austria. Schloss Ort (castle Ort) is the most popular place in Gmunden and is located on a small island on lake Traunsee with another complex situated on land. The castle is one of the oldest buildings in the Salzkammergut and well known in Austria thanks to an Austrian TV series from the 90’s called ‘Schlosshotel Orth’ (Castle Hotel Orth). Today it hosts a restaurant, a small shop and due to the spectacular location, it is a famous site for weddings.
Situated east of Salzburg at the shores of lake Wolfgangsee St. Wolfgang is the perfect starting point for exploring the surrounding mountains and to spend your vacation at the lake. There are plenty of beaches and areas which offer direct access to the lake and the most hotels in St. Wolfgang have a private area for their guests if you choose to stay in St. Wolfgang. Lake Wolfgangsee is especially known for sailing, surfing and boat trips with the traditional paddle steamers. So we suggest starting your day with an adventurous day on the lake and enjoying the sunrise from the deck of one of the 6 paddle steamers. For the hikers among you the Schafberg and the Zwoelferalm are the closest mountains and are accessible with the cogwheel railway or the cable car, so you can take the easy way up, we did too. Another possibility is to enjoy the beautiful lake view on a circular track around lake Wolfgangsee. In winter you can enjoy the magical Advent atmosphere in St. Wolfgang as well as the towns St. Gilgen and Strobl which are both located on lake Wolfgangsee and accessible by the paddle steamer. And of course, you can go skiing in the surrounding ski regions.
Where to Stay
The Romantik Hotel Im Weissen Rössl is a hotel with a long tradition, which has been run by the same family for a long time and which has reached the fifth generation of the Peter family. Being a romantic hotel, it offers wellbeing and numerous moments of indulgence at all levels, in addition to traditional and captivating Austrian hospitality.
The Romantik Hotel Im Weissen Rössl offers a fantastic panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding mountains and is undoubtedly one of the most legendary and famous hotels in Austria. The 91 rooms are all elegant, modern and furnished in a traditional style. All the decorations in the rooms are individual and special as well as traditional and all carefully selected, following a very specific line of thought, that of timeless elegance. In the Seerestaurant or Romantik Kaiserterrasse you will be spoiled with regional specialties and exclusive cuisine.
The 1.500 sqm SPA with the Rösslpool and the heated 30°C pool is a focal point of the Romantik Hotel Im Weissen Rössl‘s class. This incredible Spa is the right place to indulge in a spa treatment or a relaxing massage. The spa includes a floating whirlpool, a heated swimming pool in the lake, a Turkish bath, a solarium, a fitness room and a relaxation room with a panoramic view of the lake.
The town Mondsee called after lake Mondsee is situated on the warmest lake in the Salzkammergut and if you have seen ‘The Sound of Music’ you will immediately recognize some buildings like the basilica Mondsee. Even if you don’t know the film (most Austrians don’t) you will fall in love with the beautiful buildings and the town square. Besides the idyllic scenery of mountains, lakes and picturesque nature Mondsee is also famous for its 6000-year-old history of pile dwellings. The so-called ‘Mondseekultur’ is the cultural era during which those findings must have been built. Today they can be found in lake Mondsee, during a dive or in the museum next to the famous basilica. After learning more about the history of Mondsee you should explore some of the 150km of hiking trails or enjoy the region on a bike. If you want to do water sports lake Mondsee is popular for sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and diving.
Bad Ischl is a spa town and besides being the cultural center of the Salzkammergut it is known among people who are looking for rest and relaxation. 1656 the name Salzkammergut was mentioned for the first time for the region around the town. Due to the salt mining, the area was from great economic value under Habsburgs rule. Bad Ischl is a paradise for those seeking untouched nature and tranquility. The town offers amazing events all year long. From operettas in summer to Christmas markets in Advent. Even the sportive find plenty of activities like hiking, running or biking around Bad Ischl. Don’t forget to get some pastries at the famous Zauner pastry which is situated right on the Esplanade or in the city center. Even Emperor Franz Josef I. and Empress Sissi couldn’t resist the famous “Cremeschnitte” (also Berni’s favorite) or “Salzburger Nockerl”.
One of the most popular sights is off course Hallstatt. The town is part of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage since 1997. Situated on the Hallstätter See it offers stunning views and sits right next to the tremendous Dachstein mountains. If you are interested in finding out the secret to Hallstatt’s wealth which is lying deep beneath the surface head to the world’s oldest salt mine. To get a different perspective of Hallstatt head to the viewing platform ‘Hallstatt Skywalk’ which offers a stunning view over the town and the Dachstein region in 360 meters height. Thanks to the mountain railway, the elevator and the panoramic bridge the platform is easy to access. The Hallstatt High Valley offers different exhibitions and everything you need to know about salt mining. Check the ‘Salz Welten‘ website to learn more about the Hallstatt Skywalk, the High Valley or the Salt Mines.