Music, mountains and some of the most staggeringly beautiful alpine scenery define the Salzkammergut area, which is known as Austria’s Lake District. This is the land of lakes, heaven for gentle walks following the shoreline, heading inland to the mountain foothills or exploring the wonderful woodland trails in the forests.
Perched at the water’s edge, small villages dot the landscape where traditional farmhouses and wooden chalets lie in green hills and pastures, with the church tower as the tallest building piercing the sky. All this against the backdrop of snow capped mountains, blue skies and clear lakes.
The villages of St. Gilgen, Fuschl am See and St. Wolfgang could epitomise chocolate box perfection. No wonder the scenery was such a star in The Sound of Music, filmed here and celebrated its 50th anniversary in style during 2015. If you’re a fan of this iconic film, be sure to take a Sound of Music tour while visiting.
St. Wolfgang with its lovely medieval centre, that hosts open-air brass band concerts and frequent indoor classic and operetta concerts. From here you can take the iconic cog railway to the top of the Schafberg (1768m) the area’s highest mountain. Or you could take a scenic horse and carriage ride through meadows and local villages with an essential stop at a welcoming almshouse.
In Austria’s lake district, boat trips, terraces with sun loungers, and lakeside cafes create a relaxed and peaceful way of life. Many hotels have private lidos with free boat hire. No motorboats are allowed on Lake Fuschl creating a serene atmosphere all around.
Boating is a common form of transport with ferries, paddle steamers and rowing boats cruising across the lake. There’s a regular 40 minute ferry between St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang and a 10 minute bus ride from St. Gilgen to Fushchl am See.
In this uncrowded paradise, time seems to slow down. Watching the end of the day as the sun starts to set, from on the lake or the shore, is a memorable sight as the burning blaze of the sun gradually fades to a palette of pastel hues as it dips slowly behind the distant mountains. Make sure your camera is on hand to capture this magnificent view.
The Salzkammergut area enjoys a mild spring and autumn and warm summers. The summer months of June, July and August are generally dry and you can expect an average daytime temperature of 22° C and above in July and August and up to 16 hours of daylight. Nights can be cooler so pack some layers for evenings outside under the stars.