The lake region in Austria is known as Salzkammergut. Salzkammergut refers to a part of Austrian tradition in mining and trading salt. This area consists of 76 lakes and boasts incredibly beautiful scenery all around. For those who are interested in cycling, hiking, water activities, or simply relaxing, the lake region is an ideal spot to visit.
Read on to find out about the best things to do in Austra’s Lake Region:
Hallstaat is one of the most popular and well-known towns in the lake region. Nestled in the mountains, sitting on the lake, it is like a fairy tale come to life. This sleepy town can be toured easily on foot within about 15 minutes. You will not want to miss the Catholic Church while you are there. The church itself is beautiful, but it is the bone chapel outside that draws the most interest.
Within the bone chapel lie over 1200 skulls, more than 600 of which are painted and sorted by family. If you are looking for some great views, take a short hike up above Helga Lenz’s Bed and Breakfast. Really, hiking anywhere uphill will yield some great views over the town and the lake. Ten minutes south of town there is also a park with swimming. Ask around in any local shop and they can point you in the right direction.
Dachstein ice caves are only a few miles from Hallstaat, easily reachable by bus, or even train or car. The cable car will whisk you up to the top of the mountain where you can tour the amazing caves and have some great vistas. Cave guides will lead you through the magical underground world, showcasing ice sculptures and impressive giant icicles. It is best to bundle up before your trip into the ice caves as it can be quite chilly underground!
If you are headed off to Vienna via car after visiting Hallstaat, Melk Abbey is en route and definitely worth a stop! The Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736 and houses one of the most fabulous libraries, with countless medieval manuscripts on display. There is a famed collection of musical manuscripts and frescoes by Paul Troger and Johann Michael Rottmayr.
Katholische Pfarre Hallstatt
Address: Kirchenweg 40, 4830 Hallstatt Austria
Website: Katholische Pfarre Hallstatt
Dachstein Ice cave
Address: 4831 Obertraun Austria
Website: Dachstein Ice cave
Address: Abt-Berthold-Dietmayr-Straße 1, 3390 Melk, Austria
Website: Melk Abbey (in German)
Mondsee is most popular with tourists because of its Basilica, which is featured in the popular film The Sound of Music. It was constructed in the 15th century and remains the second largest church in Upper Austria. In just 2005, Pope John Paul II upgraded this church to a basilica. Mondsee holds much more than just this beautiful building though. It is a quaint town with a beautiful lakeside promenade perfect for walking, biking, and enjoy the lakeside views. Watersports and sailing are popular and frequent on the lake.
Basilika St. Michael
Address: Wredepl. 3, 5310 Mondsee, Austria
Website: Basilika St. Michael (in German)
3. St. Gilgen
St. Gilgen offers yet another relaxing, calm little lake town. The park by the lake is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the lake and mountain views. A popular activity is the Zwolferhorn mountain cable car ride. The ride itself took about 15 minutes in a car holding 4 people.
The views are fantastic the entire way up. At the top, there is a restaurant where you can sit, relax, and soak up the incredible surrounding views. Another trip is taking the old cog railway up the Schafberg Mountain. The steepest, steam cog railway has been going up since the late 1800s and is truly an unforgettable experience.
Address: 5340 St Gilgen, Austria
Website: Schafberg Railway
Zwölferhorn Mountain Cable Car
Address: Konrad-Lesiak-Platz 3, 5340 St. Gilgen
Website: Zwölferhorn Mountain Cable Car
Fuschlsee is one of the clearest lakes in the region and the province′s biggest freshwater reservoir. Even with this, swimming is allowed almost every where around Lake Fuschlsee. Fuschl is a great base for hiking and exploring around the lake. A hike around the entire lake takes four hours on average. A hike up Mount Schober offers amazing great views over the surrounding valley.
Schober Frauenkopf Mountain
Address: Fuschl am See, Austria
Website: Schober Frauenkopf Mountain
5. Bad Ischl
Bad Ischl was one of the first lake region towns to become popular with tourists, in the early 19th century. It has retained much of its imperial charm as an ancient spa town. Bad Ischl is a good location for walking and hiking, especially in the fall time. It is further away from Salzburg than many of the other lake region towns but does offer a good base for experiencing the lake region as a whole. While in Bad Ischl be sure to visit the Kurpark (spa park) and the Kurhaus (pavilion), the Imperial Villa (the summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria), and the Kaisertherme (thermal spa).
Address: Jainzen 38, 4820 Bad Ischl, Austria
Address: Kurhausstraße 8, 4820 Bad Ischl, Austria
Website: Kurpark (in German)
Address: Kurallee 4, 93077 Bad Abbach, Germany
Website: Kaiser-Therme (in German)
The Salzburg lake region is like no other. The mountains, the lakes, and the vast natural beauty can not be rivaled. It is an ideal area for relaxation and for exploration. Bikes will be your best friend in the lake region. Hiking and water sports abound in the lake region. No matter your interests and the amount of time you have to spend there, you are sure to love the beautiful lake region.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.