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Walking in the Salzburg Lake District

Walking in the Salzburg Lake District

Overview

Explore the beauty of Austria’s Lake District, where dramatic mountains plunge into sparkling blue glacial lakes, creating fjord-like landscapes. Salzkammergut lies to the east of Salzburg, the city of Mozart, in the shadow of the Dachstein Summit (2,995 m). It certainly belongs to one of the unique natural treasures of Europe and a significant part of this beauty can be reached and seen only by foot. The area offers impressive mountain scenery, traditional villages scattered in the valleys, and well-marked alpine lakeside walking trails. If you do not have time to do the full itinerary shown here, you can have a look at our Salzburg Lake District Short Break.

Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Abersee/St Wolfgang

Welcome to Abersee. It is a village located on the west side of Lake Wolfgangsee – one of the most beautiful in the Salzkammergut region. It is easily accessible by bus from Salzburg.

Day 2: St Wolfgang – St Gilgen Circular Walk

Take a boat across Lake Wolfgangsee to St Wolfgang where your walk starts. Follow the trail up to the Falkenstein Wall where you can enjoy panoramic views down to the lake below. Then the idyllic Fürberg path heads down to follow the lakeside into the Mozart village of St Gilgen. Walk around the village and go back on the boat to Abersee for your overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 10 km, 4 hours ↑350m ↓350m
  • Accommodation in the Abersee area (Carossa, Kirchenwirt or similar)

Day 3: Schwarzensee and Strobl/Bad Ischl

Today you will go again by boat to St Wolfgang. Along the saddle walk on a forested path to the lake Schwarzensee, where you can stop for a refreshment at Madame Lore’s lake cabin. Walk down into the valley through a gorge and around the Bürglstein (optional detour) to the lake promenade in Strobl. Then take the bus to the Emperors Town of Bad Ischl.

  • Walking for the day: 15 km (12 km), 6 hours (4.5 hours) ↑390m ↓390m (↑240m ↓240m)
  • Accommodation in Bad Ischl (Stadt Salzburg, Sandwirt or similar)

Day 4: Rest Day in Bad Ischl

Spend the day in the beautiful spa town of Bad Ischl. Emperor Franz Joseph spent his summer holidays here, and you can take a tour of the Kaiservilla – his summer residence. There are plenty of city walk options, or you can relax in a thermal spa. Visit Café Zauner or Austria Hotel, where once upon a time the engagement of Emperor Franz Josef and Elisabeth of Bavaria (Sissi) took place.

Day 5: Brine Pipeline Walk to Bad Goisern

Salt always has been an essential commodity in Salzkammergut. You will follow an old brine pipeline for most of the route today, and you will learn about its history. You will pass a former church as you head down to the market town of Bad Goisern, a world architectural heritage site.

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 4 hours ↑260m ↓180m
  • Accommodation in Bad Goisern (Goisererhof, Lindwurm or similar)

Day 6: Lakeside Trail to Hallstatt

First, you will follow the river trail to Lake Hallstatt, where you will walk along the lake into the fjord. After a while, you will see the first houses of Hallstatt and the Salt Mountain. Enjoy the ferry to the Hallstatt centre, walking around the little alleys or take the funicular up to the salt mine. Look around to see Mount Dachstein, the highest peak in upper Austria. The day ends with a pleasant boat and train ride back to your hotel in Bad Goisern.

  • Walking for the day: 15 km, 5 hours ↑450m ↓90m
  • Accommodation in Bad Goisern (Goisererhof, Lindwurm or similar)

Day 7: Bad Ischl to Lake Wolfgangsee

On this last – and most strenuous – walking day, first you take the train to Bad Ischl. Walk on the Elisabeth path to the idyllic little lake of Nussensee and than along the river Ischl to Strobl. Then continue along the lake, and through the Blinkling Moor natural reserve, you will reach the peninsula of Abersee offering beautiful views to St Wolfgang, Schafberg and the lake.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 7 hours ↑300m ↓100m
  • Accommodation in the Abersee area (Carossa, Kirchenwirt or similar)

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

Hotels

Accommodation is in carefully chosen properties that are a mix of comfortable 3* hotels, guesthouses and country inns, located as close to the trail as possible. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. You can optionally upgrade the hotels for some additional luxury.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your hotel or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Travel

Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Salzburg.

Flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

Take the bus no. 150 to Abersee from Salzburg bus station (1 hour). Alternatively, you can take the train to Bad Ischl (1.30 h) and then a bus to Wolfgangsee (30 minutes). Visit the OBB website for up-to-date timetables and fares, or check the rome2rio link below.

Check public transfer options from Salzburg

Private Transfers

Airport transfers by bus are recommended for this trip, as they are much cheaper and take the same time as car transfers.

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included.

Travel Insurance

A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with World Nomads Logo to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.

Buy travel insurance online

Country Info

  • Language: German. In big cities, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where we stay speak English and are ready to help you. Road signs/markers are in the Latin alphabet – and you can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems.
  • Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs.
  • Currency: We strongly advise taking sufficient cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available, and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages we visit.
  • Up-to-date travel advice on Austria is available here. Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info

Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate

This is an easy to moderate walking holiday, appropriate for novice hikers and families. Total walking is 69 km, on average 14 km per walking day (4-5 hours). The longest walk is 7 hours (18 km) on Day 7, but it is a circular one, so you can skip it or shorten it using local transport. Overall elevation gain is 1,750 m, average elevation gain per walking day is 350 m (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from April until October. Late spring, the whole summer and early autumn are beautiful in the Alps. The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and September when the weather is most stable. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.

Weather

The climate in the region is continental, cold and temperate. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but, in the May-September period, the daily averages are 15 – 25C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 25 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included

  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps
  • 7 overnights in comfortable 3* hotels, guesthouses and country inns as listed in the itinerary
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Boat fares on the lakes Wolfgangsee and Hallstätter See
  • Train fare Hallstatt – Bad Goisern and Bad Goisern – Bad Ischl
  • Salzkammergut Card (discounts on more than 100 attractions)
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative in Abersee

Supplements and Extras

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a supplement is applicable
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost
  • Private airport transfers from/to Salzburg Airport
  • Half-board option instead of B&B (add dinners on all evenings)
  • Hotel upgrades
  • Extra nights
  • GPS rental

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Airport bus fares (to/from Salzburg)
  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums
  • Optional bus ride Strobl to Bad Ischl (3 euro)

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the programme

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Walking in the Salzburg Lake District
Average rating:  
 8 reviews
by Gabby on Walking in the Salzburg Lake District

Overall an excellent experience. I am looking forward to the next trip. The routes were beautiful and very well planned. On the last day, when the route is rather long, you are given shorter alternatives, which is good. The hotels were very good. The guide book very helpful and the gps programme excellent.
Some tips: we had a welcome meeting with the local representative. I recommend it. He was very knowledgeable of the area and can answer any questions on the tour.
On day three you find yourself at Swartzensee. Don’t miss Lore’s caffe down by the lake! A must!
Also, the gorge was VERY beautiful.
One thing you should know is that the kilometers of each day are approximate. A lot depends on the location of your hotel. E.g. it can be as far as a km from your starting point.
Also, if you have a choice St. Wolfgang is a far better option to stay than Abersee.
One request for the company: it would be helpful if you mark shelters along the route. As rain can fall any time, it is good to know where one can find shelter.

by Gabriella A on Walking in the Salzburg Lake District

We enjoyed our holiday with Natural Adventure very much and found that everything was very well planned and organized. The most exciting part of our holiday was walking through the gorge after Swartzensee and the first day of hiking. It was great that the path was for the most part not exposed to the sun and the heat!  One thing that should be made clear to other travelers is that walking time is approximate. It sounds obvious but it might not be so to everyone. Also, during booking it should be stated at the beginning that one should get special insurance for the trip. It is an extra expense and I only found out about it just a week or so before departure, which was a bit stressful. Other than that, I found the whole experience excellent. My communication with your representatives was prompt and always helpful, and I have no complaints whatsoever. Our holiday definitely benefited local people. The Salzkammergut area is a tourist area, so I feel we contributed to the local economy. I also enjoyed the contact with locals. Very friendly and kind. We hope to join on one of your programs in the future.

by J.S. on Walking in the Salzburg Lake District

Not to be missed:
- Go up Katrinalm cable car from Bad Ischl, plenty of marked paths up there
- Go up Hallstat funicular and visit the Salt Mine
- Descent of metallic stairs from Schwarzensee to Strobl (walking 2nd day)

Tips:
- Definitely, carry a walking stick with you, it helps a lot going up or down.
- A hat and sun screen is needed as well in June.
Some transport alternatives to too long stages, the ones we used:
- The 2nd day, a bus ride from the outskirts of Strobl to Bad ischl
- The 6th and last day, a bus ride from Gasthof zur Wacht (half way of the stage) to Strobl, and then by boat to Abersee.

Good places to have lunch:
- The 2nd day, Wirtshaus Lore by the Schwarzensee
- In Hallstatt, Gasthof Weisses Lamm
- The 6th and last day, Gasthof zur Wacht (half way of the stage between Bad Ischl and Strobl)

Tour information pack could be more detailed on public transport alternatives: bus stops and lines, boat docks, train stations. All in all, a nice experience.

by Ginia O'Connell on Walking in the Salzburg Lake District

by David on Walking in the Salzburg Lake District

Thanks, we had a great time! And I would definitely book with your company again. Everything worked well, and it was great to meet up with your local representative upon arrival. The Kirchenwirt Hotel in Strobl was great, and we very much appreciated having this at the start and end of the trip. The only small hitch was that dinner was not included on the last night since the staff had an off-day, but that was a minor point. I would also say that the hotel in Bad Ischl was not of the same standard as the ones in Strobl and Bad Goisern, which were great. Thanks again, and we look forward to booking with you in future.

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