Explore Austria’s Lake District’s beauty, where dramatic mountains plunge into sparkling blue glacial lakes, creating fjord-like landscapes. Salzkammergut lies to the east of Salzburg, Mozart’s city, in the Dachstein Summit’s shadow (2,995 m). The area offers impressive mountain scenery, traditional villages scattered in the valleys, and well-marked alpine walking trails. Off the beaten track, you will explore the quieter, idyllic side of Salzkammergut as you walk through small traditional villages, then take in the vibrant Bad Ischl, passing by beautiful lakes and through impressive high passes. One unique part of the Salzkammergut certainly is the Ausseer Land on the other side of the Plöcken Pass. Here, legendary Archduke Johann met Anna Plochl, the postmaster’s daughter, and fought for the love of his life against all the time conventions. John was also a passionate mountaineer in the Alps and attempted to be the first to climb the Großvenediger. For that reason, the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte (Adlersruhe) at the Grossglockner, and the Archduke John’s Vanilla Orchid (Archiducis-Joannis), an orchid growing on mountain meadows, are named after him. If you have limited time to spend in Austria, you can also consider our Salzkammergut short break.
- Bad Ischl
- Bad Goisern am Hallstättersee
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Day 1: Arrival Abersee/St Wolfgang
Welcome to Abersee, 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: Schwarzensee and Strobl | 15km
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.
Day 3: Bad Ischl to Bad Goisern | 15km
You start today’s walk at Bad Ischl’s promenade and continue upwards to Bad Ischl’s salt mountain. Passing some alpine pastures, you will begin the ascent to Mount Predigstuhl with a phenomenal view over the Hallstatt area. Passing the Ewige Wand (literally meaning the eternal wall), you will walk down to Bad Goisern.
Day 4: Bad Goisern to Altaussee | 19km
From one alpine pasture to another, you walk on the high plateau to the lovely Ausseer Land. A downhill walk to the alpine meadow of Blaa Alm and along the flower trail will bring you to Altaussee. Take the local bus to Bad Aussee.
- Walking for the day: 19km, 6h, ↑490m ↓590m
- Accommodation: Jufa, Blaue Traube Gasthoff, Alpenhof Pension or similar in Bad Aussee
Note: if there is no hotel available in Bad Aussee, you will take the train and ferry for an overnight in Hallstatt (fare included); on next morning you will take the ferry and train back to the trailhead at Bad Aussee (optional) or spend the day in Hallstatt.
Optional Extra Day 1: Three Lakes Circular Walk | up to 23km
You can add this extra day to have a rest or enjoy the spectacular three lakes walk to Lake Toplitzsee and back. Or take a shorter stroll along the banks of Grundlsee or Altausseer See.
Day 5: Bad Aussee – Koppenbrüller Caves – Hallstatt | 15km
Follow the river path through the deeply cut Koppenvalley to the Koppenbrüller caves (public access and guided tours!). After a while, you will see the first houses of Hallstatt and the Salt Mountain. Enjoy the ferry to the Hallstatt centre, and stroll the little alleys. Look around to see Mount Dachstein, the highest peak in upper Austria.
Day 6: Hallstatt – Gosau Valley | 13km
By cable car, you will reach the Hallstatt mountain valley with Celtic gravesites and the salt mine. Past the Plassen Mountain, you will reach the Gosau valley. During your walk, you will take in stunning views of Dachstein with his glaciers and later on the steep ridges of the Gosaukamm.
Optional Extra Day 2: Gossauseen Lakes Circular Walk | up to 13km
You can add this extra day to have a rest or enjoy the spectacular Gossauseen lakeside walk. At the end of the valley, an alpine hut invites you for a “Jause” – a typical Austrian lunch break.
Day 7: Bad Ischl to Lake Wolfgangsee | 19km
On this last walking day, first, you take the bus 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.
Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel
Departure by public transport or individual stay extension.
What to expect
Accommodation is in a mix of comfortable family hotels, guesthouses and country inns, located as close to the trails 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.
Click to view hotels for this trip
*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.
Accommodation is on a bed & breakfast basis. Picnic lunches are optional at an extra charge and can be ordered locally; on most routes, there are numerous places where you can eat or buy food during the day. You can have dinner at your hotel or nearby restaurants.
Difficulty and terrain
Good fitness is required as some walks are quite demanding. You should be prepared to walk 5-6 hours per day on average (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never 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.
When to go
This trip is available from mid-May until mid-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. 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 – 25°C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.
Our recommended airport for this tour is Salzburg. Take the bus no. 150 to Abersee from Salzburg bus station (1 hour). Alternatively, you can take the train to Bad Ischl (1.30h) and then a bus to Wolfgangsee (30min). Visit the OBB website for up-to-date timetables and fares, or check the Omio planner below.
Click to view travel options
By train or bus
- 7 overnights in comfortable 3-star hotels, guesthouses and country inns as listed in the itinerary
- 7 breakfasts
- Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps
- Taxi Predigstuhl
- Cable car in Hallstatt
- Boat fare on the Hallstätter See
- Train fare Bad Aussee – Hallstatt (if overnight in Hallstatt on Day 4)
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 piece per person, up to 20kg)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative in Abersee
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Optional bus rides to shorten the walks
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and attractions’ entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme
Options, extras and supplements
- Where individual members of a group require a single room, a supplement is applicable
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Private airport transfers from/to Salzburg Airport
- GPS rental
- Extra nights available upon request