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 (2995 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.
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Day 2: St Wolfgang – St Gilgen | 10 km
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.
Day 3: St Wolfgang to Strobl/Bad Ischl via Schwarzensee | 12/15 km
Today you will go again by boat to St Wolfgang. Walk along the saddle 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 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 Bad Ischl to Bad Goisern | 11 km
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.
Day 6: Lakeside Trail Bad Goisern to Hallstatt | 15 km
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.
Day 7: Bad Ischl to Lake Wolfgangsee | 18 km
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.
Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel
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. You can optionally upgrade the hotels for some extra luxury.
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*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 & terrain
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 you can easily skip it or shorten it using local transport (read more about difficulty grades). 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.
When to go
This trip is available from April until October; you can start on any date. 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. 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.
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 (1.30 h) and then a bus to Wolfgangsee (30 minutes). Visit the OBB website for up-to-date timetables and fares, or check the Omio planner below.
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By train or bus
- 7 overnights in comfortable family hotels, guesthouses and country inns as listed in the itinerary
- 7 breakfasts
- Detailed holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps
- 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
- 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 & 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
- Half-board option instead of B&B (add dinners on all evenings)
- Hotel upgrade to 4-star / best 3-star in town
- GPS rental
- Extra nights
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.
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.
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)
- 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.
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.