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)
- Upgrade to 4-star accommodation in Bad Ischl (2 nights)
- Upgrade to 4-star / best 3-star accommodation (full itinerary)
- GPS rental
- Extra nights
What a trip of a lifetime. We traveled to Austria to do the Lakes District Hiking for 8 days and we were sad to see it end. From the minute we began our journey in the beautiful town of St. Wolfgang, we knew this would be a fantastic adventure. There were 4 of us and we did the self-guided trip thru different towns - St. Wolfgang - Bad Ischl - Bad Goisern and Halstatt - all truly lovely towns. This was our first trip working with Yana at Natural Adventures and our point person - Helmut, and they were so helpful. Due to travel from the USA, we had Covid tests that needed to be done and Helmut was key to help us thru the process. One note, use an app along with the GPS for your hiking trails, they are marked but use as a backup. We are fairly new to hiking and I would say you want to be "fit" and use to walking 8 to 10 miles per day to prepare for this journey. Austria is a stunning region, the pictures don't do it justice.