The region south and east of Salzburg was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997, both due to its indescribable beauty and its cultural-historical importance as a source of salt. The valuable mineral has been mined in the area for over 7,000 years. (Salzkammer & gut = saltroom & property). Many of today's most important eastern Alpine passes were used in the Middle Ages to transport salt from the city that still bears the word in its name (Salzburg = Salt Fortress). A tour of the Hallein Salt Mines, the oldest salt mines in the world, is one of the highlights of a visit to the region. The Salzkammergut is dotted with incredibly beautiful mountain lakes, which are enjoyed by many a tourist.
Grand Austria Tour: Vienna, Graz, Salzburg & Innsbruck
Across the marshes to a mountain lake
The small Eibensee is one of the lesser known waters in the western Salzkammergut. The ascent leads along the Eibenseebach through the Wildmoos nature reserve. From nearby Marienköpfl you have wonderful views of Lake Fuschlsee and its surroundings. The Eibensee is idyllically situated between steep slopes that keep the wind away, so that the lake often lies as smooth as a mirror. On hot days you can swim in the lake. (round trip: 9.8 kilometers, 3 hours, up and down: 375 meters)
Idyllic walk along the shore with the option to have a swim
The “Sehweg” is a simple walk. If the whole circular hiking trail seems too long, you can cross the Fuschlsee half way with the “Zille”. The path mostly leads along the shore. Information boards inform about meadow, tree and forest types. In summer, the bays and beaches invite you to swim in the emerald green lake (return journey: 11 kilometers, 3 hours, up and down 100 meters).
Austria as if from a picture book
The Salzkammergut at the foot of the Alps near Salzburg is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. Medium and high mountains, gorges, cliffs and over 40 lakes alternate with one another. There are also countless Baroque churches and abbeys, castles and picturesque towns such as St. Gilgen or Bad Ischl, which is why UNESCO declared the whole area a World Heritage Site. Lake Fuschl is located in the heart of the Salzkammergut region, only 30 kilometers away from Salzburg. With a length of ten kilometers it belongs to the smaller lakes and is therefore less well known than the Mondsee or the Attersee, though no less appealing.
Postcard idyll with 4 000 years of history
Chinese architects found the picturesque town on Lake Hallstatt so enchanting that they built a replica of it in the People's Republic. The settlement here owes its origin to salt. Mighty Salt chambers were discovered here more than 4,000 years ago. Even today the “white gold” is still mined in the oldest salt mine in the world above Hallstatt. Traces of a rich past can be discovered everywhere: The Celtic grave sites, the salt mine, the prehistoric museum, the houses nested in confined space one above the other, the churches, the cemetery with the ossuary and the “oldest pipeline in the world”.
Mountain with a view above the Salzkammergut
The 1,783 meter high rock is only for those who are free from vertigo. It towers above the foothills of the Alps and offers a fantastic view across the Salzkammergut. However, the ascent to the summit can even be done by sheep. It belongs to the most beautiful hikes near and far. For those who find just under 1,200 metres of altitude too much, you can take the rack-railway, which was opened in 1893. The valley station is in St. Wolfgang, where the hiking trail begins. At the top you can stop at a hotel. (one way: 7.3 kilometers, 4 hours, up: 1170 meters)
Pilgrims Church above Lake Wolfgang
At the end of an eventful political life in 976, when Saint Wolfgang built a monastery with his own hands and worked several miracles, he had no idea that his hermitage would become one of the most famous tourist resorts in Austria. St. Wolfgang owes this above all to the pilgrimage church, which is dedicated to him and enthroned in perfect grace over the Wolfgangsee. Inside, the late Gothic church impresses with a richly decorated altar, which Michael Pacher completed in 1481. He shows Our Lady kneeling in front of her child and framed by two monks, Saint Benedict and of course Saint Wolfgang.