About this Austria walking region
Renowned for its glorious scenery, pretty villages and a vast network of glassy, blue lakes (76 in total), the Salzkammergut is also characterised by its traditional architecture, customs and cuisine. Much of the area – including the world-famous Hallstatt region – has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
The Salzkammergut region includes the City of Salzburg and stretches out to the Dachstein mountain range. It is widely recognised as one of Austria’s most popular attractions, suiting those who seek both adventure and tranquility equally, because while there is plenty to see and do, the area has a supremely relaxing feel to it.
Hiking is undoubtedly the best way to explore the many hills, lakes and villages of Salzkammergut.
Salzkammergut is not a federal province, but a region which is effectively shared between Salzburg, Styria and Upper Austria, where you’ll find Bad Ischl, the region’s administrative centre. The area encompasses a number of popular lakes including the largest, Attersee, neighbouring Mondsee and Traunsee, and the much-visited Hallstätter See in the south.
The region first became prosperous in the Bronze Age, when salt (“Salz”) was discovered.
Walking in the Salzkammergut
Hikers will be spoilt for choice in Salzkammergut. There is an extensive network of well-signposted walking and hiking trails to suit all abilities.
The northern end of the region is characterised by large mountains, while most of the bigger lakes are in the south. Some of the most impressive peaks include Mt. Dachstein (some 2,995 metres/9,826 feet high) and Hoher Dachstein, which towers majestically over the borders of Upper Austria and Styria in central Austria. The Dachstein massif is also hugely popular with scramblers and climbers, largely due to its vie ferrate (Klettersteige).
Routes on the Klettersteige vary from ‘protected scramble’ to ‘experience required’. They essentially comprise a network of skilfully installed fixed cables and ladders, which can assist walkers in reaching higher levels. Once at the top, you can usually hike on to a nearby mountain hut, or back to the start via a footpath.
As impressive as the mountains are, there are still a vast number of relatively easy hiking routes available, too. The lake shores are ideal for scenic circuit walks and there are a number of family-friendly trails taking you through some of the loveliest parts of this alpine wonderland.
Far from main traffic routes ● Vast hiking area ● Grünau im Almtal, the popular walker’s village ● The ‘Totes Gebirge’ mountains (dead mountains) ● Mt. Grosser Priel (2,515m/8,251ft) ● Rural tranquillity at Lake Almsee ● The romantic, natural Lakes Ödseen ● Home to Austria’s famous Konrad Lorenz Institute (Greylag Geese).
The Styrian part of Salzkammergut ● Numerous beautiful lakes ● Some of Austria’s prettiest Alpine scenery ● Bad Aussee – deeply embedded in folk culture ● Walk the shores of peaceful Lake Grundlsee ● Easy access to Totes Gebirge, Kammergebirge and the rugged Dachstein Mountains ● Well-marked walking trails for all abilities.
In the heart of the Austrian Lake District ● Handsome, historic and stylish spa town ● Handy base for visiting the region’s five main lakes ● Bad Ischl’s local peak is Mt. Katrin (1,542m/5,059ft) ● Famous Dachstein West is only a short drive away ● The town’s imperial connection: Emperor Franz Joseph’s summer residence, ‘Kaiservilla’.
Upper Austria’s largest skiing area; a hiking paradise in Summer ● 45 minutes from Salzburg ● Numerous walking routes ensuring good walking for everyone ● Four quiet, tranquil villages at an altitude of 1,400 metres/4,593 feet ● The spectacular Alpine panoramas of Mt. Bischofsmütze (2,458m/8,064ft) and the Dachstein Massif.
The jewel of the Salzkammergut ● Hallstatt, one of Austria’s most appealing and most-visited villages ● The spectacular fjord-like Lake Hallstättersee ● Surrounded by mountains: the Sechserkogel to the east, the Dachstein to the south; and a sheer rock wall to the east ● Explore the historic Salzberg salt mines above Hallstatt.
The romantic village of Fuschl am See, made famous by films about the life of Empress Sissi ● Pine-clad hills and gentle Alpine mountains ● Great base from which to explore the Salzburg lakes region ● Soak up the calm and tranquillity of Lake Fuschl nature reserve ● There is no shortage of magnificent walking and hiking trails!
Lake Mondsee, Lake Irrsee
Mondsee town, an engaging place that grew up around a famous Benedictine monastery ● Fabulous, scenic Lake Mondsee (‘lake of the moon’) and Lake Irrsee, Upper Austria’s warmest lakes ● Extensive network of footpaths and walking trails ● Not for the fainthearted: Mt. Drachenwand with its challenging Via Ferrata.
Austria’s deepest lake: 191m/627ft ● Owes much of its appeal to the rugged Mt. Traunstein (1,691m/5,548ft) ● Hike the Höllengebirge range (hell’s mountains) and the Totes Gebirge range (dead mountains); 1,862m–2,515m/8,251ft ● The Salzkammergut’s busiest lake in Summer - but it’s easy to get off the beaten track.
Nearest of the Salzkammergut lakes to Salzburg ● Magnificent Alpine landscape: a gem for walkers ● Mt. Schafberg (1,783m/5,850ft) ● Walks to suit your ability and fitness - from “peak-bagging” hikes to leisurely ambles through picturesque forests and meadows ● ‘Lakes & Mountains’ villages: St. Wolfgang, St. Gilgen, Strobl.
The Attergau & Lake Attersee
Lake Attersee, the largest of the Salzkammergut Alpine lakes ● Enjoy easy walks and rambles that explore the surrounding hills ● St. Georgen am Attersee, popular market town that can trace its beginnings back to the Stone Age ● The Attergau walking area is well-known for its annual ‘Culture Summer Attergau’ event.
More great places to go walking in Austria:
Wachau Valley & Krems, Upper Austria, Steiermark (Styria), Salzburger Land, Carinthia, Tyrol - Central Tyrol & Innsbruck, Tyrol - North-Eastern Tyrol, Tyrol - Western Tyrol, East Tyrol, Vorarlberg