Wolfgangsee im Salzkammergut Destination Guide
In the heart of Austria lies the Salzkammergut region, surrounded by forests, meadows, and mountains. Wolfgangsee - nestled between the border of Upper Austria and SalzburgerLand - is one of 76 lakes. On its shores, you’ll find chocolate-box villages such as St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang, and Strobl.
Beautiful landscapes, culture and a love of tradition make up the beauty of the Salzkammergut, spread across the provinces of Upper Austria, SalzburgerLand and Styria. Salt from the heart of its mountains has brought affluence to the region - but its most valuable assets are the lakes. This picturesque region is home to 76 lakes surrounded by majestic peaks of the Alps. The Salzkammergut is divided into 8 regions - the Wolfgangsee region is one of them.
The Wolfgangsee connects the villages of St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang, and Strobl. Old town houses alternate with colourful shops and welcoming inns. As soon as visitors arrive in one of the villages they realise that folk culture and traditions play a big role in everyday life of the locals. Traditional handcrafts have been passed down by generations and enriched with innovation and creativity by young locals. Around Wolfgangsee, guests come across small, fine shops offering handmade, high-quality products from the region.
Here, being active is just as important as slowing down and getting a taste of Austrian 'Gemütlichkeit'. There are numerous ways to explore the region - by foot, bike, boat, railway or gondola - for every type of traveller. As a year round destination, Wolfgangsee im Salzkammergut is worth visiting in every season. During summer, the lake invites visitors to cool off on a hot day. Autumn is great for hiking, cycling and simply being amazed by the colourful forests. In winter, pure magic awaits at the Wolfgangsee Advent. For an active winter holiday, the slopes and cross-country ski trails are only a stone's throw away.
An introduction to Wolfgangsee im Salzkammergut
Thomas Hermann, Wolfgangsee Tourism: email@example.com
Maria Eder, Salzburg AG Tourismus GmbH (WolfangseeSchifffahrt ferries, SchafbergBahn cog railway, FestungsBahn funicular, MönchsbergAufzug lift, WasserSpiegel museum): firstname.lastname@example.org
Gudrun Peter, Im Weissen Rössl: email@example.com
News & Updates for 2023 and 2024
Spring 2023: New railway station for SchafbergBahn
Spring 2023: Numerous classical art and music events
Winter 2023: 20 years of Wolfgangseer Advent, the traditional and unique Christmas Market at Wolfgangsee
2024: 1100 years of St. Wolfgang – the town which has been welcoming pilgrims, tourists and friends for over a thousand years
Must-sees & must-dos for every itinerary
- Nostalgic Paddle Steamer: The paddle steamer "Kaiser Franz Josef I" was first launched in 1873 and was hailed a “technical achievement” at the time. The 33-metre-long nostalgic vessel has starred in numerous films. Today, the vessel is one of 5 ships of the WolfgangseeSchifffahrt. The "Kaiser Franz Josef I" only operates from the beginning of July to the end of August.
- Schafberg Cog Railway: Austria's steepest cog railway has been running from St. Wolfgang up the Schafberg since 1893. The train takes 35 minutes to cover a total distance of 5.85 kilometers, rising 1190 vertical meters. The long-established cog railway's steam engines count amongst the oldest working engines in the world. The view from the summit (1,783 m) is the most magnificent in the world-famous Salzkammergut.
- Weisses Rössl am Wolfgangsee: “Das Weisse Rössl" (The White Horse Inn) on Wolfgangsee is one of the most famous and legendary hotels in Austria. The hotel consists of nine inter-connected buildings which have evolved over the years, each with its own history, charm and character. The Austrian Gault Millau Gourmet Guide has awarded the cuisine at the White Horse Inn with 1 toque (chef’s hat emblem) and 14 points. The culinary weeks in the White Horse Inn (from “Spring Wine” to “Truffle Joy” in Advent) are highly praised by gourmets and connoisseurs. The operetta of the same name by Ralph Benatzky as well as the film with Peter Alexander as head waiter Leopold made the White Horse Inn world-famous and still attract guests from all over the world.
- Mozarthaus St. Gilgen: Mozart's mother, Anna Maria Walburga Pertl, was born on December 25th 1720 in the former county court in St. Gilgen, Ischler Straße no. 15. His sister 'Nannerl' lived at the same address when she got married. Nowadays, the building is home to a permanent exhibition about the connection. In a historical setting, text, images and music illustrate the reciprocal influence between society and culture during the Mozart family's lifetime.
- Pilgrimage Church of St. Wolfgang: The establishment of the pilgrimage church of St. Wolfgang dates back to a legend in 976. Bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg was living as a hermit at the Falkenstein and made the decision to build the first church here. The location of the building was inspired by his famous "Axthrow", a divine dispensation. In the 15th and 16th century St.Wolfgang was one of the most outstanding pilgrimage towns besides Rome, Aachen and Einsiedeln.
- Ride e-bike to the Postalm: About 12 km from Strobl at Lake Wolfgangsee visitors can find the largest contiguous alpine pasture area in Austria - and the second largest high plateau in Europe: the Postalm. The bike tour begins in Strobl village centre, and leads to the nearby hamlet of Weißenbach. From here, the 12-km-long “Panoramic Road” (Panoramastraße) leads up to the Postalm pastures passing rustic chalets where a well-earned rest can be taken to refill with regional delicacies.
- Zwölferhorn Cable Car: From the village of St. Gilgen, the Zwölferhorn cable car takes visitors in one of its 14 red and 14 yellow gondolas up to the beautiful Hörndl in 11 minutes. There are numerous hiking possibilities for all levels on the Zwölferhorn, from a short, easy circular hike to an extended mountain tour lasting several hours. The viewing platform below the summit cross has become a popular spot for yoga sessions.
- Wolfgangseer Advent: The Christmas market at Wolfgangsee is one of the most beautiful in the country. From 17 November to 23 December 2023, the three villages St. Wolfgang, St. Gilgen and Strobl are home to lovingly decorated customs-stalls, nativity scenes and glittering lights. One of the highlights is the 16-meter high lantern floating on the lake in front of St. Wolfgang. It is the unique symbol of the Wolfgangsee Advent, inviting guests to pause, reflect and contemplate.
Unique experiences to ensure an unforgettable trip
Stand up paddle boarding to Falkensteinerwand
The tour starts at Waldbad Fürberg, where SUP boards can be rented. To get to Falkensteinerwand it's recommened to first paddle towards the small island with the so-called Ochsenkreuz (ox cross). This spot in the Wolfgangsee is particularly suitable for taking photos! The tour continues towards St. Wolfgang and leads directly to the impressive rock wall. Many rock climbers take boats to Falkensteinerwand and start their ascend from the water.Find out more
Lantern Boat Trip during Advent
This is probably the most beautiful way to visit the Christmas markets around the lake. The ships take guests across the water from one Advent market to the next to immerse themselves in a magical world of lights and enjoy the Christmas spirit. 18 November - 18 December 2022 (wed-sun) & 25 December - 1 January 2023 (daily)Find out more
Aboard a 'Traunerl'
Once upon a time, keel-less slender wooden barges, called Traunerl, shaped the image of Wolfgangsee: since the Middle Ages, people, animals and goods have been transported on them. In recent years, locals have revived the century old tradition and started building their own Traunerl. During summer visitors can join a Traunerl ride every Tuesday from 6 - 8pm. Meeting place is the Landgasthof Leopoldhof in Ried (price EUR 19.00 per person). During autum breakfast rides can be booked. On request during other seasons.Find out more
Gingerbread tasting at Wallner gingerbread bakery in St. Wolfgang
The Wallner family's ancestors have been working in St. Wolfgang as innkeepers, merchants, gingerbread makers, wax extractors and mead producers since 1520. Now in the 17th generation, the raw materials from the apiary are used to make votive gifts from beeswax and gingerbread from honey for the numerous pilgrims who visit the pilgrimage church in St. Wolfgang.Find out more
Start designing an itinerary to Wolfgangsee im Salzkammergut
- Romantik Hotel Im Weissen Rössl ****: For over 500 years, the house has welcomed guests to the calm banks of St. Wolfgang and since 1878, it carries its current name, the “White Horse Inn”.
- Cortisen****: Located in a quiet bay right at the shore of Lake Wolfgang, the 4-star superior Cortisen is the first boutique hotel in the Salzkammergut region. All 25 double rooms and 9 Design & Loft Suites at the adult-only hotel are unique. One of the highlights is the exclusive Boat Shed Suite on the upper deck of the boathouse directly on the shores of Lake Wolfgangsee.
- Kirchenwirt ***: The traditional Gasthof Kirchenwirt, family-owned for 3 generations, is located in the center of Strobl directly on the lake promenade and offers our guests peace and relaxation in our modern guest rooms.
- Hollweger ****: This stunning hotel is one of St Gilgen’s leading hotels and is set in its own extensive grounds overlooking the lake. A private footpath takes guests down to the village centre in approx. 5 minutes, or 10 minutes to the lakefront.
- Kleefeld ***: Gasthof Kleefeld in Strobl is an oasis for both active hoilday makers and relaxation seekers with excellent facilities, unspoilt nature and a personal service.
- Leopoldhof: Nestled between lake and mountain, the Leopoldhof in St. Wolfgang is a cosy traditional Austrian hotel with a newly opened spa area. The heart of the property is the rustic farm house offering premium rooms with lake view.
- Kendler ****: Hotel Kendler is located in the heart of St. Gilgen am Wolfgangsee. Each room in the cosy inn is traditionally decorated with a modern touch. The cosy inn features. a garden with local and international cuisine. At the restaurant guests can enjoy meals from carefully selected, market-fresh ingredients.
- Hotel Billroth ****: It is the charming mix of yesterday and today that makes the Seehotel Billroth something special. The flair of bygone times is interwoven here, on the shores of Lake Wolfgangsee, with courteous service, down-to-earth modern cuisine and hospitality that comes from the heart.
- Brandauer’s Villas***: Brandauer’s Villas in Strobl are situated on the shores of the lake with a large private bathing area. The unique location facing west promises amazing displays as the sun goes down over Lake Wolfgangsee.
- Zur Post****: Gasthof Zur Post in St. Gilgen has been a favourite among artists and celebrities. For an extensive renovation the owners have sourced long forgotten materials such as massive stones, high- grade slate, heavy marble paving stones, a lot of rustic wood and copper fittings
- Scalaria****S: Against the magical backdrop of the lake, the scalaria event resort offers 400 beds in designer rooms, ten seminar and conference rooms, a 1,416-square metre theatre (‘DO- X teatro’) with its two integrated flying stages, and the ‘Circus Circus’ theatre restaurant, with its premium live show cuisine.
- Seevilla****: Hotel Garni Seevilla B&B Wolfgangsee in St. Wolfgang is situated in a tranquil bay of Lake Wolfgangsee at the foot of the Schafberg Mountain. The highlight: guests can enjoy the Seevilla breakfast buffet until 12 noon and, when the weather is good, it is served on the terrace with its breathtaking lake and mountain views.
- Hotel Peter****: Hotel Peter has just 22 spacious rooms and suites, all decorated in a charming regional style, with warm timber flooring and furnishings combined with cosy colours and high quality fabrics. All rooms have a balcony or terrace, and offer panoramic views of Lake Wolfgang.
- Hotel Fürberg***: Gasthof & Hotel Fürberg in St. Gilgen is situated in an exclusive bay on Lake Wolfgangsee far away from any traffic noise. The ferry service to St. Wolfgang (White Horse Inn) departs from the jetty directly in front of the hotel.
- Weisses Rössl St. Wolfgang: The à la carte Romantik Restaurant with its award-winning cuisine offers the perfect atmosphere for elegant dinners in an upscale ambience with a view of idyllic Lake Wolfgangsee.
- Paul der Wirt St. Wolfgang: PAUL der Wirt offers Austrian cuisine in all its diversity - traditional and genuine. Guests can enjoy their meal in the modern inn, on the wonderful lakeside terrace or in the stylish restaurant.
- Strandbar im Landhaus zu Appesbach: Guests can arrive by boat on the restaurant/hotel's private jetty and enjoy extraordinary salad variations, delicious pide or beef tartar combined with a fine selection of champagne and wine, homemade lemonade or classic cocktails.
- Gasthof Fürberg: Whether in the lakeside parlour or the cosy Jagdstüberl, guests are spoiled with regional delicacies from the kitchen and the wine cellar.
- Wirt am Gries: For over 50 years, the cosy "Wirt am Gries" inn in St. Gilgen has been standing for cordiality, tradition and, above all, good local cuisine made from regional products.
18 establishments around the lake have been awarded with 'Falstaff Forks'.
St. Wolfgang: Cortisen am See, Ledererhaus, See-Eck, Landhaus zu Appesbach, Kaiserterasse im Weissen Rössl
St Gilgen: Haus am Hang, Gasthof zur Post, Batzenhäusl, Atelier – Kulinarik&Kunst
Download a PDF version of the itinerary HERE and add it to your clients' travel documents.
SUMMER - Day 1
Take a shuttle service from Salzburg to St. Wolfgang. After checking in at your hotel take the Schafbergbahn cog railway from the valley station in St. Wolfgang to the Schafbergspitze. From here you have one of the best views of the Salzkammergut. After admiring the vista have a traditional lunch at Himmelspforte Mountain Hut before descending.
Hop on the ferry of the WolfgangseeSchifffahrt with a Hop-On/Hop-Off-Ticket and take the scenic ride across the lake to St. Gilgen. After walking through the village and checking out the small craftsmen shops visit the Mozarthaus and find out more about Mozart’s connection to the region. Take the ferry back to St. Wolfgang.
Have dinner at the Romantikhotel im Weissen Rössl. Try a smoked Rössl char from the hotel’s own fish farm, a local delicacy on Wolfgangsee lake. You can enjoy it in the typical Austrian atmosphere of the property’s fish lodge.
Have breakfast directly on the lake at Romantikhotel im Weissen Rössl. Afterwards, take a walk through the village of St. Wolfgang and visit the Pilgrimage Church.
Rent e-bikes in St. Wolfgang and start your journey to the Postalm. Enjoy the stunning views along the way and stop for lunch in one of the traditional mountain huts. We recommend trying one of the typical Austrian dishes like Kaspressknödel, Kaiserschmarren or Topfenstrudel.
After you bike tour, you might want to jump in the lake to cool off and relax at one of the many lidos around the lake.
Stay for another night or make your way back to Salzburg.
WINTER - Day 1
Take a shuttle service from Salzburg to St. Wolfgang. After checking in at your hotel take a ride on the Adventzug (Advent Train) and enjoy some of the best views of the Salzkammergut region.
Back in St. Wolfgang visit the Wolfgangseer Adventmarkt with traditional handcraft, punch and typical gingerbread. Enjoy some regional specialties from one of the stands for lunch.
Take an „Advent boat trip“ to the Native Scenes in Strobl am Wolfgangsee. As you enter Strobl, a shepherds’ path takes you to a giant Advent gate. At the lake, the stable of Bethlehem awaits you with its life-size nativity scene figures.
Continue the boat trip to the Baroque Advent Celebration in St. Gilgen. Shining from afar and guiding the way to St. Gilgen, the 11-metre high lantern at the shores of Wolfgangsee welcomes you. Taste some traditional punch and visit the colourful three-dimensional baroque wall and ceiling paintings on the church square.
Finish the boat trip in St. Wolfgang
Have dinner at the Romantikhotel im Weissen Rössl.
Have breakfast with a view of the snowy lake in front of a warm fireplace at Romantikhotel im Weissen Rössl. Once finished with breakfast, take the bus to St. Gilgen where you can rent snowshoes.
Take the cable car to the top of Zwölferhorn mountain. Before strapping on your snowshoes have lunch at Voit’l Hut. After lunch explore the winter wonderland with your snowshoes while admiring the views of the lake. If you’re up for a challenge you can also hike up directly from St. Gilgen (approx. 2h).
Take the bus back to St. Wolfgang.
Stay for another night or make your way back to Salzburg.
Good to know!
How to get there
Closest international airport for one-stop flights from Australia:
Munich: 235km (approx. 2h 45min by car / 3h 40min by train/bus)
Vienna: 310km (approx. 3h 20min by car / 5h by train/bus)
Closest international airport for flights from Europe (e.g. London):
Salzburg: 65km (approx. 50min by car / 1h 35min by bus)
Private shuttle service from Salzburg or Vienna possible.
Tours and Guides
St. Wolfgang's history including pilgrimage church, operetta and legends (Franz Zimmermann, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Town walk with the most important highlights in St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang (Austria Guides – wolfgangsee.at)
Top events in summer:
St. Wolfgang summer nights: Relaxed drinks and delicacies in a summery atmosphere with music in the market town of St. Wolfgang
- Dates: every fortnight on Mondays from June to August
Make music & dance, zåmgsitzt & g`jausnet: folk music regulars' table by the lake: traditional get-together with music
- Dates: Wednesdays July-August
Top events in Winter:
Wolfgangseer Advent: Traditional Christmas market close by the lake
- Dates: 18.11. – 18.12.2022