One of the most beautiful regions of Austria is well known to Austrians and Germans but is not often visited by people from the rest of the world. If you say you are traveling to Austria, people presume you are going to Vienna, Innsbruck or Salzburg. But would you believe that less than 20 miles outside of Salzburg is a wonderful resort area that most of you are familiar with. Don’t know what I’m talking about…read on and you will discover a lovely region that was made famous by the movie The Sound of Music.
I think this lovely area of Austria will entice you to forget about Vienna…at least for a little while.
The Salzkammergut, more commonly known as the Lake District, is made up of ten large lakes and many, many smaller ones in the rolling foothills of the majestic Alps. Driving on country roads, you pass picture postcard villages along the shores of crystal clear blue and green lakes where swans paddle by.
I wish we could have had a sign on our car saying “this car makes sudden and frequent stops” so that we could have stopped at every beautiful sight that appeared around the bends in the roads. We saw beautiful two-storied homes with attached barns, onion domed church steeples off in the distance and the occasional castle perched on a hill.
The hotel for this part of my husband’s and my stay in this region of Austria was Ebner’s Waldhof in Fuschl am See. We stayed at this family run hotel last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to return . If you remember my post from last year, it rained and snowed during our stay at the Waldhof…this year we had lovely sunshine.
The Waldhof is a “Alpine Wellness” hotel and uses herbs and medicinal plants grown in their own gardens in both their cooking and in spa treatments.
The hotel includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and cakes, and a five course meal in their half board rates. The food on their vital menu was delicious, healthy and calorie friendly. Believe me that is important after weeks of eating decadent meals on our tour of Germany and Austria.
Would you believe just over 500 calories for the three delicious dishes in the photos.
Each day at breakfast, there was a newsletter listing daily activities such as guided bike tours, carriage rides, archery and golf lessons plus a complete children’s program. We took the hotel’s suggestion of an area in the region to tour each day. On our first day’s adventure, we headed a few miles away to Lake Wolfgang.
The lake is beautiful and it’s most visited town is St. Wolfgang. The views from the town’s 12th century pilgrimage church just above the lake were lovely.
The church’s historic winged altar is stunning. Unfortunately the church doesn’t allow photos of the interior. It was fun exploring the narrow lanes of colorful shops and cafes.
The small village of Strobi was less touristy. I love the nice blend of old and new in this pretty little town.
Everywhere you look, there is beautiful bronze artwork in the grassy green park next to the water.
St. Gilgen is the third town on the lake. This picturesque town is the birth place of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s mother and the later home of his sister. Now you can see the connection of his name…Wolfgang. The wonderful little town hall has a lovely fountain and sculpture of a young Mozart playing his violin.
Colorful buildings line the main street next to where boats take passengers for tours across the lake.
Our next excursion took us in the direction of Linz, to the town of Kremsmuster, that is known for one of Austria’s most important baroque monasteries. The monastery dates back to 777 AD and is one of the oldest in central Europe. It is known for its art treasures and manuscripts. The church within the monastery is one of the most beautiful that I’ve seen while traveling.
There are eight 16th century Flemish tapestries that are wrapped around the pillars in the church that I’ve never seen done in any other church that I have visited in Europe.
On the return to the hotel we stopped in Gmunden, a busy town that has a lovely promenade overlooking the Traunstein Lake. The town is known for its ceramic bells at the city hall.
We enjoyed this beautiful region during the fall when it is less crowded. You could spend several weeks in the summer enjoying this lovely area as there is so much to explore and things to do. Picturesque towns, lakes and mountains with hiking, biking, and every water sport that you can imagine.
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