Austria’s Lake District is familiar to many people even if they have never traveled to Austria. The beautiful green pastures, hills and mountains in the opening scenes of the movie “The Sound of Music” were all filmed in the Salzkammergut, as this area is called in German. Its crystal clear lakes, quaint villages and enchanting landscapes make it one of the most popular destinations in Austria.
Click on any photo in the galleries below to enlarge and see a slide show.
The historic city of Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, also provided many of the scenes for the famous film. Whether you want to follow in the footsteps of Maria, Captain von Trapp and his family or not, the Lake District should not be missed.
My husband and I enjoy staying at Fuschl am See, a short thirty minute drive from Salzburg, at Ebner’s Waldhof am See located directly on the lake. We find it an ideal starting point for day trips to the other lakes in the area.
We have stayed at Ebner’s during the Christmas holidays as well as autumn and enjoyed both seasons although summer is the busiest time. Outdoor activities such as boating, hiking, biking, horse back riding and carriage rides are all available to the guests so the hotel is very popular with families. There is even a daily kids camp and from what we have seen, all the children seem to have a great time. One of the things that keep us returning to Ebner’s is its wonderful spa, the largest private spa in the region.
Mondsee is a popular lake if you enjoy swimming as it is one of the warmest lakes in the region. The town of Mondsee, located at the water’s edge, is well known for St. Michael’s church. The splendid interior of this former Benedictine abbey was used in “The Sound of Music” for the scene where Maria and Captain von Trapp exchanged their wedding vows.
Ten minutes away from Fuschl am See, Wolfgangsee has three charming towns, St. Gilgen, Strobl, and St. Wolfgang. Each has a different feel and all should be visited. St. Gilgen is the birthplace of Mozart’s mother and home of his sister after her marriage.
Strobl, the next town on the lake, is small in size but I love its mix of old traditional buildings and contemporary sculpture along its promenade.
St. Wolfgang is the largest town on the lake and has two famous landmarks, its pilgrim church and the Weisses Rössl, The White Horse Inn, the back drop in a famous operetta of the same name. It is fun to stroll along the back streets and along the waterfront.
The village of Hallstatt on the Hallstätter See may be the most photographed village in Austria. It is on the UNESCO world heritage list and its location is beautiful. Known for its salt production since 800 BC, the salt mined here and in the rest of the Salzkammergut made this region wealthy. Salzkammergut means “the land of salt mines” in English.
The Lake District is not just about lakes. The winding back roads offer up not only wonderful scenery but some delightful surprises as well, like the straw people and animals that we have seen in this region.
We took a one lane twisty mountain road while heading to Werfen for lunch one afternoon. Werfen is known for the fortress high above the town and one of the best restaurants in Austria. During the interesting drive (read into it meeting other cars where one would have to find a wide spot in the road so the other could pass) we saw the cutest firewood shed I have ever seen. I had my husband stop the car in the middle of the road, hoping no traffic was heading our way, and quickly took a photo.
All good things must come to an end at sometime and this trip is one of them. My husband and I think this may have been our best trip yet. We had great weather, enjoyed beautiful scenery, stayed in lovely hotels, and ate delicious food…all things that make for a memorable trip. Now it is on to Munich and a flight home to New England. I want to thank all the readers who have followed along on our travel adventure. I hope you have enjoyed experiencing Germany and Austria through the lens of my camera and my words.