Picturesque scenery and traditional architecture make holidays to St Gilgen ideal for exploring Lake Wolfgang and the surrounding peaks.
The sound of Austria
The village itself is packed with history. Get a glimpse of its past life at the hermitage of the original St Gilgen, hidden behind a chapel on the Falkenstein cliffs. It’s also known as the Mozart village – the composer’s mother was born here, his grandfather worked here and his sister lived here for 17 years. And the musical credentials don’t end there – St Gilgen was the backdrop for many of the outdoor scenes from the film The Sound of Music.
A head for heights
A trip up the Zwölferhorn gondola is an absolute must. Not only do many of the area’s best walks start from the top of the mountain, but the views are amazing, as is the Alpine flora and fauna. You can also rent bikes and e-bikes to reach the nearby lakeside villages – or simply take a leisurely ferry ride.
Out and about
• Lake bathing
• Bike hire
• Mountain lifts
• Indoor pool
• Tennis courts
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Things to See and Do in St Gilgen
The glacial Wolfgangsee bathing lake borders the town of St Gilgen, and stretches around 10.5km from north-west to south-west. It’s divided into two by a peninsula, and the western section, at St Gilgen, is known as Abersee.
The water in Wolfgangsee is nearly good enough to drink, and the lake is framed by the Schafberg and Zwölferhorn Mountains and the Postalm Plateau.
Sunbathing and sports
Enjoy a relaxing stint on a beachy patch of shore or one of the sunbathing jetties, jutting out over the water. For more active people, Wolfgangsee has plenty of watersports – paddle boarding, windsurfing, diving and boats for hire.
St Gilgen holds a weekly farmers' market at Brunettiplatz, which runs on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. You might be able to scoop up some bargain souvenirs in the form of fresh produce from the local farms.
The choice of shops is very limited. There are a few sport shops selling various activewear and accessories, and the Altwaren und Raritäten Meichlefull shop is full of antiques, knick-knacks and other curious objects that make it an interesting place to browse.
Café Nannerl is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, so pop in for a late-night drink or ice cream. The venue shares its name with Mozart’s sister, and is a popular spot for sweet treats.
St Gilgen is a quiet town on the whole. Friday nights often play host to the local brass band, who play at the bandstand just next to the park. Subject to weather, the band will play from 8pm, perfect for a free, after-dinner concert.
With a selection of eateries around the lakeside and a few further inland, you can enjoy a pizza with incredible views across the water, or some dumplings in an authentic Austrian hut. As the resort is quite small, most restaurants and cafés aren’t too far from each other, but you can still admire lovely scenery as you wander in search of a new place to try.
Delectable desserts at Café Dallmann
The Mozartplatz 2a is home to Café Dallmann, which has a fantastic selection of homemade cakes and chocolates – including the award-winning Mozart torte. Everything is reasonably priced, and the walnut torte with buttercream is one not to be missed.
Join the locals at Angusta Grill & More
With indoor and outdoor seating that overlooks a peaceful meadow and pine forest, Angusta Grill & More offers steaks, cooked perfectly on an open wood-fire oven. The restaurant is usually full of locals so it has a great atmosphere too.
High quality local fare at Wirt am Gries
Set back from the lake is Wirt am Gries, a fine-dining Austrian restaurant with nice outdoor seating and pretty good schnitzel. The menu is simple – but the dishes are high quality – and they even have a schnapps trolley.
Famous for it’s idyllic location and truly stunning scenery, St Gilgen is perfect for exploring on foot. Stroll along the lakeside promenade or wander through the quaint village, admiring the traditional architecture.
What better way to see the beauty of the lake than by taking to the actual water? Ferries run to both St Wolfgang and Strobl and, depending on the service, could be a steamer or hydrofoil. You even get a discounted rate if you’ve purchased a Salzkammergut Card.
The nearest station to St Gilgen is in Bad Ischl. The station can be reached by bus 150. From Bad Ischl you could get on a train to Gmunden to visit the K-Hof ceramics museum. Trains also go to Salzburg (2 hours 15 minutes) and even Vienna (3 hours).
Buses run regularly to Bad Ischl, St Wolfgang, Fuschl, Mondsee and Salzburg.
You’ll also get discount on summer lifts with a Salzkammergut Card. The Zwolferhorn gondola is a definite must – it gives you access to the best mountain walks and also has the most incredible views at the top.
There are 80km of marked paths in and around St Gilgen, all easily accessible from the centre of town. Whether you’re an avid walker or a casual stroller, you’ll find something to interest you. Wander along the lakeside, walk through the village of Winkl, or ascend the Schafberg Mountain for fantastic views of twelve different lakes. After a drink, take the cog railway down into St Wolfgang and jump on the ferry back to St Gilgen. There’s also a good variety of walks from the top of the Zwölferhorn gondola, which you can get discounts for with a Salzkammergut Card.
Get your legs at Fuberg
This easy route winds through town, passing various hotspots like the public bathing area and yacht club. Past the Hotel Billroth, the route heads around the north shore of the lake, beneath overhanging cliffs and shady trees – and the views across the water are beautiful. At the Fuberg hotel, stop for a drink on the terrace and watch the world go by. After, you can walk to Winkl, follow the forest paths, or return to St Gilgen on foot or by ferry.
South shore Seeweg stroll
Get the impressive scenery without breaking a sweat. Following the lakeshore, you’ll pass through the Esplanade and Leug areas before heading into the Abersee delta. Look for signs for ‘Seeweg Strobl 12’ and follow this path to the Wolfgangblick camping ground. Turn inland and this route will finally lead you to Gschwendt, a wooded area with a bar and pizzeria. Catch the ferry from here back to St Gilgen.
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