The best time to travel to St. Wolfgang am Wolfgangsee is now. Many international tourists are absent and the Austrians discover the picturesque village in the Salzkammergut for themselves. So am I – and by doing so I am fulfilling a dream I have been longing for. Up to now I only knew St. Wolfgang from day trips, but now it's time for a summer break in the Salzkammergut.
I have been living in Upper Austria for four years now and I am beginning to call my adopted federal state my home. With treasures such as St. Wolfgang or Hallstatt, this is also becoming increasingly difficult for me to deny. Together with my husband, I have been to the Salzkammergut several times, but we have never been to the Wolfgangsee together. So why not now? You can find my tips for a wonderful stay in St. Wolfgang here:
Tips for a summer break: St. Wolfgang am Wolfgangsee
The Wolfgangsee lies calmly before me, behind it the mountains of the Salzkammergut rise. Kitsch in its purest form is what goes through my mind. If one would paint this landscape and try to sell the artwork, one would probably earn remarks that this would never match reality. And yet Sankt Wolfgang is real and one simply cannot get enough of it.
Less than 3,000 call St. Wolfgang their home and yet the place is one of the most popular in the whole Salzkammergut. I simply love being here, too. And besides the Schafbergbahn, boat trips and swimming, St. Wolfgang also has a lot to offer from a culinary point of view.
Riding an e-bike along the shore of Lake Wolfgang
When thinking about riding a bike, I have to admit that I am very conflicted: On the one hand, I love to feel the wind and explore the landscape, on the other hand, I find the bikes terribly uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I did not miss the opportunity to cycle around the Wolfgangsee. Well, not quite, because a full loop is not possible due to geography. However, a trip along the shore of the lake is worth it. There are several possibilities to explore Lake Wolfgang by bike:
- Option 1: From St. Wolfgang by bike to Ried and from there by ferry to Fürberg. From there simply follow the well-signposted cycle path around the lake back to St. Wolfgang.
- Option 2: From St. Wolfgang to Strobl, Abersee, St. Gilgen and back to Fürberg. Instead of the ferry, simply turn around and follow the beautiful cycle path back.
- Option 3: Like option 2, but then halfway back to St. Wolfgang from Abersee by ferry. This is served by Schifffahrt Greinz.
Tip: You can rent e-bikes from See-Biker directly in the centre of St. Wolfgang. Markus will help you to find the right route and the right e-bike for you.
Up the Schafberg with the Schafbergbahn
It is a highlight to travel along the historic route from St. Wolfgang to the Schafberg with one of the oldest rack railways in Austria. The construction started in 1892 (100 years before I was even born) and was completed just one year later.
Several times per hour a locomotive moves several wagons up the steep Schafberg. Within 35 minutes it climbs 1190 meters of altitude on a distance of 5.85 km.
Tip: Make sure you get a window seat – the view during the ride is fantastic!
Once at the top, it is worth to take a short walk to the Gate of Heaven (Himmelspforte) and to the summit cross. Sturdy shoes are a must, because of the steepness of the terrain and the loose rocks, you quickly lose your balance. The reward? A magnificent view over large parts of the Salzkammergut!
Continuing towards the Hotel Schafbergspitze you will see other lakes in the region: Mondsee, Irrsee, Attersee, Fuschlsee and of course the Wolfgangsee. Relax with a refreshing drink on the hotel terrace.
Info: Buy tickets directly at the valley station in St. Wolfgang or online in advance. At the moment you have to choose the time to return when you buy your ticket – this can be changed at the top station depending on availability.
Tip: A very special experience is a trip with historical steam locomotives from 1893 and 1894, which only run on selected dates and times – make sure you book in advance.
Tip: You can also stay overnight at Hotel Schafbergspitze. My dear blogger friend Claudia from Salzburg has blogged about this (in German).
A boat trip on Lake Wolfgang
A boat trip on the Wolfgangsee should be on your list for St. Wolfgang as well. From here you can leisurely enjoy the diverse and dreamlike landscape of the Salzkammergut. The ships make regular stops at the following stations: St. Gilgen, Fürberg, Ried-Falkenstein, St. Wolfgang Schafbergbahn, St. Wolfgang Markt, Gschwendt and the car park in Strobl.
Tip: Either take the first or last ship of the day to enjoy the wonderful reflections of the low sun over the lake.
Tip: Similar to the Schafberg, there is a nostalgic option for Lake Wolfgang: The RMS Kaiser Franz Joseph and the MS Kaiserin Elisabeth were both built in 1873 and still cruise across the lake today.
Info: Tickets are available at the Schafbergbahn valley station, and also directly at the ship. Route, departure times and prices can be found here.
Cool down in Lake Wolfgang
Particularly when the summer is in full swing and the sun is cheerfully smiling from the sky, then off to Lake Wolfgang. The clear water is cool and refreshing and brings back childhood memories of many summer holidays.
Some hotels in St. Wolfgang and around Lake Wolfgang have their own private swimming areas. There are also public places where you can swim and relax.
Tip: Treat yourself to a wellness day: even if you are not staying at Im Weissen Rössl, with a day pass for the day spa you can enjoy the best view of Lake Wolfgang until sunset.
Where to eat in St. Wolfgang: My Restaurant Tips
Im Weissen Rössl: The Rössl Terrace with its breathtaking view of Lake Wolfgang offers excellent Austrian food. Kaiserschmarrn and Salzburger Nockerl are exceptionally good here. Unfortunately, head waiter Leopold no longer serves personally, but the staff at the Weisse Rössl are just as dedicated.
SeeSushi: SeeSushi has been on my wish list for quite some time – and it has more than fulfilled my expectations. Delicious Austrian sushi interpretations with local fish and regional products are on the menu. Be sure to order the See-Viche as a starter!
Paul der Wirt: On the terrace of the Restaurant Paul der Wirt you can spend the most beautiful evening hours with delicious Austrian specialities and variations. For those who are looking for something different and a little time travel, the Riding Schnitzel experience can be booked with Paul. You enjoy a schnitzel like the emperor once did during a carriage ride through St. Wolfgang and toast with a glass of wine.
Das Franzl: Regionally inspired treats are served at Das Franzl. They are especially famous here for their tarte flambée. I have to mention that three alpacas live at Das Franzl and you have the opportunity to book walks with them.
Where to stay in St. Wolfgang: White Horse Inn (Im Weissen Rössl)
I have never looked forward to a stay in a hotel as much as I did for the Weisse Rössl in Sankt Wolfgang. As a great admirer of Peter Alexander, I watched his films with my grandma on rainy afternoons on the tube TV when I was still at elementary school. For many years it has been a great dream to stay in this special hotel. And this dream came true during my trip to St. Wolfgang. At the check-in I wanted to pinch myself all the time, I was so afraid to have dreamed all this.
Was it worth it or was my expectation greater than reality? Every single second in this wonderful hotel was a pleasure and my expectation was not only fulfilled but exceeded by far. In my head the voice of Peter Alexander was on a permanent loop: In the Weisses Rössl at the Wolfgangsee, where happiness is at the door. 🎶 (Watch the video of this song here.)
For those of you who have no idea who Peter Alexander was: He was one of Austria's most successful and loved entertainers.
We were privileged to stay in the main building with balcony and an excellent view of Lake Wolfgang. Every morning I stood fascinated on the balcony and watched the first sunbeams as they awakened the landscape from its sleep.
Another outstanding feature is the lake access directly at the hotel. The wide wooden jetty with comfortable deck chairs, tables and parasols is the perfect place to spend the height of summer. For those who find Lake Wolfgang too cold, there is also a heated pool in the lake. On the floating wooden island there is also a whirlpool.
Among the culinary highlights is the breakfast buffet. With views across the lake, there is no way to get the day off to a bad start. On Sundays, listen to the sounds of the piano for breakfast and feel a little bit like once emperor and empress.
Information Corona St. Wolfgang
The reintroduction of compulsory masks in Upper Austria even before the cluster in St. Wolfgang helped keep the numbers low. Through this measure the spread of the coronavirus beyond St. Wolfgang has been contained.
Info: The tourist office regularly updates this page with updated numbers and information.
Info: In Upper Austria, it is still mandatory to wear masks. You can find detailed information here.
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