The Salzkammergut, which belongs to the three provinces (Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria), is one of the historical regions of Austria. The area got its name from the region overseen by the Gmunden salt chamber (Salzkammergut means salt chamber). But its world fame is not due to this, but to the lakes and picturesque towns, the most famous of which is Hallstatt.

Its historic small towns and spas also ensure the region's popularity. Its territory consists of 58 towns, more than 70% located in Upper Austria. Ranges of low limestone mountains and the lakes between them characterise the landscape.

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You can count 76 small and large lakes. You can see the result of the work of the river Traun and its tributaries.

Quick Details

Salzkammergut Details
Country Austria, Alps
Regions Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria
Distance from Vienna 3 hours / 300 km
Territory 284 km2
What is it known for? Lakes, bath towns
Number of lakes 76 lakes
Top attractions Hallstatt, Bad Ischl, Dachstein, Gosausee, Schafberg
Mountains Salzkammergut Mountains, Dachstein, Totes, Höllen Mountains, Traunstein, Osterhorn Group
Website salzkammergut.at

The area is one of the most developed tourist regions in Austria. Thanks to the area's features, it is a region rich in water sports. Many people climb mountains, hike, or just spend their time sightseeing or bathing in spas. In winter, skiing takes over, as Tauplitz has the world's largest ski jump.

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The southern region has been part of the World Heritage since 1997. 

Where is Salzkammergut?

Approach, map, distances

In today's sense, the Salzkammergut region is bordered by the Fuschlsee in the west, the Vöckla river in the north, the Alm river in the east, and the Dachstein mountain range in the south. Its outer zone reaches almost the city of Salzburg. It belongs decisively to Upper Austria but, to a lesser extent, also extends to Salzburg and Styria. It is part of the Alps.

  • Distance from Vienna: 255 km / 3 hours
  • Distance from Linz: 92 km / 1 hour
  • Distance from Salzburg: 50 km / 45 minutes
Salzkammergut map - Vienna distance

Regions of Salzkammergut

The countryside was divided into 8 larger landscape units. They would be worth visiting for a week, as the area has even more beautiful attractions. Most of the different regions were formed around a larger lake.

  • Ausseerland region (Bad Aussee - Styria)
  • Attersee - Attergau region (Upper Austria)
  • Bad Ischl region (Upper Austria)
  • Dachstein-Salzkammergut region (Hallstatter See, Hallstatt, Bad Goisern,
  • Obertraun, Gosau - Upper Austria)
  • Mondsee - Irrsee region (Upper Austria)
  • Traunsee - Almtal region (Upper Austria)
  • Fuschlsee region (Salzburg)
  • Wolfgangsee region (Salzburg)

Lakes of Salzkammergut

As we wrote earlier, there are 76 smaller and larger lakes in the area. The largest and most significant of these are:

  • Attersee (45.9 km²)
  • Mondsee (14.2 km²)
  • Wolfgangsee (13 km²)
  • Hallstattersee (8.55 km²)
  • Fuschlsee (2.7 km²)
  • Irrsee (1 km²)
  • Traunsee
  • Almsee
  • Grundlsee and Toplitzsee
  • Altausseer
  • Gosausee

Which lakes can you swim in the Salzkammergut region?

Out of 76 lakes, you can swim in 16 lakes. Even if you know in which lakes you can swim, it's worth asking the locals because there are lakes where you can't enter the water anywhere, only on specific beaches.

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You can find a total of 16 lakes in which you can swim here: Mondsee, Hallstattersee, Attersee, Wolfgangsee, Eibensee, Irrsee, Fuschlsee, Altausee, Gosausee, Grundlsee, Ebensee, Langbathsee, Nussensee, Toplitzsee, Traunsee, Ödensee.

Attractions

#1 Hallstatt

The most popular attraction in Salzkammergut is the former merchant town Hallstatt, located on the shores of Hallstattersee. The city is not only suitable for relaxation and gastronomic pleasures, but you can even spend a week just exploring the area. There will be no shortage of sights and landmarks.

Hallstatt, Hallstattersee

#2 Dachstein

While skiers are everywhere in winter, families and hikers flood the area in the summer. Dachstein is also a popular climbing area. In clear, suitable weather, the daily number of people setting out to conquer the mountain can be around 100.

Dachstein Mountains
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Did you know? The Dachstein Glacier is perhaps one of the smallest ski resorts in Austria. The ski paradise (if you can call it that) with only 5 km of ski slopes is hardly noticeable among the hidden mountains.

#3 Bad Ischl

Many visits the city of Bad Ischl to admire the Kaiservilla, which is the Imperial Palace. The yellow building was the summer residence of the royal family, designed by Franz Joseph I., and his wife - Sisi - also spent her summers here. And while you're here, hop on the Katrin cable car to take in the panorama.

  • Address: Jainzen 38, 4820 Bad Ischl, Austria
Bad Ischl

#4 Gosausee

The most beautiful lake in the region is a region of 3 lakes. Real hiking, wandering and climbing paradise - as the surrounding mountains are members of the Dachstein mountain group. The exciting thing about the glacial lakes is that there is also a cable car at the largest lake. The nearest big city is Salzburg.

  • Vorderer Gosausee (the largest lake, where the cable car is located)
  • Gosaulacke (middle lake)
  • Hinterer Gosausee (this is the most untouched of the three lakes)
Gosausee

#5 Traunsee

If you want to see another fabulous lake, we recommend the area around Traunsee. The lake's symbol is the Orth Castle. The uniqueness of the castle is that it was built on a small island in the lake, so it can only be approached via a bridge. You can find the castle in the town of Gmunden at the lake's northern end. Another main attraction is the town of Traunkirchen.

Traunsee - Orth Castle

#6 Schafberg (1783 m)

You must have seen a picture of the Schafberg mountain in Salzburg. In the Salzkammergut Mountains of the Northern Limestone Alps, Schafberg rises to 1,783 meters on Lake Wolfgangsee. A 360-degree panorama opens up before you from the top - a fabulous sight. A nostalgia train (Schafbergbahn) takes you up the mountain. The most famous part of the mountain is a restaurant at one of the edges.

Schafberg mountain

#7 Wolfgangsee

The lake, which reaches a depth of 114 meters, offers plenty of water sports. The settlements on the coast with the villages of Strobl, St. Gilgen, Abersee and Ried, and the market town of St. Wolfgang. You can swim in the lake, and look for the established beaches.

Wolfgangsee

#8 Attersee

Attersee is the largest lake in the Salzkammergut region. In terms of area, it is the third largest lake in Austria, surpassed only by Lake Constance and Lake Neusiedl, which, however, both extend beyond the country's borders.

Attersee

#9 Mondsee

The Mondsee is located near Lake Attersee. The Drachenwand mountain on the lake's southern shore is an impressive sight. The exciting thing about Lake Mondsee is that it is privately owned.

Mountains

The region is not short of fabulous giants. The Salzkammergut mountain range of the same name is located here, as well as the Dachstein, Totes, Höllen mountains, the Traunstein and the Osterhorn group of mountains surrounding the area.

Caves

The limestone and dolomite mountains hide countless cave systems. Austria's longest pass system is in the Hirlatzhöhle (112 km long) can be found here. Gasselhöhle is the richest stalactite cave in the Northern Limestone Alps.

Culture, festivals, programs

Traditions in the region are very strong. Due to its ethnographic and cultural distinctness, the region is jokingly called Austria's tenth province. The beauty of the countryside also captivated artists such as Gustav Klimt, who regularly spent long periods at the Attersee between 1900-1916.

  • Glöcker: in the evening of the day before Epiphany, the lantern parade, which you can only see in this area.
  • Ausseerland Daffodil Festival: a celebration of the star daffodil found in the fresh alpine meadows of the Salzkammergut.
  • Bird hunting: since 2010, bird hunting in the Salzkammergut has been part of Austria's intellectual world heritage.

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