When in Salzburg ...
The areas surrounding Salzburg have countless options for inspired day trips, such as the Eisriesenwelt Werfen, a 100-million-year-old extensive labyrinth of ice caves, or the Salzwelten in Hallein, the 7,000-year-old salt mines south of Salzburg, that cultivated the enormous wealth of the prince archbishops.
But the Salzkammergut (salt chamber court), a resort area with many lakes and blessed with varied natural beauty, is a place to which I love to return often. It was the Emperor Franz Joseph’s favourite vacation spot. His holidays were spent in Bad Ischl, and each of the small towns and villages by the lakes offer their own charm. Some are surrounded by rolling hills, others by tall mountains, and many still remind us of the glory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with their historical buildings boasting ornate façades. One of my favourites is Gmunden at the Traunsee, home to the popular Gmundner Keramik, the 300-year-old manufacturer of the hand-painted earthenware found in the home of most Austrians, and St. Gilgen, the picturesque village on the northwest shore of the Wolfgangsee, known for its beautiful villas of notable Viennese who started coming here for the summers at the end of the 19th century. The area is still popular with Europe’s aristocrats and wealthy, many of them owning hideaways that are far off the tourists’ paths. Whether basking in the sun by the lakes, or hiking secluded trails, the Salzkammergut always captivates. www.salzkammergut.at
Author: Claudia Juestel, The ADDRESS MAGAZINE