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Austria-best lake to stay at for hiking/castles

Aloha! My husband and I will be in Austria for 4 nights at the end of May. We want to make a base at one place (we will have just traveled all over Italy and are trying to stay 3-4 nights per place we go as opposed to 1-2). We are just giving ourselves a little taste of Austria before having to fly out of Vienna, reserving the 5th night for Vienna. My question is, if you had to recommend just one stunningly beautiful place in Austria for hiking where would it be? I am imagining one of the beautiful lakes, preferably with a castle to explore on one of the days as well. I should also mention, we are hoping to just use trains and buses to get there from Italy, not renting a car.
Thank you so much in advance!

Posted by
5295 posts

I would suggest the Salzkammergut region - an area of lakes, mountains, history and stunning villages just south of Salzburg.

St. Gilgen would be my choice as a base due to its proximity to a bus line that will get you where you need to go.

For hiking, there are countless options in that area, including the cablecar in St. Gilgen that takes you to the top of Zwölferhorn. Gosausee is probably the most beautiful place in Austria. There’s also the Dachstein. Use the Bergfex website with Google translate for other ideas -

Near St. Gilgen is St. Wolfgangsee and Hallstatt. And of course Salzburg. All absolutely beautiful towns and villages.

For lakes, as mentioned above Wolfgangsee, Hallstattersee, Gosausee, and there are about 5 other lakes in the Salzkammergut.

Castles, of course the famous one in Salzburg. Then you also have Hohenwerfen Castle.

Great small hotels and good food in St. Gilgen.

Posted by
2853 posts

I agree with the Salzkammergut region. St. Gilgen makes the perfect place to base.