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Best place to visit in the Salzkammergut region?

Hello! I'll be visiting Austria with my two adult children in June, following a visit to Prague. We'll have about four days in/near Salzburg before traveling on to Vienna to finish our tour (about four days in Vienna). I'm wondering if we should split our time between Salzburg and a smaller town, to break up the big city visits of Prague and Vienna. Or if we might even base in a smaller town near Salzburg and just have a day trip to Salzburg? I would really like to do some hiking in the lake region and enjoy the beautiful countryside, so am concerned that only two nights in, perhaps St. Wolfgang or St. Gilgen, will feel too short. I would appreciate feedback from people who have visited this area. My one trip to Salzburg was 30 years ago when my husband and I took students on a European tour, spending only a busy July afternoon there, and I recall it being very crowded. I'm hoping early June may be a bit quieter, though I know it's a popular destination any time of the year. I've read many posts about Hallstatt as a possible destination but see on maps that it's further from Salzburg, making it more difficult to travel between the two, perhaps? Is there possibly a quaint, small town in the Salzkammergut that won't feel overrun by tourists in early June?

Posted by
782 posts

I have stayed in St Wolfgang on the lake at The Seebocken Hotel,beautiful location and management with easy access to Hallstatt and the Salt Mine Tour,St Wolfgang has the cog rail to the top of the mountain with great views and hiking.We are returning to the Seebocken Hotel in September for five nights.

Posted by
16894 posts

Direct bus from Salzburg to St. Gilgen takes one hour, so that could even be done as a day trip. Trains from Salzburg to Hallstatt station take about 2.5 hours with one connection, then a short boat ride.

Posted by
501 posts

Hallstatt is unforgettable and amazing - make the effort to go! Some nice hiking/ sightseeing and caves/ waterfalls/ salt mines near there and near Zell am See. Can't go wrong with these destinations.

Posted by
4998 posts

Your "quaint, small town in the Salzkammergut that won't feel overrun by tourists" is definitely Hallstatt . Great place to kick back and relax. TC

Posted by
2921 posts

Hi Kim.

While we've never stayed at these places, we have visited the places on your list. Salzburg about 5 times so far. I would have to say stay in St. Gilgen for 4 nights. If wanting to see both Salzburg and Hallstatt, it makes sense to stay more in the "middle" instead of at either of the "ends". Spend an afternoon cruising on the Wolfgangsee to at least St. Wolfgang and back. We loved our day out doing this during the Christmas markets in Dec. 2013.

I am in the very lonely minority, but we weren't overly impressed with our visit to Hallstatt in Oct. '07. Nice enough, but extremely small and there are just so many other cute, scenic villages in Austria. We're both bery glad we went, but have no need or desire to return. Just us.


Posted by
50 posts

I'd stay in Salzburg, an take separate day trips to St. Wolfgang/Gilgen (easy/cheap via bus) and Hallstatt. The latter is, as someone else mentioned above, really special--but both are worth a day trip. Salzburg is busy, but also super-charming. It'll be a little less crazy in June. If you want to stay in town, Hotel Am Dom is one of our faves in Europe; the RS books list some out-of-town options that might give you some space from the tourist crush. Ask your hotel/lodging manager about the easiest way to see Hallstatt. Is likely by bus.

Posted by
28 posts

Thank you to all who've replied. I'm still undecided about basing in Salzburg or St. Gilgen. I hope a few more people will add their thoughts to the conversation.