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Salzkammergut Lakes, Salzburg and Innsbruck

We are planning to spend a week in Salzburg and Innsbruck. We will be taking the train from Munich to Innsbruck, then on to Salzburg. Is there good public transportation to the towns in the Salzkammergut Lakes area or will we need a car? How are the roads...I do not like “scary hairpin turn” roads.

Posted by
61 posts

Short answer is: it depends what you want to see.

If you're using Salzburg as your base, it's easy to get to Wolfgangsee by bus. From St. Gilgen on Wolfgangsee, you can enjoy the swimming, hiking, and beautiful scenery the region is known for. You can also connect from there to Mondsee (for more of the same).

Lots of travellers fixate on Hallstatt when visiting the region. That would be a more time-consuming journey by public transit. For that, I'd recommend either renting a car or checking out one of the day trips organized from Salzburg.

Happy planning!

Posted by
1491 posts

Bus line #150 goes from Salzburg to Bad Ischl, a scenic route.

Bad Ischl is worth visiting, e.g. the emperor's villa with the desk where he signed the declaration of war triggering WW I, not only ending about 600 years of ruling by his family, but leading to the decomposition of his empire into independent countries, with a worldwide total of about 40 millions of casualties.

Also worth noting is the famous "Zaunerstollen" - a kind of cake unique to this town - which can be bought at Zauner's Café.

From Bad Ischl you can take the train to Hallstatt, a ride of 21 minutes (REX train) or 27 minutes (R train).

The problem with Hallstatt is that on average there are about six times more tourists per day than inhabitants of the town.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you both for your replies! We would love to see Bad Ischl. Would it be wise to take a morning train, spend a few hours there, then continue on to Hallstatt...hoping to arrive once the majority of the tourists have left? From other RS comments, it seems that it is best to see Halstatt in the evening and early morning...ie an overnight.
Also, are the towns of Mondsee and St. Wolfgang serviced by the same train route? Which would you suggest as another stop on the way to Bad Ischl?
Thank in advance for any additional information!

Posted by
23 posts

I just realized that you indicated a bus, not a train from Salzburg to Bad Ischl.....is there also a train?

Posted by
1491 posts

Yes, you can go by train, too.
Salzburg - Attnang-Pucheim (train change) - Bad Ischl - Hallstatt
The first leg is not so schenic like the bus ride to Bad Ischl.
Travel time to Hallstatt is about the same for either choice (about 2:10 hours).

Posted by
4690 posts

Trains and buses are in valleys, so no "scary hairpin turns."

I highly recommend renting a car for the Salzkammergut as there are many lovely places not easily reached by public transportation. A car is also much, much faster so you will see more.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you again for your replies. Any hotel or B & B suggestions for Mondsee, Bad Ischl, St. Gilgen or St. Wolfgang?

Posted by
4690 posts

I don't have any specific recommendations, but would highly suggest St. Gilgen over the other locations for its chillness, easy access to lifts and good transport links. St. Wolfgang is a mob scene, Mondsee is a bit out of the way. Bad Ischl - it is a larger town and not on a lake.

Posted by
10 posts

Would anyone know how long the bus ride #150 from Salzburg to Bad Ischel is... thanks.

Posted by
4690 posts

I just went to oebb.at/en/ to figure this out. Give it a try. Bus 150 takes 1:14 or 1:32, depending on the time of day.

Posted by
23 posts

Great information, Emily. Thanks! We usually rent a car for our trips, but this year our travel buddies cannot make the trip so we decided to try public transportation.

Posted by
4 posts

I was in the Salzkammergut in the beginning of September. The Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl was definitely worth the stop on the way to Hallstatt. My wife and I thought it was one of the best palace tours we went on. You get to tour most of the building instead of just a couple of rooms. We took the bus from Salzburg to Bad Ischl, it gives you alot of nice views of the landscape. It is also faster and cheaper than the train.
We stayed in Hallstatt for two nights. It is a very beautiful place. The thing we didn't like about Hallstatt, was the workers seemed tourist fatigued (understandably so). Have fun on your trip.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks, Chris! Where did you stay in Hallstatt? Would you recommend it? Restaurant suggestions? Too touristy???

Posted by
4 posts

We stayed at the Heritage Hotel. The hotel has three seperate buildings. We stayed in the Haus Seethaler which is in the back of town on the top of the hill. It was a nice quiet location with a spectacular view. The area was beautiful, although I thank I would make it a day trip and not an overnight visit if I were to do it again.
We stayed in Hallstatt to see the Dachstein Ice Caves first thing in the morning. We did have a nice accidental hike to get to the ice caves. We took the train to Obertaun and tried to find the bus stop that goes to Dachstein, but we couldn't find it. So we followed the yellow signs that takes you on a nice hike through fields and towns ( I think it was a 3-5 mile hike).
We did prefer going to Königssee/Obersee in Berchtesgaden.
It is very touristy. For us it was worth a look but not a stay. I hope this was helpful.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks for your post, Chris! We have decided to take a leisurely travel day on the train from Innsbruck to Hallstatt, where we will spend one night. We will then take the (scenic) bus to Salzburg, via Bad Ischl, for 5 nights where we will be able to do day trips to the Lakes area. Because we will be doing the 4-5 hour train on a Thursday, it seems that we will be able to utilize the ERT as long as we leave after 9:00. Can anyone confirm this? Thanks in advance!

Posted by
4690 posts

The ERT can only be used on regional trains. To do a journey from Innsbruck to Hallstatt on regional trains would take forever.

Posted by
1491 posts

The ERT can only be used on regional trains. To do a journey from Innsbruck to Hallstatt on regional trains would take forever.

Not quite forever, but 8:12 hours. There is only one train connection per day you may use for going from Innsbruck to Hallstatt using an ERT; it has three train changes.

Innsbruck (dep. 10:35am) - Wörgl - Salzburg - Attnang-Puchheim - Hallstatt (arr. 6:47pm)

For the route between Wörgl and Salzburg all express trains take the shortcut across Germany, whereas the regional trains stay in Austria, i.e. an opportunity to see most parts of Salzburg state.

Posted by
23 posts

Wow...8 hours! Thanks so much for that clarification. I guess we should just try to buy regular tickets...in advance if possible...or should we buy a regular ticket from Innsbruck to Salzburg, then the ERT to Hallstatt?

Posted by
4690 posts

Just buy the tickets in advance to Hallstatt. No need to make it more complicated.

Posted by
23 posts

Has anyone stayed in Obertraun as an alternative to Hallstatt? It looks as if there is a ferry to Hallstatt that isn’t as busy as the main railroad stop/ferry terminal to Hallstatt. Is the Friday market in Bad Ischl wonderful? Perhaps we should visit the Kaiservilla Thursday, stay Thursday night in Bad Ischl, check out the Friday market, then take the train or bus to Hallstatt for the day??