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Werfen

Does Rick's latest edition (2019) on Vienna & Salzburg include information on getting to and staying in Werfen?
Thanks, Scott

Posted by
18377 posts

I don't have a copy of the guidebook to which you refer, but I did go to Werfen a few years ago.

As for getting to Werfen, there are regular (hourly, probably) trains from Salzburg to Werfen. Check the Austrian Rail website (www.oebb.at) or the Bahn website.

I didn't see any public transportation from the station up to the castle. It's about a mile's easy walk (I did it at 68) from the train station up to the castle parking lot, from which you can take a funicular to the castle (or you can walk up a steep trail). If you drive, the highway from Salzburg south does not have an exit at Werfen. You probably have to get off north of Tenneck and take the small road (159) south to the castle (which is north of the town of Werfen).

As for accommodation ("staying in Werfen"), if Rick doesn't show places (or Werfen), or to supplement what he shows, Google Maps shows several places to stay in town.

Update: It looks like there is an S-Bahn from Salzburg HB to Werfen every hour, as well as a mainline train, REX, EC, or RJ in between the S-Bahns.

in addition to the castle, there are ice caves in the area.

BTW, in the movie, SOM, just prior to the scene on the hill with Hohenwerfen in the background, it shows them getting on a cog train going up a steep hill. The movie makes it look like that's how they got to the meadow where she teaches them how to sing.
The cog train is nowhere near Werfen. That is the Schafbergbahn in St. Wolfgang, in the Salzkammergut, east of Salzburg.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for the information Lee. It sounds like the train from Salzburg is the easiest solution. I'm hoping to experience some movie locations from Where Eagles Dare.
Cheers, Scott

Posted by
18377 posts

Taking the train from Salzburg HB, if that is where you are starting, is easy. When I got to the Werfen Bahnhof, I could not see any signs of public transportation to the castle, nor taxis. Plan on walking. The walk to the castle "entrance" at the base of the hill, where route 159 goes over the "saddle" is not difficult. I think the elevation gain over just under a mile is about 250 feet, most of it from the edge of town up to the castle entrance. On the way up, I walked along the main street of Werfen. That walk was pleasant. Coming back, just to do a different route, I walk along the shoulder of 159. That was OK, but not as pleasant as the walk through town.

I did the Werfen visit as a day trip from Germany. I started in Freilassing, across the river from Salzburg, checked my bags at the Salzburg HB, and went by S-Bahn to Werfen. When I got back to Werfen Bahnhof, the next train going back to Salzburg was an EC. In Austria, the fare is figured by distance, not the type of train, so the trip by EC cost the same as with a local train. I picked up my bag at the Salzburg HB and took the RVO bus, Watzmann Express, to Berchtesgaden.

However, you could spend one or two nights at one of the accommodation right there in Werfen. Breakfast Pension Weisses Rössl (white horse) looks particularly inviting - very traditional German, and undoutedly very nice. Farther up the road, farther to carry your luggage from the station, Werfenerhof has English on their website.

As for the movie venue, I hope you are not disappointed. If it's anything like SOM, most of the movie was probably shot on sets in Hollywood, not at the castle. I really doubt that there was ever a cable car to the castle. Nevertheless, the castle itself is worth seeing.

Posted by
18377 posts

It should be noted that the walk from the Werfen Bahnhof to the Hohenwerfen carpark on hwy 159 and the walk from the carpark up to the castle are two different things.

Regardless of how you get from the train station to the carpark, you still have to get to the castle, and the path from the carpark to the castle is steep and strenuous and pedestrian only. You can avoid the climb by buying your castle admissions in the building at the carpark and paying about 4€ more to ride the one-car funicular up to the castle courtyard and back.

Posted by
18377 posts

The "shuttle" that Ashley mentions is also shown on the Austrian Rail website. It is what they call in German an "Anruf-Sammel-Taxi" - a van service of the Post Bus that runs on a regularly schedule, but only if requested. Also, according to the Austrian Rail website, the fare from Werfen Bhf to Hohenwerfen is 2,90€. But you have to call in advance to someone who might or might not speak English and then wait an hour. In the meantime, it's about a 20 minute, easy walk from the station to the base of the castle hill. Unless walking a mile is a real challenge for you, I'd walk.

Posted by
18377 posts

I saw neither the car park nor the signage of car park when I walked the round trip
Werfen Bahnhof <-->Hohenwerfen footpath, following the
sign posts.

That, Ashley, is because of the route you took.

Although autobahns runs parallel to it for part of the way, Austrian Hwy 159, a two lane road, is the main thoroughfare between Salzburg, starting near Hellbrunn, and running mostly along the Salzach river south to Bischofshofen. Between Tenneck and Werfen, where the mountain range runs right to the river, 159 crosses over through a saddle just to the west of Hohenwerfen Castle, which is at the end of the ridge, high above the river. There, at the top of the pass, is a parking lot and a kiosk to buy admissions to the castle, which is at the top of a high hill to the east. From the kiosk, you can walk about a half mile around the hill on the access road, called Burgstrasse to the lower gate of the castle, above the river. Or, for 4€ more, you can ride a one-car funicular directly up to the castle courtyard.

From the Werfen Bhf, on the east side of the river, it's a couple hundred yards over the bridge to the intersection with Hwy 159. From there you could walk along the shoulder of 159 to the parking lot and ticket kiosk, or you could cross 150 and take the slightly shorter route from the intersection with Markt (street) through town to where it joins 159 just south of the castle kiosk.

Apparently what you did was turn right just after the bridge and walked about a km along Eishöhlenstrasse (the road to the ice caves) to the foot of the castle hill next to the river, then took the steep switchback footpath to the Burgstrasse and entered the castle at the lower gate. That's how you entirely missed the parking lot and the effort-saving funicular to the castle on the other side of the hill.

Posted by
781 posts

I did Werfen on our way from St Wolfgang to Zell am See by car and there was parking right at at the Funicular.The Falconry show was outstanding as well as the tour of the Castle.The views from the castle of the valley are very nice.There is food available in a Cafeteria Format.
Mike

Posted by
85 posts

We spent a few hours in Werfen after leaving the Salzkammergut lake district and before our time in Salzburg. I can't speak to the castle there, but we did a tour of the ice caves and it was quite enjoyable. Our tour guide was pretty funny as well: https://www.eisriesenwelt.at/en.html

If you go, plan on about 3 hours, as getting to the cave entrance involves two gondola rides punctuated by a light hike in between.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you to all of you with your helpful information. I hope to go to Werfen in December 2021. 2020 has been a wasted year.

Posted by
1793 posts

The Ice Cave is a great excursion, but of course it doesn’t operate in December.

Posted by
4 posts

Really? I would have thought an ice cave would be suitable in December. Thank you for the information, I will check it out.