The "Steirisches Salzkammergut"
The Salzkammergut is a region in Austria that extends over three provinces, namely Salzburg, Upper Austria and Styria (Steiermark). The Styrian part of the Salzkammergut is called Ausseerland. The towns of Altaussee and Bad Aussee gave their name to it. The Ausseerland is somewhat hard to access, but among the most scenic parts of the Salzkammergut. It is famous for its lederhosen, traditions and customs - and for its natural beauty, which creates ideal conditions for a summer holiday if you fancy hiking or skiing holidays if you prefer to hit the slopes.
There are plenty of regions in Austria where the tourism mafia engages in shameless self-promotion; in the case of the Ausseerland, most of the good things that are said about it are actually true. Tourism is big in the Ausseerland ever since Viennese aristocracy discovered that the Alps make a fine summer retreat in the late 19th century. Celebrities like the writers Hugo von Hoffmannsthal and Friedrich Torberg or the composer Richard Strauss spent their vacations in the Ausseerland.
The Ausseerland extends between the town of Altaussee and the Lake Grundlsee. It is famous for its crystal-clear lakes, high mountains, for daffodils (note the information on the Narzissenfest or daffodil festival in my article on Altaussee and Bad Aussee). The most famous lakes of the Ausseerland are the Altausseersee, the Grundlsee, the Toplitzsee (did anyone say "Nazi-gold"?) and the Kammersee. On several of the lakes, such as Toplitzsee and Altausseersee, boats offer cruises.
Tourism in the Altausseerland: Salzkammergut Sightseeing
The Kammersee comes with the Traunfall, a pretty waterfall. The river Traun, which is one of the most important rivers in Upper Austria, originates here in this area; other attractions in the Ausseerland include the area around Bad Mitterndorf, the Totes Gebirge mountain range, Grimming, the Kammergebirge and parts of the Dachstein mountain with its famous caves.
To learn more about the wildlife, geology and other aspects of natural history of the Ausseerland, go to the "Alpengarten Bad Aussee". This is a botanical garden dedicated to plants from the Austrian Alps as well as botanical rarities from around the World; as a side-effect, it also teaches you other aspects of natural history from the area. The Alpengarten is the oldest botanical garden of its kind in Styria and approximately 12,000 square metres big. If you prefer culture, the ancient history of the Ausseerland will offer plenty of things to see.
Note the Benedictine monastery of Admont, which is not really in the Salzkammergut but within easy reach, it is famous for its enormous Baroque library. The salt mines of Altaussee are now show mines and highly popular among foreign visitors. The church of pilgrimage Maria Kumitz is another cultural highlight of the Ausseerland. The town of Hallstatt at the Hallstätter See and Goisern with the Gosauseen lakes are on the Upper Austrian side of the Salzkammergut, but very close from the Ausseerland. Schladming, already in Styria, makes a good starting point for the Dachstein area and the caves (Mammuthöhle and Dachtsein Eisriesenwelt, the famous ice caves).
Back to: "Styria Sightseeing Guide"