Hausruckviertel in Upper Austria:
Travel Guide for the Upper Austrian Quarters
The province of Upper Austria is divided into four distinct cultural regions, the "Viertel" ("Quarters"): The Innviertel, the Hausruckviertel, the Traunviertel and the Mühlviertel. The Hausruckviertel is sometimes also called Hausruckkreis and comprises of a hilly and predominantly agricultural area in the west that becomes increasingly industrialised towards the Viertel′s east. The Hausruckviertel is densely populated and was named after the Hausruck, a mountain range.
The current extent of the Hausruckviertel was formalised only in the 19th century; it runs along the border to Salzburg and the Innviertel and the west and north-west, extends towards Upper Austria′s capital Linz and follows the course of the Traunviertel to its east. Historically, the river Traun was the border. Note that the term Hausruckviertel is a traditional and vernacular one; therefore, its borders only roughly correspond with the borders of political or administrative units.
In terms of tourism, the Hausruckviertel is rather diverse: In its south, it contains the outskirts of the Salzkammergut including gems such as Mondsee or Unterach and the Attersee. This region ranks among Austria′s most picturesque - and most popular among international visitors. However, most Austrians view the Salzkammergut to be a unit by itself that extends beyond provinces and is not necessarily a part of any Viertel.
Division of the Hausruckviertel & Things to See
Leaving the Salzkammergut and moving north, you will first find a pleasant hilly landscape with the odd lake (such as Lake Irrsee), later a densely populated and prospering region shaped by agriculture and small industries. Personally, I find the line along the Westbahn railway (Frankenmarkt, Vöcklabruck, Attnang-Puchheim, Wels) exceptionally ugly. Most of the towns have developed rapidly after WWII, not to their advantage. The villages and towns come in a stark contrast to the scenery and the beauty of the Salzkammergut towns only a few kilometres south.
A few noteworthy exceptions are Eferding, Grieskirchen and bits and pieces in the cities named above (most of them have decent old town centres). The region is strong in manufacturing (car industries, energy) but also logistics, transportation and engineering. The cities of Wels, Steyr and Linz are traditionally called the "industrial triangle" of Upper Austria; today, the area between them is often considered to be a separate region and not part of the Hausruckviertel (or any other Viertel). It is then called "Oberösterreichischer Zentralraum" (Upper Austrian Central Sphere).
Note that in terms of tourism, only Mondsee receives a certain amount of international attention (due to "The Sound of Music" pilgrims that come from Salzburg; Fräulein Maria became Mrs. von Trapp in the basilica of Mondsee). However, the south of the Hausruckviertel offers good hiking opportunities and the hotels there are generally more reasonably priced than in the "proper" Salzkammergut. If you travel by car, this might provide you with a good base for exploring the Salzkammergut - look for places in the Attergau, which is also conveniently close to the highway and has plenty of hotels and private accommodation.
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