Lake Wolfgangsee Area:
St Wolfgang, St Gilgen, Schafberg & Strobl
The scenic Lake Wolfgangsee is located on the edge of the Salzkammergut in Upper Austria. The lake itself is approximately 15 kilometres long, but very narrow and the three communities that have a share of its shore are all extremely popular with day-trip tourists from Salzburg. In terms of activities, Lake Wolfgangsee offers the usual range of the Salzkammergut:
Pretty towns, water sports, scenery, folk culture and hiking opportunities. It is also close to the 1783 metre high Schafberg Mountain with the Schafbergbahn steam train that features in "The Sound of Music" and therefore, is quite popular especially in the summer months. With good connections to Salzburg, it is fairly easy to access (only Mondsee is probably an even more rewarding destination in this respet) by public means of transport.
Some nice cliche shots from Lake Wolfgangssee with St Gilgen and St Wolfgang.
Note that this article is the successor of a previous one that collectively covered the three villages of St. Wolfgang, St. Gilgen and Strobl in addition to the lake itself. Since especially St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang are very significant destinations in the Salzkammergut, I later decided to write separate articles for each of them and exclude them from this main text.
General Information on Lake Wolfgangsee Region
Here, I would like to give a general overview on popular activities by and around Lake Wolfgangsee. Apart from the usual stroll in the town centres of both St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang, a cruise on Lake Wolfgangsee is a touristy, but popular thing to do. The cruise line, which connects the two main towns with each other and with some smaller communities by the lake, was once part of the Austrian National Railway network. Only in 2006, it was sold to a semi-public electricity supply company from Salzburg.
Taking the boat from St. Gilgen, you will pass a palatial building on your left hand side - it is a relict from the Empire, an imperial boarding school for future navy officers. Here they were educated in a variety of subjects; in addition to conventional schooling, they would also receive lessons in sailing, navigation and sea trade law. With Austria being landlocked today, a navy is not maintained any longer. The building is still used as a school, though - a friend of mine worked as a teacher there.
One of the most popular destinations in the area is the Schafbergbahn, which shares a similar fate as the cruise line - the historic steam train up to the summit of Mount Schafberg also belonged to the National Railway and was sold recently in a package with the cruise ships. The Schafberg will treat you to one of the best views in the entire Salzkammergut. For further details on the region, please read the individual articles on St. Wolfgang, St. Gilgen and Strobl and the Schafbergbahn.