Traunviertel 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 Traunviertel is sometimes also called "Traunkreis" and comprises of most of Upper Austria′s genuinely beautiful and a few of its ugliest corners. The nice ones are those of the area around Steyr, Gmunden and Kirchdorf an der Krems and make up most of the juicy bits of Upper Austria. In this respect, the Traunviertlers are rather privileged.
These are the eastern parts of the Salzkammergut and follow the Northern Calciferous Alps, including the picturesque Wolfgangsee, Hallstatt, the Traunsee, Scharnstein, Gosau, Bad Goisern, Ebensee, Bad Ischl, the Almtal and the National Park Kalkalpen - in short, most of the nice parts of Upper Austria′s share of the Salzkammergut. The ugly parts of the Traunviertel are the industrialised and commercial regions south of Linz, the capital of Upper Austria.
Note that the term Traunviertel is a vernacular one and that the division of the Viertel (Quarters) does not follow political boundaries. In this case, the Traunviertel borders to the Hausruckviertel in its north-west, to Salzburg and Styria in the south, and to Lower Austria (more specifically, to the Mostviertel). The northern Traunviertel, the southern Mühlviertel (the region north of Linz) and the western parts of the Lower Austrian Mostviertel (for example, the towns of Amstetten and St. Valentin with their surroundings) form one cultural sphere. These regions share a similar landscape and are all part of the economically booming area around Linz.
Things to Do in the Traunviertel Region
Linz is one of Austria′s most important industrial and otherwise economic centres. Its steel and other heavy industries have been a powerhouse for the entire province at least since the 19th century. Today, transportation, IT and other high-tech industries, as well as oil and energy industries create a great deal of jobs and draw commuters from Traunviertel, Mühlviertel and Mostviertel to the capital. On the weekends, the reverse trend can be observed in the Traunviertel: With its many attractive hiking and skiing opportunities, it is a premier recreational area for many people from Linz.
Steyr can be reached very quickly, and so does Kirchberg - gateways into the Salzkammergut and the National Park Kalkalpen. The towns of this area have been shaped by the trade and processing of iron ores from Styria (Eisenwurzen) for centuries. Here you also find the monasteries of Schlierbach and Kremsmünster; further north, at the doorstep to Linz, the monastery of St. Florian. Here you will also find the pretty town of Enns.
Tourism in the Traunviertel & Wider Upper Austria
Note that in terms of international tourism, only the Salzkammergut plays a significant role (there, however, it is a very significant one). The northern Traunviertel appears to be rather attractive for local and domestic travellers only. Particularly popular during the winter reason is the thermal spa of Bad Hall. With people from Linz who might be keen on a short spa vacation, the Traunviertel has built up a reputation for good spa facilities, ideal for a few days of relaxation. That being said, I would recommend you to go either to a spa with hot springs of mineral water (Thermen) or thoroughly to the south of the Traunviertel.
Not every hotel that claims to have "supurb spa facilities" actually does - and after all, the surroundings of a hotel do add to the appeal. And the only appeal of the northern Traunviertel comprises essentially of suburbs, motorways, an airport (Hörsching) and shopping malls (particularly concentrated around Haid). Once you have made it to Gmunden, ideally before or after the main season, and you walk along the promenade, you will realise that the two "poles" of the Traunviertel are miles apart.
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