Among the many places on earth that I love, there are few that I could call my home. Or, second home. This is one of them – beautiful lake Wolfgangsee in Austria. Where once the emperor spent his vacation time, people are still in a rather relaxed mood. You can feel that this place once was – and still is – special.
Nature is abundant all over Austria. But what makes this lake so special? Well, I think it is a combination of a very conservative, nature-preserving policy of the communities around the lake, and the lack of major transit routes around. Plus, the scenery is gorgeous – a few of the most distinctive mountains embrace the valley.
Lake Wolfgangsee is lucky to be far from roads – the only state road that connects Bad Ischl with Salzburg runs far from the lake most of the time – leaving plenty of space for dreamy bays, lonely beaches and meadows until the waterfront. A few very nice hiking paths complete the picture – such as the one around Bürglstein, a small hill near Strobl with a spectacular rocky waterfront, only accessible by foot.
There are three major towns around the lake: Strobl and St. Gilgen, which belong to the state of Salzburg, and St. Wolfgang which is part of Upper Austria. All of them offer amazing views and a true country-side feeling, with several restaurants and coffee places waiting to be discovered.
In St. Wolfgang, where most of the tourist infrastructure is present, a stay in the famous hotel “Im Weissen Rössl” is a real must-do. The lakefront hotel offers not only the best views around the lake, but also has a waterfront spa and heated outdoor swimming pool in the lake. You can literally swim the lake even at cold temperatures!
As for dining options, there’s plenty around. In St. Wolfgang, the hotel restaurant of Hotel Cortisen offers some of the best food. A new place that recently opened and already has raving reviews is called Delmor and is located in the historic resort Landhaus Appesbach. On the other side of the lake, in St. Gilgen, the beautiful view of restaurant Haus am Hang is inviting to stay and enjoy.