14 Things to do at Wolfgangsee, Austria: Best places to visit

Wolfgangsee Rakousko

Wolfgangsee in Austria, a lake with turquoise water surrounded by forests and high mountains, is located in the Salzkammergut area near Salzburg. Here is a bucket list of the best hikes and things to do at Wolfgangsee, Austria.

Enjoy a swim in the crystal clear water or a boat trip, follow one of the many hiking trails and enjoy the charm of the traditional lakeside villages of Sankt Wolfgang, Sankt Gilgen and Strobl. There are so many great things to do at Wolfgangsee.

This travel guide gives you the best tips on how to enjoy the perfect lakeside holiday – tips on excursions and things to do at Wolfgangsee, what food to taste, swimming, where to stay and other useful information.

Hotels Wolfgangsee 😴

These accommodations include a SommerCard, which gives you free admission to the tubing hill, lake ferries, and area attractions. All guests will receive their card on the day of arrival, along with a leaflet explaining what the card includes. A minimum stay of 3 days is required, shorter stays are available for a small fee.

ubytování wolfgangsee
Wolf & Schaf Apartments

Newly furnished apartments in St. Wolfgang

ubytování wolfgangsee
Hotel-Garni Schernthaner

Family hotel in the centre of Sankt Gilgen

Things to do at Wolfgangsee, Austria: Best places to visit

1. Zwölferhorn

The Zwölferhorn is a popular peak at Wolfgangsee, from where you can enjoy some of the best views of the lake. In clear weather you can see all the way to Dachstein. If you are looking for an area where you can spend the whole day, the Zwölferhorn is ideal.

View from Zwölferhorn Sankt Gilgen and Wolfgangsee
View from Zwölferhorn Sankt Gilgen and Wolfgangsee

There are a number of hiking and cycling trails and mountain huts for refreshments. The Zwölferhorn is also a popular place for paragliding – if paragliding appeals to you, find out more here.

Cable car to Zwölferhorn

The top can be reached on foot or by cable car from Sankt Gilgen. For current prices and opening times, please visit the official website. The cable car is open daily, even in winter.

Parking is located directly at the lower cable car station – free for the first four hours, after that there is a charge (up to €20 per day). If you’re planning to spend more time on the Zwölferhorn and you’re not staying in Sankt Gilgen, there are several outdoor car parks nearby with all-day rates around €4.50. You can see them from the main road.

From the cable car, it is only a short walk to the highest point of the Zwölferhorn, where there is a lookout point with a cross. There are several other easily accessible viewpoints in the area.

Climb to Zwölferhorn, Wolfgangsee

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Distance: 4.4 km
  • Time: 2-3 hours depending on condition and weather
  • Elevation: 950 m

In addition to the cable car, you can climb to the top of the Zwölferhorn yourself. The route starts at the bottom station of the cable car, from where you cross the road along the Hochreitstrasse until you reach the signposts that will take you directly to the Zwölferhorn. The trail partly follows the cable car. Already on the way you can enjoy fantastic views of the Wolfgangsee.

View from the Zwölferhorn and the Schafberg directly opposite
View from the Zwölferhorn and the Schafberg directly opposite
Sankt Gilgen from Zwölferhorn
Sankt Gilgen from Zwölferhorn

At the top, you can follow other hiking trails that open up new and new views. One of the most beautiful trails is the circular route around the Pillsteinhöhe. The trail is 4 km long and you can do it even with a stroller.

2. Schafberg Railway

The Schafberg Railway is one of the best things to do in the Wolfgangsee area. The lower station of the Schafbergbahn is located in Sankt Wolfgang and the ride up takes 35 minutes. You will overcome an altitude of almost 1200 metres.

Schafberg, Wolfgangsee
Schafberg, Wolfgangsee

In high season, it is usually very crowded, so it is better to order tickets in advance and come right at opening time to enjoy the ride more peacefully. For more information on opening hours and prices, check the official website.

Along the way, you can expect spectacular views and an unusual experience, because you don’t see a cogwheel that often in the Alps. Moreover, the cog railway to Schafberg is the steepest cog railway in Austria.

Schafberg, Wolfgangsee

If you are not staying in the area and arriving by car, you can park near the lower station of the cog railway. There are several in the area – P7 is the closest but the most expensive (€10 per day), just a short distance away is P8 or P5 at €4.50 per day.

The railway makes several stops along the way. The top station of the cable car is located just below the summit.

Tip: If you get off at the penultimate stop at the Schafbergalm mountain hut, you have an hour’s climb up, but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views along the way.

Schafberg / hiking at Wolfgangsee
Schafberg / hiking at Wolfgangsee

The Schafberg peak itself is distinctive, jagged and literally sticks out into the landscape. The views from here are some of the most beautiful on all sides – from one side you can see the Wolfgangsee and from the other the Attersee and Mondsee.

At the top there is a hotel and a small hut with refreshments.

The Schafberg Railway, Austria

Ascent to Schafberg

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Distance: 7-7.6 km
  • Time: 3-4 hours depending on condition and weather
  • Elevation: 1200-1300 m

You can also hike up to the top of the Schafberg (1782 m) on foot – the hike up takes about 3-4 hours depending on the chosen route, your condition and the weather. The other option is to take a cog railway up and go down one of the trails.

The routes to the Schafberg start again in Sankt Wolfgang near the train station – there are several signposts to direct you. For the most part you will walk through the forest, but gradually the views of the Wolfgangsee will start to open up.

Schafberg / hiking at Wolfgangsee
Schafberg / hiking at Wolfgangsee
Schafberg / hiking at Wolfgangsee
Schafberg / hiking at Wolfgangsee
Schafberg / hiking at Wolfgangsee

3. Sightseeing boat cruise

Take a sightseeing boat cruise on Lake Wolfgangsee. The line runs between the three main towns of Sankt Gilgen, Sankt Wolfgang and Strobl and stops at several other stations. From Sankt Gilgen in the west to Strobl in the east takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

Cruises on the Wolfgangsee are operated by the Wolfgangsee Schifffahrt, which has a long history dating back to 1873. The service operates a fleet of six ships, ranging from historic steamers such as the Kaiser Franz Josef I to modern, eco-friendly ships such as the MS Dachstein.

Sankt Wolfgang / things to do at Wolfgangsee
Sankt Wolfgang / things to do at Wolfgangsee

The cruise offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape of the Salzkammergut – from high alpine peaks to green forests to picturesque lakeside villages.

For current prices and timetables, please visit the official Wolfgangsee Schifffahrt website.

4. Trail around the lake

You can walk or cycle around the entire Wolfgangsee lake. The trail is about 29 kilometres long and can be done in one day if you start early in the morning. The path is easy, with some sections with a slight elevation gain.

Wolfgangsee, Austria
Wolfgangsee, Austria

The most beautiful part of the route leads from Sankt Gilgen through Fürberg to the Falkenstein Wall, which is shrouded in various myths. If you are arriving by car, you can park here in the free parking lot, just off the trailhead.

Along the way there are several points of interest, benches, refreshments and a small church at the Falkenstein Wall.

Wolfgangsee trails

The drive to Sankt Wolfgang is 3 hours long. Here you can board the boat and sail back to Sankt Gilgen. If you want to shorten your journey, the boat also stops in Fürberg and Ried. Ried is about 2 hours away and there are more attractions along the way than if you just go to Fürberg.

The trail is also popular in the opposite direction, from Sankt Wolfgang to Falkenstein Church (about 1 hour).

5. Bürglstein sightseeing trail

The easy circular route around Bürglstein is located near Strobl and runs partly along the lake and partly through the forest. There is a free car park at the beginning. The route is 4 km long and will take you about 1.5-2 hours. Ideal route for families with children.

Circular route around Bürglstein with a view of the Strobl Wolfgangsee
A circular route around Bürglstein with a view of Strobl

6. Ascent to Plombergstein

  • Difficulty: easy-medium (good footwear and a sure step are needed)
  • Distance: 1.7 km
  • Time: 1 hour depending on condition and weather
  • Elevation: 210 m

From where to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Sankt Gilgen? The answer is Plombergstein, which is reached by a path through the forest.

The tour starts in the centre of Sankt Gilgen at the town hall, where you will see the tourist signs. The trail runs largely through the forest, between rocks and caves. The summit of Plombergstein itself is 920 m high, so you won’t have to climb much. On the other hand, due to the rocks and steps, the trail can be harder to navigate in some places, especially in wet conditions. Choose good shoes and don’t forget water as there are no refreshments along the way.

Directly to the top you can choose between different trails – choose the red trail for the easiest ascent and the black trail for the descent.

☞ Get inspired by the most beautiful places in Austria.

7. Sankt Gilgen – Sankt Wolfgang – Strobl

Explore the charming towns of Sankt Gilgen, Sankt Wolfgang and Strobl, which line the shores of the lake. Each of them is unique.

Sankt Gilgen, Wolfgangsee
Sankt Gilgen, Wolfgangsee

Sankt Gilgen with its beautiful promenade is the birthplace of Mozart’s mother. In Sankt Wolfgang you will find the famous pilgrimage church of St. Wolfgang, which is famous for its magnificent altar carved by Michael Pacher at the end of the 15th century Strobl offers a beautiful promenade with a park, nature reserve and a quiet environment.

Sankt Wolfgang
Sankt Wolfgang

8. Schwarzensee

Schwarzensee is a small lake hidden in the forests above Wolfgangsee. The lake can be reached by car, there is a small car park with cheap parking fees. The whole lake can then be explored on an easy one-hour route, ideal for families with smaller children.

9. Postalm

If you love hiking, Postalm is not to be missed. It is the largest continuous alpine pasture in Austria and even the second largest plateau in Europe. The Postalm is literally crisscrossed with hiking trails, and in winter it turns into a ski resort.

Postalm Chapel, Wolfgangsee
Postalm Chapel, Wolfgangsee

There are four basic circular routes R1-R4 across the Postalm, the red-marked R1 is particularly beautiful. There are 2 car parks to choose from – choose car park P3 if you are planning a shorter R3 route to the Postalm Chapel.

Parking lot P1 is the starting point for the other routes, which are about 2.5-3.5 hours long. Alpine pastures are scattered across the trails, where you can refresh yourself and buy local produce.

How to get to the Postalm Plateau?

The Postalm plateau is most easily reached by a 12 km long private road from Strobl or Abtenau. The road is toll road and the toll gate is located at the beginning of the road.

The toll for the journey from Strobl to Postalm in 2023 is 17 € and for motorbikes 7 €. More information about Postalm can be found here.

The second option is the bus from Strobl, which runs every Tuesday and Thursday from 1st June to 31th October. The price for a return ticket is 14 €, 7 € with the Wolfgangsee Card, children under 6 years old are free.

Hotels Wolfgangsee 😴

These accommodations include a SommerCard, which gives you free admission to the tubing hill, lake ferries, and area attractions. All guests will receive their card on the day of arrival, along with a leaflet explaining what the card includes.

ubytování wolfgangsee
Seehaus Familie Leifer

3* studios and apartments with kitchenette

ubytování wolfgangsee
Strandhotel Margaretha

4* hotel with private beach

10. Bad Ischl

Bad Ischl is a spa town a 15-minute drive from Lake Wolfgangsee. It is known for its ties to the Austrian royal family.

Baf Ischl Austria

Visit Kaiserville, the summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph, and the EurothermenResort thermal baths for some relaxation. And don’t forget to stop by the famous Zauner pastry shop for a bite to eat.

11. Hallstatt – day trips from Wolfgangsee

Hallstatt is an iconic Alpine town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled at the foot of a lake amongst prominent mountains, with a dominant church that towers over the surrounding Alpine houses.

Hallstatt is only 30 minutes from Strobl. The town is extremely popular and can get quite crowded especially in high season. Arrive early in the morning, as the car parks can be busy in the morning in high season. In this case, you can park in Obertraun and take the boat to Hallstatt, which is an experience in itself.

If you walk around the town along the lake, you will come across some beautiful views – the best photo of Hallstatt can be taken here.

Take the cable car (you can also walk with a view of the lake) up to the “Welterbeblick” Skywalk with a bridge, from where you have a fantastic view of Hallstatt and the surrounding area.

A short walk from the viewpoint is the Hallstatt Salt Mine, where you can take a train ride, ride on wooden slides and watch various projections and videos.

All information about opening times and prices for the cable car and salt mine can be found here.

☞ Read more about Hallstatt and the Dachstein in the previous article.

12. Dachstein-Krippenstein – 5 Fingers viewpoint

Krippenstein is a popular resort just outside Hallstatt. There’s so much to see, you could spend all day there.

Krippenstein / things to do in Dachstein / Dachstein hiking
view from Dachstein-Krippenstein

You can get here from Obertraun, where you will see signs along the way. There is a large free car park on the left at the lower cable car station.

The Dachstein-Krippenstein cable car is divided into 3 parts:

  1. part of the Dachstein-Krippenstein I cable car goes to the Giant Ice Cave and the Mammoth Cave.
  2. The Dachstein-Krippenstein II part of the cable car takes you to the highest point of the plateau just below the Krippenstein peak, where the 5 Fingers viewpoint is also located.
  3. part of the Dachstein-Krippenstein III cable car descends to the Gjaidalm mountain hut.

Dachstein Ice Cave and Mammoth Cave

The Dachstein Ice Cave (sometimes also called the Giant Ice Cave) and the Mammoth Cave can be found in the first intermediate station of the cable car.

You can choose just one of them or visit both – the final price will vary accordingly. Both are beautiful, but the Dachstein Ice Cave is by far the better and more visited. There are impressive ice shapes, which are supplemented in several places with lighting and music effects.

Towards the end of the tour there is a rope bridge over a 30 m deep abyss.

Giant Ice Cave Dachstein

The Mammoth Cave takes you through the cave passages inside Krippenstein. It is one of the largest karst caves in the world and has still not been fully explored.

The 5 Fingers viewpoint

The 5 Fingers viewpoint is located about half an hour from the second station of the cable car, which stops a short distance from the Krippenstein peak (2108 m). Turn right to the viewpoint (with the cable car station at your back) along a wide and comfortable path. There are sheep and goats grazing all around you, which the children will love.

The 5 Fingers lookout itself consists of 5 spurs, each about 4 metres long. In high season it is usually crowded and it is best to take the first cable car here, on weekdays or in low season. All viewpoints are free of charge.

Along the route you can make a detour to the chapel and another viewpoint called the World Heritage Spiral (Welterbespirale), which we think is even more interesting than the 5 Fingers viewpoint itself. Since it’s made of aluminum and shaped like a boat, you have no chance of missing it.

Around Krippenstein you can also do an easy 2-3 hour tour of Heilbronn. It ends at the Gjaidalm mountain hut, where the third station of the cable car to Krippenstein is located.

5 Fingers Dachstein Krippenstein / World Heritage Spiral
The World Heritage Spiral

Read more about Krippenstein and the Dachstein mountains in the previous article.

13. Salzburg

Salzburg is a city of music, history and stunning architecture, a 50-minute drive from Lake Wolfgangsee. As Mozart’s birthplace, a visit to Mozart’s birthplace (Mozart Geburtshaus) is a must for music lovers.

Visit the imposing Salzburg Fortress, the stunning Mirabell Castle and Gardens and the historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Salzburg Austria / things to do at Wolfgangsee

14. Bathing at Wolfgangsee

The average water temperature of the Wolfgangsee is 24 °C in summer. Moreover, the water is crystal clear and literally invites you to swim. There are several smaller, mostly grassy beaches around the lake. There are also parking lots (often charged around 4-5 € per day) and toilets nearby.

At the larger beaches, you can also rent a boat or pedal boat and take a ride on the lake.

Wolfgangsee Austrian Alps swimming
Wolfgangsee Austrian Alps

Where to stay at Lake Wolfgangsee

These accommodations include a SommerCard, which gives you free access to the Schafberg Toboggan Run, ferries on the Wolfgangsee, access to the Postalm, the Strobl toboggan run and other attractions in the area. All guests will receive their card on the day of arrival, along with a leaflet explaining what the card includes. The condition is a stay of at least 3 days, for shorter stays you can get a card for a small fee.

Hotels Wolfgangsee 😴

These accommodations include a SommerCard, which gives you free admission to the tubing hill, lake ferries, and area attractions. All guests will receive their card on the day of arrival, along with a leaflet explaining what the card includes.

ubytování wolfgangsee
Wolf & Schaf Apartments

Newly furnished apartments in St. Wolfgang

ubytování wolfgangsee
Hotel-Garni Schernthaner

Family hotel in the centre of Sankt Gilgen

Best Things to do at Lake Wolfgangsee – map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of Lake Wolfgangsee, Austria. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places mentioned in the Wolfgangsee travel guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

Transportation at Wolfgangsee

In addition to the Wolfgangsee cruise (see above), there is a bus service around the lake. The main bus routes include the line 150 between Sankt Gilgen and Strobl and then the bus line 546 between Sankt Wolfgang and Strobl.

More information about the buses can be found here:

A car is another way to get around the lake in comfort. Around the southern shoreline, between Sankt Gilgen and Strobl, the well-maintained regional road 158 offers beautiful views of the lake. There are several car parks with smaller beaches and toilets in the surrounding area.

From Strobl you can reach Sankt Wolfgang in a few minutes.

Sankt Wolfgang, Wolfgangsee
Sankt Wolfgang, Wolfgangsee

What traditional food to try at Wolfgangsee, Austria?

The Wolfgangsee area is famous for its hearty and traditional cuisine, which is largely influenced by the alpine environment and the richness of the lake. Here are some typical dishes you might encounter when visiting Wolfgangsee:

  • Freshwater fish: expect dishes of fish such as trout, pike and whitefish, often grilled or smoked. A popular preparation is “Steckerlfisch” (grilled fish on a stick).
  • Tafelspitz: It is a classic Austrian dish consisting of boiled beef in broth served with apple and horseradish sauce.
  • Wiener schnitzel: This breaded and pan-fried veal schnitzel is a speciality of Vienna, but is a staple throughout Austria, including Wolfgangsee.
  • Kaiserschmarrn: A sweet dish that is very popular in Austria. It is a light caramelized pancake that is torn into small pieces, often mixed with raisins and sprinkled with icing sugar. It is usually served with plum or apple sauce.
  • Leberknödelsuppe: This is a hearty soup that contains leberknödel, which is a type of bread and liver dumpling. It is a traditional Austrian dish and can be found in many restaurants around Lake Wolfgangsee.
  • Cheese and cold cuts: due to its high mountain location, the Wolfgangsee is also known for its local cheese. In addition, sausages such as speck (a type of smoked or cured ham) are commonly enjoyed here. You can buy local produce mostly in the Alpine pastures.
Kaiserschmarrn, what to taste at Wolfgangsee
Kaiserschmarrn, what to taste at Wolfgangsee

This was our travel guide to Lake Wolfgangsee and the best things to do at Wolfgangsee, Austria. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about the Alps

AUSTRIAN ALPS: Check out the things to do in the Austrian Alps, including tips for hikes and walking routes in the area. Tips on the most beautiful places in the Austrian Alps in a separate article.

Or head straight to Tyrol or the High Tauern National Park. Other popular destinations in the Austrian Alps are the Dachstein mountain range or the beautiful Lake Achensee.

Zell am See is one of the most popular areas to stay in the Austrian Alps. Here is a detailed guide and things to do at Zell am See.

Get inspired by the things to do in Carinthia or enjoy a holiday at one of the lakes in Carinthia. Here is a detailed guide to Lake Wörthersee.

AUSTRIA: Here are the most beautiful places in Austria. Are you planning a visit to the Austrian lakes? Take a look at the most beautiful lakes in Austria.

BAVARIAN ALPS: Get inspired by attractions and hiking tips in the Bavarian Alps.

DOLOMITES: We have prepared a detailed guide with tips on the best hikes and hiking routes in the Dolomites.

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