Austria’s Salzburgerland is criss-crossed with hiking and biking routes, splashed with lakes and offers incredible scenery with every turn, making it a perfect summer retreat for adventure lovers…
Chocolate box pretty Salzburg may be famous for Austrian culture, Mozart and the Sound of Music; but some visitors might not realise that beyond the city’s historic streets, the wider holiday region of Salzburgerland can offer a breadth of summer countryside adventures. It’s all here, whether you want to hike in the mountains, cycle in the valleys or just soak up some of Europe’s most dramatic scenery. Here’s five places in Salzburgerland that are guaranteed to get your heart racing.
If you love mountains, lakes and glaciers then Zell am See-Kaprun is for you. Lake Zell tempts for swimming from its lidos, or you could hop on a boat trip and even go sailing. Myriad walks and cycle routes snake off around the countryside with more hiking options when you board the cable car up Schmittenhohe. Or, you can enjoy the views from the brace of the 3,000m high panoramic viewing platform on Kitzsteinhorn mountain (a highlight from which is a perspective of Austria’s highest mountain, the 3,798m Großglockner) along with national park ranger-led walks to explore the local wildlife.
St. Johann in Salzburg is ideal for cycling, with well-marked trails to suit all levels of fitness. It’s handily on the Tauern Cycle Route, a 300km gem considered to be one of the country’s finest, leading from Krimml through to St. Johann and Salzburg, and on to Passau. Whilst here, a visit to the Liechtenstein Gorge - one of the longest and deepest gorges anywhere in the Alps – comes recommended, with wooden walkways that can help visitors get right in and amongst the spectacular landscape. Nearby at Werfen is the Eisriesenwelt, also known as ‘the world’s largest ice cave’ and stretching for a staggering 42km. Visitors can eke inside the first section and marvel at the otherworldly ice formations.
As the highest mountain pass road to be found in the country, the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse can happily claim ‘Austria’s highest view’. You can drive on the dramatic Grossglockner High Alpine Road, with each bend opening up some awe-inspiring vistas. There are some serious, lung bursting hikes, but also shorter routes dotted across the surrounding High Tauern National Park and the Grossglockner. As you explore this wild landscape, keep an out for its cute resident marmots too.
Altenmarkt-Zauchensee offers the best of both worlds for hikers. With over 240km of trails to be found, there are gentle walks to be found in the valley around Altenmarkt im Pongau or you can really go for it with a trek around the more vigorous Zauchensee, with a cable car on hand to save time in reaching the higher routes. Whether you want to amble along with a picnic one day and stride off in search of high alpine adventure the next, the beauty of this part of Austria is that the choice is yours.
There are a wide range of hikes also to be found around Saalfelden Leogang. ‘Simply Hiking’ is an innovative no-frills concept here that seeks to help walkers break away from ‘action-packed’ trails and instead reconnect with nature and, ultimately, themselves. After an idyllic day hiking, the area is also renowned for its rich cultural scene, with ALM: KULTUR a highlight in the summer months and which sees a programme of concerts, craft workshops and dances transform the Alpine pastures.
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