Lively markets, glassy lakes, Alpine peaks and The Sound of Music, all in Austria’s lake district town Saint Wolfgang
On the shores of Lake Wolfgang, enveloped by the Alps, Saint Wolfgang is a small market town that makes a good base if you want to explore Austria’s lake district. The narrow, winding streets are filled with pastel, wooden-roofed Alpine buildings that house cafés and shops selling local handicrafts.
While visiting, you can get a ride on the bright-red mountainside train up to the top of Schafberg mountain, where you can take in the seemingly boundless range of Alpine peaks while looming high over Lake Wolfgang. There are also ferries that can bring you to other lakeside towns, or we can arrange for you to take a private speedboat tour around the lake.
Located in the Salzkammergut region, Austria’s photogenic lake district, Lake Wolfgang isn’t far from the UNESCO-designated town of Hallstatt, and is just 40 minutes to Salzburg and three hours to Vienna.
According to legend, in 976 AD Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg threw an axe down a mountain and stated that wherever it landed he would build a church. The axe landed on a rocky hill near Lake Wolfgang, where today you’ll find Pilgrimage Church. Inside the church, you can see an altarpiece carved, painted and gilded by Renaissance artist Michael Pacher. Exceedingly intricate with two pairs of movable wings, an array of Gothic figures and a carved middle section, the piece depicts scenes from the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.
Saint Wolfgang is also home to Hotel Weissen Rössl, or the White Horse Inn. Painted bright red because, according to the hotel, ‘you can’t see a white horse against a white building’, the inn is the inspiration and setting of the operetta of the same name. If you’re not staying there, you can still stop by and enjoy dinner at one of their popular restaurants.
Because the town is perched on the shores of Lake Wolfgang and surrounded by the Alps, many activities in Saint Wolfgang take advantage of the area’s natural setting. During the warmer months, the lake teems with locals and visitors boating, kayaking, waterskiing and sailing on the sparkling blue-green water. We can arrange for you to see the water on a private sunset speedboat ride around Lake Wolfgang with a Champagne apéritif. During Austria’s winter months, the hills come alive as skiers and snowboarders take advantage of the varied slopes and optimal conditions.
If you’re looking for classic Austrian views that evoke The Sound of Music, you can take the Schafbergbahn, a mountainside train, up to the peak of Schafberg mountain. The summit provides panoramic views of glimmering lakes and the striking foothills of the Alps. There’s a hotel at the top with a restaurant that’s open from May to October serving a menu that ranges from salad to pork roast. Stop in and enjoy lunch on a sun-soaked terrace overlooking the Salzkammergut.
Best time to visit Saint Wolfgang
The weather in Saint Wolfgang is fairly temperate, and it never sees temperatures that are extreme in either direction. To take full advantage of what the town has to offer, we recommend visiting between May and September. However, visits are possible throughout the year, and the town lights up with Christmas markets throughout December.
Map of Saint Wolfgang
Places & hotels on the map
Photos of Saint Wolfgang
Accommodation choices for Saint Wolfgang
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Saint Wolfgang. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.