Introducing The Salzkammergut
A picture-perfect wonderland of glassy blue lakes and tall craggy peaks, Austria’s Lake District is a longtime favourite holiday destination attracting visitors in droves from Salzburg and beyond – including Habsburg emperors and their hangers-on. The waters in this salt-mining region (mining has taken place in the area since Celtic times) are rich in minerals, and believed to have medicinal value. In fact, Emperor Franz Josef once declared the region to be ‘an earthly paradise’ and spent a large part of every summer at Bad Ischl, whose healing waters were credited with his conception.
Whether you’re looking for a way to entertain the kids or hoping to just commune with nature, the area is big on variety. The peaceful lakes offer limitless opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, or just sitting on the shore and chucking stones into the water. Favourite waterside beauty spots include the picturesque villages of Hallstatt and St Wolfgang, and the Riviera-style port of Gmunden. You can also tour the salt mines that made the region wealthy or plunge into the depths of the fantastic Dachstein caves, where glittering towers of ice are masterfully illuminated in the depths of a mountain.