Introduction

With belle-époque villas clinging to forest-cloaked cliffs that rise above thunderous falls, and views deep into the Gastein Valley, Bad Gastein is a stunner. The town runs both hot and cold, with first-class skiing, high-level hiking and hot springs still hailed for their miraculous healing properties. Though the damp is rising in places, the higgledy-piggledy resort has kept some of the grandeur of its 19th-century heyday, when Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) came to bathe and pen poetry here.