Welcome to beautiful Upper Austria in the hinterland of Mozart’s city of Salzburg. The beauty of the area embraced by the Dachstein Mountains and the Hallstattersee is truly inspirational especially in the crisp, stable weather that this region often acquires during the period of this tour. There are people who claim that once you have walked here you will have experienced the best ‘typical’ alpine hiking in Europe. The tour gets off to a cracking start at Bad Goisern, a small market town lovingly embedded in the Goisertal Valley. You can opt to do a walk onto the high trails of the ‘Goiserer Hohenweg’ with some spectacular viewpoints over the Dachstein peaks before heading to Gosau via the Goiserer Hutte at nearly 1600m below an optional peak called Hoch Kalmberg 1833m. Gosau has a more pastoral feel to it and the broad valley here attracts thousands of cross-country skiers in the winter. From Gosau a circular walk will take you to the Alpine Lakes of the the Gosausee and Hintere Gosausee with some spectacular mountain panoramas to the Gosaukamm mountains, or you can do some walks along the forest edge above the valley. The next walk takes you via the flanks of Mount Plassen to perhaps the real gem of the tour, for two nights at the ancient town of Hallstatt. This is a village of some 1,200 people, wonderfully remote, squeezed between the base of Mount Plassen and the waters of Lake Hallstattersee. It grew rich from the ancient and modern trade in salt which is plentiful in the surrounding mountains. The town is almost traffic-free and it is also a UNESCO world Culture and Natural Heritage site. A tiny ferry glides between the nearest train station across the fjord-like lake and drops you off on the town’s storybook square. Clinging to its lakeside ledge under the mountains, Hallstatt seems smaller than it really is; ivy-covered guesthouses and cobbled lanes surround its pint-sized square. Its spectacular setting, at the foot of cliffs and facing the often mist-cloaked Halstättersee, is right out of a picture postcard. The local museums and churches are certainly worth a visit. The charnel house in the graveyard contains bones, including painted skulls, of the local dead whose graves were dug up after 12 years to make room for new clients. If you get tired of walking here, a funicular can whisk you up to the ‘Salzwerk’, or salt mine in a valley above the town or if you like you can hike up in an hour or so. You may prefer to take the funicular up to the mine and then walk back down to the village after the tour and go on to visit nearby Obertraun for a tour of the ice caves.
Walking in Austria's Lake District
Peaks, Passes and Lakeside Walking
Views of the Hoher Dachstein
7 nights in 3 star hotels
Accommodation is on a half board basis for 4 nights (4 evening meals included); in 3* hotels. All rooms have ensuite facilities. Please note that we are not able to guarantee the accommodation exactly but the descriptions of the hotels and guesthouses below are the ones normally used. If these are not available then alternatives are used and if these are of a different standard you will be informed at the time of booking. Baths/showers: Many rooms with ensuite/private facilities have a shower rather than a bath, usually because of limited space. Some hotels/guesthouses may however have a separate room in the house where a bath is available to guests. Twin Rooms: A twin room in this part of Austria often means two mattresses together within one wooden frame having two separate duvets or one large mattress with two separate duvets. You may wish to request two single rooms if you are friends traveling together.
We grade this tour as moderate - challenging; anyone used to hill walking with a daily height gain/loss of up to 3,300 feet (1100 metres) should find the tour within their capability. Most days are easier than this. You will find some steep, stony trails and maybe an element of exposure on a couple of occasions. Walkers, who want to avoid the ‘challenging’ walks, can use public transport to travel between centers: Good train and/or postbus system. Day Stages: Average duration of walking per day is about 6 hours. Some of the walks may be shortened if desired by the use of cablecars/funiculars or local postbuses.