St. Gilgen, smaller than its lakeside neighbour of St Wolfgang, lies on the north-western shores of the Wolfgangsee. Its well visited due to its Mozart connection - his mother and sister were born here. In the village centre is Mozartplatz with a statue of Mozart playing the violin in front of the town hall.
Its worth wandering around St Gilgen just to admire the beautiful flowers, balconies and oreils on the buildings. For example the beautiful bay window on this building in the Mozartplatz (opposite the Town Hall). The building itself is interesting as it houses a musical instrument museum.
The museum is open:
Mon-Fri 09.00a.m.-12.00 + 02.00p.m.-06.00p.m. Sat. 09.00a.m.-01.00p.m.
The museum is closed between Nov 12th and Dec 7th
entry-fee is 2,50-4,00 Euros
Mondsee is not too far away from St Wolfgang and is often included on a Salzkammergut tour as it is renowned for the Sound of Music wedding church - St Michaels.
Mondsee means "Moon Lake" - so-called due to its crescent shape which is clearly seen from the Schafberg summit above St Wolfgang.
No trip to St. Wolfgang is complete without taking the Schafbergbahn, a cog-wheel train up to the summit of Schafberg. From there, one has a spectacular view of several mountain ranges and it is said that on the clearest of days, you can see up to 12 lakes. Including the Chiemsee over the border in Germany.
The view up there is truly wonderful and the ride up on the train is great! Trust me when I say no trip to Sankt Wolfgang is complete without a trip up to the summit! Don't forget your camera and a sweater wouldn't hurt either!
You're going to need to go to the Schafbergbahn Station to catch one of the zahnradbahn's (cog-wheel trains) up to the summit. From the center of Sankt Wolfgang, follow Pilgerstrasse down along the lake until you reach the station. It will be on your left and parking is just a few meters further down the road. Visit the website for current prices and schedules.
Here's a picture of one of the zahnradbahns that take you up to the summit of Schafberg. They recently celebrated their 110 year anniversary making the climb up to the summit! Please see website for current prices and schedules.
For one of the best views in Austria I'd definitely recommend visiting the mountain that rises above St. Wolfgang. A trip to Schafberg makes for a good half-day (4-5 hours) adventure. There are two ways to get there. You can take the small train from Schafbergbahn (the tiny train station on the western side of town) or you can do it the old-fashioned way and hike up (which will take about 3 hours). The train ride cost 22 Euros when I was there in the summer of 2004.
Once at the top, you can ask the attendant when you get off the train when the next train goes back down. In my case, there was a train going down in a half hour or in another 1 1/2 hours. I decided to take my time up there and wait. It turned out to be a good decision, since I was able to hike around the entire peak and look out over the surrounding lake-swept countryside. There is even a hotel at the top, complete with a restaurant. There is another small restaurant at the top where I enjoyed a Apfelsaft (an apple drink). The views from 1783 meter peak are amazing.
In order to reach St Wolfgang by road (e.g. car or taking the Postbus), you will pass by the town of Strobl, which is less well known. If you have time, you should spend a while at this charming town which offer good views of the surrounding mountains. In fact, the area around the Postbus bus terminal at Strobl offers some good views (see photos) while you wait to transfer buses from St Wolfgang back to Salzburg :)
When you are walking along the main road from St Wolfgang town to the Schafberg train station (about 10 minutes walk), you will pass by Hotel Mirabell at the side of the road. The interesting thing about this hotel is that the architecture is very beautiful and colour, and there are lots of colourful flowers. Even the stairways leading up to the hotel is covered with beautiful green plants as seen from the photos. You might even want to consider staying here for a while. Also, there is a big park with good views just across the road, and there is a clay tennis court just next to the hotel.
If you are at the waterfront areas of Wolfgangsee and look hard enough, you might be able to spot some freshwater fishes just like I did (see photo). The water near the shore is not deep, but there are rocks between the sand so do be careful.
OK seeing as we are in Mondsee lets have a look at Maria's wedding chapel. Its a lovely yellow baroque church and worth a look inside.
Mondsee is more than the sound of music wedding church though. There is a lovely lakeside promenade to enjoy and in the colourful centre are many cafes to sample some strudel of course.