We parked our car in the Gschwendt parkplatz and then caught the ferry across the lake to the Schafbergbahn landing stage. You can also pick up the ferry at various locations around the lake. I purchased the tickets on board the ferry and the price was about 69 euros for the pair of us and it did save queuing at the station. The train station is only about 200 metres away once you get off the ferry. We only had to wait a few minutes before boarding the train. If you arrive early you can always try out one of the cafes in the area whilst you wait. The train pushes the carriages up the mountain and being a cog railway it does shake a bit. The first part of the journey is through the outskirts of St Wolfgang but as the train starts to climb then the views improve. The journey takes 35 minutes with one stop on route at Schafbergalm before you reach the top of the Schafberg Mountain. The first thing you must do on leaving the train is to obtain a seat ticket for the return journey. The railway was first opened in 1893 and the normal trains are oil fired but for an additional fee you can ride a steam train or vintage diesel. On a clear day the views from the top of the 1783m mountain are spectacular with views of the lake and surrounding mountains. There is a hotel and restaurant at the top and we indulged in coffee and cake. There are various deals available for the trains, boats and hotel or for hikers you can always hike to the top.
Hotel Schwarzes Rossl (The Black Horse)
Next to the famous Im Weissen Rossl (White Horse Inn), there is another hotel called Hotel Schwarzes Rossl (The Black Horse). Interesting because "white" and "dark" are next to each other :)
Similar to the White Horse Inn, The Black Horse is conveniently located in the town centre area and the architecture/facade is very classical and beautiful. However, The Black Horse does not have the view of the Wolfgangsee lake as it is not located at the waterfront area. The website of the hotel is below if you are interested.
- Spa and Resort
- Luxury Travel
- Wine Tasting
Schafberg Cog Railway
Schafberg Cog Railway, built over 100 years ago, climbs the 5,300ft Schafberg mountain the easy way. A ride on this nostagic train is a must do - especially for those fans of the Sound of Music tour - I'm sure you'll recognise it from the film. Check the website for up to date fares and timetables.
Escaping the crowds
A good way to escape the crowds in the town is to take a delightful trip on a boat around the Wolfgangsee. The glacial water is an amazing blue colour and you can explore other resorts on the lake such as Strobl at tone end and St Gilgen with its Mozart connection at the other end (see more in off the beaten path).
Check the link for timetables and fares - often there is a combinred fare for the boat and train ride up the Schafberg - see later.
In this pic we are heading for St Gilgen and have a lovely view of the Schaberg on the way.
Driving about half an hour on a climbing road from Sankt Wolfgang following Postdalm Arena signs you will reach this beautiful hiking area.
Four main hiking trails (Rundwege) starts from the parking lot (in August 2007 the parking lot was full and cars were all along the road on the grass).
Along the trails there are around ten "hutte" and "gasthofs", wooden mountain huts, welcoming you with food and accommodation if you want to spend the night in that fresh air location.
Enjoy the best beer in the world
I dont know what beer you like but this is for me the best beer in the world: weizen/weiss (white/unfiltered) beer, which can be hell (blonde) or dunkel (dark). Taste it once and you will ever crave for it, even at home when you drink your light bud which is 99% water with a taste of malt (exaggerating a little but this is really a perfect beer).
Schafberg 360 degrees panorama
Once you arrive to the top of Schafberg mountain with the cogwheel train (the ride itself is a great thing but the views are breathtaking) you go some meters higher and you can admire one of the most beautiful panorama of Europe.
As the Schafberg is in the middle of them you can see at least six lakes. To the south you can see the tall mountains - the Alps with dozens of peaks over 3000 meters. The Dachstein Glacier is visible - one million year glacier that is.
Take at least one hour, better two, to enjoy the panorama, take something to eat at the restaurant and then contemplate more before taking the train down.
Neither pictures or videos can't show the actual feeling of being there and see it live.
I would include this in the 1000 places to see before you die.
Now more efficient (you don't need to pedal), ecological, quiet and at your command. You must take at least half an hour electric boat ride on the lake. It is a special feeling and you can stop anywhere in the middle of the lake to admire the views.
Take a boat on the lake
Wolfgangsee Schiffart is the operator of boats running on the lake Wolfgangsee. Big fast boats takes you across and around the lake. It's a must to take a boat ride and see Sankt Wolfgang from the water.
This way you can check the other towns surrounding the lake: Strobbl, St. Gilgen.
Wood is the main thing in Sankt Wolfgang, but you can also buy some other nice things like: traditional Austrian costumes (wool socks, thick pants above the knee, shirts, hats) - women costumes are also very nice, wall clocks, dolls (some looking like real babies or children), glasses, souvenirs and more.
Central place of Sankt Wolfgang
The road descends and makes a bend and you start to hear the music and then suddenly find yourself in the central place of Sankt Wolfgang. Here is the starting point - you have the nice wooded direction pole (of course - as the patron saint was a wood carver), you have the church, the most expensive two hotels (The Black Stalion and The White Horse), my favourite restaurant (Weisser-Bar, which is actually the restaurant of the Gasthaus(Hotel) with the same name), a cafeteria, another restaurant, a bank .. and from time to time a lot of people, coming from all around to attend events that are taking place here. Each time I was there I caught some event, people all ages flock and have great time. Imagine this quiet place packed with people :)
Pool and whirlpool at the lake
The most respectable hotel in Sankt Wolfgang am Wolfgangsee has beside probably nice rooms this unique feature, a pool and a whirpool (with hot water probably) right near the lake. Both are private and accessible only to hotel guests.
But privacy is not quite good because every tourist that comes to see the lake from the base of the town's church can see all their bathing activity.
Biking around the lake Wolfgangsee
In Austria you have hundreds or bike trails. In Sankt Wolfgang you can take longer routes, but I did (twice, once in 2007, once in 2008) only a round trip around the lake Wolfgangsee. It' about 20 km and because on the last part there is no trail you have to take a boat (together with the bikes).
There is a bike rental in Sankt Wolfgang, they have good bikes there.
One top Europe destination (really, not joking) is the Schafbergbahn, which is the cogwheel train that takes you in a 45 minutes ride up to the Schafbergspitze (top of the mountain Schafberg), from where you have a breathtaking 360 degrees view of the mountains and lakes, at least six lakes.
This is a not to miss thing to do while in Austria. The ticket is EUR 25 / person but it worth all money. Trains are hourly, don't take the last two rides (5pm or 6pm) because you won't have time to admire. You need at least one hour up there to admire, take pics and have a beer or even a meal at the restaurant at the top.
Some lovely hikes from St Wolfgang. 1) Around the lake front to Strobl – this walk follows the lake and then around the point which has a board walk to the town of Strobl. You can walk back or take the bus/ferry back. 2) Walk up from Strobl through Weisenbach to the Laimeralm. Once there you can have lunch or refreshments at the Alm. 3) Pilgrimage path via ‘Falkenstein’ from St Wolfgang to St Gilgen. Follow the steps of St Wolfgang and visit the pilgrimage chapel along the way. You can get the ferry back. 4) Walk right around the lake (28 klms). Took me 7 hours but worth it. All info. from the visitor center.
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