There are several ships which you can take and cruise along the beautiful Wolfgangsee lake, of which the most famous is the MS Kaiser Franz Josef (a nostalgic ship with paddle wheel propulsion built in 1873). There are several places to take these ships at the Wolfgangsee, where the most popular are St Wolfgang as well as the town of St Gilgen at another side of the lake. In fact, you can combine your Postbus (see another tip at this section) with the ship because they seems to be operated by the Austrian OBB company (which also operates the trains in Austria).
There are many scheduled trips every day from about 9am to 7pm, depending on the season and there should be at least one ship per hour (best is to check the schedule at the website below). Prices range from 2.60 euros to about 6 euros one way, depending on your destination on the lake. to save money, you can get the day ticket at 16.80 euros or a combo ticket together with the train ride up Schafberg mountain next to the take (about 30 euros return). Children between 6-14 years ago will get 50% discount of the above prices.
One of the highlights of a visit to St Wolfgang is to take the famous Cog Wheel Railway up to the Schafberg mountain just next to the town. If you are taking the Postbus bus, there is a bus stop just in front of the railway station at the bottom of the mountain. The train leaves about every one hour and the journey takes about 1 hour. As it is normally crowded during summer months, it is advisable to go early and make a reservation first. If you want to see nice scenery, sit on the left side of the train (queue early so that you can get the best seats). More information and photos are at my VT Schafberg page, the prices of the train ride are:
Train to top of Schafberg mountain (14 euros one way, 24 euros return)
Train to Schafbergalpe, middle stop (11 euros one way, 20 euros return)
Train from middle stop to top of mountain (5.40 euros one way, 10.80 euros return)
Children 6-14 years of age (50% discount of above prices)
If you are also interested to take the boat rides on Wolfgangsee lake together with the above train ride, combo tickets are available around 30 euros return and this can save you money. More information is at the attached brochure, prices will change with each year and season.
Boating on the Wolfgangsee is one of the most beautiful ways to explore the lake and take in the views of the quaint villages and looming mountains that surround it.
The OBB fleet of ships has an extensive network of routes that can get your around the lake to most destinations or just to enjoy the views. Check out the website below for a list of routes and fares.
On May 20th, 1873 the passengertravel at the "Wolfgangsee" was opened. The wheel steamer "Kaiser Franz Josef I." provided a connection over the lake and at that time it was praised as a "high technical achievement".
The ship "Kaiser Franz Josef I."still exists, but the huge impellers are kept in motion by a diesel engine since the early fifties. The 33 m long nostalgia ship holds 200 persons and was already star in numerous films.
Today, the OEBB fleet counts six motor ships with the flagship "Wolfgang Amadeus". The largest ship, "Austria" seizes altogether 365
passengers and could be rented like all other ships of the fleet also for round travels or group journeys.
The OEBB lines belong to the fixed constituent of the region "Wolfgangsee" and enjoys largest popularity with guests from close and far. The fleet provides the connection of the places approximately around the lake and represents the most impressive possibility of exploring this pictorial area.
Wolfgangsee ferries stop at the village center (right next to the White Horse Inn) in Sankt Wolfgang and also by the Schafberg railway. Here you see the Kaiserin Elisabeth pulling in by the Schafberg railway station.
The cheapest and best way to go from Salzburg to St Wolfgang is by the comfortable air-conditioned buses of the Postbus (see website below). From Salzburg, you first go to the bus-stop in front of the Mirabellplatz and take postbus number 150 (40 minutes to 1 hour per bus, you can see the electronic signboard next to the bus-stop for the timing of the next bus) to the bus terminal at the town of Strobl. At Strobl bus terminal, you switch to postbus number 2560 (about 1 hour per bus) to St Wolfgang. To check what is the best schedule for your visit, please go to the Postbus website below and enter the destinations, date and time. The bus journey will take about 2 hours and cost $7.10 euros one way, and it is to be paid to the bus driver when you board the bus and he will issue you a receipt once you have paid. At St Wolfang, there is a bus stop at the town centre just next to the tourist information centre near to the road tunnel. There is also another bus stop in front of the Schafberg Cog-railway train station.
There are some leg paddle boats available for ride on the Wolfgangsee (which I think will cost 5 euros). They are located at the shore of the lake just next to the famous Im Weissen Rossel (Dark Horse Inn) at the St Wolfgang town centre. This boat ride will be the best during the warm summer weather.
Just like other tourist destinations in Austria and elswhere in Europe, you will see some horse carriages at the town centre of St Wolfgang waiting for tourists. My wife and I did not try it so we do not know the price of the ride (my guess is that it probably will cost at least 30 euros). If money is no problem and if the weather of your visit is very good, then a ride on the horse carriage in St Wolfgang will be a very good and romantic experience because other than this beautiful town, you will get to see the beautiful Wolfgangsee lake, surrounding mountains and towns etc. In a nutshell, this will be the Austrian countryside at its very best.
St Wolfgang and surroundings are perfect for cycling especially during summertime. When my wife and I were there in June 2007, we saw a lot of people cycling. The only caution is that the roads can be narrow and therefore it is very important to watch out for traffic.
It is very easy and relaxing to walk around and explore St Wolfgang and its surroundings. Firstly, go to the tourist information centre in the town centre (just next to the main road near to the vehicle tunnel which leads to the town) and ask for a map. The map is very comprehensive and detailed, and include this town and also other towns surrounding the lake such as Strobl, Abersee and St Gilgen. Furthermore, the town is rather small and there are good signages so it is very easy.
When my wife and I were at St Wolfgang in June 2007, we saw a lot of small boats on the Wolfgangsee lake and some families enjoying the boat rides on the lake. When you are at St Wolfgang (especially if you are staying there for a few days), you should check with the locals and see whether it is possible to rent a boat and cruise along this beautiful lake with very nice surrounding mountains and towns.
On the eastern end of town, you'll find this outdoor parking lot a short walk downhill to the town center. There is also a covered parking lot on the western side of town across from the Michael-Pacher Haus.
A visit to the top of Schafberg is a must while in St. Wolfgang. Head to the west side of town to the Schafbergbahn to catch the train. The trip on the "little engine that could" type train is beautiful and will cost 22 Euros for the roundtrip. The train runs from May to October on the hour. Before mid-June the last train runs at 4:30 pm while toward the end of the season, the train runs until around 6:20 pm each night.
This bus stop is located at the Michael-Pacher Haus, but I think you can also catch a bus near the tourist office and by the Schafbergbahn station. A trip to Salzburg will take about an hour and a half by public bus. To Bad Ischl, expect it to take about forty minutes (transfer at Strobl, 3.10 Euros).
Near the main square, you'll see some guys dressed in traditional clothes offering horse-drawn carriage rides . . . yawn. Haven't we seen this before in just about every tourist-filled town in the world? Yeah.
St. Wolfgang isn't that big, so you're better off just walking.
The best way to really get to know the town and it's surroundings is to walk through it. The town is not large and it will not take you more than half a day to walk back and forth through the town and really feel like you know the place.