When you take the cog railway up Schafberg mountain, the final station would be the Schafberg top train station located at 1783 metres (top of the mountain). If you stay here for a while, you will get to see the historical cog trains going up and down the mountain. Before leaving the train station, the station staff will ask you which train you would like to take down the mountain. After that, they will give you a tag (please keep it properly, you need to return to them on your way down) so that they can monitor and make sure everyone gets down the mountain properly.
The Schafbergalpe train station is located somewhere in the middle part of the mountain and you can actually alight here and take a climb up to the Schafberg train station on top of the mountain. The price of the train ride would also be cheaper if you alight here (see transportation tip). You can also take the train up to the top station and walk down to the Schafbergalpe train station to take the returning train (this is what my wife and I did, and it was great because the walk down was relaxing with beautiful views of the surroundings as well as the wild flowers and flora of the mountain). There is also a hotel and restaurant next to the Schafbergalpe train station (see restaurant tip).
During the summer season, the slopes of Schafberg mountain are filled with wildflowers of various shapes and colours. The best way to see the flowers is to take a simple hike along the trail which links the Schafberg train station on top of the mountain to Schafbergalpe station in the middle part. The entire hike takes about 2 hours going downhill at a leisurely pace (obviously going up will take longer). More photos are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
The views of the various mountains, lakes and towns of the Salzkammergut region from the top of Schafberg are stunning on a clear day. You can see the various major towns such as St Wolfgang, St Gilgen, Strobl, Mondsee etc as well as the major lakes such as
More photos of the surroundings are at the travelogue section of this VT page. The weather was not very clear when I was at top of Schafberg, so I could only see some of the towns and lakes.
Salzkammergut is the land of many lakes, and you can see them on a clear day on the top of Schafberg as well as the journey up and down the mountain. The major lakes here are:
Wolfgangsee (major towns: St Wolfgang, St Gilgen, Strobl)
Attersee (major town: Attersee)
Mondsee (major town: Mondsee)
Hallstatter See (major town: Hallstat)
More information about the Salzkammergut region of Austria is at my VT Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut page. Below is the information extracted from that page:
The Salzkammergut is a very beautiful region east of Salzburg made up of majestic mountains, several beautiful lakes dotted with classical Austrian towns. The name Salzkammergut is related to the mining of salts because this region rose to fame and fortune because of the salt which is available here. Another reason why the Salzkammergut is famous is because some parts of the classical movie "The Sound of Music" was filmed here, including the start of the movie where it shows beautiful mountain area before zooming in to Maria who then sings "The hills are alive with the sound of music .....".
The various places in Salzkammergut can be easily reached from Salzburg by buses or packaged tours. Personally, I prefer taking the buses and exploring this place on my own and perhaps stay 1-2 days at the towns here.
Although there are many towns in Salzkammergut, the most famous and often visited ones are St Wolfgang, St Gilgen, Hallstatt and Mondsee. These towns are next to the lakes, with beautiful mountain scenery.
As for Schafberg (1783 metres above sea level), it is perhaps the most famous mountain in the Salzkammergut region. It is a mountain located next to St Wolfgang, and one of the must-do activity is to take the famous Cog-railway train up the mountain and have beautiful views of the surroundings on a clear day. The train station is about 10 minutes walk from St Wolfgang along the main road (see transportation tip).
From the hotel at the top of the mountain, there is a long slope that runs down the face of the mountain. It appears fairly gradual and easy, but be forewarned, it's a little trickier than it looks. Watch your footing and take your time on the way up. The altitude can make you run out of breath faster than you think.
Look closely at this picture and you'll see plenty of flowers covering the grass.
The trees are thick and durable, the grass is toughened by the winds and the peaks are jagged and rough and yet this place will not leave you hardened for visiting it. You'll leave more serene than before. You'll leave with lasting images in your head (and as a VTer, even more images in your camera). And you'll leave feeling rewarded for your journey no matter how far you've come.
Everywhere you look from up here, you'll see a lake below. Weather permitting you might be able to see as many as a dozen lakes from here. In this photo, you see the Mondsee ("see" means lake). For more information on the town of Mondsee click here.
You might notice this cross at the top of Schafberg. I'm not sure why it is there. I hope it doesn't commemorate a life lost in some tragic accident. To me, it was an appropriate symbol for the meditative quality of the mountain. Because it was a bit cold, most of the visitors were inside at one of the two restaurants, so there were not too many people hiking around the peak. This gave me some quiet moments to sit and reflect on the trip I was on and life in general.
If you take the train to the top of Schafberg, don't take a nap on the way up. There are some interesting views as you make the ascent. You might come across some interesting (and probably exhausted) people hiking the mountain or some wildlife like these cows. One thing is for sure: You'll definitely see some great views over the lakes below.
One thing that cannot escape the visitor is the amazing view of the Alps one has from up here. Of course, in order to see such a view, one must get to the top of one of the Alpine mountains. But the position of Schafberg is a bit unique as you can see the Osterhorngruppe, Tennengebirge, Hoellengebirge, Totesgebirge, and Dachstein mountain ranges. One can also see the Untersberg mountain just outside of Salzburg. It's truly a memorable experience.
So, aside from the beautfiul view of the lakes and mountain, there one more thing worth looking at at Schafberg. That of course is the summit. It stands at 1783 meters above sea level and looks quite impressive. Looking at that mountain from afar, one can see the summit as it stands out a bit from the rest of the mountain.
Another beautiful lake is the Mondsee. This smaller lake lies just north of Schafberg. This is one of 12 lakes that rumor says one can see atop Schafberg. Granted, good weather is required. Notice the Ihrsee (also known as the Zellersee) just north of it.
The next lake that you just can't miss is the Attersee. This is the largest lake within Austrian borders and my wife's home town is only minutes away from it's northern most point. This lake is completely drink water quality and a dip in the lake is so refreshing! No wonder the view from atop Schafberg is so appealing!