One of the highlights of a visit to Schafberg is to take the famous Cog Wheel Railway up to the mountain top. 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. Please go to part 2 of this tip.
If you are taking the famous Cog Wheel Railway from St Wolfgang up to the Schafberg mountain, the important thing to note is try to sit on the left hand side because most of the beautiful scenery will be on that side while the train is going up. You need to queue early at the train station because it is normally very crowded, especially during the summer and autumn peak seasons.
The best way to explore Schafberg is of course to hike up and back down. However, for most people, the Schafbergbahn (Sheep Mountain train) is the best way to do it. The Austrian rail system (?BB) operates this small train which runs up to the summit of Schafberg.
The trains are what are called Zahnradbahnen, or "cog-wheel" trains. The reason they get this name is because of the unique track design which prevents the train from slipping back down the mountain uncontrollably.
The laborious construction of the Schafberg railway began in April of 1892 and was carried out by 350 Italian immigrant workers. For over 110 years, these trains have carried thousands upon thousands of inspired tourists over the 5.85 km (40 minute) long ride to the top of the 1783 meter high summit.
Fares are quite pricey, but well worth the trip considering you get to ride on such an historic train and the view you enjoy on your way up and at the summit!
See my travelogue for some pictures of the view on the way up to the summit!
Most people will get to Schafberg by car by taking Route 158 to the town of St. Wolfgang (follow the easy signs). However, I nice suggestion would be to park your car in St. Gilgen (also off of 158) and take the ship across to St. Wolfgang which will dock right in front of the Schafbergbahn station. It has to be a great trip!
The photographs here show the marking on the rocks which will guide you on the simple trekking from Schafberg top train station down to the Schafbergalpe station in the middle slopes. The entire trek downhill takes about 2 hours at a leisurely pace, giving you enough time to admire the surrounding. The important thing is make sure you have enough time to catch the last train from Schafbergalpe station down to the bottom of the mountain.
If you really want to have a great experience, you should do the simple trekking down from the Schafberg top train station down to the Schafbergalpe station. There is a well marked trail going down and many people will be doing the same trek so it is unlikely you will get lost. Also along the way, there are markings on the rocks (colours of the Austrian national flag).
The best things about the trek is the fantastic scenery on a clear day, as well as the colourful wildflowers on the way down.
While I was exploring the peak and checking out the amazing views, I noticed that there was a helicopter pad up there! I assume that it's for emergency purposes, but I don't want to get injured in order to see even better views than this!
While it's possible to hike to the top of Schafberg (that would take about 4 hours), you can take the easier route and take the train. From St. Wolfgang, you'll want to head to the west side of town to the Schafbergbahn. the trip will cost 22 Euros for the roundtrip and 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. When you exit the train at the top, you have to tell the ticket taker at the window when you want to head back down so he can reserve a seat for you. In my case, I could have gone back down in 30 minutes, but I decided to stay up there for about an hour and forty minutes, so I could hike all around the summit and soak in the views.