After admiring the waterfall from the bridge in the centre of town, it is worthwhile to have a look at it from other vantage points. In Straubinger Platz you will see steps going up, they are part of the path that winds uphill by the side of the brook, ending at the level of the upper bridge. The view of the upper segments of the waterfall is really spectacular.
The waterfall is probably the biggest attraction of Bad Gastein. It is very nice and spectacular, but what is strange about it is its being in the centre of the old town, with a bridge across. This picture was taken from that bridge.
This means that the town was built by a waterfall, which is rather strange. The explanation is that this was the place for gold mines, and we all know that humans tend to go and live in the strangest places if there is gold to be found.
The museum is small, but very interesting. It covers several aspects of the life and history of this town: the old mines, a rich exhibition of minerals, old customs (and costumes), mementos of many important guests, including Kaiser Franz Joseph and other royals, and a fine exhibition of paintings and engravings. In fact Bad Gastein and its surroundings was considered a good subject by Romantic artists.
Opening time is 10-12 and 15.30-18.00.
The entrance fee is 3 euros.
This statue represents a man with a cloak that makes him invisible, so we can see only his head and hands. The man is Paracelsus, and I don't think he ever had, or even tried to obtain, an invisible cloak.
Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, this was his real name, was born in Switzerland in 1493 and died in Salzburg in 1541. He was an alchemist and a physician and adopted the name Paracelsus, which means "beyond Celsus", because he carried on medical studies from the point where the roman physician Aulus Cornelius Celsus had left them.
Paracelsus travelled all over Europe and in the Middle East, studying, among other things, the minerals in drinking water and their effects. Studying the effects of minerals on the human body he became interested also in the health of mine workers, so he was the first to describe silicosis. These facts explain why he came to Bad Gastein, a town with mines and thermal waters.
Far from being a magician, Paracelsus was a scientist who improved pharmaceutical science in his time.
This is a suggestion for an out-of-town trip. Sportgastein has a name, but it is not a village or even a hamlet. There are just two or three houses there. The reason for going there in winter is skiing, and in summer the wonderful view and hiking paths.
Sportgastein lies in a valley, but its altitude is 1589 metres above sea level. The view of the mountains all around is great, especially that of the Sonnblickgruppe, which is over 3000 metres high, so it is frequently white with snow also in summer.
There is a toll of 4 euros per person to pay to use the road that goes there. This is rather common in the Austrain mountains, with roads that exist just for leisure trips.
The catholic parish church of Bad Gastein was built in the 19th century, but inside there are works of art that are much older, such as the wooden Madonna on the altar, which dates back to the mid-15th century. There are also beautiful windows of stained glass. This church is very nice when seen from the outside, but its interior is even better.
Bad Gastein has been a thermal resort for many years, because of its waters that spring from the earth at a temperature between 44 and 47 degrees Celsius. There are today 17 of these springs, in the Badberg, and they provide water for the spas. However, not all the thermal water is used for this business. Some of it is free and flows from two fountains, not far from each other.
Fountains with warm water may be welcome when you need to wash you hands. However, warm water is not ideal if you are thirsty on a hot summer day. Don't worry, there are also other fountains around, with cold mountain water.
Nice walks in Bad Gastein have been named after famous patrons, and it seems fair that the most beautiful walk of all has been named after a king and emperor who spent many holidays here.
The narrow road, where cars are not allowed, starts within the village, in the Bismarckstrasse, and goes into the Kotchach valley, ending at the Grüner Baum. Its length is 8 km (about 5 miles).
During this walk you will have on one side the green slopes of the Badberg and on the other side a panoramic view of the valley. Then the road gets into the wood, a beautiful wood of pines and firs.
It is an easy walk for everybody, and there are benches where you can have a rest if you wish. At the end, if you don't feel like walking all the way back you can take a bus from the Grüner Baum, back to the centre of Bad Gastein.
Behind the little church of St Nicholas there is a graveyard, where the graves are actually only commemorative, because the bodies of these deads are not buried here. These men lost their lives in the II World War, most of them in Russia.
The folly of blood-thirsty tyrants sent these men to their deaths, and caused the deaths of many many others. Many words agaist wars have been written, but we tend to forget the equation war=innumerable graves.
Picturesque and small in size, this sample of late-gothic architecture, built in the 15th century, is the oldest church in Bad Gastein. Inside there are well-preserved frescoes and a beautiful stone pulpit that is the oldest in Salzburgerland.
Cardinal Ratzinger visited here, before becoming Pope. I learned this because photographs of his visit were displayed together with postcards of the church.
Entertainment and Festivales
The usual festivities throughout the year, such as the Kirchweih (church fair) or Frohnleichnam (Corpus Christi) have been maintained here. The 'Gastein Krampuse'(masked demons) make their mischievous presence felt on the 5th and 6th of December. The running of the Gastein Perchtenlaufen (masked beaked figures) Race is especially well known and takes place every four years at the beginning of January (the next is scheduled for 2002). People wearing big masks and making lots of noise chase the winter away, bringing good blessings for the new year.
A specialty in Bad Gastein is also the annual Schwertertanz (sword dance) which is held at the beginning of September by the Sword Dance Group.
The Grand Hotel de ‘’Europe casino has baccarat, blackjack, roulette and slot machines. Passport is required.
There are also concerts at the Kongresshaus (Kongresspl., next to waterfall).
Burg Klammstein is or better said was a ruïn, untill the curren owner decided to restore it with his own money. It is an enthousiastic person telling you hundreds of stories. It's not a particular beautiful sight, but the enthousiasm of the castle lord is more than charming.
Burg Klammstein stands at the entrance of the Gasteinertal and was used to protect it.
Badgastein is a beautiful small tourist town that lies in the Gastein Valley which is famous for its many hot springs.
The Gastein Valley is a part of the Hohe Tauern National Park which encompasses one of the most beautiful areas in this part of the Alps.
The Gastein valley is surrounded by beautiful mountains that are higher than 2000 m above the sea level. There are very good paths to go there, but also if you are not hikers some places are easy to reach, thanks to the gondolas or the chairlifts. There are several, from Bad Gastein and also from the other villages of Badhof Gastein and Dorfgastein.
Next to the Gasteiner Ache, first mentioned in 1333, is the church for the upper village from the outside it's a nice church. The inside is not very special, but since we were here we had a look.