Salzburg is small and travelers often take daytrips to the nearby nature. Therefore places even smaller than Salzburg, like Hallstatt, St.Wolfgang and Königssee get crowded in summer by selfie taking tourists.
These places are beautiful and nevertheless highly recommended. However there are off the beaten path destinations for those of you who prefer a more wild and authentic experience. For those of you who prefer to be surrounded by locals.
Some of these places are equally easy to get to and cheaper than the hotspots. In this article I will introduce my favorites and tell you how to reach them and what to do.
Mount Gaisberg – a walk or a busride?
Gaisberg is the closest genuine mountain on the municipal territory of Salzburg. While the other so called “house mountains” are rather hills, mount Gaisberg has an altitude of almost 1300 meters. From up there you can see the lowlands of Germany on one side and the alpine foothills and mountain ranges on the other side, while the city of Salzburg appears tiny.
Option 1 – for the lazy
The easiest way up is bus number 151 leaving from Mirabellplatz. The bus takes you all the way to the top if you don’t want to hike at. A round trip only costs around €10,- because it’s a normal public bus and not a tourbus.
Buses run every one and a half hours and you will have to decide if you only want to stay for about 20 minutes or for 2 hours or even more. Therefore this first option is not really a daytrip. Please notice that in winter you need warm clothes.
Option 2 – easy hike
There is a circular hiking trail around the mountain that will take you about one and a half hours easy walking. To get there you simply take bus number 151 as well and get off at the “Zistelalm” bus stop. One stop before the top.
Because it’s a circular hike you will end up at the same bus stop. However I recommend to continue to the top of Gaisberg once you finished the trail. You could even continue your way up from the backside after walking half of the circular trail.
Option 3 – long hike
For those experienced hikers among you I recommend to get off bus 151 at “Obergnigl” bus stop and find the house in Eichstrasse 66. The one indicated in the map below. It almost seems like you enter private property, but there is a trail starting on it’s right side.
This one is my favorite trail up mount Gaisberg. The so called “Jägersteig” comprises of 400 steps before it merges into a forest path. At the end of the stairs you have to go to the left, but before turning left you take a few steps straightforward and enjoy the view. In total it will take you around 2-3 hours to reach the top.
Option 4 – hike all the way
I used to live 20 minutes from the start of “Jägersteig” so I didn’t take the bus to “Obergnigl”. Today I live at a different place, but I still don’t take the bus to go to Gaisberg. From anywhere in Salzburg it is between 30-50 minutes walking to the start of the trail.
There are other lakes worth visiting in the lake district. Some of them bigger with more interesting places around. However none of them is so accessible, cost effective and non touristic as Fuschlsee.
Furthermore Fuschlsee has the ideal size to walk around in 3-4 hours. Those of you who are as passionate about swimming as I am can swim across the lake. It takes about half an hour.
You should be an experienced swimmer and remember you also have to come back. Swim with a buddy and make sure you have enough energy to swim back. Otherwise you have to walk barefoot and in your trunks for 1,5 hours like I once did.
To get to Fuschlsee you take bus number 150 which runs almost every hour from Mirabellplatz or the train station. In summer it is recommended to take the bus from the station to get a seat.
It will be full of tourists, because it’s the same route as Hallstatt, but only a few people will get off in Fuschl. If you want to see the Red Bull headquarters from the outside you can get off at the “Brunnerwirt” bus stop.
Bluntautal is without a doubt one of the most precious hidden gems in the area. Tal is the German word for valley and Au is an old word for river or other shallow waters. That’s what you will find there together with a lot of trees and maybe some free running cows.
Once you entered the valley there are no traces of civilisation anymore. Only the mountains and the stunning untouched nature all around. It is peaceful with these mountains on your right and on your left. Especially in winter you can find silence along with a blistering cold and a lot of snow.
On halfway through the valley you will find two picturesque lakes with trouts. At the end of the valley you find “Bärenwirt”, a recommended traditional austrian restaurant and the only place where you can get food on the way.
In case you are up for it there are several challenges waiting at the end of the valley. You can go up to the seasonal mountain pastures Unterjochalm, Oberjochalm and further to the Carl von Stahl Haus which are easy but long hikes.
If the weather is good you could even go on to Schneibstein, the Jenner mountain and down on the other side to Berchtesgaden in Germany. Its about 20km and takes the whole day, so only go for it if you know what you are getting yourself into.
A car would be handy to get to Bluntautal, but public transport is easy as well. You take the S3 from Salzburg main train station to Golling-Abtenau. From there you walk to Gasthof Göllwirt, the place indicated in the map below. If you have problems finding it, ask! Everyone in Golling knows Bluntautal.
In case you have a car Gasthof Göllhof is where you park it. Göllhof is also another highly recommended Austrian restaurant if you want to eat before or after the walk. From there you go straight on into the valley. There are the two sides of the river and you’d want to walk on one side to go in and come out on the other side to see as much as possible.
If you have done one of those day trips I would be glad to read your comment below. For further information don’t hesitate to write a comment as well contact me through the about page.