Yet another charming Austrian town located on the banks of Lake Wolfgangsee, I visited St Wolfgang in the winter when it was draped in soft white crispy snow. Getting to St Wolfgang from Salzburg is easy by road or by public transportation. Board the bus from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof (main train station) to Bad Ischl and get down at St Gilgen, which is hardly 45 minutes away from Salzburg. From here, you can board a ferry which takes about 45 minutes on Wolfgangsee Lake, with gorgeous views of the lakeside villages and towns, before arriving at the pier at St Wolfgang.
Alternatively, you can take a bus all the way to St Wolfgang. However, St Gilgen is also a lovely little town where you can spend a couple of hours before you move on to St Wolfgang and thus, I recommend that you stop over at St Gilgen and then sail on the romantic lake, a unique experience as compared to taking the bus directly.
During the summer months, this scenic lakeside town is popular with visitors from Salzburg looking to enjoy some watersports on the lake, in a quieter and remote environment. This idyllic town is a hidden gem of Austria's countryside and is also closely connected to Mozart and his family. In the winter, visitors come to St Gilgen for its famous ski slopes, from one of the most beautiful peaks of the Salzkammergut region. There is also a cute Christmas Market here during the winter months (November - December) which is quite popular.
While you're in St Gilgen, whether you're a skiing enthusiast or not, do take the cable car to Zwolferhorn (cable car station is a 2-minute walk from the bus drop off) for amazing views of the sleepy town and the lake and also for the views once you get up to the mountaintop. A lovely restaurant offering superb views is located at the top, where you can enjoy the Gluhwein in the crispy cold winter months. There was a blizzard on the day I visited which did not spoil the experience at all. In fact, despite the immense snow and fog, the place was gorgeous!
Visiting Vienna? Read about what to do in Vienna in winter.
Ferry to St Wolfgang
From St Gilgen, you can board the ferry to St Wolfgang and sail over the romantic deep blue lake, as you watch adorable little lakeside towns of Austria go by. The ferry has a bar on board where you can buy your drinks (in the winter, you will get Gluhwein and a souvenir mug to take with you, free of charge). Do keep an eye out for the timings of the ferry to and from St Wolfgang.
The sleepy, romantic St Wolfgang
Once you arrive at the pier at St Wolfgang, you can walk through this picturesque town towards the town centre where you will find several cafes, restaurants and a very charming Christmas Market in the winter, right by the lake. The smell of baked apple is extremely enticing and the market extends from the centre of the town until the banks of the lake. Bonfires are lit at several junctions to keep yourself warm during the chilly months and these add to the romanticism of the little town.
Colorful houses, cobbled stone streets, horse carriages, narrow streets and a laid-back vibe - this is what you can expect from this delightful little town. A great way to enjoy some peace away from the hustle and bustle of a busy city, St Wolfgang from Salzburg makes for a great day trip for people looking to get an authentic Austrian countryside experience.
Tip: A lovely restaurant, SeeRestaurant at White Horse Inn, located right on the lake, with large glass windows offering views of the mountains beyond, is a great place to enjoy an authentic Austrian Schnitzel and Apple Strudel. If you're lucky, you will be able to catch a brilliant lake sunset here.
If you are in Austria, you must also visit Hallstatt! Read here about my experience of travelling to Hallstatt from Salzburg.