Wolfgangsee (Lake Wolfgang), Salzkammergut

The Wolfgangsee (Lake Wolfgang) is a lake in the Salzkammergut area of Austria. Most of the lake is part of the state of Salzburg, a smaller share of Upper Austria. It is a highly popular destination for day-trips from the city of Salzburg as well as for lakeside holidays. This makes Lake Wolfgang and its surroundings one of the most touristy areas of Austria. An older name of Lake Wolfgang is "Abersee"; it is only locally used.

Lake Wolfgangsee has a total surface of about 13 square kilometres; in its deepest spot, it is 114 metres deep. It has a very characteristic shape due to a creek which has formed a delta and created a very narrow part, where Lake Wolfgang is only 200 metres wide - a kind of waist. The water quality of Lake Wolfgang is exceptionally high and has been recognised by the EU; the lake has one of the last populations of Rutilus meidingerii, an endangered fish species that is very sensitive to pollution.

There are three municipalities situated at Lake Wolfgang: St. Gilgen and Strobl in Salzburg, and St. Wolfgang in Upper Austria. The two communities of Ried and Abersee are separate settlements, but they belong to St. Gilgen. All these municipalities and communities are famous holiday destinations that are crammed with hotels. Typical holiday activities are swimming and other water sports, hiking, excursions to destinations such as the Zwölferhorn (cable car!) or Schafberg (cog railway from "The Sound of Music"!) and enjoying the region′s fin de siecle atmosphere. There are boat cruises available on the Wolfgangsee, which appeal in particular to day-trip visitors.

Both St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang have well-known Christmas markets. The cruises operate as long as Lake Wolfgang doesn′t freeze, which is not the case in December in normal years. Therefore, it is popular to link a visit of the Christmas markets via a boat cruise from St. Gilgen to St. Wolfgang and return.

In terms of sightseeing, note that Mozart′s mother was from St. Gilgen and his sister Nannerl settled there after marrying a man from this town. The city centre is touristy, but still charming. Similar things can be said about St. Wolfgang, which comes with a famous Gothic church of pilgrimage at the town centre. It contains the relics of the saint after whom town and lake were named: St. Wolfgang lived here as a hermit.


Lakes in Austria

Wikipedia on Lake Wolfgangsee

More on the Salzburger Seenland Lake District

Information on the Salzkammergut

back to general info