Austrian Lakes and Salzburg – 5th – 9th May

As three of the party had to drop out at the last minute due to health problems there were only 15 of us on the trip. We all got on really well and had many laughs along the way.

Our Journey from Munich airport to our hotel was very long and we experienced dreadful weather (snow, sleet, rain and poor visibility) all the way so we only got a hint of the wonderful scenery we were passing through).  It was a relief to get to our hotel. 

We all liked the hotel, which was quite high up in the Lake District in a ski area. It seemed miles from anywhere  – we could not even walk into the nearest village, but it did mean we had wonderful views.  The hotel staff  were very helpful and welcoming. 

On our first day we went to Salzburg in the morning and had an excellent guided tour, which took the whole morning – so we had no time to explore ourselves. It was very, very cold.

In the afternoon we visited Hellbrunn Palace and its trick fountains.  It was really interesting and totally unexpected.

The next day fortunately the weather improved, although it was still quite cold.  We went to St Gilgen and after a short while to explore we took a short cruise on Lake Wolfgangsee to St Wolfgang. Most of us had paid to go on the Schafbergbahn, the cog mountain railway, which unfortunately was closed due to snow so after a short time in St. Wolfgang we went on to Bad Ischel to end our day.

Next morning we visited the picturesque town of Hallstadt (one of the most photographed villages in the world we were told.) It was busy enough in early May – we all decided that visiting during the height of the tourist season would be best avoided. 

There was lots to see and do in the village 

  • walking through the narrow streets for a view of the lake and the pretty houses
  • the museum detailing village life from its iron age beginning to present day including its salt mining history.
  • 2 churches one of which had a Charnel House full of painted skulls
  • a funicular railway to the mountain top for a spectacular view from the skywalk platform, the site of iron age graves and a working salt mine (which some of the party visited.)

In the afternoon we visited Kaiser Villa (the summer home of the Hapsbergs) and enjoyed a guided tour.

On our last day we should have visited Berchtesgaden and for some of us Hitler’s Eagles nest. However once again we could not because of the deep snow. Instead we chose to go back to Salzburg, as there was so much to see and do. We spent about 4 hours there and so had time to visit several places for example the Mozart Museum, the Festung Castle fortress, the Dom Quarter museum and art gallery, the Mirabel gardens, a walk through the narrow streets and old shopping area, visit the cathedral and churchyard, sample Mozart balls, pretzels etc. have coffee and cake in a coffee house in existence from 1756 and so much more.

Our journey back to the airport went fairly smoothly except for a police checkpoint searching for refugees / illegal immigrants we were told. Plus the news that there was a French air traffic controllers strike which could have resulted in about a 3 hour delay. Fortunately we eventually left Munich on time, so all was well.