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Best places to visit in Europe

Traunsee in the Salzkammergut, discover the Austrian Gem

The Salzkammergut region in Austria is a treasure trove of natural beauty, and Traunsee, its deepest lake, is the crown jewel. With its crystal-clear waters, majestic mountains, and charming towns, Traunsee is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. This blog post will guide you on how to get there, where to stay, nearby towns to visit, and the best excursions around the area.

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Traunsee in the Salzkammergut Austria

Getting to Traunsee: Location and Travel Tips

Location

Traunsee is situated in the Upper Austrian part of the Salzkammergut, approximately 80 kilometers east of Salzburg and 80 kilometers west of Linz. This idyllic lake is nestled between the towns of Gmunden to the north and Ebensee to the south, making it easily accessible from various major cities in Austria.

How to Get There

By Car: Driving to Traunsee is one of the most convenient ways to reach this beautiful destination. From Salzburg, take the A1 motorway towards Vienna and exit at Regau. From there, follow the signs to Gmunden and then continue south to reach Traunsee. The journey takes about an hour and a half. From Vienna, the drive is approximately two and a half hours, taking the A1 westbound.

By Train: Austria’s efficient railway system makes train travel a comfortable and scenic option. From Vienna, take a train to Attnang-Puchheim, where you can transfer to a regional train bound for Gmunden. The entire journey takes about two and a half hours. From Salzburg, direct trains to Attnang-Puchheim are available, and the trip takes about an hour, followed by a short regional train ride to Gmunden.

By Plane: The nearest international airports are in Salzburg and Linz. From either airport, you can rent a car or take a train to Traunsee. The train journey from Salzburg Airport involves a short bus ride to Salzburg’s main station, followed by a train to Attnang-Puchheim and then to Gmunden.

Where to Stay: Accommodation Options in Traunsee

Traunsee offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are some recommendations:

Luxury Hotels

Apartmenthotel ‘s Mitterndorf: Located in Traunkirchen, this luxury hotel offers garden views. Apartmenthotel ‘s Mitterndorf in Traunkirchen features accommodations, a fitness center, and a garden. Each accommodation at the 4-star condo hotel has mountain views, and guests can enjoy access to a sauna and a spa facilities. Free Wifi is available throughout the property, as well as a terrace and a restaurant. The property also offers accommodation for disabled guests.

Das Traunsee – Das Hotel zum See: Located on the shore of Lake Traunsee, with direct lake access, Das Traunsee – Das Hotel zum See is located in the center of Traunkirchen in the Salzkammergut, 6.2 mi from Gmunden.

Mid-Range Hotels

Panorama Hotel Traunstein: This family-friendly hotel in AltmünsterS provides comfortable modern rooms with lake views from private balcony, an on-site restaurant, and various wellness facilities.

Landhotel Grünberg am See: Located in Gmunden, this charming hotel offers cozy rooms, a traditional Austrian restaurant, and easy access to the lake.

Budget-Friendly Options

Aktivhotel Wildschütz: Just 3.3 feet from the Toscana Congress Center and Seeschloss Palace, the Aktivhotel Wildschütz in Salzkammergut was renovated in 2015 and offers quiet rooms with flat-screen TVs and free WiFi and an on-site restaurant.

Pension ‘s Waldeck: Pension ‘s Waldeck is a recently renovated guest house in Traunkirchen where guests can make the most of its garden and barbecue facilities.

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Nearby Towns to Visit

Traunsee is surrounded by picturesque towns that are worth exploring. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss:

Gmunden

Gmunden is a charming town at the northern tip of Traunsee, known for its ceramics industry and beautiful lakeside promenade. Visit the iconic Ort Castle, stroll through the historic town center, and don’t miss the chance to take a boat trip on the lake. The Gmundner Keramik factory is also a fascinating place to visit, offering tours and a shop selling unique ceramic items.

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Bad Ischl

A short drive from Traunsee, Bad Ischl is a historic spa town that was once the summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph I. Visit the Kaiservilla, the emperor’s former summer palace, and enjoy a relaxing day at the Salzkammergut Thermal Spa. The town’s charming streets, lined with cafes and shops, are perfect for a leisurely stroll.

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Hallstatt

Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is about an hour’s drive from Traunsee and is renowned for its breathtaking beauty. This picturesque village, nestled between the Hallstätter See and the Dachstein mountains, is famous for its salt mines and the Hallstatt Skywalk, offering panoramic views of the region. Don’t miss the historic houses and the charming market square.

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Excursions Around Traunsee

The Traunsee area offers numerous outdoor activities and excursions for all ages and interests. Here are some top recommendations:

Hiking and Nature Walks

Traunstein Mountain: For experienced hikers, a climb up Traunstein is a must. This challenging hike offers rewarding views of Traunsee and the surrounding mountains. There are several routes to the summit, each providing a unique perspective of the landscape.

Gmundnerberg: A more moderate hike, Gmundnerberg offers beautiful views of the lake and surrounding towns. The trails are well-marked, making it a great option for families and casual hikers.

Water Activities

Boat Tours: Taking a boat tour on Traunsee is a fantastic way to see the lake from a different perspective. Various companies offer tours, ranging from short sightseeing trips to longer excursions that include stops at different towns around the lake.

Water Sports: Traunsee is perfect for water sports enthusiasts. You can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and sailing boats from various points around the lake. Windsurfing and kiteboarding are also popular activities, thanks to the favorable wind conditions.

Cultural and Historical Sites

Schloss Ort: This historic castle, located on a small island in the lake near Gmunden, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the region. Explore the castle’s museum, enjoy the beautiful gardens, and take in the stunning views of the lake and mountains.

Traunkirchen Monastery: This former monastery, now a parish church, is located on a small peninsula on the western shore of Traunsee. The Baroque interior and the scenic location make it a worthwhile visit.

Relaxation and Wellness

Therme Bad Ischl: After a day of exploring, unwind at the Salzkammergut Thermal Spa in Bad Ischl. The spa offers various pools, saunas, and wellness treatments, providing a perfect way to relax and rejuvenate.

Lakeside Beaches: Traunsee has several lovely beaches where you can relax and swim in the clear waters. The beaches in Gmunden and Altmünster are particularly popular, offering beautiful views and convenient facilities.

Nearby Lakes: Wolfgangsee and Attersee

Wolfgangsee

Located about 40 kilometers from Traunsee, Wolfgangsee is another stunning lake in the Salzkammergut region. This picturesque lake is surrounded by charming towns, lush forests, and towering mountains, making it a popular destination for both relaxation and adventure.

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What to Do at Wolfgangsee

St. Wolfgang: The town of St. Wolfgang is one of the main attractions around Wolfgangsee. It is famous for the beautiful Pilgrimage Church of St. Wolfgang, which houses an impressive altarpiece by Michael Pacher. Wander through the town’s narrow streets, enjoy the local cafes and shops, and take a boat ride across the lake.

Schafberg Mountain: For breathtaking views of the region, take the Schafberg Railway from St. Wolfgang to the top of Schafberg Mountain. The cog railway ride itself is a memorable experience, and the panoramic views from the summit are stunning.

Water Activities: Wolfgangsee is perfect for various water sports, including sailing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding. The crystal-clear waters are ideal for swimming, and there are several well-maintained beaches around the lake.

Attersee

Attersee, the largest lake in the Salzkammergut, is located about 30 kilometers from Traunsee. Known for its clear turquoise waters and beautiful landscapes, Attersee has inspired many artists, including the famous painter Gustav Klimt.

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What to Do at Attersee

Seewalchen am Attersee: This charming town on the northern shore of Attersee is a great starting point for exploring the lake. Visit the local museums, enjoy a meal at one of the lakeside restaurants, and take a leisurely walk along the promenade.

Diving and Snorkeling: Attersee is renowned for its excellent water quality, making it one of the best places for diving and snorkeling in Austria. Several diving schools and rental shops around the lake offer equipment and guided tours.

Hiking and Cycling: The area around Attersee is crisscrossed with numerous hiking and cycling trails. The Attersee Circular Trail is a popular route that takes you around the entire lake, offering stunning views and access to many points of interest along the way.

Klimt Villa: Visit the Klimt Villa in Schörfling, where Gustav Klimt spent his summers and created many of his famous works. The villa now serves as a museum dedicated to the artist’s life and work, providing insight into his creative process and inspiration.

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