Exploring the Salzkammergut: Wolfgangsee

For our last school trip of the semester, we took a city bus to one of the most famous lakes in Austria’s Salzkammergut district. Originally, we were supposed to follow an old pilgrimage path from St. Gilgen to St. Wolfgang, a trail that takes you around one side of the lake. After eating lunch in St. Wolfgang, we would take a boat back to St. Gilgen and then a bus back home. The day before our trip, however, our program coordinator, Lukas, learned that the trail was closed due to snow. With the original plans derailed, we decided to just take a bus to St. Wolfgang and eat lunch immediately. The meal was a traditional affair with cold cuts, cheeses, and brown bread offered on two giant wooden platters.

A view of four boats on the lake from the beer garden.
A view of the many mountains surrounding the Wolfgangsee.

After lunch, all of us walked to the center of town and took a quick tour of the church. According to legend, in 976 St. Wolfgang, while living as a hermit at the Falkenstein, threw an axe with the vow to build a church where it landed. Three days later, he found the location and built the church seen today. After Wolfgang’s canonization in 1052, the church became a major pilgrimage site. The church is also the home of Michael Pacher’s masterpiece, the Altarpiece for the Pilgrimage Church of Sankt Wolfgang, completed in 1481. Finally, this was where Lukas was baptized as his grandparents lived in this area.


A shot looking up at the church’s bell tower.
The fountain for pilgrims to wash their hands and drink some water.
The symbol of the church, including the axe St. Wolfgang supposedly threw.

After exiting the church, where we couldn’t take any pictures unfortunately, we took a look at the lake again, this time through windows in the church wall.

A silhouette of one of my fellow students looking at the lake.
An example of tourism on the lake.

After leaving the church grounds, most of us headed to get gelato at a place Lukas recommended. We then split up to explore the town, eventually all gathering at the lakeside to soak in some sun before heading back to the more city-like atmosphere of Salzburg.

One of my fellow students, Ethan, taking a look at the lake water.
A view of one of the docks with snowy mountains in the background.
From left to right: J.T., Sarah, and Phoebe (Feebs) relaxing on the docks.
The author taking in the scenery. Photo by Haley Meissen.
Haley and Michael having fun with the author’s camera. Photo by Haley Meissen.

One thought on “Exploring the Salzkammergut: Wolfgangsee

  1. It’s so amazing that the spring snows lasted into late April! Lukas was quite resourceful to manage pulling off a Plan B when the snow interfered with the original tour plans. I love the contrast between the spring-flowering trees and the snowy rooftops in the background. The sun looks warm and inviting, but I can see from the way you all are dressed that it must still have been cold. The lake is beautiful and must be a wonderful vacation spot in the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

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