The Salzkammergut (Lake District) area in the heart of Austria boasts a lush, mountainous region filled with fragrant alpine forests, tumbling valleys and no less than 76 tranquil lakes. Reaching from the oh-so desirable Baroque city of Salzburg - the perfect base for a quick day trip - out east through tranquil alpine wilderness, Salzkammergut is without a doubt an abode of purest Austrian nature. And accompanying its stunning views? Official ‘Points of Happiness’.
Official ‘points of happiness’ have been named at particular spots along Salzkammergut’s hiking routes where the Austrian countryside surrounds you with such perfect serenity and vividness of colour, whether at a lakeside lookout or alpine haven, that you become enclosed in your own little paradise, your own ‘point of happiness’.
From the sight of peaceful Lake Almsee reflecting to a perfect likeness the still grandeur of its neighbouring mountain range, Totes Gebirge, to moments along the popular Ausseerland hiking route that takes in six of Salzkammergut’s beautiful lakes to, if you are steadier on two wheels than two pins, the Lake Traunsee bike path that takes you to discover waterfalls, the Gassel dripstone cave and the Rindbach gorge, here, nature is full of magnificence.
Breathe in the clear mountain air and the subtly perfumed scents of the forest while you remind yourself just how great a nature-filled Austrian alpine holiday really can be.
Another must-see spot in Austria’s Salzkammergut has to be the pretty historic village of Halstatt, added to the UNESCO "World Cultural and Natural Heritage" list in December 1997 for its gorgeous Austrian aesthetic, as well as its status as home to the oldest salt mine in the world. Salt was once the natural ‘white gold’ of Salzkammergut, and its mines offer a look back in to the world of the settlers of Halstatt’s Iron Age, and Austria’s ancient past.
For another colourful spot brimming with cheerful brightness is the famous St. Wolfgang lake, one of the most famous lakes in the Salzkammergut region, just an hour outside Salzburg. The perfect spot from which to hop straight into the surrounding nature and explore (by bike or by hike), this is the beautiful area of Salzkammergut.
Should Salzburg tickle your fancy, however, then Arthotel Blaue Gans is an under-the-radar boho art hub rippling with cultural cool - the perfect base pre or post escape into the verdant Austrian wilderness.
For more wild hotspots in Austria take a hike with the cows in Bregenzerwald and rest your feet with some creamy local butter and a mug of beer, find international foodie legends lakeside like HECHT! in Goldegg and Taubenkobel in Burgenland or just smother yourself in the scents of true Austrian nature with some Susanne Kaufmann botanical delights. .