The gorgeous Baroque metropolis of Salzburg is eternally related to the epic movie Sound of Music, however its historical past goes again lengthy earlier than the Von Trapp household.
It’s the centre of the “Salzkammergut”, actually the land of salt, for the reason that glistening white stuff has been mined right here since 800BC. Within the 19th century the therapeutic properties of the saline waters led to the event of excessive finish spa resorts, however as of late the foremost attracts are the beautiful lakes and mountains.
I’m all set to discover the area on a standard cycle however trying on the map and inspecting the contours I resolve that it’s far simpler to rent an e-bike. Now I’ve solely used these for the odd day’s outing so am barely sceptical about how they’d work over every week however my fears show unfounded. The most recent batteries simply handle over 100kms on one cost and I by no means run out of juice. After all I carry the charger, simply in case.
Day 1: Salzburg – Seeham 50km
It’s a brilliant sunny day as I depart Salzburg following the River Salzach to the city of Oberndorf the place the Christmas carol, Silent Night time was composed in 1818. There’s a small chapel right here, constructed on the sight of the unique church and likewise a museum the place you may take heed to the carol in many various translations.
I depart the river and proceed via gently rolling hills, glad to have the help of electrical energy. Round lunchtime I spot my first lake, the small Grabensee, earlier than plunging downhill to the a lot bigger Obertrummersee. I’ve a fast dip right here earlier than settling for the evening at Seeham, about half means alongside.
Day 2: Seeham – Mondsee 50km
I barely backtrack to succeed in my third lake, the Mattsee, and cease to look at the massive gothic abbey church within the city of the identical title. I observe the lake for a mile or so then climb steeply via the forest earlier than rising into open nation the place farmers are slicing the hay.
I go via a succession of tiny villages and shortly on my left is the Irrsee, an extended skinny lake which I observe for its size.
One other quick climb and I drop right down to the city on Mondsee on the head of the lake of the identical title. It is a sizeable city, with the dual towered church of St Michael dominating the market sq.. It was additionally the situation for the marriage scene within the Sound of Music.
Day three: Mondsee – Traunkirchen 80 km
An early begin at present as a giant distance to cowl. The primary 16km follows the banks of the Mondsee then reaches the adjoining Attersee. At 20km lengthy, that is the most important of the Salzkammergut lakes and I cycle all of it, rewarded with good mountain views with the clouds touching the tops. I flip off at Kammer and climb progressively into the forest.
Villages right here are sometimes not way more than a single farm and the close by motorway has taken away all of the visitors. Lastly I arrive on the Traunsee, my third lake of the day, and cycle south to the engaging village of Traunkirchen. It’s perched on a promontory and throughout the lake is the Traunstein, the best mountain within the space at 1,691m.
Day four: Traunkirchen – Unhealthy Goisern 67 km
A little bit of dishonest this morning as I solely cycle for 20 minutes earlier than boarding a prepare from Ebensee. Apparently the highway forward is filled with visitors and pretty disagreeable, so my bike and I trip the rails for an hour to Unhealthy Aussee. It is a spa city and the leaping off level for 5 lakes.
My first is the Grundlsee, dominated by magnificent snow-capped peaks and the most important in Styria. At Gossl-Wienern, on the finish of the lake, I take steep forest path then descend to the Toplitzee, a smaller patch of water.
I then retrace my steps and cross to the Altausseer See, one other small lake stuffed with fish. It’s then again to Unhealthy Aussee and a steep climb as much as 560m earlier than descending to Obertraun on the Hallstättersee.
Surrounded by towering mountains that is essentially the most spectacular of all of the Salzkammergut’s lakes with crowds of vacationers to show it. They collect within the UNESCO World Heritage, salt mine village of Hallstaat, half means up the lake, and though it’s undeniably fairly I can’t wait to get again to the peace and quiet.
After I attain the highest of the lake I’m quickly out there city of Unhealthy Goisern. There are fewer vacationers right here, however sadly an Austrian people band begins enjoying slightly below my resort window.
Day 5: Unhealthy Goisern – Wolfgangsee 35 km
It’s overcast as I observe the Traun River to reach at Unhealthy Ischl the place Kaiser Franz Joseph was born and spent all his summers till 1914. Throughout his reign it turned the Hapsburg summer time capital with grand buildings to match and naturally an enormous palace. It’s nonetheless Austria’s most well-known spa city and, on a Sunday morning, persons are promenading of their finery.
I set off again into the nation earlier than arriving at Strobl on the foot of my penultimate lake, the fifteen kilometre lengthy Wolfgangsee. I’m staying about half means up, and throughout the water is the city of St Wolfgang, nestling on the shores on the foot of the mountains. I can’t resist biking to have a look but it surely’s stuffed with vacationers and my try and go additional is blocked by an indication prohibiting cyclists. I content material myself by taking a dip within the icy water close to my resort.
Day 6: Wolfgangsee Salzburg 50 km
Some strolling at present to keep away from a congested highway. I depart my bike at St. Gilgen on the prime of the lake and hike steeply uphill via forest and wildflowers for round an hour. They’ve transported my bike to prime after which it’s an excellent downhill via fairly farmland with snow-capped mountains within the distance.
I go the Hintersee, my last small lake, earlier than steeply climbing cross county then descending for the ultimate stretch to Salzburg. I do know I’m shut once I see the fort looming out of the haze and very quickly I’m again on the Salzach River the place I began.
This cycle tour is a superb approach to get to know the area and has the additional benefit of two nights in Salzburg which provides you ample time to discover. I’m glad I selected the e-bike choice as, though there aren’t any main hills and I may handle it on a traditional bike, within the warmth of summer time the electrical help actually makes a distinction. After all you continue to should pedal and a few experiences say you utilize as a lot power as on a traditional bike. I’m undecided about that but it surely actually makes biking extra gratifying.
PACKAGE: Freedom Treks provide a seven evening Salzburg & 10 Lakes Lodge & Bike tour prices from £663 pp (two sharing), together with breakfast, lodging in three* lodges, inns and guesthouses, baggage transportation, maps and route data, welcome assembly, prepare journey (Traunsee to Hallstättersee), bike transport (when mountaineering) and a ship journey on Lake Attersee (between 1 July and 31 August). Bike rent prices from £70 per grownup and e-bike rent prices from £165 per grownup. Flights and transfers further.
FLY: British Airways flies direct to Salzburg from London Gatwick.