Lake Wolfgang (Wolfgangsee) is one of the best known lakes of the Austrian lakes and is ideally located near Salzburg. The lake stretches for just over ten kilometres and along its shore, you’ll find the towns of St. Wolfgang, St. Gilgen and Strobl, and the villages of Ried and Abersee.
In this guide, we cover the top things to do at Wolfgangsee which include visiting buildings of significance, enjoying a lake cruise, indulging in a wellness spa experience, taking a cogwheel train ride, hiking and water sports, and much more.
There are so many things to do at Wolfgangsee, we recommend you stay at least a few days to make the most of your visit.
Read on to discover our favourite things to do at Wolfgangsee.
[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]
What's in this Article
Map of Lake Wolfgangsee, Austria
Things to do in St. Wolfgang
St. Wolfgang is the largest of the three main towns on the lake and is a lovely town to wander around.
It is packed with shops selling authentic Austrian goods, attractive squares lined with lively restaurants and cafes serving traditional Austrian food, cobbled streets and charming churches.
Admire the Pilgrimage Church
The lakefront Pilgrimage Church is easily recognisable due to its tall spire. The main attraction of this ornate church is Michael Pachers’ 15th century stone altar featuring elaborate Gothic and Renaissance styles.
The church is free to enter and visit outside of service times but pre-bookable tours are also available for just €3 per person.
Visit Hotel Weisses Rossl
The family owned Wiessen Rossl Hotel was made famous by the movie
‘Im Wiessen Rossl am Wolfgangsee’ which was filmed here in 1952. It remains a popular venue for concerts.
The luxury Weisse Roessl am Wolfgangsee hotel has fantastic facilities for guests (see below) but non guests are welcome to dine at its award winning restaurant or to enjoy a drink and scenic views from the hotel’s lakeside terrace.
Indulge in a wellness spa
Many hotels in St.Wolfgang have spa facilities for guests but there are also a few options for visitors looking to indulge in a bit of wellness.
Wolfgangsee day access options include the gorgeous Wellness Alm which features indoor and outdoor heated pools, relaxation rooms and various themed saunas. There’s also a brine steam bath, an ice grotto and a plunge pool.
The spa is open from 10am – 10pm daily and a 4 hour pass for over 14’s costs from €27. A childrens pass starts from €20 though children do not have the same access to facilities as adults.
Enjoy a lake cruise
One of the best ways to experience Lake Wolfgang Austria and its stunning surroundings is to take a cruise on an historic paddle steamer.
During the summer months, visitors can catch a boat to visit the villages around the lake. The Schifffahrt Wolfgangsee cruise route includes seven landing sites and the journey from St. Wolfgang to Strobl takes around 35 minutes.
There is also a special boat running over the Christmas holiday period. Check the latest timetables and prices here.
Get active in or on the water
If you like watersports, Wolfgangsee Austria is the perfect destination for you.
Wolfgangsee lake swimming is very popular and visitors can also try sailing, stand up paddle boarding, wakeboarding, canoeing or kayaking. If it is windy, you can even try surfing!
Visit Stadler Water Ski School or Raudaschl Activity Camp in St. Wolfgang to try some of these sports or to rent your own equipment.
If you prefer something a bit more sedate, several operators along the lakefront rent pedalos.
Take the cogwheel train to Schafberg
A ride on the historic 19th century cogwheel train to Schafberg (Sheep Mountain) is one of the area’s must do attractions.
It is Austria’s steepest cog railway with a gradient of 26% and uses some of the oldest steam locomotives in the world.
The journey to the top of Schafberg (1,783 metres) stretches over 5.85 kilometres and takes 35 minutes.
At the summit of Schafberg, Wolfgangsee and the numerous other lakes in the area offer a stunning panorama. From here, visitors are rewarded with incredible 360 degree views.
The train runs from mid May to the end of September and a return trip costs around €33 for adults and €17 for children.
In winter, there is a special Advent service running over the Christmas period which terminates at Schafbergalm Station (1,364 metres).
Go shopping at a Christmas market
St. Wolfgang is known for ‘Wolfgangsee Advent’, a Christmas festival of lights when the town and its boats are adorned in twinkling lights.
Visitors flock to the Lake Wolfgang Christmas market which is open every day till early evening from mid November until Christmas.
Christkindlmarkt St Wolfgang consists of over 130 wooden huts running from Postplatz Square to the lake. It sells authentic Austrian crafts, decorations and food.
One of the highlights of the festival is the ‘Light of Peace’, a 19 metre high illuminated lantern floating on the lake.
Things to do in St. Gilgen
Picturesque St Gilgen am Wolfgangsee on the lake’s north west shore is a great location to spend a few hours.
It is an attractive town with Baroque and Rococo buildings with pretty facades. Don’t miss the Town Hall and the onion-domed St.Giles Church.
Visit the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s mother, Anna Maria Pert
The birthplace of Mozart’s mother (which was also the home of his sister) is now a museum detailing the history of its famous inhabitants and the influence of Mozart on the world of music.
Mozarthaus also hosts a regular program of live music.
The museum is open everyday (except Mondays) from June to the end of September.
Ride the cable car to Zwölferhorn mountain
Catch the new cable car to the summit of Zwölferhorn (Twelve Horn), at 1,522 metres. It whisks visitors to the summit in just 11 minutes to marvel at spectacular 360 degree mountain views.
Winter activities at the summit include skiing, hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. In summer visitors can enjoy scenic hikes or paragliding.
Check the latest timetables and prices for the cable car here.
Things to do in Strobl Wolfgangsee
Strobl am Wolfgangsee is a popular resort town on Lake Wolfgang’s south east shore. It is known for its warm water and sandy beaches. In winter, it is visited for its snow-rich skiing slopes.
Visit Postalm, Austria’s biggest alpine pasture
Twelve kilometres above Strobl is Postalm, the largest alpine pasture in Austria and the second largest in Europe.
The area offers stunning scenery but also has a wide range of hiking trails for all ages and abilities.
Trails vary from easy, flat one hour trails to 9 kilometre-long routes. There are alpine huts along the trails offering refreshments for hikers.
Get an adrenaline rush on the Summer rodelbahn
Summer tobogganing on a rodelbahn (or luge track) is a popular and affordable activity in Strobl.
There are two track runs to choose from, with each track measuring around 1,300 metres. Riders can travel solo or in pairs and tickets can be bought for single runs or multiple rides.
The tracks are open everyday from May to October.
Where is Lake Wolfgangsee?
Lake Wolfgangsee is located in the Salzkammergut region, approximately 40 minutes by car from Salzburg.
How to get to Lake Wolfgang
If you are wondering how to get to Lake Wolfgang, you will be pleased to know that the area has excellent transport links.
The nearest airport is Salzburg airport 60 kilometres away from Lake Wolfgang. From the airport, you can catch frequent coach connections to St. Wolfgang.
Alternatively, take the train to Bad Ischl from where you can connect to a local bus for Lake Wolfgang.
You can also drive to Wolfgangsee lake from Salzburg via the north south A1 Motorway in around 35 minutes.
Where to stay at Wolfgangsee
There are Lake Wolfgang hotels to suit all budgets and travel styles. Stay as close to the lake as possible to make the most of the area’s scenic views.
Hotels in St. Wolfgang
St. Wolfgang offers the most accommodation of the three towns around the lake. It makes a good base for exploring the surrounding area.
The outstanding Weisse Roessl (or The White Horse Inn in English) is a 4 star lakefront hotel that has been run by the same family for five generations.
It is 600 metres from the railway station (which the hotel offers shuttles to and from). It is undoubtedly one the best hotels Wolfgangsee has to offer.
The hotel boasts two restaurants serving gourmet Austrian dishes, a gym, a heated lakeside pool and a sun terrace. There is a spa with a hot tub, sauna and steam bath plus the world’s first floating jacuzzi.
Guests can enjoy rejuvenating beauty and wellness treatments as well as an indoor swimming pool.
The individually decorated ensuite rooms feature a double bed, a TV, sofa, kettle and free WiFi. Some rooms have a spacious balcony with lake views, an in room freestanding bath and a separate living area.
The luxurious Hotel Seevilla offers guests a relaxing stay and is just 300 metres from the railway station.
The elegantly decorated ensuite rooms have a TV, sofa, desk and free WiFi. Each room has a spacious balcony with stunning lake views. Deluxe rooms have a spacious living room area whilst suites offer a private sauna.
Seevilla Wolfgangsee Hotel has a garden, a lakeside restaurant serving a highly rated buffet breakfast and offers guests direct access to the lake.
It has a spa with a sauna, steam bath and gym and a heated infinity swimming pool overlooking the lake.
Boasting some of the best views in St Wolfgang, the 4 star Hotel Peter is a traditional family run hotel situated at the start of the pedestrian zone next to the lake. It is 800 metres from the railway station.
The comfortable ensuite double rooms have a balcony or terrace providing fantastic mountain and lake views. Each room has a desk, sofa, an armchair, a safe and minibar. Family rooms are also available.
There is an on site restaurant serving an Austrian menu using locally sourced products and guests have free parking and free WiFi.
This adults only 5 star self contained studio offers free WiFi, a modern living area with a sofa and satellite TV plus a kitchen equipped with a fridge and dishwasher.
The contemporary property has a spacious balcony with seating and incredible lake views.
The outstanding feature at this property is the floor to ceiling glass window at the foot of the double bed. Guests will wake up to an amazing and memorable view.
Camping St. Wolfgang
There are several campsites around Lake Wolfgang which offer cabins or bungalows in addition to tent and motorhome pitches.
Some campsites feature a restaurant, gym and sauna as well as lake access and watersports.
Campingplatz Wolfgangsee is an ideal option if you are travelling on a budget.
Hotels in St. Gilgen, Wolfgangsee
The traditional Hotel Hollweger is a few minutes walk from the town centre and Lake Wolfgang. It is five kilometres from Schafbergalpe rail station.
The ensuite double rooms feature a sofa, TV and a desk. Some rooms have a balcony offering gorgeous lake and mountain views whilst suites offer a large, separate living room.
The hotel has a restaurant, taxi service, spacious spa and a heated indoor pool and regularly hosts a program of evening entertainment.
In summer, its large terrace is a popular dining spot.
The budget friendly Hotel Pension Falkensteiner sits in the centre of St. Gilgen, a short 400 metre walk from Lake Wolfgang and the hotels’ private beach.
The rooms feature an extra large double bed, a TV, kettle, desk and soft seats. One and two bedroom apartments at this hotel boast a living room and a kitchen equipped with a fridge, oven and stove.
The hotel has free WiFi, a restaurant serving breakfast daily, a garden and a terrace. Guests can use free bicycles to explore the local area.
Hotels in Strobl
Hotel Brandauers Villen is situated directly on Lake Wolfgang and is just 10 minutes by car from St Wolfgang.
The hotel is set in a spacious green area adjacent to Lake Wolfgang and offers direct lake access.
The traditional style rooms have a double bed, desk, TV and a sofa and offer either lake or mountain views. The outstanding luxury suite has two separate bedrooms, a living room with a fireplace and floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the lake.
The hotel has a private beach, saunas and an à la carte restaurant with a lakeside outdoor terrace.
Hotel Stroblerhof sits in the centre of Strobl, a short 100 metres from Lake Wolfgang.
The double rooms have a desk, a safe, TV, bathroom and a seating area. Family rooms are available.
The hotel also has one and two bedroom suites with a self contained kitchen equipped with an oven, fridge and a dishwasher. There is also a traditional two storey chalet available.
Hotel Stroblerhof has a restaurant, a bar, its own bathing jetty plus a garden, sauna and steam bath.
Guests can enjoy free WiFi and wellness treatments. There is a seasonal swimming pool and the hotel also offers fly fishing courses during the summer months.
Things to do at Lake Wolfgangsee | Final Thoughts
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do at Lake Wolfgang no matter where your interests lie.
Visitors who prefer to stay active can enjoy hiking and water sports, those needing an adrenaline fix can ride the summer toboggan, and history buffs can hop aboard the nostalgic steam train or visit an historic building.
If you like to relax on your vacation, Wolfgangsee is the perfect destination to enjoy a leisurely lake cruise, pamper yourself with a wellness experience or just sit back and admire the stunning scenery.
Whichever of these (or the many other) things to do at Lake Wolfgangsee that you choose to do, you won’t be disappointed.
And thanks to its close proximity to Salzburg, you can combine a city stay with a lakeside getaway and really enjoy the best of Austria.
Ready to plan your vacation to Austria? You can read all our Austrian travel guides here.