The historic spa town of St Wolfgang is quite simply one of the prettiest villages in the Salzkammergut (Austrian Lake District). It perches on the northern shore of the Wolfgangsee lake and is backed by the alpine foothills of Mount Schafberg – a cog railway goes right to the summit. The village was founded way back in the 10th century when Wolfgang – then the Bishop of Regensburg in Germany – built a church on the lakeside, which became a pilgrimage point after his canonization in 1052. Today the church and its distinctive white bell tower still draw in visitors in the thousands to enjoy the spectacular lakeside setting amid snow-topped alpine peaks. The architecture of the village is largely traditional, with painted chalets adorned with wrought-iron balconies peeping out from steeply pitched wooden roofs; a tangle of lanes creep uphill from the lakeside and are a joy to explore for their many restaurants and classy souvenir stores.
In the winter St Wolfgang morphs into a popular ski resort, with 18 pistes and a modern network of lifts, while in summer it is popular for water sports on the lake and as a jump-off point for walking, cycling and climbing in the Austrian Alps as well as boat trips across the lake to St Gilgen and Strobl.
St Wolfgang is just under an hour by road from Salzburg and the town’s tourist office is in the market square at the center of the village.