North of the Alps, not far from Salzburg, four lakes form the Salzburg Lake District. The lovely lake district is the perfect holiday destination for those who enjoy a quiet holiday in wonderful surroundings.
Just north of Salzburg, bordering Bavaria and Upper Austria, a charming region of lakes among farmland, rolling hills, dotted with idyllic villages forms a little lake district. The four lakes Grabensee, Obertrumer See, Mattsee and Wallersee are located in the middle of the region and are the main attraction in this delightful tourist destination.
We started our tour of the lake district (Salzburger Seenland) by strolling around in the small town of Mattsee located on the southern shore of the lake with the same name. You can easily spend a couple of hours lakeside, taking in some of the nicely preserved historic buildings and visiting the small Bajuvaren homestead and see how the local tribe lived in 450 AD. You get the best views from the rocky hill by Schloss Mattsee. Moreover, at the castle you also find a restaurant with outdoor seating, offering a lovely setting for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Walk up to the castle and then follow the path leading around the small hill. Having had afternoon coffee and cake in the village, we began to feel the late summer heat and headed down to the beach and to take a dip.
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We have visited the lovely lake district during different times of the year and love the subtle differences. Summer, is of course the busiest season where many come to enjoy life in, at, and on the water. The last time we visited was on a lovely sunny day in the middle of September. Most tourists had left for home and the beaches were therefore largely empty. Too bad for them, because the water temperature was still comfortable with 22 °C / 71.6 °F in the Mattsee, accompanied by lovely 25 °C / 77 °F in the sunshine. Furthermore, the bathing park was still open and with free entrance. With no further delays, we got into our bathing suits and jumped into the water.
Market day in Seeham
After a refreshing swim, we drove 15 minutes over to the Obertrumer See, as we had heard there was a market in Seeham. Just outside the village there was plenty of parking (in a field) for all the visitors. It was needed, because numerous people had found their way to Seeham on this lovely September day. The market was dominated by art and crafts, where the artists sold their products themselves. All the way, from the main street and down to the water’s edge, there were sales stalls, activity stalls and eateries. Markets such as this one are popular among the Austrians and are especially well visited on a lovely late summer day.
Perfect for exploring on your own
Well suited for exploration on foot, bicycle, or by car the Salzburger Lake District is easily explored on your own. The lovely landscape that surrounds the lakes alternates between forests, rolling hills, open fields, and small towns and villages. Where there are no bicycle or walking paths, you can use small country roads, the so-called “Güterwege” crisscrossing the region. These small roads with little traffic connect all the farms to each other and the larger roads and offer a tranquil way to explore the lake district. You can also find small B&Bs in the countryside and spend a couple of nights taking in the enchanting landscape. Moreover, it is seldom far between opportunities to get something to eat and drink along the way.
Silent night in Oberndorf
The Salzburger Seenland borders German, where the border itself runs in the middle of the Salzach river. Oberndorf probably attracts most tourists around at Christmas time, as you find the Silent Night (Stille Nacht) chapel here. The most famous Christmas carol in the world, “Silent Night, Holy Night”, was performed for the first time here. Oberndorf itself, a lovely small town with historic buildings is also worth a visit.
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