The Village of St Gilgen
On our way from Munich to Hallstatt, we stopped by the lakeside town of St Gilgen Austria. From what we had read and seen in pictures, St. Gilgen seemed like the type of place where we would want to spend more than just a few hours. So, we booked an over night stay. It’s such a charming little town nestled in the heart of the Salzkammergut region in Austria. Saint Gilgen is quaint, with less than 4,000 residents calling it home. Though, the tourists typically outnumber the residents in the popular summer months.
The town of is complete with cute Austrian restaurants, shops, and guesthouses. The surrounding landscape is quintessential Austria – alpine mountains and a stunning turquoise lake – Lake Wolfgang | German: Wolfgangsee. We highly recommend a visit to Sankt Gilgen (German spelling) if you ever find yourself in or around Salzburg in Austria. Fun Fact: Mozart’s mother was born in the village of St. Gilgen Austria.
Getting to St. Gilgen
We had a rental car during our visit to Germany and Austria, so we were able to come and go as we please. (Please note that if you are driving on the motorways in Austria, you will be required to purchase a (vignette) Highway Toll Sticker for your windshield.) However, if you’re relying on public transportation, you can easily catch the Bus 150 from Salzburg to St Gilgen. The journey takes about 45 minutes and will cost you less than 10 Euros. Or you can join in on one of the tours shown at the end of this paragraph. (Click on any tour to follow the link to even more tour options.) If you’re not on a tour, renting a car allows you to visit some of the other charming lakeside villages in the Salzkammergut region. These include Fuschl (just 6 minutes away), Mondsee (16 minutes away), and the fairytale village of Hallstatt (42 minutes away).
Things to Do in Saint Gilgen & Nearby
Because the village is so quaint, options for things to do in St Gilgen are somewhat limited. Walk around the village, peruse the shops, or hop on a bike to explore. Take a boat tour and cruise Lake Wolfgang for breathtaking scenic views. Want really epic views? Take a ride on the famous Zwölferhorn cable cars and/or the nearby Schafberg Railway.
St Gilgen Cable Car
The St Gilgen cable cars brings visitors to the summit of Zwölferhorn Mountain. Following a 16-minute ride to the top, you’ll be able to enjoy one of the most beautiful vantage points in the Salzkammergut region. Catch a ride on one of the original cable cars and glide upwards between Lake Wolfgangsee and Lake Fuschlsee. The views from the top are unrivaled! Several family-friendly walks await you at the summit. Pillstein panoramic walking trail, for example, takes about an hour to complete. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, go paragliding over St. Gilgen from Zwölferhorn Mountain. It’s no wonder the cable cars are one of the most popular things to do in St. Gilgen.
The Schafberg Railway (SchafbergBahn in German) is the steepest cog railway in Austria. It’s located just a short drive from St. Gilgen Austria in the neighboring town of St Wolfgang. Once it leaves the station and starts to climb the mountain, the line passes through the municipal territory of St Gilgen. The 35-minute ride takes you to the top of Schafberg Mountain which offers outstanding views of the surrounding area.
Grocery Shopping in St Gilgen Austria
The Salzkammergut region of Austria is the perfect place to pack a picnic and head out for the day. Whether you sit by a lake or go on a hike, you’ll want to stock up some local goodies. Stop by the local Billa grocery store in St Gilgen to fill up your cart, and later your belly!
St Gilgen Hotel
Hotel Schernthaner, situated in the center of the historic village, was our resting place for the night. Its rooms provide great views of the surrounding town, mountains, and lake. The interior of the guesthouse is inviting and traditionally decorated in Salzburger-style.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay. However, we found the bath towels to be much too small and the shower ridiculously tiny. Having no air-conditioning or fan also made for a slightly uncomfortable stay in the middle of summer. However, the views from our balcony and the hospitality of the host and her staff were outstanding! Hotel Schernthaner’s location makes it ideal for exploring the small town of St. Gilgen. The Zwolferhorn St Gilgen Cable Car is within walking distance. Bikes are available to use free of charge at Hotel Schernthaner, which we took advantage of and rode to the water’s edge of Lake Wolgangsee.
The breakfast at Hotel Schernthaner is outstanding. It’s made fresh every day and there is so much to choose from! So, all in all, we would definitely recommend this St Gilgen hotel.
Other St Gilgen Hotels and Accommodations
Other highly rated St Gilgen Hotels include:
Hotel Kendler (Centrally Located)
Hotel Pension Falkensteiner (Budget Friendly)
Gasthof zur Post (Luxury)
St Gilgen Restaurants
Because we were in town for just one evening, we only had the opportunity to try one of the restaurants in St Gilgen. Though we sure did pick a good one! Wirt am Gries is not only a guesthouse, but Elisabeth and Martin Tritscher also run an outstanding restaurant. The open-air grounds create a beautiful and romantic setting for a wonderful evening.
The wine is divine and the food is delicious! Their tempting offering of entrees utilize locally sourced ingredients and herbs straight from their garden.
Following our meal at Wirt am Gries, we took off on an evening stroll through the village. The sky turned a peculiar pink. All of the townspeople came out of their shops and homes exclaiming it was unlike anything they had ever seen. Before we knew it, the sky was completely pink. It was absolutely magnificent!
Although our time in Sankt Gilgen was brief, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this delightful Austrian town. What was just supposed to be an overnight stay turned out to be a pleasant surprise on our way to Hallstatt (pictured below).