The more I explore places around Salzburg the more I appreciate when places are still off the beaten path. As much as I love being among fellow travelers and as much as I am dedicated to tourism, as much I begin to enjoy being with myself and finding peace while exploring my home country on these day trips.

Bench in the forest on the hike to St Gilgen

One of my free walking tour guests recommended the walk from Fuschl to St Gilgen to me. I never heard about it before and I guess most people haven’t because on a beautiful, sunny autumn day I didn’t meet a single soul during the entire hike. This article will guide you every step along the way on your walk from Fuschl to St Gilgen.

How long does it take to walk from Fuschl to St Gilgen?

It took me over three hours but that’s because I am slow and take a ton of pictures. If you just walk it will take you two hours or less. The distance is 7 kilometers and most of the way is flat.

Is the hike from Fuschl to St Gilgen difficult?

Most of the way from Fuschl to St Gilgen is easy. Only the 300 meters descend from Mozartblick to St Gilgen are tricky. You need good shoes, shouldn’t be afraid of heights and need to be careful. That part doesn’t take over 5 minutes but it is necessary to be prepared.

How to get from Salzburg to Fuschl am See by public transport?

Coming from Salzburg, Fuschlsee is the first place in the Salzkammergut, the lake district of Salzburg. It will only take you 40 Minutes and €5,90 to get there from Salzburg. 

You take bus 150 from outside the train station. You get the ticket from the bus driver. Ask for a single ticket to Fuschl because you will take the bus back from St Gilgen.

You could also take bus 150 from Mirabell square but that’s not recommended. Like I would tell you in every lake district article, the bus often fills up at the station. If you get on at Mirabell square you might have to stand all the way.

The reason the bus fills up is because on the other side of the lake district there is Hallstatt, one of the most popular destinations in Austria. Everyone going to Hallstatt will be on the same bus as you.

You get off the bus at the “Fuschl am See Brunnerwirt” stop. That’s one stop before the center of Fuschl. Brunnerwirt is the closest stop to your hiking trail and at the Brunnerwirt bus stop there is the Red Bull headquarter which you should definitly have a look at.

What to do in Fuschl am See?

If you would like to look at Fuschl, you can also get off at the next stop, “Fuschl Ortsmitte” and later come back but there is not much to see in Fuschl itself. In case you want to go for a swim, lake Fuschl is an excellent place to do so. You could take your time to head down to the lake. In any direction along the lake you will find swimming spots.

If you change your mind and stay in Fuschl to enjoy the lake, read this article on walking around lake Fuschl and on what to do in Fuschl am see.

Take a look at the Red Bull headquarters!

If you get off at “Brunnerwirt” the bus stops right in front of the Red Bull headquarters. Yes, the founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, is from Salzburg. The headquarter comprises some stunning architecture. The two buildings surrounded by an artificial lake are representing a volcano and in front of the buildings there is the biggest bronze sculpture in Europe. A bronze cast bull herd.

Finding the trail to walk from Fuschl to St Gilgen

Reaching the trail is straight forward but it can be confusing. Confusing because the first sign you find only to “Zu den Elmauwegen”, to the Elmau paths but the Elmau paths will take you to Sankt Gilgen. When you get off the bus you stay on the same side where you got off. The same side as the red bull headquarter. Just follow the street, in the same direction the bus went, for 500 meters and the sign and the path will be on your right.

On your way from Fuschl to St Gilgen

You will walk on forest paths, asphalt roads with no traffic and past cows and farm houses. It will surprise you that only 22 km from the buzzing city of Salzburg there is countryside like that.

Right at the beginning you will pass the village of Steinbach and before you walk on a forest path along the “Elmaubach” stream, the sign still saying “Elmauwege” and not St Gilgen. Later on the signs will say Mozartblick meaning “Mozart view”. That’s where you want to go to. The Mozart view, Mozartblick is where you will first see St Gilgen before decending.

When you leave the forest path and get back to the asphalt roads you will pass the village of Elmau and then return to a forest path and to your first and only ascend. The sign you follow is now the “Mozartblick” to the left. An increase of 200 meters up to an altitude of 800 meter at “Mozartblick” where you get the first stunning view and a glance at the lake district. When I got there the height surprised me.

It continues flat for a bit before you descend to Sankt Gilgen. That’s the only part of the way where it gets tricky. Not difficult but you need good shoes and need to walk carefully. After a few minutes the way will be flat again.

Before you leave the forest you will find a fountain. These fountains in rural Austrian areas are almost always drinking water. You can refill your water bottle before leaving the forest and entering town.

When you reach St Gilgen you first get to the main street. The first thing you will see is the tourist information. Now don’t cross the street. You stay on the same side of the street and walk around the tourist information and to the left. You will reach an underpass which is quicker and way nicer than following the main street.

Well, first, before entering the town, if you are hungry, there would be a Spar supermarket. That’s the cheapest way to satisfy your hunger. When you reach the main street, the supermarket will be on you left after the tourist information and next to the roundabout. Once you are in St Gilgen itself there will not be any cheap food available anymore.

What to do and see in Sankt Gilgen

Before I tell you how you could go on exploring the lake district, let me tell you what’s there to do and see in St Gilgen. St Gilgen is small and you should take a walk through its historic center. 

I list the sights in the order you encounter them when coming down the hiking trail from Fuschl:

  • There is a Mozart square and a Mozart statue on the main square in front of the town hall. You will see it right when you enter the old part of St Gilgen.
  • If you like sweets and you want to reward yourself, there are fine pastry shops in Sankt Gilgen. Right of the Mozart statue there is Dallmann, the most popular pastry shop in Sankt Gilgen. They are infamous for their rudeness but if you can live with that and want to treat yourself after the hike that’s the place to go. The pastry is delicious.
  • Next, on your way down to the lake you will encounter the church and the cemetery. They are worth the visit. The cemetery surrounded by walls and mountains.
  • Notice the international private school further down the road on the left. It’s the most expensive school in Austria where tuition is free.
  • The Mozart House in St Gilgen – Mozart’s mother was from Sankt Gilgen and Mozart’s sister later moved to Sankt Gilgen. The house is a museum and the statue in front dedicated to Mozart’s mother.
  • After that you will already reach the lake. Sit down and enjoy the lake view! Contemplate on what to do next!

How to go from St Gilgen to Salzburg

How to return from St Gilgen to Salzburg

If you would like to go back to Salzburg instead of further into the lake district you finish your walk through the historic part of St Gilgen. You finish your circle at the small park opposite of the boat terminal. Walk through the park and straight up between the houses to reach the main street. There you turn to the left and just after the bottom station of the cable car you will find a stop for bus 150. Again get the ticket from the bus driver and you are on your way back.

The Sankt Gilgen Cable Car

The Zwölferhorn is a 1500 meters high mountain in St Gilgen. If you don’t want to take the boat to St Wolfgang and the Schafbergbahn I mention in the next section, the cable car in St Gilgen is the thing to do. Only skip it, if you don’t want to spend any money at all. Here you can get more Information about the Cable car up the Zwölferhorn and why take it. When coming down from the cable car you find the 150 bus stop to go back to Salzburg just next to the cable car.

Ferry from St Gilgen to St Wolfgang

If you arrive early and money is no matter, the boat to St Wolfgang and the Steam train up to Schafberg mountain would be the most amazing option to continue your exploration of the lake district. Read this to get detailed information on the ferry from St Gilgen to St Wolfgang and on the Schafbergbahn, the steam train up the mountain.