Remember the exquisite opening scenes of The Sound of Music? Castles reflected in water, mountains veiled by a scattering of downy clouds, flower-strewn valleys dotted with cool blue lakes: a view of Austria as dreamed up by a team of Hollywood's special-effects geniuses—so many thought. But, no, except for the bicycle ride along the Mondsee, those scenes were filmed right here, in Austria's fabled Salzkammergut region.The Lake District of Upper Austria, centered on the region called the Salzkammergut (literally, "salt estates"), presents the traveler with stunning sights: soaring mountains and needlelike peaks; a glittering necklace of turquoise lakes; forested valleys populated by the Rehe (roe deer) immortalized by Felix Salten in Bambi—this is Austria at… Read More
A favorite passion for Austrians is das Wandern, or hiking. The Lake District has many miles of marked trails, with lovely stretches around Bad Ischl—which alone has more than 100 km (62 miles) of trails—and the mountains in the Hallstatt area. Cycling, popular among locals and visitors, offers an athletic way to see miles of landscape at a human pace. Within this pastoral perfection you can stay in age-old Schloss-hotels or modern villas, dine in fine restaurants, and shop for the linens, ceramics, woodcarvings, and painted glass of the region.