You can’t really explain rationally what it is about Bad Gastein town. Why it is so special here, so different. It could be the thermal water springs which are said to have healing powers. It could be the Belle Époque buildings that look simply absurdly beautiful built into a mountain. It could be the Berliners who have moved here in recent years and given the place a new coat of paint. Or Sportgastein, a national park that might as well be somewhere in Canada or Tibet.
Either way – go there and find out for yourself, because it’s probably something different for everyone that makes Bad Gastein so magical. We have 11 unforgettable tips for you!
About Bad Gastein town
Bad Gastein town spa in Gastein Valley, in the Austrian province of Salzburg – part of the High Tauern range of the Central Eastern Alps. Its approximately 4,000 inhabitants is located in the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park at the foot of the Graukogel at an altitude of 1,000 metres.
The townscape of Bad Gastein is dominated by the Gastein Waterfall, which falls around 200 metres in three stages. The centre of the town was formed on the steep slope around the waterfall, which is why there are many multi-storey houses and steep, narrow streets here.
The history of the village was shaped by gold mining, which helped the valley to prosperity, and by the Gastein thermal water, whose effects were already known to the Romans over 2,000 years ago.
The rich and beautiful felt at home in this once fashionable spa, especially at the turn of the century. Among the guests were Emperor Franz Josef I with Empress Elisabeth and Bismarck. The many beautiful buildings of the “Belle Époque”, which characterise the townscape of Bad Gastein, were also built at that time.
Even today, the radon-containing Gastein thermal water, which bubbles up from 17 springs, together with the pure mountain air and the high-altitude climate in Bad Gastein create perfect conditions for a spa and wellness stay. You can enjoy the spa climate in the famous Gastein Heilstollen in the district of Böckstein and in the Felsentherme.
In Bad Gastein, wellness and active holidays can be perfectly combined. There are numerous sports and leisure activities, many kilometres of hiking and running trails and cycling tours.
In the evening you can test your luck in the Casino Bad Gastein and every year in summer the art festival sommer.frische.kunst attracts numerous internationally renowned contemporary artists and art lovers. The churches of the village are also worth seeing: Preims Church, Church of Maria zum guten Rat and St. Nicholas Church with its impressive fresco.
Tips for a magical holiday in Bad Gastein
Walk along the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Promenade to the waterfall
Map: Kaiser Wilhelm Promenade, 5640 Bad Gastein
The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Promenade is the main artery of Bad Gastein, so to speak. If you walk along it, you will not only get to the heart of the town, but you can also take in a few important hot spots. The best place to start is at the Grüner Baum in the Kötschachtal and walk along the KWP into the town centre: first you pass Haus Hirt (there’s a great light lunch buffet here), then the Kaiserhof and Villa Excelsior (stately old villas) and afterwards you should definitely stop off at Café Schuh and eat the curd cheese strudel with warm vanilla sauce.
At the end of the walk you have a great view over the Belle Époque buildings like the Grand Hotel de l’Europe and of course the waterfall, which is really stunning in the middle of the city centre.
Drink rosé and swim in the natural pool at the Bellevue Alm
- Map: Bellevue-Alm-Weg 6, 5640 Bad Gastein
- Open: 10.30 am -4:30 pm and 6 pm – 10pm Wednesday to Sunday
In winter a great stop after skiing, in summer perfect for a glass of rosé and a dip in the natural pool: the Bellevue Alm, also called the “mother of all huts”, has been standing for about 600 years. In the cold season you can get up there with a retro chairlift, in summer you have to hike up the toboggan run or drive by car. Here you not only have a great view of the Gastein Valley from the terrace, but you can also stay overnight.
Warm up in the thermal water of the Felsentherme
- Map: Bahnhofsplatz 5, 5640 Bad Gastein
- Summer: 9 am – 9 pm, winter: 9 am – 10 pm
- Day ticket 28.50 euros
Thanks to the thermal water that springs fresh from 18 springs here, Bad Gastein became a popular spa resort as early as the Middle Ages: princes and all the nobility made the long and then arduous journey to the healing thermal springs. Thermal water for everyone is available in the Felsentherme, which was blasted into the mountain by star architect Gerhard Garstenauer in 1968. Here you can splash around indoors, partly surrounded by natural rock walls, as well as outdoors in the outdoor pool and enjoy the view of the mountains. The thermal water is originally 46 degrees; depending on the bathing area, it is cooled to between 24 and 34 degrees.
Celebrate love in an all-round relaxed way at the Hotel Miramonte in Bad Gastein
- Map: Reitlpromenade 3, 5640 Bad Gastein
- Double room from 125 euros per night
The Beatles song “All you need is love” adorns the façade of the Hotel Miramonte in large letters. So if you travel here to celebrate love, you can do so very well here. By the way, you can also party in the “James Bond Lounge Bar”, with (live) music on the terrace, at the regular “Social Dinner” or the cinema evenings on the terrace. Thanks to the late riser breakfast, you can also sleep in peace the next day. In addition to numerous activities in nature, you also have direct access to the thermal springs of Bad Gastein from here.
In the small spa area with sauna and steam bath, you can treat yourself to an Ayurveda or massage treatment and relax completely. Those who have now become hungry need not worry either, thanks to the full board including breakfast, snack and dinner, but can let themselves be convinced by the cuisine of the design and art hotel.
Refresh yourself in the crystal-clear Reedsee lake
- Map: 5640 Bad Gastein
- Hike: 12 km, five hours
Here you will find absolute Canadian feeling in Austria: the hike to Reedsee is not the easiest, but the ascent is all the more worthwhile. After two and a half hours of hiking, you’ll suddenly find yourself in front of this fantastic mountain lake at an altitude of 1831 metres. You can find the exact hiking route here. If you don’t fancy quite so much ascent, then you can simply keep walking into the Kötschachtal valley – along a flat hiking trail to the Himmelwandhütte or to the end of the valley to the rustic and beautiful Alpenhaus Prossau. In winter and summer, horse-drawn carriage rides or sleigh rides are offered back to the valley.
Enjoy the view from the pretty Waldhaus Rudolfshöhe
- Map: Hardtweg 1, 5640 Bad Gastein
- Double room from 170 euros
The Waldhaus Rudolfshöhe has been standing in the Gastein mountains for over 600 years – and was taken over by the two Berliners Jan and Stefan in 2016. You can stop here from 12 noon for lovingly prepared snacks, spend the night in one of the renovated farmhouse rooms or simply order a drink on the great terrace in the evening. It’s just a ten-minute walk from the village. The prices are quite high here, but the view down into the village, into the pretty garden or into the interior is worth a visit. And in the panorama hut you can have a very cosy dinner even in bad weather.
Order coffee and Swedish cakes at The Blonde Beans
Big city feeling in little Bad Gastein: If you’re looking for a hip café, Anna-Malin and her New Zealand husband Mark are the right people to go to. The Blonde Beans has been serving delicious coffee, changing lunch dishes and great cakes and pastries since 2015. You’ll find cinnamon buns, Swedish chocolate cake and gluten-free sweets at the counter. Be sure to try the sourdough bread and bagels – all homemade!
The Blonde Beans
Bahnhofsplatz 4-8, 5640 Bad Gastein, Austria
Monday – Sunday: 9-17 h
Daily specials from 5 euros
Dinner at Lutter & Wegner in Villa Solitude
- Map: Kaiser Franz Josef-Straße 16, 5640 Bad Gastein
- Open: Tuesday: 5 pm – 10 pm, Wednesday – Sunday: 12 pm – 10 pm
- Main courses from 15 euros
Small fine boutique hotel with only 9 rooms and suites was once the villa of the imperial. Highnesses Sissy & Franz and this flair can still be felt today. So if you want to walk on imperial traces, you are in the right place.
Dinner at Lutter & Wegner is worth it for the view alone. The restaurant with a view of the waterfall and the town centre is probably not the cheapest in Bad Gastein, but worth every euro. For example, depending on the season, you can get pressed dumplings with a chanterelle and herb sauce (15.90 euros) or game stew with polenta (16.90 euros). We recommend one, two or three glasses of wine on the great terrace!
Family accommodation with Nina and Fred
Bad Gastein has super nice hotels and huts: Miramonte, Haus Hirt, Regina, Rudolfhöhe, Alpenlofts! All very nicely furnished, but unfortunately not cheap either. For those on a smaller budget, we recommend the Bed & Breakfast Nina and Fred. It’s the only villa with its own thermal connection! But that’s not all: there is a wellness area, a fireplace room, shared kitchen and dining room and only three cosy rooms. It’s a very familiar place to sleep, and you’re guaranteed to feel right at home.
Eating Kaiserschmarrn on the Poserhöhe
- Map: Gamskarkogel 16, 5640 Bad Gastein, Austria
- Open April – November
A short hike with a big reward: you can hike up to the Poserhöhe in just one and a half hours, after which you’ll be rewarded with a hearty Kaiserschmarrn (pancake) with a great view! How do you get there? There are several paths, the most popular of which leads from the Hotel Grüner Baum on a fairly steep path to the Poserhöhe at 1500 metres. The hut is open from spring until late autumn!
Take a sporty trip to Sportgastein Ski resort
Sportgastein is an incredibly magical place. If you’re travelling without a car, it’s easy to get up to 1600 metres in altitude by bus. In summer you can go for wonderful walks and hikes. In winter, the chairlift takes you up to 2650 metres, where you can ski and freeride wonderfully on a few slopes. If you like, you can hike into the mountains here for hours, probably even days – it’s not for nothing that the national park is also called Tiny Tibet.
The Valeriehaus or the Nassfeldalm are good places to stop for a bite to eat; here you can get homemade herbal lemonade and fresh buttermilk with blueberries. On the Kreuzkogel there is also a geometric panoramic sphere by architect Gerhard Garstenauer, where you can have breakfast every Wednesday in winter.
Bad Gastein offers holidays for all the senses, all year round.
With peaks that exceed the three-thousand-metre mark and reach all the way to the glacier zone of the Hohe Tauern in Sportgastein, Bad Gastein is not only the Monte Carlo of the Alps, but also a paradise for sports enthusiasts. But the charming Belle Époque town also has a lot to offer besides the many sporting opportunities.
Surrounded by the magnificent mountain landscape of the Gastein Valley, you can not only enjoy cycling, hiking, skiing or cross-country skiing, but also relax and simply enjoy the beauty all around you. Bad Gastein has many faces, from the deep valley to the high peaks. And one is more beautiful than the other. See for yourself and book your individual time-out in Bad Gastein.
The revitalisation of the historical legacy is intended to further express the uniqueness of the place – renaissance of a legend.