Majestic mountains rise up to the sky on both sides of the elongated valley, hidden, crystal-clear mountain lakes glisten in the sun and the ringing of a cowbell echoes from afar – the Gastein Valley in summer is a dream destination for any Austrian holiday.
Countless hiking and cycling trails await you, regardless of whether you are an experienced summit climber or a leisurely walker. And what could be better than relaxing in one of the valley’s many thermal baths after an action-packed day? The warm water of the 19 thermal springs that spring up at the foot of the Graukogel is not only good for your body, but also for your soul.
About Gastein Valley
The Gastein Valley located in Salzburg, Austria is the longest side valley of the Hohe Tauern. The three main communities of Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein and Dorfgastein are located in the midst of the impressive mountain panorama of the Tauern mountain range with its rugged 3000m peaks. The region is not only popular with active holidaymakers, but also hosts many spa guests because of the Gastein thermal waters.
More than 350 kilometres of marked hiking trails and many theme trails make the heart of every hiking enthusiast beat faster. If you like, you can walk to the power spots of nature or learn more about the Gastein legends on the Legend Trail. Or you can take part in the guided hikes of the tourism association, which lead to the most beautiful mountain lakes and other natural spectacles.
The Gastein Valley also has a lot to offer away from thermal spas and sporting activities. In Bad Gastein you can still sense the flair of the old spa town as you stroll past the Belle Époque hotels. Particularly worth seeing is the Gastein Waterfall right in the centre of Bad Gastein. The water falls 200 metres into the depths in three steps. This image has been the subject of many painters and the atomisation of the ionised air creates a special therapeutic climate near the waterfall.
For those interested in culture, the art festival sommer.frische.kunst offers exhibitions, installations, concerts and much more throughout the summer. The focus is on renowned contemporary artists and contemporary art.
Also worth a visit is Klammstein Castle, which is located at the entrance to the Gastein Valley and is Gastein’s oldest building. It once served to protect the valley from attackers.
Tips for a holiday at Gastein Valley in summer
Hiking with Christian from Wanderbares Gastein
Christian from Wanderbares Gastein is a mountain hiking guide with a passion. Born in Bad Hofgastein, he has been hiking in the mountains around the Gastein Valley since childhood and has an enormous knowledge of its mountains, rocks and flowers. He likes to share this knowledge and his enthusiasm for hiking with the guests of the seven mountain hiking hotels in the valley. They have the opportunity to take part in free hikes with him five times a week. All you have to do is register the evening before and then arrive at the meeting point Hotel Panorama in Bad Hofgastein at the appointed time.
You can find out which hikes are on the programme each week in the hotels, depending on the weather. Christian plans exciting tours with an ever-changing focus. Sometimes he hikes in search of rock crystals, sometimes he goes to the summit at sunrise and sometimes from spring to spring through Bad Gastein.
Discover art in Bad Gastein on the paths of summer.fresh.art
- Map: Bismarckstraße 9, 5640 Bad Gastein, Austria
- Exhibitions and fair: 15.07. to 22.07.2023
- Free of charge
Every summer, Bad Gastein hosts a new edition of the summer freshness concept for art lovers. The town has long since established itself as an art destination away from the metropolises. Especially when it is too hot in the cities in summer, the Gastein Valley with its fresh mountain air invites you to linger. That’s why the summer.fresh.art was created, with exhibitions in historic buildings and also a large art fair. The main events take place from 15.07. to 22.07.2023, but all summer long you can discover exciting art in public spaces on the art trail along the waterfall path.
Stay and dine sustainably at Sendlhofer’s in Bad Hofgastein
- Map: Pyrkerstraße 34, 5630 Bad Hofgastein, Austria
- Double room from 120 Euro per night
The traditional spa hotel is now run by the third generation of the Sendlhofers and has been extensively renovated in recent years. The restaurant area has been given the biggest makeover and a modern gastronomy concept has been implemented with Luke’s Wohnzimmer. Here you can expect not a classic hotel buffet, but an extensive menu of regional products in tapas size to share.
You will find both hearty classics of Austrian cuisine and oriental dishes on the menu. The hotel’s extensive nature spa features an outdoor thermal pool and various sauna options. The spacious rooms offer either a view of the Gastein mountain panorama, the beautiful garden or the charming town of Bad Hofgastein.
Fly over the Bad Gastein waterfall on the zipline
- Flying Waters: Kaiser Franz Josef-Straße 16, 5640 Bad Gastein
- 11 am – 1 pm & 2 pm – 6 pm, July to August: Tuesday to Sunday, June: Wednesday to Sunday, May, September and October: Thursday to Sunday.
- Adults 22 euros per person
The Bad Gastein waterfall which plunges more than 341 metres into the depths between hotel buildings, is one of the main attractions of the Gastein Valley. You can experience this impressive natural spectacle from a completely new perspective: Flying Waters lets you fly through the gorge of the waterfall on a zipline at a height of 90 metres. You’ll fly along a 300-metre route from Villa Solitude on one side of the valley to the thermal spring park on the other. This way you can experience the waterfall from a bird’s eye view.
Bike through the blossoming landscape of the Gastein Valley
The Gastein Valley offers a wide range of cycle paths for all levels. Leisure cyclists and families can enjoy a relaxed ride along the river Ache in the valley from Bad Hofgastein to Gastein. Enthusiastic mountain bikers climb peaks and touring cyclists cycle from the Gastein Valley to the Adriatic Sea on the Ciclovia Alpe Adria cycle path. If you don’t feel like lugging your own bike all the way to Austria, you can rent one in many hotels and sports shops. The shops have everything from children’s bikes to e-mountain bikes, depending on the tour you are planning.
Taste homemade schnapps at the Hausebengut mountain distillery
- Map: Hinterschneeberg 20/1, 5640 Bad Gastein
- Open: 10 am – 8 pm Wednesday to Monday
You can taste unusual drops such as rowanberry brandy or Swiss stone pine liqueur at the Hausebengut mountain distillery. The snack station with its own distillery is located at an altitude of 1080 metres on the slopes of the mountains and offers a fantastic view of the entire Gastein Valley. You can reach the station on the beautiful Erzherzog-Johann-Promenade from Bad Gastein on foot or by bike, but it is of course also possible to get there by car. On the balcony terrace you can then enjoy homemade specialities, many of which are produced on the hotel’s own organic farm. After the meal, you can taste the homemade schnapps. But make sure you get down the mountain safely.
Practice yoga at Gastein’s energy spots
Yoga in Gastein: Wasserfallstrasse 8, 5640 Bad Gastein, Austria
Word has spread in yoga circles that nature in the Gastein Valley exudes a very special energy. Great yoga events are now held throughout the year, where you can practise with experienced teachers at many locations in nature. The Yoga Spring takes place in May, the Union Yoga Festival in August and the Yoga Autumn in October. During these events, many hotels in the valley also offer yoga classes themselves, which you can attend free of charge as a guest. And even without a special programme, there are many places where you can unroll your mat and meditate and practice with a mountain panorama.
Hike on the Gasteiner Höhenweg through the Gadauner Gorge
- Gastein High Trail: Gamskarstraße 10, 5640 Bad Gastein
An altitude trail is a wonderfully relaxed way to get the full enjoyment of the mountain world. This is because they are not paths at dizzying heights, but those that remain at a constant altitude. In the case of the Gasteiner Höhenweg, you can walk sweat-free along the mountain at an altitude of about 1000 metres and enjoy the panorama at the same time. You can start the trail in Bad Hofgastein as well as in Bad Gastein, whereby the latter variant goes continuously downhill.
The trail leads through beautiful alpine meadows, sparse mountain forests and rustic spruce forests for about five and a half kilometres from the Gastein Café Gamskar to the Hofgastein Café Gamskar, both named after the mountain Gamskerkogel. To get to the starting point, all you have to do is take the 555 bus to the “Grüner Baum” terminus. The absolute highlight of the tour is the route through the Gadauner Gorge, where the path behind the waterfall has been carved into the rock.
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.
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 if the weather is bad.
Refresh yourself in the crystal-clear Reedsee
- 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 the fantastic mountain lake at 1831 metres above sea level. 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.