Crescent-shaped Lake Mondsee is often regarded as the gateway to the spectacular alpine scenery of the Salzkammergut (Austrian Lake District west of Salzburg, and is surrounded by the snow-topped peaks of the Austrian Alps. It is a perfect summer base for hiking, biking, sailing, fishing and kayaking.
In addition to an endless array of outdoor and water sports, Lake Mondsee is edged by the lovely Baroque lakeside town of the same name. The town is famous for its lemon-and-white, twin-spired St. Michael’s Church, which is where Maria and Captain von Trapp were married in The Sound of Music. Apart from the Julie Andrews connection, Mondsee is a riot of gaily painted townhouses bordering its main square, with a lakeside promenade lined with elegant restaurants and a stunning backdrop formed by the craggy rock face of Drachenwand.
Visit the lake and its namesake town as part of a Lake District tour from Salzburg that also takes in area highlights like Fuschl Castle and Castle Huttenstein, as well as the towns of St. Wolfgang and St. Gilgen on Wolfgangsee.
Things to know before you go
- With its mix of placid lakes, dramatic peaks, and postcard-perfect towns, the Lake District has activities to keep both adventure seekers and more relaxed travelers happy.
- Lake Mondsee and the whole of the Salzkammergut is considered some of the most beautiful scenery in Austria, so be sure to bring your camera.
- If you’re planning to explore the area trails to the surrounding peaks, choose sturdy footwear and be sure to bring a map and water.
- The town of Monsee is accessible to wheelchair users, though some of the boat tours across the lake are not. Confirm in advance.
How to get there
Lake Mondsee is about 18 miles (30 kilometers) west of Salzburg and can be easily reached by car from Salzburg via highway A1 in about half an hour. The nearest international airport is in Salzburg.
When to get there
Thanks to its proximity to Salzburg, Mondsee gets full of visitors every weekend; plan on visiting during the week to enjoy the lake and its pretty town without hordes of tourists.
Austria’s Spectacular Salzkammergut
One of Austria’s most popular destinations, the Salzkammergut is known for its splendid scenery and alpine villages straight out of a holiday card. Most tours touch on sights like the town and lake of Mondsee, the town of Fuschl and Fuschl Castle on Fuschlsee, and the villages of St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang, and Bad Ischl on Wolfgangsee.
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- Mondsee Cathedral (Basilika St. Michael)
- St. Gilgen (Sankt Gilgen)
- St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut
- Nonnberg Abbey (Stift Nonnberg)
- Salzburg Old Town (Salzburger Altstadt)
- Panorama Museum
- Mozart Square (Mozartplatz)
- Salzburg Museum
- Georg Trakl Memorial (Traklhouse)
- Hohensalzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg)
- Salzburg Marionette Theatre (Marionettentheater)
- Residenz Gallery (Residenzgalerie)
- Michael Haydn Museum
- Salzburg Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg)
- Cathedral Museum (Dommuseum)