I recently had a half-day off, and was able to go along for what is called the “Romantic Austria” tour to the country’s lake district. The tour takes you to three small towns nestled along three different lakes. The lakes are exceptionally clean and clear, with the water being drinking-water quality. All are popular attractions for tourists, but none felt too crowded or overrun.
The day was especially hot and sunny, but the scenery more than made up for any discomfort caused by the scorching temperatures.
We left the ship early in the morning to start our drive, and even went through the area of Austria where my dad was born. (You can read about my visit to my father’s birthplace from 2010 HERE.)
Our first stop was the town of Mondsee next to the lake Mondsee. (‘See’ means ‘lake’ in German.) We had about an hour in this quaint little town. It is well known for its church, which was used as the wedding church in the “Sound of Music” movie.
Here are some photos from Mondsee:
After leaving Mondsee, we had a very scenic drive to St. Wolfgang, located along the shore of Wolfgangsee. This town was absolutely lovely. Every aspect of the architecture and twisting cobblestone streets was as if it was taken out of an Austrian fairytale. We had about two and a half hours in St. Wolfgang, and after the short guided tour to the town’s church, we had plenty of free time to explore and grab lunch. I wandered into a cute little lake-side restaurant that specializes in serving fresh fish from the local waters. As soon as I entered, I saw a nice couple from the ship, and they invited me to join them. The courtyard of the restaurant was nicely shaded by old trees above, and gave us a much needed break from the sun’s fierce rays. I had a delicious platter of fried fish, coated in sesame seeds, and served on a mixed salad with pesto dressing. The perfect light lunch for a hot day! After lunch, I went on my own – determined to find a way to dip my feet in the water of the lake! At first, I only found jumping-off places and was getting a bit discouraged, as time was running out. But I stuck it out and walked briskly towards the far side of town, only to be rewarded by finding the town’s boat launch! Success! I was able to wade into the water and feel how warm and pleasant it was.
After accomplishing this little mini goal, I knew it was time to high-tail it back to the bus. The air-conditioning of the coach was a welcome feeling indeed!
Here are some photos from St. Wolfgang:
Our next and final stop was the town of Traunkirchen on Traunsee. We paid a quick visit to the church that’s nestled right on the lake’s shore. The highlight of this church is it’s unusually unique pulpit. (I’ll let the photos do the talking to let you see what I mean.) We then had a short walk to the water’s edge down further in town. It was definitely time for some refreshing ice cream, and once everyone was done, it was time to board the coach again for our drive back to the ship.
This tour was simply fantastic, and I’m so glad I got to go along this time. I also enjoyed getting to know some of the guests a little better during our drives and during the time in these adorable little towns.
Here are some photos from the last stop, Traunkirchen: