Bad Gastein, which falls within the Salzburg Provence in Austria, is one of those remarkable little gems that you only ever uncover very occasionally – usually just once in every so often, and mostly when you’re not really looking for anything in particular. This was just such a special place – a small town …a village, where my dearly beloved and I could rest, relax and restore our inner vitality after some early travel sickness had taken a heavy toll.
Bad Gastein prides itself on its beautiful Belle Époque Buildings, morning mists (that clear to blue skies by early afternoon), snow-covered mountains and church bells that ring at different times during the day. It is truly magical. There are both summer and winter activities available within the majestic national park that surrounds – Hohe Tauern National Park.
It wasn’t long after our arrival that I realized I would love to be able to visit this charming little township far more regularly. For now, I knew I just wanted to envelope myself in its history and warmth…..somehow I felt a strange connection with it all.
It was “a captivating village….a land of R & R, a place where fairy tales may not have been written but where they could have easily come to life.” During our short, five day stay, I actually thought that Walt Disney or, maybe even one of the Grimm Brothers themselves, might materialize through the early morning mists, and linger awhile, in order to chat and perhaps even pen another charming little folktale.”
I’ve been told that Bad Gastein first became fashionable as a holiday resort in the Austrian Alps during the 19th Century.
Back then, absolutely everybody (well everybody who was somebody at that time) would visit for their annual holidays. Kings, Queens, Lords and Nobles all graced this pretty little picturesque landscape. Royals came, not only to relax and enjoy the incredible beauty of the province but also, to renew themselves; reconnect with close family, restore inner life, and promote/foster their own physical health and well-being.
The township and surrounding area is well known for its enormous waterfall and thermal springs. Madame Curie and Heindrich Mache are said to have discovered that the natural thermal waters around Bad Gastein were very rich in radon. Gas from these springs is evidently trapped in the Heilstollen (literally ‘healing tunnel’) within the rocks under the Tauern Mountains. People still travel long distances to undergo health treatments at he Gasteiner Heilostollen.
Throughout recent history, many have enjoyed relaxing and rejuvenating (R & R) holidays in the township, at the spas and in the beautiful surrounding mountains and valleys.
I truly hope that we’ll be lucky enough to visit again one day.
Sadly, however, Australia is such a long way from Austria. I know they say there are definitely ‘no Kangaroos’ in Austria!! But “WOW” there is beauty to be admired everywhere – just like at home – both places would have to be very much a part of “Gods own Country!”
In spite of the distances, I do really hope to go back one day. (Not sure if my better half is listening at the moment!) “Can you hear me?” I said, “I’d like to go back!!!”
At the very least, I’ll always remember the peaceful beauty of charming little Bad Gastein.
Village: Bad Gastein
Population: About 5 thousand
Area: 170.6 square kilometers
Our Top 10 things to do and see in Bad Gastein:
Great Day Trips from Bad Gastein in a hire car:
That we didn’t stay longer and that we didn’t get to the ice caves at Werfen