By now you probably know, I’m crazy about Christmas markets. And today I will share a true hidden gem with you. 😉
Lake Wofgang is beautiful in spring and summer (you can see here for yourself), but I was astonished by the beautiful Christmas markets in December. Around the lake there are 3 villages: Strobl, St. Wolfgang and St. Gilgen. All three are connected by boat (21,20€), or you can go into the mountains to Schafberg with the steepest cog railway in Austria (17,50€). Ok, let’s check out the villages:
The nativity village
This was our first stop. We were there in the afternoon, so it wasn’t dark yet, but we still got to see some lights. We walked down the main street which leads to the lake and from where the boats depart. On the pier you can have a glühwein or two (mulled wine), and back on shore you can admire a big nativity set and get to cuddle and feed some sheep. In the main square we were lucky to watch a blacksmith do his work.
The baroque village
This village is especially famous for its Christmas candles. An 11 meters high candle glows on the lake shore and numerous smaller ones lead your way around this lovely village. St. Gilgen is also known because of the W. A. Mozart’s family, because his mother was born here and his sister moved here after her wedding. The center is tastefully decorated, and you can get mulled wine and sweet treats at the stalls.
The romantic village
I left this one for the end. We walked into the village and when we came to the main square next to the church and we turned left, I thought I was dreaming. A big red traditional Austrian house and thousands of lights made up a scene one can’t forget. The streets were nicely illuminated so we decided to find our way down to the lake. There was another surprise – a 16 meters high swimming lantern, the largest in Europe. You should be there around at 17:00 as the “Weisenbläser” entertain with their music. Or for a real back in time experience visit on a Wednesday, when all the electric lights are shut down and the village is lit just by candle light. And not to forget – at the vicarage garden you can admire life seize nativity figures and in the church don’t miss the unique “Pacher aisle” from the 15. century.