Mike Clegg is a travel and architecture photographer who is originally from London, but has previously lived in Toronto and is currently residing in Vienna. Recently he visited the beautiful Salzburger Saalachtal region of Austria, discovered a few of the fun and adventurous things you can do in this area and tells us about his experience in the following article.
My trip was for 3 nights and arriving from Salzburg I got a transfer to Unken which is one of the four communities that make up this region. Unken is the north most part and the other communities include Lofer, St Martin and Weißbach. As I arrived my first impression was that this area is incredibly scenic with the Saalach River running through the valley, beautiful green fields and impressive mountains all around.
During my trip here are some of the awesome things that I got up to:
Climbing in Weißbach
Starting off my trip to Saalachtal I went climbing in Weißbach with an instructor from Alpinskischule. The route up the cliff was using the Via Ferrata which is a long steel cable attached to the cliff face and and zig zags up the mountain. You attach yourself to this with climbing gear and also along the rock are natural footholds which help you climb. Before starting the climb there was a briefing to learn the proper technique and any other precautions that were necessary, such as not to tackle the Via Ferrata during lightning/electrical storms. The route I went on was the Die Zahme Gams which is one of the easier Via Ferrata routes and ideal for first timers. It also felt completely safe and was very enjoyable.
White Water Rafting on the Saalach River
On day two I went White Water Rafting along the fantastic Saalach River. This was with Base Camp who are located next to the river between Lofer and Unken. The tour I did was the 7 Rapids, which involves going down an 8km stretch of the river in a raft along with other team members. Before starting I got kitted up with safety gear, such as a wetsuit, helmet, life jacket and gloves. Followed by a briefing on how to safely control and steer the boat. I found this activity heaps of fun and we got to go along fast sections of the river with large rocks and rapids.
On a few parts of the river, with guidance from the instructor, we even got to experience flipping the boat, sitting in the back of the boat like a speedboat, and also floating down the river in our life jackets. I had been White Water Rafting once before but have never done things like this, so it added a fantastic and hugely exciting element to the experience. The instructor did say that if some members of the team weren’t happy doing these more crazy things then we wouldn’t have done it, so it’s not compulsory to everyone that goes on these rafting experiences.
After the rafting I then ventured up to the Vorderkaserklamm Gorge located not too far from Weißbach. This gorge is a natural feature created by Ice Age Glaciers as well as the Ödenbach river. Getting to the gorge involves hiking along a path up the mountain and then venturing into the gorge on a wooden path and steps. The gorge is very impressive and as you wander you’ll see and hear the powerful rush of the river beneath you. It’s also worth noting that this is one of the many attractions where entrance is included with the SalzburgerLand Card.
Hiking the mountains
For my last day I went hiking around Almenwelt Lofer which is a high part of the region with hiking trails and an amazing landscape. You can get to the start of the hiking trails using a cabin lift in Lofer. This is also included with the SalzburgerLand Card, or you can pay at the station.
I found hiking this area extremely beautiful, with breathtaking views of the Saalachtal landscape. Up here it also felt like I was really experiencing Austria due to the scenery and also the presence of lots of traditional mountain huts and cows grazing the fields. One of the most spectacular elements for me was the low lying clouds that were drifting amount the trees and mountain tops. Up here you really had to stop for a moment and take in and admire the view.
Overall I couldn’t have been more impressed by Salzburger Saalachtal and felt it was an incredible experience with lots to do and beautiful scenery. The region felt peaceful and quiet and is a great place to visit and get away from the stress of everyday life. As well as the activities I also found the food delicious and in many of the restaurants you can buy local homemade dishes. For me this trip was in the summer and I am now already thinking about heading back to discover the things you can do in the winter.
By Mike from www.travelanddestinations.com