Badgastein is a tiny outdoorsy village set in the heart of the Austrian Alps. While it’s brimming with the opportunities to ski, mountain bike, hike and relax in natural thermal spas, you’d be forgiven for having never heard of it. After all, it’s not a capital city, and definitely doesn’t contain a sky line similar to that of London or Paris.
However, the little hidden gem of Bad Gastein has fast made it’s way onto the list of Europe’s must-see destinations. So much so, that this diamond of a location is becoming not so hidden after all.
For tourists, planning their Bad Gastein things to do list can be one of the most exciting parts of the trip. So let’s build up the suspense by going through all the things that you can do in Bad Gastein, as well as some frequently asked questions when it comes to this gorgeous alpine destination.
In this guide, we'll take a look at:
Reiki and Yoga
How to get to Bad Gastein
Let’s start with how to get to Bad Gastein, since it’s mountainous terrain makes it slightly more difficult than most destinations in Europe. There are several different ways to get to this bustling ski hub:
From the airport
The closest airport is Salzburg, which is approximately a 90-minute drive to the South. How to get to Bad Gastein from Salzburg is pretty easy, simply take a shuttle or the train. But to be more independent on the trip and get around the mountains easily, hiring a car is also recommended for those who feel comfortable.
However, international travellers may fly into one of a number of local airports before crossing the border into Austria. Other options include Munich and Ljubliana, which are both within two and a half hours drive of Bad Gastein.
From another destination
Those coming from another Selina can make the most of a discounted parking deal for guests. With our parking garage at the waterfall (just 50m across from Selina), visitors can keep their vehicles secured nearby.
There are trains to Bad Gastein from Salzburg, Munich and Innsbruck. Travelers can then book a private shuttle from the local train station or opt for the seven minute walk, if they prefer.
Nearby, travellers will find the popular city of Salzburg. As the birthplace of Mozart, this town boasts of a long history with music, also holding the annual Salzburg festival. Therefore, many tourists combine a visit to both locations within one trip.
Alternatively, we find that American visitors like to pair up a visit to Bad Gastein with another international destination, such as Portugal. Find some Portugal road trip itineraries and plan to experience all the European culture during your visit.
Where to Stay in Bad Gastein
European skiing towns often have a bad reputation for being overpriced or lacking in value. Fortunately, Bad Gastein Austria is a diamond in the rough. With accommodation types to suit all travel styles, there is a good selection of hotels in Bad Gastein.
Visitors to Selina Badgastein will find luxurious suites for under $100, complete with a full private bathroom, and amenities such as sitting and dining areas. Moreover, guests choose to stay here for the little touches that make it feel like home, such as hairdryers, premium linen and toiletries.
For those on a budget or traveling with friends, dorm-style rooms offer a community feel for a fraction of the price. Experienced travelers will say this is the best way to meet like-minded tourists and make friends on any trip.
Probably the most famous activity here, the Bad Gastein ski resort is actually comprised of four different areas:
Schlossalm Angertal Stubnerkogel
Each piste specializes in a different area, with some more family-friendly than others. Although lessons are available, absolute beginners may struggle here due to a lack of green slopes. However, advanced skiers enjoy the areas range of black and red slopes.
Of course, before heading out, checking the daily Bad Gastein snow report is recommended in order to plan the day and stay safe on the slopes. The season typically runs between the months of November and March, although this depends on the level of snowfall.
With over 201km of piste, it’s almost an endless supply and hard for even the most experienced skiers to get bored in Bad Gastein. Lift passes cost approximately €240 for a week (equivalent to $250 USD), giving access to over 40 local lifts allocated to each of the runs. While there are no areas specifically built for snowboarding, such as parks, snowboarders are also welcome here.
After guests are done for the day with Bad Gastein skiing, it’s time to hit up the spa. The geography of the area plays to a huge advantage here, with many naturally warm thermal spas for tourists to dip their toes into.
With a huge range of options for different treatments and sessions, fortunately, the only issue here is which one to choose. The first place to start hunting for a spa will be your Bad Gastein hotel, many of which contain integrated spa facilites.
With a long list of treatments, there’s something for the whole family. Here are some of the most popular options:
Full body massage
Sauna with infra-red cabins
Lazy river stream with waterslides
Beauty treatments from cosmeticians
Expect to pay a premium for these treatments; they are a treat after all. However, most visitors choose to spend a full day exploring the thermal waters and other sessions at the spa, which provides better value for money than a one-off treatment.
From some angles, a view of the town of Bad Gastein may be compared to that of San Francisco. In the summertime, crossing the suspension bridge should be on the list of things to do in Bad Gastein.
Located to the east of the town on the Bad Gastein map, it’s official name is Stubnerkogel Hangebrucke. Those with a fear of heights beware; this bridge is Europe’s highest and is suspended at 2300m above the ground. At 140m long, parts of the bridge swing in the air during some weather conditions.
The bridge has quite a unique history, which visitors can learn about once they arrive. For a little background information, be sure to ask one of the local guides.
There are two nearby observation decks for visitors to get the best view in town. Just make sure it’s not snowing too much. Plus, this is a cheaper thing to do and see in Bad Gastein, at just €32 for the cable car up. Who said vacationing in Europe had to be expensive?
Badgastein Austria has a long and varied history, filled with ups and downs. For visitors keen to explore this local history, a visit to the Grand Hotel l’Europa presents the unique opportunity to explore the town museum.
The museum, which originally opened in 1936, features paintings as it was originally intended to be a gallery and exhibition centre. Despite a tumulous time during the second world war, the museum became a hosting centre for the local rotary club, and still manages community events today.
Especially for summer in Bad Gastein, what to do may be confusing since the ski season has ended. But tourists can fill their days with culture and learning through the museum, as well as guided tours in the local areas.
It’s open every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during the peak season from Christmas to April, between the hours of 2.30pm and 8.00pm. Entrance costs €4.00 per adult, with a guided tour costing one extra euro per person.
The rumous is that the fun stops after the Badgastein skiing season ends. But this is not true, after all, it’s when the hiking can begin.
Looking over the Bad Gastein map in summertime, there are many different hiking trails, each for varying ability levels too. Most of which can be started from Selina Bad Gastein, and last for a few hours.
Some of the most popular hikes in the local area include:
Salzburger Almenweg Etappes
Graukogel to Reedsee
The Am Gasteiner Hohenweg Loop
As with any outdoor activity, caution is advised as hikers need to take precautions in order to stay safe. Experts recommend planning tours carefully, but remaining flexible as conditions change throughout the journey. Moreover, packing plenty of water and snacks, staying on the marked pathways and bringing the correct hiking equipment are all important considerations.
Have you ever wanted to fly? Why not add a little more adrenaline to your trip to Bad Gastein?
A paragliding adventure over the Gastein valley can be undertaken with an instructor or individually, after some training. Those who are qualified can also pair up with their friends and family members to become the designated guide.
Experience true flight while gliding effortlessly through the air above the sights of Bad Gastein. Look out for the mountain railway, the suspension bridge and, of course, hikers on each of the alpine trails.
Just be sure to check the weather forecast, Bad Gastein has great views but isn’t sunny all year round. Paragliding in this area sees visitors reach approximately 2200m above sea level, enough to see views for miles.
A standard trip with a guide costs approximately €200, and should last a couple of hours from the beginning of the safety talk, flight and landing.
Unfortunately, the famous Casino Bad Gastein, located in the Grand Hotel de l’Europe, has now closed down. But many visitors choose to come to this area to experience a bit of the European Vegas lifestyle, so it’s lucky then, that there are other Casino options in the vicinity.
The Casino, which originally opened in the local congress center in 1937, had over two hundred different games and machines. But it was more than just a casino, hosting the likes of Liza Minelli in 1982 and later, Shirley Bassey. Also an events space, contests such as Miss Europa were also held at the Grand Hotel.
Since it’s closure in 2015, visitors have found a good alternative. Casino Kitzbuhel is just as grand, and still only a stones throw away. In fact, planning a day trip to this area is recommended for tourists to experience some variety in the ski runs and more of that good, old fashioned mountain air.
To enter a casino in this part of Europe, some form of ID is usually required (such as a valid passport or driving license). Moreover, there may be minimum bets on some of the tables. As always, gamble responsibly.
Reiki and Yoga
One thing that Bad Gastein hotels do really well, is the pre and post-ski recovery. From hatha yoga to full body reiki treatments, guests always have the option to aid their body during the rehabilitation period before getting out on the slopes the next day.
Luna Wellness: incorporating the moon, it’s cyclical nature and that of aromatherapy into the yoga flow, these classes lean into the feminine energy and give the body a chance to align with mind and soul.
Meditation Flow: with a focus on the mental side, the nature of meditation flow classes are intentional and deep. Guided meditation by experienced professionals has been proven to increase self awareness and build the skills to better manage stress.
Kaiser Runs: one of the more intense fitness classes offered at Selina Bad Gastein, kaiser runs are otherwise known as wild trail runs. These classes challenge participants, not just in speed but also in terrain.
These types of activities are great for wellness lovers and those who have never previously taken the time to care for their body in this way. From slower flows, to beginner-friendly movement classes and more intensive directions for those who are more advanced, there really is something for everyone.
It’s important to recognize that yoga and reiki classes are not only suited post-ski, but during the hiking season as well. They can be a great way to warm up the muscles before heading out onto the hills for the day.
When searching for what to do in Bad Gastein, mountain biking will be one of the top results. Not just a thrill-seekers sport, mountain biking takes strength and stamina as riders navigate the tricky mountain terrain and focus on keeping their balance at the same time.
The most famous biking trail here is the Bertahof Trail, which extends for nearly a kilometer over a rocky terrain. It’s been rated four out of five stars, and is especially recommended for those who like single track trails.
The cost to rent a mountain bike for one day in Bad Gastein is approximately €50, which is the equivalent of less than $55 USD. Most groups won’t need a guide since trails are fairly self-explanatory and well signposted. The season starts in the spring time, and extends throughout the summer into the months of September and Autumn.
When visitors get lucky with Bad Gastein weather, the waterfall is a glorious sight to behold. Translated locally as the town’s ‘wasserfall’, tourists will find this landmark to the South West of the main settlement.
The grand waterfall can be viewed from different angles and at different altitudes, so tourists are sure to get the perfect inta-worthy snap for social media.
Walking to this location is possible, and can be done from the main village in just six minutes, so there’s no need to pack the supplies on this one. Of course, this is one of the free things to do in Bad Gastein except for transportation costs, so is a great option for a day out that doesn’t have to cost a thing.
Bad Gastein FAQs
What to do in Bad Gastein in the winter?
Between the months of November and February, the ski season is at its peak. Many visitors choose to spend the winter in Bad Gastein traversing the slopes, either on skis or snowboards. With hundreds of kilometers to cover, it’s a great way to spend some time during the snow season.
Moreover, some tourists prefer to take day trips to other nearby towns. Those searching for how to get to Salzburg from Bad Gastein may be relieved to know that it’s a very simple train ride away.
Is the Sound of Music based in Bad Gastein?
The Sound of Music is one of the most popular films of all time. The major plotline follows the attempted escape and opposition of the nazis for one family in the Austrian hills. While you’d be forgiven for thinking it was set in Bad Gastein, Austria, the film is actually set just 90 minutes drive away in Salzburg.
Still, that doesn’t mean that the town does not continue to claim the Sound of Music in its heritage today, with a number of musical festivals taking place in the area across the year.
Is Bad Gastein good for skiing?
Yes, Bad Gastein is well-known for its good skiing and snowboarding conditions. While of course it depends every year on weather, the large range of different slopes, gradients and conditions on offer make Bad Gastein a good choice for those who love alpine activities.
What’s more: ski equipment is readily available to rent everywhere.
And for travellers who require a ski-friendly Bad Gastein hotel, look no further than Selina.
Located centrally, most visitors spend their entire days on the slopes before coming back to rest in the indoor pool or take a spa treatment to relax their muscles and begin the road to recovery.
What is Bad Gastein, Austria known for?
Apart from skiing, Bad Gastein is known for it’s rich history and cultural heritage. In particular, the naturally-occuring thermal springs in this area have attracted visitors for centuries, and have helped to turn the small town of Badgastein into the tourism hub that it is today.