Near Lakes Mondsee, Attersee and Traunsee, the gentle landscape is sprinkled with Tyrolean homesteads and tiny fields of rustling corn and wheat, interspersed with rows of colourful tulips where passers by pick their own flowers and drop money into honesty boxes. This a wonderful region to explore on a relaxed activity holiday, with gentle flat cycling routes to explore and a wealth of other holiday activities on offer too.
Further south this open country collides spectacularly with the dramatic ragged mountain peaks of Zwolferhorn (1521m) and Schafberg (1782m), whose shimmering reflections can be seen in the surfaces of the cleanest and bluest lakes in all Austria - Wolfgangsee and Fuschlsee. The famous composer, Gustav Mahler, was so inspired here he declared he had 'Set the landscape to music'; Gustav Klimt painted local castles, and Mozart's mother, was born in tiny St Gilgen. Pilgrims come to pray in St Wolfgang's medieval lakeside church, while others follow in the foot
Only 30 miles east of Salzburg, Austria's Lake District is a bewitching contrast of soaring mountain peaks and undulating lowlands, laced with necklaces of sparkling rivers and lakes. It is known as the 'Salzkammergut', literally the 'Treasure Trove of Salt', and as a result it was spectacularly wealthy in the 17C when salt was as valuable as gold. Rich in architecture, history and culture, this is where Kaisers and Empresses traditionally came to take the waters and enjoy the famous Summer Opera season - still celebrated in Bad Ischl today.