St Agatha, Bad Goisern, Austria
It was dusk when we arrived after a four and a half hour flight and a 200km drive from Munich Airport. Against the petrol sky, the geranium-filled window boxes and arched doorway of the 17th century Landhotel Agathawirt created a look of a gingerbread house, a string of fairy lights twinkling from its lounge window and a warm, red glow spilling through the open front door. In the courtyard, a group of diners were lingering over wine and coffees beneath the boughs of the 200 year old oak tree. Too late for the hotel’s half board sitting, we ate in the hotel’s traditional restaurant and, over a salad of fresh strawberries, avocado and rocket, we sipped a glass of wine as laughter from the outside diners drifted in through the open window.
The Agathawirt was originally built as a family home for a wealthy salt merchant at the beginning of the 16th century and has been an inn since the mid 17th century. In its day, the hotel has been immortalised in paintings by Rudolf Van Alt and Gustav Klimt so to describe its aspect as picturesque is not overstating the case. As destinations at the end of a long journey go, it’s a pretty good one.
Buzz Trips view
As a value for money base for exploring the area on foot and on wheels, the Agathawirt is perfect. Paths leading from the door take you into the mountains to the stunning Ewige Wand; through flower filled meadows to pretty Bad Goisern, and along the famous Salzkammergut Soleweg hiking path to Bad Ischl. There is little else in St Agatha so you’re pretty much confined to the hotel unless you want to drive out at night but with its welcoming atmosphere, comfortable rooms and good food, we can’t imagine why you’d want to do that.
Single, double and family rooms are located in a modern extension to the original building and have views over the mountains or the valley. Pay a little extra and you can enjoy a balcony from which to ogle the landscape. Rooms are bright and clean with unfussy, minimal furniture and furnishings and are warm and comfortable. Our twin room had a view over the pretty, onion-domed church in the meadow next door and kept us and our camera lens glued to the window. The en suite bathroom was a good size with a powerful shower and toiletries of the sachet variety.
Satellite TV, telephone, hair dryer and WiFi are standard in all the rooms although we found the signal to be poor and had to go to reception to send and receive emails.
The Agathawirt sits in lovely orchard gardens where tables, chairs and the occasional sun lounger whisper to you to just sit and stare at the beauty and drama that surrounds you while you soak up the sun’s rays. A covered swimming pool has its doors retracted on summer days so you can swim amongst meadows at the foot of the Dachstein Mountains. There is also a sauna and steam room for relaxing tired, post-hike and bike muscles.
The hotel hires out mountain, road and ebikes and has lots of information on the best hiking around the area. Owner Andrea Schenner speaks excellent English and is happy to advise on walking routes.
Breakfast and dinner for half board guests is taken in the dining room or on the terrace, weather-permitting. Breakfast is a comprehensive selection of cereals, muesli, cold meats, cheeses, juices and breads. The 4 course dinner menu changes nightly and offers three choices of starter and main courses, including vegetarian options. Menus feature traditional cuisine from the area with lots of vegetables, tasty soups and scrumptious cakes. Ideal after a day in the saddle or on the feet. The wine list is on the expensive side so we opted for just a glass nightly and then enjoyed a bottle in our room, bought from the petrol station across the road.
Landhotel Agathawirt, St. Agatha 10, 4822 Bad Goisern, Austria; +43 (6135) 8341; 65 kilometres from Salzburg airport; double room on bed & breakfast basis from €61 per night in winter and from €46 in summer. Half board supplement €16 per person per day.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+