Bad Gastein Waterfall
One of the main attractions in Bad Gastein is without any doubt its splendid waterfall. Located right in the town centre, it represents a unique combination between unrivalled natural beauty and historic hotels with pretty Belle Époque architecture framing it. The waterfall is on the Gasteiner Ache mountain river and consists of 3 main drops with a total height of more than 340 meters. The most popular view point to enjoy the beauty of the fall is a stone bridge in the central area of the town. But from there you will see only the middle part of it. For a more spectacular view you can go to Straubinger Platz, climb the steps starting there and along a pathway you will rich a bridge. The view to the waterfall from there is incredible and includes its upper drop. It is believed that the water spray from the fall has healing properties.
Bad Gastein have a variety of exciting walking paths. The most interesting of them are named after famous members of the Austrian and European royal and imperial courts who have visited and spent their holidays in this charming alpine spa town. Kaiser Wilhelm Promenade is maybe the most picturesque of them. It begins from Bismarckstrasse in the town and has a length of about 8 km. The promenade follows the picturesque slopes of Badberg, revealing sweeping panoramic views over Kotchach Valley on the backdrop of breathtaking alpine peaks. The end point of the walk is Grüner Baum. This is an easy walking path, suitable for everybody. Lots of benches are available on places with beautiful views to relax and enjoy the inspiring mountain panorama. If you feel too tired at the end of the promenade you have the option to take a bus from Grüner Baum back to the town centre.
Another worth-exploring panoramic walk is the Promenade of Empress Elisabeth (Sisi). It has a length of 10 km, beginning from the car parking of Sportgastein and ending at the Stubnerkogel lift valley station. It offers easy downhill walking without any abrupt slope and amazing panoramic alpine views.
The Warm Fountains of Bad Gastein are another popular attraction in this charming Austrian spa town, which has been known for its healing thermal springs for centuries long. The spring waters have temperature from 44 to 47 °C. They contain radon and is believed that can cure many diseases. The number of all springs is 17 and they originate from Badberg Mountain. Most of them are used in the town's thermal centres and spa hotels. However, some of them are let to flow free in two warm fountains, located nearby in the town.
Nikolauskirche or the Church of St Nicholas is a late medieval Christian temple, the oldest one in the entire Gastein Valley, situated in the town centre of Badgastein. It is characterized by its traditional Austrian needle steeple (interesting fact is that the steeple tower is positioned on the northern side of the church) and remarkable late Gothic architecture with some Romanesque features too. The church has worth-seeing late Gothic frescoes and a remarkable pulpit made of green serpentine, considered to be the oldest still preserved stone pulpit in the entire region (land) of Salzburg. The earliest mention of the church dates back to 1412. May be it was completed a few years earlier.
In front of Nikolauskirche you will see the interesting Monument of Paracelsus. It was ereceted in 1993 to celebrate the 500th anniversary from the birth of Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus (The name means "beyond Celsus" in Latin and describes the main work of Theophrastus Bombastus as a follower of the ancient Roman medical scientist Aulus Cornelius Celsus). Paracelsus was a prominent Renaissance scientist (doctor, philosopher and alchemist) from Switzerland. He came to Bad Gastein in 1525 and was the first to examine the chemical composition of the healing spring waters in the town. His statue was created by Dr. Guido Friedl and represents the scientist with a cloak, making him invisible. So you will see only Paracelsus' head and hands, holding a sword.
Besides Nikolauskirche, the town has another interesting old Christian temple. This is the 19th-century Preimskirche or the Church of St Primus. It is situated in the central district of the town, close to the thermal baths. There are historic documents witnessing that the church existed in the 14th century but the present-date building was completed 1866 after a full collapse of the old structure. However, Preimskirche has preserved some of its old fetures, such as the remarkable altar piece with a wooden Madonna, dating back to the 15th century. Pay attention to the elaborate stained glass windows of the church too.
Sportgastein is a popular area for mountain tourism located in a high alpine valley with elevation of more than 1500 m, located just a few kilometers from Bad Gastein. Cars using the road to it are charged a toll fee of €4.00, something common for all roads in Austria used only for leisure purposes. There are regular bus lines from Bad Gastein town centre to the area too. Sportgastein is known for its excellent ski facilities - slopes for all skill levels and a well organized network of lifts and cable cars. It is worth visiting the area in summer too. It will charm you with its amazing hiking and biking treks, boasting inspiring panoramic views to the Sonnblick Alps with their more than 3000 m high snow-capped peaks.