To be perfectly honest, there is only one must-do thing in Werfen. The main reason for most travelers to visit Werfen is the Werfen Ice Cave. Werfen, despite its stunning surroundings in the middle of the alps, is not particularly interesting. While Werfen is scenic, there are a number of similar places that offer more.

However, the world’s largest Ice Caves make Werfen one of the 3 best day trip destinations from Salzburg. Are there other things to do in Werfen? You might be wondering what to do in Werfen despite visiting the Ice Caves on your day trip and for good reason. When visiting the Werfen Ice Cave on a day trip from Salzburg, you will have 3-4 hours left before returning to Salzburg in the evening, and in the town of Werfen, there is really nothing to do.

I will give you two more things to do in Werfen on a Day Trip from Salzburg in this article. The first of these two things require an entrance fee, the other does not, neither is a must but both are nice things to do if you are in Werfen anyway. Here we go!

1. Eisriesenwelt Werfen: The World’s largest Ice Cave

The Werfen Ice Cave is the most popular of the things to do in Werfen

The Werfen Eisriesenwelt is the most popular of the things to do in Werfen. Actually, the Werfen Ice Caves are the only must-do activity in Werfen. Werfen’s Ice Caves are the largest Ice Caves in the world. Of the 42 kilometers in-depth, you can explore the first kilometer on a guided tour.

But it’s not just the guided tour in the cave that makes Werfen worth visiting, but also the way to the Ice Cave. To get to the Ice Cave in Werfen you either need to take a shuttle bus from the train station in Werfen or drive your own car to the visitors center. From the Eisriesenwelt visitors center you walk for 10-20 minutes, take the steepest cable car in Austria, hike for another 10-20 minutes and then meet your guide at the Cave Entrance.

The world’s largest Ice Cave is the reason travelers come to Werfen. You will find an extensive guide to the Eisriesenwelt Werfen under this link. Now, let’s find out about two more things to do in Werfen!

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2. Festung Hohenwerfen

Another activity you might want to consider before or after your visit to the Ice Cave is a visit to the Hohenwerfen fortress. The fortress in Werfen can not be overlooked.

Hohenwerfen dominates the area’s appearance as it sits on a hill in the middle of the valley. As soon as you get off the train and throughout your trip to the Ice Caves, you will see it. But should you actually visit the Hohenwerfen fortress? The Hohenwerfen Fortress describes itself as an event fortress.

The Hohenwerfen fortress has always been famous for its falcon show. During my childhood, I was fascinated by the falcons. The fortress’ yard offers a unique audio guide for children, a rally quiz, and a number of other games. Therefore, Hohenwerfen Castle is a must-see if you’re visiting the area with children.

A guided tour of Hohenwerfen is included in the entrance fee but is also the only way to explore the fortress. You can’t move freely but have to follow the guide and the group and only get the information provided on that tour. There isn’t really a museum or other documentation. If you would like to learn about history, the Hohensalzburg fortress is better than the fortress in Werfen since several museums at the fortress in Salzburg let you dive deep. After all, the two fortresses were built at the same time in the 11th century.

If you would like to know more about the Hohenwerfen Fortress and whether or not you should include it in your list of things to do in Werfen, I recommend reading this article on the Free Walking Tour Salzburg Blog.

In Hollywood movies like “Where Eagles Dare” or the Amazon series “Man in the High Castle,” Werfen is often recognized. Most notably, Werfen is featured in the opening scenes of the “Sound of Music” and in the picnic scene of the “Do-Re-Mi” song. This is what the following thing to do in Werfen is all about. 

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3. The Sound of Music Meadow

The most touristy thing to do in Salzburg and the surrounding area is anything related to the Sound of Music. Why am I saying that? Because Austrians wouldn’t do anything Sound of Music-related. It’s not because we dislike the Sound of Music, but simply because we don’t care.

Most Austrians have never seen the film. I saw the Sound of Music many times as a kid, but that’s only because my father is Dutch, and every time I visited my grandmother, she showed me the movie. It is very common in other parts of the world. Everyone except us Austrians has seen the Sound of Music, and for many, it is the main reason to visit Salzburg.

When I was a child, I often visited the Ice Caves and the Hohenwerfen fortress, but there was no Sound of Music trail. Werfen’s local government came up with the Sound of Music meadow to attract more international travelers and give them another reason to visit the town than just the Ice Caves.

Having said that, the trail leading to the Meadow where Maria sang the opening scenes and the intro to the Do-Re-Mi song in Sound of Music is worth seeing. The Sound of Music meadow is worth a visit since the trail that leads there is a common hike in Werfen. There are countless hikes that deliver the same hiking experience, but the Sound of Music Trail hike can be done from the center of Werfen on foot, and since it was made one of Werfen’s tourist attractions, there are signs that direct you there.

The actual name of the meadow is Gschwandtanger Wiesn (Gschwandtanger Meadow). The meadow is an active pasture. Therefore, the picnic area is fenced in. The fenced-in area and the 1,4-kilometer trail leading there are marked and lined with games, signposts, and benches.

The meadow offers views of the surrounding mountains and the Hohenwerfen fortress, and if you are a fan of the Sound of Music, you will, of course, be delighted to visit another filming location.

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How to get from Werfen to Hallstatt?

If you are traveling by public transportation, you cannot get to Werfen from Hallstatt. There is at least no connection that makes sense. However, it is recommended that you spend one day in Werfen and another in Hallstatt if you wish to visit both of these places on a day trip from Salzburg. The Ice Caves and the Hohenwerfen fortress should be visited while you are in Werfen and here is also a list of the best things to do in Hallstatt so you can make plans for each of these two day trips from Salzburg.

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