Mondsee, Austria: lakeside charm outside Salzburg

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Mondsee, Austria is a charming lakeside village and a popular place for both native Austrians and tourists to visit. For those looking to truly experience the town and take in its delightful appeal, one of the best things to do in Mondsee is simply to relax!

Situated about 30 minutes outside the city of Salzburg, the town of Mondsee makes for a great weekend lake escape for Austrians looking to spend a relaxing day on the water. However, Mondsee is also a favorite place in Austria for many tourists. It is a popular stop on The Sound of Music tour, and fans of the musical classic definitely will want to add Mondsee to their Austrian itinerary. But even if you don’t consider yourself a lifelong fan of the 1965 film, Mondsee offers an inviting, small town atmosphere with picturesque views of the Austrian Alps.

Are you a fan of The Sound of Music? If so, check out this post on all the great photo spots from The Sound of Music in Mirabell Garden in Salzburg.

About Mondsee, Austria

Mondsee is located in the Salzkammergut region of the Vöcklabruck District of Austria, nestled on the northern shore of Lake Mondsee. With less than 4,000 residents, this small town is a popular destination for weddings. It should come as no surprise, since one of the most famous weddings ever depicted in a movie also took place in Mondsee. Mondsee is best known as the filming set of the Von Trapp wedding in The Sound of Music.

The top things to do in Mondsee, Austria

With brightly colored, neoclassical buildings and outdoor cafes lining the streets, the minute you arrive in Mondsee you will be taken aback by its charm and beauty. While there are not a lot of things to do in Mondsee, Austria, there is plenty to keep you busy for a day or even a weekend. It is worth visiting Mondsee for a few hours, if not for one full night, to enjoy some relaxation surrounded by stunning scenery.

Colorful street in the center of Mondsee, Austria
Visitors to Mondsee, Austria enjoy outdoor seating areas at some of the cafes housed in neoclassical building with brightly colored facades.

Enjoy a meal on an outdoor patio

It’s hard not to relax and just be in the moment when you are in Mondsee. Sit outside and have lunch, an afternoon cup of tea, a glass of wine or a beer, or some delicious, refreshing ice cream. We completely forgot about our day’s itinerary and everything else we planned to see, and just got lost in the delightful atmosphere of this small town. Sometimes you just have to do that on a trip, and it was wonderful.

There are several cafes and restaurants offering outdoor seating, and plenty of little shops selling everything from Edelweiss trinkets to lederhosen. The Edelweiss is a popular white flower in Austria found in the alps, and perhaps more notably,  the name of one of the songs in The Sound of Music movie.

Tour the Mondsee Abbey (Basilica St. Michael)

A child walks toward the Mondsee Abbey, also known as the Basilica of St. Michael
The yellow exterior of the Mondsee Abbey, also known as Basilica St. Michael.

In the heart of the town is the prominent Mondsee Abbey. The beautiful church, also known as Basilica St. Michael, is a must-visit for guests to the town. It is free to enter, and is just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside. The exterior of the church is painted a muted yellow color and has two clock towers flanking the entrance on the front corners of the church.

The Mondsee church dates back to the mid-700s when it was a monastery for monks. It underwent major renovations and reconstruction in the 1700s. Nowadays, the ornate cathedral serves as both a church and a tourist attraction.

Inside the Basilica of St Michael in Mondsee
The interior of the Basilica St. Michael

You may recognize the interior of the church from The Sound of Music. As mentioned earlier, it was the setting for Maria and Baron von Trapps’ wedding in the film. Although the famous scene was filmed inside the church, the outside of the abbey never appeared in the movie. For fans of the movie, it is awesome to finally see both the interior and the exterior of the church featured in one of the most notable movies of all time.

The inside of the church features a ribbed, vaulted nave with pale pink pillars on either side of the central aisle and pink embellishments on the ceiling.

View one of the most interesting church altars in the world

Be sure to walk all the way to the front altar as it is the most fascinating part of the church. The altar contains the mummified remains and complete skeletons of martyrs and saints. At the center of the alter, holding a staff and decorated in jewels and wearing a golden halo is Abbot Konrad II, who died in 1145 defending the abbey from noblemen, according to historical church accounts.

altar at Basilica St. Michael
The mummified remains of martyrs and saints encompassed in the altar at the Basilica St. Michael. Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

Go for a swim at Lake Mondsee

With it’s pristine turquoise water, Lake Mondsee is a beautiful alpine lake in the Austrian Alps. The lake, known for its warm water, is just a short walk down a shady tree-lined road. Kids and adults alike will enjoy splashing and swimming in the calm water. If you don’t want to go for swim, you can sit at the edge of the lake, dangle your feet in the water, and watch the swans and ducks swim by. On a nice day, the aquatic birds seem to be enjoy the weather just as much as the people with whom they gracefully share the lake.

The crescent-shaped lake is also a popular place for paddle boats and sailing.

A child watches a swan on the water at Lake Mondsee
A curious swam swimming in Lake Mondsee

Relax along the lake shore and people watch

Along the shoreline of the lake, people can sit at tables and have a drink or a light lunch. There are also grassy areas under the trees that are perfect for shade-seekers or a family picnic. On a warm day, kids can play in the small splash fountain by the lake. The splash fountain is convenient for families with young children who want to play in the water, but are too little to swim in the lake.

Go on a family-friendly hike

There are some beautiful hiking trails around Mondsee, Austria that range in difficulty from a leisure, family-friendly walk to extreme mountaineering. There are trails that run along the lake, through the town, or to viewpoints overlooking Mondsee and the lake. Many of them are suitable for children, so if your family enjoys the outdoors and you are looking for great things to do in Mondsee with kids, consider giving yourself enough time in Mondsee for a nature hike.

Where to stay in Mondsee, Austria

Many people visit Mondsee as a day trip from Salzburg or Vienna. But if you enjoy slow travel or simply just want to give yourself more time in this small, charming village, there are several hotels in the town that make for a great place to stay in Mondsee, Austria. Schlosshotel is located directly adjacent to the Basilica of Saint Michael. The hotel looks like a palace on the outside and has been recently renovated, making it an ideal place to stay for a luxury experience.

Hotel Krone is another highly rated hotel in Mondsee, Austria. Also centrally located in the small town, Hotel Krone offers a smaller, more boutique hotel experience, and is within short walking distance from both the basilica and the lake.

Why you should visit Mondsee, Austria

Mondsee was one of the highlights of our trip to Austria. While both Vienna and Salzburg offer unique cultural experiences and are wonderful cities to visit, if you are looking to escape the larger cities and the crowds, Mondsee is definitely a great Austrian alternative. Even if you only decide to spend an hour or so, Mondsee, Austria is worth the slight detour to experience the lakeside charm and beautiful setting of this small village!

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18 comments on “Mondsee, Austria: lakeside charm outside Salzburg”

Lovely! We were just in Salzburg with our toddler. We didn’t stop in Mondsee but I’m guessing it was probably one of the three towns that my husband says I slept through on our way to Halsttatt that he thought were every bit as beautiful.

that header photo of you guys is just so cute! and Mondsee looks pretty grand. wish I could do that on a weekend trip!

Thanks! That header photo was taken in Prague last summer. I’m sure we looked ridiculous trying to take it ourselves. LOL. My toddler doesn’t quite understand the importance of travel photos yet.

Those buildings are so pretty! I haven’t seen the Sound of Music, but it’s a beautiful church nonetheless. You’re kid is so cute:)

Mondsee is a hidden gem and well worth the 30 minute travel from Salzburg. It looks like the perfect town to relax on a nice day and enjoy a coffee or beer. I love the picture of your daughter in front of the Mondsee Abbey, I have a similar one of my daughter outside a church in Mexico, she was running around crazy in the plaza.

Yep! That’s basically what my daughter does every time we travel. I’m either running after her trying to take a picture or running after her so she doesn’t get hit by a car. 😉

What a beautiful and charming place to visit. I am also a Sound of Music fan and I would love to see that lovely church. This is a great example of a wonderful place that you find if you take the time to wander outside of the large cities that get most of the tourists. Such lovely photos as well. Must visit here when we get to Austria.

I’m from Vienna and your post reminded me how me and some friends went on a camping trip spending a long weekend on the beautiful camping place there. The best part was when we went for a swim in the lake and found out afterwards that we sank our car keys in the lake. 😀

Such a cute Austrian town! I wish I had more time in Vienna to explore more of Austria, because Salzburg (and now Mondsee) are high on my list! The Abbey reminds me a lot of all the yellow buildings and palaces in Vienna! I would definitely be checking out its interior, as I am a sucker for the Sound of Music! Thanks so much for putting Mondsee on my radar! I will definitely be adding it to my Austrian bucket list!

What a charming little town! I had taken a Sound of Music bus tour in Salzburg and got to see many of the filming sites that way. I would love to see the rest in Mondsee. Thanks for sharing about this gem!

We wanted to do a Sound of Music tour but since we had a toddler, we decided to do it on our own… it actually turned out better because we had more time in places like Mondsee and Mirabell Garden

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