Salzach and Saalach
The two main traffic arteries of the province of Salzburg are the valleys of the Salzach and the Saalach, from which some of the busiest and grandest pass routes in the Austrian Alps branch off to the south - the Grossglockner Road, the Felber Tauern Road from Mittersill into East Tirol, the approach road up the Gasteiner Tal to the Tauern Tunnel, the road over the Radstädter Tauern pass and the Katschberg.
The Venediger group is easily reached from the north on the Pinzgautalbahn, which runs up through the upper Salzach valley from Zell am See, accompanied by the road from Salzburg via Hallein, Bischofshofen, St Johann im Pongau and Bruck to the Gerloss pass.From Hollersbach, Habachtal, Rosental-Grossvenediger and Krimml it is a relatively short climb up the various parallel valleys to the Fürther Hütte (2,200m/7,220ft) on the Kratzenbergsee (2,154m/7,067ft), the Thüringer Hütte (2,300m/7,545ft) on the Hohe Fürleg (3,244m/10,644ft), the Kürsingerhütte (2,258m/7,408ft), magnificently situated under the Grosser Geiger (3,365m/11,041ft), and the Warnsdorfer Hütte (2,430m/7,975ft) on the rugged Krimmler Kees, below the sheer rock walls of the beautiful Dreiherrnspitze (3,499m/11,480ft), on the Austro-Italian frontier.
The old market town of Werfen lies in the Salzach valley on the important route from Salzburg to East Tirol, the Grossglockner and Carinthia. Popular with tourists in summer and winter, Werfen is the starting point for a visit to the magnificent ice caves in the Tennengebirge, to the northeast of the town. The Hauptplatz lies in the center of town, and to the west of it stands the parish church (mid 17th C.). On a wooded crag above the town to the north looms Burg Hohenwerfen (680m/2,230ft). Originally built by Archbishop Gebhard in 1077, the castle was strengthened in later periods and rebuilt in its present form in the 16th C. After a fire in 1931 it was thoroughly restored and renovated, and now houses a youth hostel and a police school. There are a number of excursions and mountain walks to be made from Werfen. In winter the Salzburg ski slopes are readily accessible.
2km/1.25mi south of Werfen, on the right bank of the River Salzach, is the resort of Pfarrwerfen (553m/1814ft; pop. 2000), from where a mountain road winds 6km/3.75mi eastward up to Werfenweng and a winter sports area.The Pfarrwerfen parish church has three Late Gothic altars and some interesting stained glass by A. Birkle (1952-59).
World of the Ice Giants is a huge system of ice caves, thought to be some of the largest of their kind. Tours of the caves are available from spring until fall and require some physical endurance.