Customs & culture in Upper Austria

Salzkammergut, a region full of customs and cultural events

Salzkammergut culture at the Daffodil Festival
Daffodil Festival in Salzkammergut ©Martin Baumgartner

Tradition and customs enjoy top priority in Salzkammergut. Old passed-down customs are loved, festivals are celebrated, in the same way their ancestors did. Get to know the local idiosyncrasies that make this alpine region so endearing and be part of various cultural and traditional events that liven up the towns and villages all year round as a guest in Salzkammergut.

Daffodil Festival in Bad Aussee

Every spring everything in Bad Aussee revolves around white daffodils that blossom on the Ausseerland's meadows in their hundreds and thousands and are honoured by the Daffodil Festival. It's not just the tremendous splendour of the flowers themselves that is amazing but above all the work of artists who form figures out of wire frames and cover them with countless daffodils. The highlight of the 4-day festival is on Sunday when the several metres high works of art are driven through Bad Aussee in a motorcade. In the afternoon a flotilla of boats on Lake Grundlsee or Lake Altsauseer See finishes off the Daffodil Festival.

The Imperial Festival in Bad Ischl

Bad Ischl brings the monarchy to life again in a one-week festival every year around the Emperor's birthday on 18 August. When the nostalgic steam train gets moving, the horse-drawn carriages race over the historic horse racing track and the Emperor's Mass is celebrated, it's not just fans of the Emperor that rave.

Lehár Festival Bad Ischl

Operetta fans get their money's worth in Salzkammergut during the Lehár Festival that is dedicated to productions of Austrian operettas and concerts every summer.

Ceremonial driving down of cattle on Moos Alm in Salzkammergut
Ceremonial driving down of cattle on Moos Alm ©Grill Elisabeth

Ceremonial driving down of cattle

When the decorated animals move through the alpine communities in a procession at the end of the alpine summer then locals and holidaymakers of all ages arrive to celebrate and indulge.


Handmade and artistically created nativity scenes, which are often passed down through generations in family ownership, have a long tradition in Salzkammergut. At a Kripperlroas, for example in Bad Ischl or Ebensee, you can admire the most beautiful handmade nativity scenes during Advent.


A visit to one of the atmospheric Christmas markets in Salzkammergut is simply part and parcel of Advent. Try the Christmas specialities from the region and listen to old tune while you stroll through the Christmas markets. Besides the Gosau mountain Christmas, the Christmas market in Salzburg's old town and Advent on Lake Wolfgangsee are really worth experiencing.

Glöckler runs

A mountain Christmas in Salzkammergut
Mountain Advent at an inn ©Viorel Munteanu

Every year on 5 January, Glöckler move through Salzkammergut as shining lights with wonderful, handmade caps that are lit up from inside. This custom was once about driving out the evil spirits and bringing happiness and prosperity.

From history:secret Protestantism in Salzkammergut

After the Counter-Reformation, there were Protestants in parts of Austria who although they took part in Catholic services secretly practised their own religion. One of the centres of this so-called secret Protestantism was Salzkammergut where outdoor places that served as meeting places for believers to hold their forbidden masses are still passed down today. This include, for example the Kalmoskirche church on the Kalmberg in Gosau or the Schwarzenbachloch cave, a place of happiness in Pichlern near Bad Goisern.

Perhaps you would like to add one or two cultural and traditional events in and around Gosau to your holiday planning. The team at the Sommerhof family hotel will be happy to provide you with more detailed information about the events in the surrounding area and answer your no-obligation enquiry at any time.