Healthful Gastein – a valley with a rich history Emperors, kings, artists, and a love for thermal water

Gastein. Always rich in treasures. Initially silver and gold mining, then it was the healing radon thermal waters which drew people to the Gastein valley. By the end of the 19th century, Gasteinertal was bustling with emperors, kings, nobility, authors and stars of stage and screen. Gastein became very much "en vogue". The upper crust came to alleviate their aches and pains at the hot springs, enjoying the mountain idyll, utterly captivated by the unique atmosphere.

Hörbiger in Gastein | © Gastein Museum Gastein Museum

Monte Carlo of the Alps

Bad Gastein established itself in the late 19th century until the outbreak of World War I as a cosmopolitan spa destination, earning itself a nickname as the "Monte Carlo" or "Monaco" of the Alps. Until 1905, spa guests still arrived here by carriage, after which Gastein became linked via the Tauernbahn line to the expanding railway network – an international spa destination was born, also visited in the 20th century by the likes of emperors William I and Franz Josef, who often spent time here with his beloved Sisi.

Gastein and its illustrious guests

The wondrous healing powers of the Gastein thermal spas also drew an array of other celebrities to Gastein: Arthur Schopenhauer, Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Franz Grillparzer, Thomas Mann & Sommerset Maugham, to name but a few Gastein was likewise appealing to movie actors. Hans Moser, Attila Hörbiger and wife Paula Wessely, Hildegard Knef and Theo Lingen all enjoyed spending time in Gastein. In more recent years, even the likes of Hugh Grant have been spotted skiing in Sportgastein.

Somerset Maugham vor dem Gasteiner Wasserfall | © Gastein Museum Gastein Museum
Thomas Mann bei der Abreise aus Gastein | © Gastein Museum Gastein Museum
Arabischer Scheich in Bad Gastein | © Gastein Museum Gastein Museum

Then & now:
Thermal water as a fountain of youth

The history of bathing as a form of therapy actually extends much farther back in time. Even in the Early Middle Ages, thermal water was fed via wooden gutters into wooden water troughs. The first literary reference to baths in Gastein can be found in a song by Neidhart von Reuenthal dating from 1490, entitled "Ain Graserin in der Kastein". As you can see, therapeutic bathing and health stays in Gastein look back on a long tradition. And to this very day, every year thousands of people come to us in order to alleviate pain, strengthen their immune systems, recharge their inner batteries and feel the healing powers of our thermal water. The astonishing properties of the thermal water are further intensified by the alpine elevation of our beautiful valley with its fresh mountain air. Meanwhile, numerous footpaths and hiking trails invite you to discover nature for yourself.

Bad Gastein mit hoelzernen Thermalwasserleitungen | © Gastein Museum Gastein Museum
Thermalwasser Brunnen Bad Gastein | © Alpentherme Gastein

The stag and the hermits

The discovery of thermal water is recounted in a legend.

At the entrance to the Elisabethquelle spring in Bad Gastein, you will discover a stone engraved with the image of two hermits along with a wounded stag, depicting the discovery of the spring.

About the discovery of the hot springs 

In the midst of the wilderness that was Gasteinertal back then, there lived two pious hermits, Primus and Felician. They were already well aware of the healing powers of the hot springs. One day, hunters approached across the “Drei Waller” pass in search of the wild animal they had been chasing. The animal, a noble stag, had been struck by an arrow, enabling the hunters to follow its bloody trail deep into the forest. Arriving at the mighty waterfall, a clearing opened up before them and the hunters caught sight of hot steam rising up from a rocky fissure. There, the two hermits, Primus and Felician, were dabbing the stag’s wounds with the warm water. They pled with the hunters to spare the animal and, instead, carry news of these warm healing waters out into the world, which might in turn provide a way for those who were sick and suffering to recover.

Thermalwasserbrunnen Alpentherme Gastein Gesundheitszentrum | © Alpentherme Gastein/Caputo

Your health
in the best of hands

In the mood for a health stay?

If you are in the mood for a health-focused stay here with us in Gastein, marvelously removed from the outside world whilst treading in the famous footsteps of Emperor Franz and his Sisi, we would be happy to inform you about opportunities for residential treatment programs, proactive preventive healthcare as well as health visits on a private basis!


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Frequently asked questions

Is there a swimming lake at the Alpentherme?

Yes, we actually have two thermal swimming lakes. Emerald Lake in Relax World and Crystal Lake in Sauna World. Filled with 100 % thermal water. The water is cleaned by means of an organic filtration system without added chlorine. Bathing in these lakes is especially beneficial for people with skin allergies! Emerald Lake is open from May to October, whilst Crystal Like is open year-round.

What are the special characteristics of thermal water?

Gastein thermal water is weakly mineralized and contains the natural noble gas radon. It is used as a therapeutic in our Health Center as ordered by a physician. The thermal water at Alpentherme Gastein has had the radon removed.