We took the bus from Dorfgastein up to Badgastein.

Badgastein is known for its healing waters, Bad meaning Spa. In the middle of the town there was a fountain with Thermal Wasser. It was a very intricate fountain with water pouring out of multiple spouts. Almost an abstract work of art rather than a “drinking” fountain. Out of curiosity we tasted the water and it was very warm and brackish, nothing that I would ever drink a full cup of and yet there were multiple people walking up to the fountain and filling their water bottles to the brim. I’m not completely convinced of its powers, however, I had a sore throat, but now after the water… I’m feeling better. Coincidence? We’ll see.

Our main point of destination was the waterfall, but while we were there we realized that the small town has a lot more to offer. Badgastein is still a small town, but compared to Dorfgastein it’s a bustling city! If you are just passing through Badgastein it’s hard to tell that there’s really anything there, because the road curves away from the town and heads further up into the mountains. However, if you take a left at the fork you are immediately surrounded by fairly large and impressive buildings like the Casino and Hotël Mozart.

The town itself is placed on a hill so each “row” of buildings is a little bit higher than the next and all the roads are narrow and winding. This made for a really beautiful view of the town on the side of the mountains.

The waterfall runs straight through the town and there are a multitude of bridges that you can wander onto that look over different sections of the waterfall. At the top of the falls, from the high bridge, there was an old building covered in moss with the windows shuttered and broken. Everyone in the group immediately agreed that this waterfall must be from a fairytale. Walking around Badgastein it was easy to see where writers such as the The Brother’s Grimm got their inspiration. I could almost see the evil witch, or Hexe in german, poisoning the apple for Snow White behind shuttered windows of the crumbling house.

Lower Falls

Upper Falls

We also saw two beautiful churches in the town. One was positioned right at the front of the town. It was short and small, but had a great view of the valley below.

Further down the road was St. Preimskirche. In the jumble of buildings, it was the one that stood out the most with its high dark red steeple.

One of the aspects of the town that most surprised me was the combination of old and new, clean and unkempt, modern and classic. Throughout the town there were plenty of old buildings, such as the churches, that were kept in perfect condition, but there was also a new modern feel in some places. For example above a small fountain there was a whole wall of very modern looking mural. Most of the town was taken care of, but sometimes we ran into places that were rundown and unused. This mishmash of so many different time periods and so many cycles of creation is really what made Badgastein come to life. In many ways Europe itself is like this little town.

New and old, abstract and realistic come together.