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Cast off! For more than 147 years, ferries are sailing across Lake Wolfgangsee. Thanks to that, the magical surroundings of the lake are brought very closely to its passengers.

The history of the WolfgangseeSchifffahrt ferries

Start of regular ferry service

In 1869, Berthold Currant, an engineer with the Kaiserin Elisabeth Bahn, together with the head of the Steyrermühl papermill, Albert Pietz, attempted to acquire a concession for passenger shipping on Lake Wolfgangsee.

At the beginning of 1873, the first ship was delivered from Linz to Strobl in pieces. On 20 May 1873, the first steam ship, the paddle steamer “Kaiser Franz Josef I” made its maiden voyage, opening the era of passenger ferry service on Wolfgangsee.

"Kaiserin Elisabeth"

In 1886, Currant purchased a screw steamer from the Budapester Propeller-Überfuhrgesellschaft for ferry service on Abersee (the old name of Wolfgangsee), which has stalwartly performed its duties on Lake Wolfgangsee since 1888 under the name “(Kaiserin) Elisabeth”.

First Timetable

The first timetable foresaw four trips daily during the summer months: Strobl - St. Wolfgang - Fürberg - St. Gilgen. The cruise took 45 minutes. Since ferry service during the brief summer months turned only minimal profits, Currant pressed for construction of a railway line up the Schafberg.

WolfgangseeSchifffahrt in the 20th Century

Not until 1893, after construction of the Schafbergbahn had been completed under the leadership of the SKGLB, did ferry service experience the hoped-for upswing in business. After several changes in ownership (Verkehrsbüro and Deutsche Reichsbahn), ÖBB bought up WolfgangseeSchifffahrt together with the SchafbergBahn and Hotel Schafbergspitze. After the end of the war, the region saw an enormous boom and the fleet was diligently expanded over the years. Today, it consists of six motorized vessels, the paddle steamer “Kaiser Franz Josef I” included.

WolfgangseeSchifffahrt today

In April 2006, “Salzburg AG für Energie, Verkehr und Telekommunikation” took over the SchafbergBahn and WolfgangseeSchifffahrt. In doing so, this Salzburg-based energy- and infrastructure provider added two leading Salzkammergut businesses in the tourism sector to its portfolio.

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