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Rock hermitage in Saalfelden

The rock hermitage in Saalfelden is a unique place that always attracts both locals and guests. It is located right above Lichtenstein Castle and nestles picturesquely in the rocks. The hermitage, visible from afar, is one of the last inhabited hermitages in Europe and has towered over Saalfelden since the 17th century.

The hermitage can now be reached both from the Saalfelden district of Bachwinkl, where the path to the Peter Wiechenthaler Hütte begins, and from Bürgerau (via the Fuchssteig, which requires sure-footedness), also a district of Saalfelden am Steinernen Meer. Near the hermitage is also the Kühloch, a natural cave that was used in the Bronze Age.

The remote building on Palfen in Saalfelden is located at 1,000 meters above sea level. The natural rock cave has been converted into a chapel with accommodation and every year from April to November a hermit - a single hermit - lives there.

A hermit moved into Saalfelden for the first time in 1664. The first hermit in Saalfelden's hermitage was the farmer's son Thomas Pichler, who had joined the Order of Saint Francis. At that time, the so-called Klausner had, among other things, the task of keeping fire watch during the night. From above they had a good view of the area and as soon as they noticed a fire, they rang the bell.

By the end of the 19th century, 13 more hermits followed, some of whom even spent up to 40 years at the Palfen. An ascetic way of life in poverty and modesty, keeping away from distractions and stimuli and dialogue with God are part of the spiritual path of a hermit. Praying, meditating and penitence are other practices for finding “inner contemplation” and peace.

Opening hours 2024:

summer months
Rest time: Friday morning

Church services at the hermitage:

Every first Saturday of the month (01/06 | 06/07 | 03/08 | 07/09 | 05/10) at 10:00 am


Rathausplatz 1
5760 Saalfelden

T 06582 797
E post@saalfelden.at


Start your drive in Viehhofen and take the Glemmtaler Landesstraße/L111. Follow the signs towards Maishofen/Saalfelden/Zell am See and turn onto Hochkönigstraße/B311. After about 11 km you will reach Saalfelden. There you turn onto Anton-Wallner-Straße which becomes Lichtenbergstraße. Follow this to the parking lot.

For the bike tour, you start on Glemmerstrasse and head towards Maishofen. Take Kammererstraße on the left. Follow the Tauern cycle path to the B164, cross it and drive to Rain. Stay on Rain and drive to Ramseiderstrasse, where you turn slightly right. Turn slightly right again onto Lofererstraße and drive about 150 m before turning right onto Obsmarktstraße and then turn right onto Lichtenbergstraße via Moßhamweg. Here follow the road up to the parking lot.

With the Viehhofen Sommercard you can use public transport free of charge. Take bus line 680 to the Glemmtal junction and change to line 260 in the direction of Saalfelden/Salzburg. Get off at the Saalfelden Postplatz stop and continue on Hochkönigstraße/B311. Turn onto Anton-Wallner-Straße which becomes Lichtenbergstraße. Follow this to the parking lot.


There is a parking space for mountain hikers at the end of the street in the Bachwinkl district of Saalfelden. From there you can hike up to the hermitage of St. George in about an hour. There are around 200 meters of altitude to overcome on this hike with children.

The hike from the Bürgerau car park takes half an hour. Once at the top, you will find a chapel built into the rock.

This path is a little more difficult via the Fuchssteig and requires sure-footedness. It leads to the Steinalm and from there to the Peter Wiechenthaler Hut.


Near the picturesque rock hermitage in Saalfelden, there are two notable attractions that you shouldn't miss.

The Ritzen Castle Museum in Saalfelden is a true gem for culture and history lovers. This museum presents several large thematic areas relating to the history of Saalfelden. It houses an impressive collection, ranging from a large nativity scene exhibition and sacred treasures with folklore exhibits to the Roman wall and ceiling paintings of Saalfelden.
For those seeking adventure, the summer toboggan run on Biberg in Saalfelden offers an unforgettable experience. With a length of 1.6 km and 345 meters in altitude, fun for the whole family is guaranteed. The summer toboggan run is closed in rainy or bad weather.

Whether you are a history buff or an adrenaline junkie, Saalfelden has something to offer for everyone.