All that glitters isn't gold? Well, maybe in Gastein Valley it is. Just ask the old gold prospectors ...
Sifting the sand from one edge of the pan to the other, back and forth, perusing the contents ever so carefully. And if you are lucky, catching sight of something shiny between the grains of sand. Tauern gold! The search for gold looks back on a long tradition in Gastein Valley, going all the way back to the 14th century. That said, experts believe that gold was first discovered by man in the Hohe Tauern mountains some 2,000 years ago. Plus, Tauern gold was one of the reasons Salzburg's prince-archbishops were so incredibly wealthy. Gold mining in Gastein came to an end in the last century. Nevertheless, you can still enjoy the excitement of hunting for gold during your holidays. There are three sites in Gastein where you can walk in the footsteps of the prospectors of old and see if this is your day to "strike it rich". An unforgettable experience, and not just for kids!
The Via Aurea association takes ambitious gold prospectors out on a very special expedition: to the gold-panning site on a stream in Angertal. With a bit of expert instruction, you will be able to pan for any treasures the stream by choose to share with you. For larger families as well as groups of 10 or more, the association is also happy to organize a meal over a campfire – almost like it was back in the days of the gold rush.
The gold-panning site in Alt-Böckstein has a fairy-tale quality about it: pristine and romantic, it lies next to the Alter Pöck, directly below the Radhausberg and in the heart of Gastein's former gold-mining area. Even today, with a little bit of luck you can still find glistening slivers of gold as well as minerals in the Nassfelder Ache. Plus, you can also pan for gold even when the weather isn't cooperating: There is a shelter with gold-panning sluices that gives protection from the rain and wind. Rubber boots, a pan and a vial for the gold itself are all provided for a small fee.
Fun for big and small: In the wooden gold-panning troughs at Waldgasthof Angertal, modern-day gold prospectors can pan and sieve for gold to their hearts' content. Every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, the gold-panning professional will demonstrate how to wash Tauern gold out of the sand. And afterwards, you can try your own hand at panning. Will this be your lucky day? Who knows, perhaps you will indeed catch sight of a flake or two of the precious metal. Or maybe more - who knows!
Panning for gold is an exciting experience and ideal for families with children. In Gastein Valley, you can select from three different gold-panning sites - the choice is yours. Where did Mother Nature hide most of her treasure? Find out, during your holidays in Gastein.