The Salzewelten Altaussee, the Altaussee Salt Mine, became a "mountain of treasures" when nazis stored more than 6,500 paintings and cultural objects within the mine's tunnels. These were eventually recovered by the "monuments men" of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the US armed services.
The Altaussee salt mine sits at the foot of Loser mountain in the heart of the Ausseerland region in the Salzkammergut. As the second world war was winding down, diehard nazis settled in this pristine part of the Austrian alps.
Location Map of Salzewelten Altaussee
The map marker on the left represents the mine entrance. The marker on the right is the Toplitzsee, also a site of interest to followers of the monuments men; it served as a Nazi naval weapons testing station as well as a dumping ground for the counterfit British Pounds the Nazi's had intended to use to destabilise the British economy before the war went sour on them.
Altaussee Salt Mine Travel Toolbox
There is a train station in the town of Bad Ausee. To see all the variations of how you can arrive at Bad Ausee and what it might cost, see the map: Salzburg to Altaussee.
There are buses from Bad Ausee to Altaussee. See OEBB.
Buses run every one to two hours from the Bad Ausee train station to both lakes.
Bad Ausee is a popular ski resort in winter, and there are plenty of hotels. It's also said to be the geographical midpoint of Austria; there is a stone monument commemorating the central honor. Visit the Kammerhofmuseum to learn more about the salt trade and cultural traditions of the area.
If you want to stay in an idylic spot not so far away, and make the Salt Mines a day trip, we recommend staying in Hallstatt.
Toplitzsee (marked on the map), where the Nazis tested weapons and allegedly dumped counterfeited currency, is unique in that it has two layers of water, an upper one composed of fresh water and one beneath it made of salt water, according to Wikipedia.
The closest airport is Saltzburg Airport.
The JUFA Altaussee guesthouse is conveniently located directly opposite the mine entrance.