The largest city in Austria’s Pinzgau region, Saalfelden is increasingly known for staging two major international events, the first for jazz, the second a triathlon. With a population of approximately 16,000 souls, Saalfelden occupies the Saalach river valley (the train line between Salzburg and Tyrol comes through here, too) between several ranges of Alpine mountains; Saalfelden MICE venues earn their keep via both winter and summer tourism, but winter especially.
The nearest airport to Saalfelden is Salzburg Airport W.A. Mozart (SZG), named for the composer and the city’s most famous son, which is 40 miles to the north and has service only within Europe but to hub airport cities such as Frankfurt, London, Vienna and Zurich. The town has a rail station with direct connection to Salzburg.
Saalfelden’s principal meeting spot is the Congress Saalfelden, a five-story building that has 25,000 square feet of event space, 11 different function areas, capacity for up to 1,800 persons and terraces with mountain views.
As with many Austrian Alpine destinations, Saalfelden’s MICE hotels cater mostly to outdoor pursuit aficionados and spa-goers, but they also can host business groups, in such properties as the 73-room Ritzenhof Lakeside Hotel & Spa, which has two meeting rooms for up to 45 persons and comprises two accommodations blocks (Haus am See is on the lake, Haus am Schloss is not), and the 70-room Hindenburg, which has a history dating to 1567 and is owned by the same family that owns the Congress Saalfelden conference center to which it is connected. A little to the southeast, along the River Saalach in the small town of Maria Alm am Steinernen Meer and amid more colossal mountains, is the 85-room Alpenland Sporthotel, which has a meeting room for 200 persons attached to its restaurant, while to the west in the town of Leogang, on the Saalach, too, is the 95-room Salzburger Hof, which has a very noticeable climbing wall on one side of the hotel itself and other very creative architecture outside and, for meetings, inside. North of Saalfelden but, yes, yet again also on the Saalach, is the 200-room Gut Brandlhof, which has 19 rooms, and some very creative space that can host up to 700 persons.
One unique gathering spot in Saalfelden itself is the gorgeous Museum Schloss Ritzen, a white mansion-style castle on the edge of a lake with a museum chronicling local life and traditions and with outside space, mountain views, and gallery and seminar rooms; while 13 stunning road miles to the south is impressive Burg Kaprun, which dates to approximately 1280 and has some very cool spaces, including medieval halls, for rent, as well as also having an enviable location amid mountains. Back in Saalfelden-Leogang there are AsitzBrau, a brewery at the very highest stop (5,775 feet above sea level) of the Asitz funicular that also has event rooms and outdoor space for concerts and gatherings, and Hotel & Resort Der Krallerhof, which has a spa, outdoor grassy areas, a cool pool, 124 guest rooms and six function rooms, the largest able to cater to 360 persons and, as most hotels do here, amazing views. In Maria Alm am Steinernen Meer is Langeck Ferienhotel, with a spa, too, as well as a restaurant and a large patio for events.
Restaurants in Saalfelden include formal, very Austrian Brandlwirt, which has a local menu in an attractive red building with 11 guest rooms; Zum Griechen, a Greek restaurant in a large dining room but also with a patio and cozy but bright white cellar-like room; and, by the lake, Restaurant Ritzensee, which has a main dining room and a parlor room that combined can host 110 persons. In Leogang are Bachmuechle, which has a fine-dining Austrian menu in a hotel with a handful of guestrooms, and the formal restaurant, also with a local menu, at the Riederalm, another hotel, this one with 64 guest rooms.