Spa town in Austria
Bad Gastein is a spa town in the district of St. Johann im Pongau, in the Austrian state of Salzburg. Picturesquely situated in a high valley of the Hohe Tauernmountain range, it is known for the Gastein Waterfall and a variety of Belle Époque hotel buildings.
Bad Gastein is located in the historic Pongau region, the municipal area of about 171 square kilometres (66 sq mi) is the largest in St. Johann im Pongau District. The town centre is located at the Gastein Falls, about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level. It is characterised by numerous historic multi-story hotel buildings erected on the steep slopes.
The name "Bad" means "spa", reflecting the town's history as a health resort. The local Heilstollen (literally 'healing tunnel') thermal spring water earned the town its early fame. Theophrastus Parcelsus (1493–1541) had studied the spring water to discover its secrets. Marie Curie (1867–1934) and Heinrich Mache (1876–1954) helped to discover that it contained radon and as a result radon therapy began in the town.
Beside its water treatments, the town is popular for winter sports. Bad Gastein hosted the 1958 World Championships in alpine skiing and regularly is a scene of the snowboarding and boardercross worldcup. The Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein ski resort is part of the larger Ski Amadé network, it contains moderate to good skiing/snowboarding, with plenty of chairlifts and gondolas. Many establishments on the slopes offer warmth, food and strong drinks.
Since 2007, the town also annually hosts the Gastein Ladies tennis tournament, an International event on the WTA Tour, attracting top players like Julia Görges.