Good Bad Gastein

First thing’s first, we need to clear some things up about the name “Bad Gastein”(one of three villages in the Gastein valley). No, there is not a “Good Gastein” and you have absolutely no worries about the quality of the village based on it’s “bad” name. Though I have plenty of laughs about the German names from an English point-of-view, (e.g. Bad Gasse, ausfahrt) “bad” very simply means “bath”. There’s a very good reason why this alpine village has that name and it goes all the way back to Roman times.

The Romans were the first to discover gold and silver in the region and as the area was a vital crossroads between Italy and Germany, it quickly grew in importance. The three towns of the Gastein Valley, Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein (the capital of the area) and Dorfgastein, have been around since those early days, either as residence for  miners or as they would become in the middle-ages, home to spas and health tourism. History of the hot springs goes back all the way to the 13th century and it became a popular destination during the renaissance, attracting the likes of emperors, kings and poets.


The town of Bad Gastein grew enough by the 14th century that they were able to build the church of St Nikolai (still there today) and were allowed to set up their own court system. Between 1400 and 1800, the area struggled as it became less popular among tourists and more importantly, gold and silver lost value and the towns fell into disrepair. Fortunately, the spas grew in favor again in the 19th century when German and Austrian royalty began to return to the hot springs. During this time many high quality hotels were built for the super-rich and the clientele were almost exclusively high society. In 1909, with the completion of a railroad connection in the valley, the area became much more accessible and the crowds of the not-so-rich flocked to the wonderful spas. Though it helped in numbers, it hurt the top-notch hotels which were unaffordable for the masses.

Skip forward to our modern day and the 19th century hotels are having new air breathed into their beautiful wooden and brick bodies as the valley is yet again in an upswing and fixed to somehow in the near future become more picturesque as everything gets fixed up to perfection. The area is now a two season hot spot both for hiking, biking, trail running and spa….sitting…in the summer and skiing, boarding and spa-ing in the winter. It also has a fun/hip vibe that works well with the history and traditional feel that is oh-so typically Alpine.


Why did adidas INFINITE TRAILS World Championships choose this spot out of all the endless possibilities in Europe? (Well, the history itself is cool enough isn’t it??) It was actually a long process and a difficult decision choosing between some of the best locations in all of central Europe but In the end, Gastein in SalzburgerLand was selected because it impressed adidas with its sophisticated concept of sustainability and optimal use of existing trails and infrastructure. The whole setup is ideal not only for 2018 but for years to come. The goal that adidas and Gastein are working towards hand-in-hand is to create a  trail running event that people will mark on their calendars every single year and each time have an even more fantastic time than the last.

We look forward to years of partnership with Gastein/SalzburgerLand and couldn’t be more excited to work with such an incredible location and we hope that you fall in love with it as quickly and easily as we did.


-Kevin Gillikin


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