Bad Gastein in the Salzburgerland in Austria once was the place where Kings, Queens and the Rich and Famous went. It has always been famous of their healthy baths containing radon. Using these baths is supposed to help against many diseases, in particular rheumatic diseases. Furthermore its splendid waterfall in the center of the small town is a sight on its own, and worth a detour!
Bad Gastein lived its best days as a health resort in the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century. In the second half of the 20th Century the town more or less slept in and came into decay (although not literally). It disappeared from the list of major tourist destinations in Austria.
The local community tried to win back the attention of the tourists by building a Conference Centre, a very ugly building that replaced the former Kurhaus, and a large parking garage. Furthermore the place tried to attract winter sports tourists. One of the major old hotels was transformed into a Casino. Some other hotels closed, but still others changed owner and started to flourish again.
All these measures together have put Bad Gastein more or less back on the map. It nowadays is a quiet place where you can enjoy a holiday in natural surroundings, but within easy reach of Salzburg and many smaller tourist places.
Among the royal and famous guests that visited Bad Gastein are Queen Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi), Emperor Wilhelm of Germany and many others. The small town is located in the Gasteinertal (valley of Gastein) where also Bad Hofgastein and Dorfgastein are located.