Winter Wonderland

Your Next Holiday Trip

The natural beauty and rich cultural history of Hallstatt, Austria, draw travelers from all over the world. It is a small village located in the Salzkammergut region that dates back to prehistoric times. 

This World Heritage Site is a repository of ancient artifacts that have been carefully preserved throughout its long history. Evidence suggests that the Celts settled in Hallstatt as early as the 8th century BC. During the Roman Empire, there was increased mining activity in the area as well as an expanded population due to migrants coming from all parts of Europe. 

During this time, Hallstatt also achieved a level of artistic prowess with intricate woodcarvings and jewelry decorations. It was during these medieval times that it became an essential trading hub resulting in significant wealth and fame in Central Europe. 

Although today it is known for its tourism industry, Hallstatt continues to be lauded for its picturesque beauty, unique architecture, and deep historical significance.

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Getting to Hallstatt

ARRIVING BY CAR

By far the fastest option, and it’s ideal if you want to make a pitstop in Hallstatt before making your way to Vienna or Prague. 

It’s about  1 hour 10 min from Salzburg, or 3 hours 30 mins from Vienna. You have to park in a designated lot outside of the town, Car Park P1 (and also P2 in the Summer). Overnight guests staying in town have a free parking and can either walk 20 minutes into town or wait for the next shuttle. 

If you are visiting on a day trip, you will need to pay up to 10 euros to park for 7-12 hours. 

ARRIVING BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Train: This is a slightly longer option than taking the bus from Salzburg, but certainly the most fun. When you reach Attnang-Puccheim, you must switch to the train headed to Bad-Ischl and Obertaun. 

Once you arrive at Hallstatt station, you immediately board a ferry (5 euros per person each way) that is timed to the train and takes you into the main town. Overall, this journey is 2 hours 30 mins from Salzburg or 3 hours 45 mins from Vienna. 

*This is a better option when arriving from Vienna. The bus from Vienna adds about 2 hours of extra travel time!

Inside an empty train with red and gray seats

Bus: This route shaves 20-30 mins off the commute from Salzburg (2 hours). The commute from Vienna will be over 6 hours. Please try to avoid this route if you can. 

Where to Stay

There are quite a few options tailored to the kind of trip you want. From family-friendly to adults-only options, boutique four-unit hotels right in the Square to charming larger hotels with better dinner options. Here are a few you might like: 

I Da Mitt: Charming Boutique Hotel in the Main Square

I Da Mitt, a cute boutique hotel right in the main square, where I ended up staying. They offer breakfast in the mornings on the first floor, and the space converts to a low-key bar in the afternoons.

Two men smiling while holding their cups of drink at I Da Mitt in Hallstatt, Austria
Inside a clean hotel room with chair and bed at I Da Mitt in Hallstatt, Autria

Hallstatt Hideaway: Exclusive Adults-Only Retreat

Hallstatt Hideaway is a secluded adults-only hotel. Some hotel rooms have outdoor jacuzzis that face the waterfront from a cozy night under the stars. They also offer private sauna sessions and have a private garden that abuts the lake that opens up during warmer months. 

A waterfront view from an outdoor jacuzzi at Hallstatt Hideaway

Top 10 Things to Do

1. Enjoy Lake Hallstatt

If you travel by train, you have to take the ferry into Hallstatt across the lake. Lake Hallstatt is a stunning, pristine lake surrounded by majestic mountains and lush forests. No wonder why it is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. 

Come in the Summer and enjoy more opportunities such as sunset boat tours or stand-up paddleboarding.

A view of Lake Hallstatt surrounded by trees, mountains, and houses

2. Admire the Views from Rudolph’s Tower and Skywalk

Rudolph’s Tower and Skywalk is a unique attraction that offers stunning views of the surrounding alpine scenery. Built high on a mountain above the lake, it stands at 363 meters and offers panoramic views from its observation deck. From here visitors can observe Lake Hallstatt and its islands, take in the sweeping views of snow-capped mountains, or look out over the lush forest below. 

The Skywalk, an accessible suspension bridge extending for 20 meters out from the tower, provides visitors with awe-inspiring vistas.

To get to the Tower and Skywalk, you can either walk 45 minutes to an hour up the mountainside, or you can take the 5-minute ride on the Salzwelten funicular to the top. 

The walkway to Rudolph tower
The walkway to Rudolph Tower, pictured in the center.
Overlooking view from the Rudolph Skywalk
The view from the Rudolph Skywalk. Charming winter vibes!

3. Visit the Hallstatt Salt Mine (Salzwelten)

The Hallstatt Salt Mine is one of the oldest salt mines in the world, and it’s a fascinating place to visit. Tours take you deep underground, where you can see how salt has been mined for centuries.

Hallstatt Salt Mine is a historical landmark that provides a unique experience for visitors. The mine was built in 1517 and was used to produce salt until the mid-19th century when it ceased production and became open to the public as a tourist attraction.

At over 800 meters deep, the mine features some of the oldest wooden stairs in Europe, giving visitors an incredible view of the mineshaft well below ground level. It also includes several galleries connected by underground chambers filled with mesmerizing salt sculptures created by miners over time.

Visitors can go on guided tours to explore different sections of the mine and learn more about its history. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

A long tunnel with a lot of lights in Hallstatt Salt Mine
A view of the tunnel in Hallstatt Salt Mine

4. Pay Respect to the Dead at Charnel Bone House

Charnel Bone House, located in the old graveyard of St. Michael’s Chapel is an eerie reminder of the past. 

This macabre collection of bones dates back to 1659 when the area’s cemeteries became overcrowded and cadavers were exhumed from their graves. The bones were rearranged, carefully numbered, and artfully displayed in a house-like structure that stands today. 

Visitors can view this chilling display up close and gain insight into the town’s ancient burial customs. It is a somber yet thought-provoking reminder of mortality and serves as an interesting insight into a bygone era.

A bunch of skulls on a shelf at Charnel Bone House
Just a tad creepy, no?

5. Head to Dachstein Mountain for Skiing

Dachstein Mountain provides an array of activities for both the winter and summer seasons. For thrill-seekers, the mountain offers skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, zip lining, and more. 

In the warmer months, visitors can go hiking, paragliding, and bouldering. The range also boasts some of Europe’s most spectacular via ferrata routes which give climbers the chance to traverse dizzying heights on foot and admire breathtaking views from the peaks. 

Visitors can enjoy a full day out with activities at Dachstein Mountain or simply take a leisurely stroll through alpine meadows and along rugged walking trails for an unforgettable scenic experience.

6. Stroll Around the Quaint Village

The view from the top of Dachstein Mountain and a cable car
View from the top of Dachstein Mountain. Stunning!

The village of Hallstatt is very small, and it is easy to walk around. Take your time and enjoy the scenery. The homes and shops have charming decor to admire. There are many shops and restaurants in the village, so you can also do some shopping or have a meal.

Facade of a vined home in Hallstatt, Austria
A beautifully vined home on the walk through the village.

7. Stop by Marketplatz

Marketplatz is the beautiful town hall in Hallstatt. If you’re lucky, you may have a hotel in the Square and can admire the center coming alive in the morning and winding down at night with its many food and bar options to pick from. 

The Marketplatz or Townhall in Hallstatt, Austria
Marketplatz is even more charming at night.

8. Go Shopping for Souvenirs and Ornaments

Shopping lovers rejoice! There are unique boutiques along the walk through the town, offering handmade goods, one-of-a-kind souvenirs, and tons of precious (fragile) ornaments to add to your Christmas tree stash back home. Be sure to get some salt as well — they offer a variety, for food and for baths. 

Ornaments hanging from a shop in Hallstatt, Austria.
Ornaments and holiday cards galore.

9. World Heritage Museum

The World Heritage Museum in Hallstatt, Austria is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn about the town’s unique culture and history. 

The museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts that tell the story of how people lived and worked in the region centuries ago. It displays objects such as tools used for fishing or hunting, coins, jewelry, textiles, and pottery. 

Visitors can also explore interactive exhibits which showcase Hallstatt’s unique architecture as well as its rich cultural heritage. From its salt mines and alpine forests to its breathtaking lakeside village, the World Heritage Museum is sure to leave an impression on all of those who visit it.

10. Snap a Pic from the Iconic Viewpoint

Your stay is not complete without snapping a pic at the iconic viewpoint in Hallstatt. I went there at different times during the day and tonight to capture different moods. I found that capturing at night was the most tranquil. Make sure to bring your tripod!
Google “Viewpoint Hallstatt” and you’ll have no trouble navigating to this spot. Enjoy the view.

Hallstatt Viewpoint in Austria
Hallstatt Viewpoint in Austria

WHERE TO EAT

During the winter, most restaurants were closed despite what their open hours on Google stated. Try to book dinners ahead of time. Some hotels offer you breakfast. There will be enough cafes and restaurants for lunch, snacks, and coffee along your stroll. Here are some of the ones I liked:

Restaurant Rudolfsturm: Located inside the Rudolph Tower. They open at noon and offer beautiful scenery from their viewpoint at the skywalk. 

Restaurant im Seehotel Gruner Baum: This is a great restaurant that is attached to a hotel. It is right against the lake and will be your best bet for dinner, as most other restaurants are closed early evenings.

Creme Brûlée at Restaurant in Hallstatt, Austria
My weakness is dessert. Here’s one from Seehotel Gruner Baum.

Karmez Kebap Cart: This small trolley serves halal food, steps away from the dock to the Hallstatt ferry. This is a reliable stop for food throughout the day.

Simple 169: A casual restaurant offering a wide variety of dishes. They are open earlier than most restaurants, making it a great place to stop for lunch. 

Burgerman The Station: A great place to go for burgers and fries. This is located on the way to the funicular that takes you to Rudolph Tower and maybe 10 minutes walking distance from the town hall.

Frequently Asked Questions: TOP THINGS TO DO IN HALLSTATT, AUSTRIA

What is Hallstatt famous for?

Hallstatt is famous for its picturesque beauty, historic salt mine, and stunning lakeside location in Austria.

Is Hallstatt, Austria worth visiting?

Without a doubt, Hallstatt is a destination that offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Its stunning landscapes, charming village, and cultural significance make it a must-visit.

Is 2 days enough for Hallstatt?

Two days provide a good opportunity to explore Hallstatt’s main attractions, including the village itself, the salt mine tour, a boat ride on Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt), and even a walk up to the Hallstatt Skywalk for panoramic views.

How do you spend a day in Hallstatt?

You can spend a full day in Hallstatt by exploring the village, joining a guided tour of the salt mine, taking a boat on the lake, and enjoying Skywalk views.

Is one day in Hallstatt enough?

While it’s possible to cover the main highlights in one day, spending just a day in Hallstatt might leave you wishing for more time to truly absorb the beauty of the place.

Which month is best for Hallstatt?

Spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Why do so many people visit Hallstatt?

Its stunning natural beauty, unique culture, and historic significance make it a popular tourist destination.

Is Hallstatt walkable?

Yes, Hallstatt is a small village that can be easily explored on foot.

Is Hallstatt safe at night?

Yes, Hallstatt is generally safe at night for tourists.

How to go Hallstatt Skywalk?

Follow signs to the Skywalk from the village center. It’s a short walk uphill.

How do you explore Hallstatt?

Walk around the village, visit attractions like the salt mine, enjoy the lakeside, and take in the views.

Is Hallstatt car free?

The village center is car-free, but cars can be parked in designated areas.

When should I go to Hallstatt?

April to June and September to October are ideal times to visit Hallstatt, Austria.

Can you do a day trip from Vienna to Hallstatt?

Yes, it’s possible, but it’s a long journey (around 3-4 hours one way). Staying overnight is recommended for a better experience.

Does Hallstatt Austria have snow?

Yes, especially in winter, Hallstatt experiences snowfall.

Do you need to stay overnight in Hallstatt?

Staying overnight allows you to fully experience the village beyond its day-trip attractions.

What is the coldest month in Hallstatt?

January is typically the coldest month in Hallstatt.

Is Hallstatt closer to Vienna or Salzburg?

Hallstatt is closer to Salzburg than Vienna.

Can I do Salzburg and Hallstatt in one day?

Doing Salzburg and Hallstatt in one day is possible, but it might feel rushed due to the travel distance and time.

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