Hallstatt is considered the most beautiful town in Austria. It has achieved enormous popularity after having inspired the famous Disney movie “Frozen”. Hallstatt is a small town of just 750 inhabitants, whose idyllic image has crossed borders. It is so beautiful that no single question will arise in your mind that what to see in Hallstatt.
Situated on the shore of Lake Hallstättersee and surrounded by the spectacular Alpine massif, its dreamy landscape attracts a multitude of visitors every year. Due to its singular beauty, unique in the world, Hallstatt has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
HOW TO GET TO HALLSTATT?
How to get there from Salzburg
Hallstatt is located 72 km from Salzburg. There are several transportation options:
- By Train: Take a train from Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim. When you arrive at this station, take another train to Hallstatt. You will arrive in front of the town. Once there, take the ferry that will leave you in the city center. This trip takes approximately 2h30 and allows you to enjoy the scenery with ease.
- By bus: Take a direct bus to Hallstatt, or the line 150 bus from Salzburg to Bad Ischl. From there take the train to Hallstatt, and then take the ferry to the city center. The advantage of the bus is that it is the cheapest form of transport, and it allows you to see the landscape of the region well, although the road has many curves and is not recommended for those who are prone to seasickness.
- By car: If you travel in your own car, you can get to Hallstatt from two different routes, one through the B166 road or the B158 road. This is the fastest way to get to the city. It takes about an hour. In addition, the traveller can enjoy the wonderful scenery and stop at the best places, such as Bad Ischl. However, if you are traveling by car, keep in mind that the parking lot is located outside the city, so you will have to transport your luggage by hand.
How to get from Vienna
Vienna is located about 287 km from Hallstatt. The easiest way to get there is by taking a train from Vienna to Attnang-Puchheim, then another train to Hallstatt, and finally the ferry. The trip lasts approximately three hours. You can also go by car, with the same drawback noted above regarding parking.
If you want to take a plane, Salzburg is the closest airport to reach the city.
WHAT TO SEE IN HALLSTATT IN ONE DAY
Hallstatt has magnificent viewpoints from which you can admire the grandeur of its landscape. To enjoy the city, the traveller is recommended to follow the viewpoints route. Chief of all is the Skywalk Lookout.
It is located on the edge of a cliff, about 300 meters above sea level. From the Skywalk viewpoint, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Hallstatt, the old town, and the spectacular mountains of Salzkammergut.
Another of the viewpoints that you cannot miss is the famous Five Fingers or Five Fingers Viewpoint, a metal structure that receives that name because it remembers the shape of the five fingers of the hand. From this viewpoint, you can see the valley in all its fullness.
Built 500 meters on a rocky slope, it offers fascinating views of the entire region, from Salzkammergut to Hallstatt. Access can be done by cable car or on foot on a route of about 20 minutes through which you can enjoy the spectacular scenery.
The Rudolf Tower is another attraction of the city that you cannot miss. Located at an altitude of 855 meters, it offers one of the best views of the surroundings. The tower, built-in 1282 by Duke Albrecht I of Austria, as a defense for miners in Salzburg. The place has become an area very visited by tourists worldwide.
The mountains that are located around Hallstatt are another of its top attractions. A highlight is a visit to the Dachstein Krippenstein. It is accessed by a cable car to the viewpoint located 2,100 meters above sea level. Once you reach the top you can see a magnificent panoramic view of the entire region, from Dachstein Mountain to Lake Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut. The landscape is incredible and majestic.
Hallstatt Salt Mine
One of Hallstatt’s main tourist attractions is its salt mines. These mines, which were formed during the Neolithic period, are the oldest in the world. Guided tours to see the mines are organized. After putting on the typical miner’s outfit, you can thoroughly visit the mine and discover its history and that of the region through the different films that are shown.
In addition, the mines offer other activities, such as a magnificent sound and light show in its underground lake, the descent by a giant slide, and a ride on a small train. The tour lasts around 2 hours and the price is around € 25 per person and includes the return trip by funicular.
The Ice Caves
Another fantastic place to visit near Hallstatt is the famous Ice Caves. Dachstein’s Giant Ice Cave is located in Obertraun. During the guided tour you can admire the underground ice landscapes and walk next to huge ice formations.
The tour lasts about an hour and allows you to enjoy magnificent ice rooms, such as those of the “Cathedral of King Arthur” or the “Ice Palace”, as well as contemplate a huge ice formation over 9 meters high or an ice bell with its play of light. The Dachstein Giant Ice Cave is closed in winter. It usually opens from the end of April to the end of October.
The cemetery and the “House of Bones” in Hallstatt
One of the most interesting places to visit in Hallstatt is the “Beinhaus“, whose literal translation is “The House of Bones“. It is located next to the cemetery located on a hill next to the Parish Church of the Assumption (Maria am Berg). The special feature of the House of Bones is the skull bones that are kept here. Around 600 skull bones were collected from the ossuary and labeled, some dating from the 8th century.
Lake Hallstatt connects three small towns in the Salzkammergut region: Obertraun, Bad Goisern, and Hallstatt. It is about 125 meters deep and was once used to transport salt.
Currently, visitors come to admire the lake from the top of the nearby mountains, swim or dive in its crystal clear waters, or to take a boat trip. You cannot visit Hallstatt and not enjoy its lake. The banks of the lake are very well equipped, so you can take a walk by the lake or go cycling.
In addition, it is essential to take a boat trip on the lake and discover Hallstatt from a new point of view, as well as admire the many birds that inhabit the area. In addition to the Lake Hallstatt, the lake Gosausee is another major attraction in the area. It is located in Salzkammergut and offers a unique panorama, with its crystal clear waters and the impressive mountains that surround it.
Explore the old town
Hallstatt has one of the most beautiful old towns in Austria. Due to its extraordinary location, until the end of the 19th century, the city center could only be reached by boat or on foot. The old wooden houses are built next to each other, glued to the mountain massif and next to the spectacular Lake of Hallstatt, offering a landscape worthy of the best postcard, so much so that Hallstatt has become the most photographed European city on Instagram.
One of the best activities you can do is a guided photo tour of the old town. In it, you can explore the historic center of the city while taking some dreamy photographs.
Pfarrkirche Church and Cemetery
The small Church of Pfarrkirche dates from the 12th century. It has alternately belonged to Catholics and Protestants during the wars that have occurred in the region. It currently belongs to the Catholic cult. Next to the Church, there is a peculiar cemetery with a hundred tombs that are always full of flowers. Each tomb has a magnificent and peculiar decoration. It is a quiet and very beautiful place, apart from the sadness and austerity of most cemeteries. From the cemetery, you can admire a beautiful view of the lake.
The market square
A must stop is a small market about seventeen kilometres from Hallstatt, which is a very important part of the city’s heritage. The market has long been the region’s commercial center and attracts tourists from all over the world, eager to discover its history.
In the market, you will find the essence of time, which can be felt very clearly when you visit. The historic market square with the beautiful Column of the Trinity is one of the most photographed areas of the city. The square offers a beautiful panorama during the summer, with its houses full of colors and decorated with magnificent flowers.
Numerous events are held in the market square throughout the year. For example, in December a Christmas market is placed; in spring the Corpus Christi procession tour takes place there. Within the same plaza are some of the best hotels in the city, located directly by the lake.
A perfect way to explore the city is to take the funicular. The trip lasts about five minutes and places the visitor at an amazing height of 885 meters. The funicular is an excellent idea to save time, discover the city from a bird’s eye view, enjoy the magnificent scenery, or access the most emblematic corners of the city.
Halstatt is considered the “pearl of the Salzburg region“. Its incredible location, between the mountainous massif and the lake, make this place a unique corner in the world, offering infinite possibilities and activities to visitors. In Hallstatt, you will feel like you are in a fairy tale!