Travel Advice

The 9 essential things to do in Hallstatt

Last update : 23/02/2024 10:09

Hallstatt is a charming village nestled in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, renowned for its picturesque beauty and rich history. Situated by the Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt) and surrounded by towering mountains, Hallstatt offers breathtaking views at every turn.

One of the main attractions of Hallstatt is its well-preserved historic center, which features narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings adorned with window boxes filled with flowers, and quaint cafes and shops. Visitors can explore the Hallstatt Museum to learn about the village's fascinating past, including its history of salt mining, which dates back thousands of years.

Nature lovers will find plenty to enjoy in Hallstatt, with opportunities for hiking, boating, and simply soaking in the stunning alpine scenery. The nearby Dachstein Ice Cave and Dachstein Skywalk offer unique experiences for those seeking adventure.

Whether you're strolling along the lakeshore, admiring the architecture, or exploring the surrounding mountains, a visit to Hallstatt promises an unforgettable experience filled with natural beauty and cultural richness.

1 - Explore the historic city center

Explore the historic city center

Exploring the historic downtown of Hallstatt is an unforgettable experience, offering insights into the history and culture of this picturesque region. Here are some highlights to discover during your visit:

  1. Main Square (Marktplatz): The main square is the heart of the downtown area, surrounded by picturesque buildings, cafes, and shops. It's a perfect spot to pause, relax, and observe local life.

  2. Catholic Parish Church of Hallstatt: This impressive church, built in a Gothic style, is an iconic symbol of Hallstatt. The interior is adorned with religious frescoes and magnificent sculptures.

  3. Beinhaus (Charnel House): This small chapel houses decorated skulls in the centuries-old tradition of the Hallstatt charnel house. It's a fascinating place to learn about local funeral customs.

  4. Hallstatt Museum: The local museum offers a fascinating insight into the region's history, including its mining past, traditional craftsmanship, and ancient way of life.

  5. Lakeside Promenade: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along Lake Hallstatt to admire panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the colorful houses of the village.

  6. Hallstatt Salt Mines Tour: While not directly in the downtown area, a visit to the historic Hallstatt salt mines is a must-do to learn more about the importance of salt in the region's history.

  7. Traditional Hallstatt Boat Ride: If you have time, a cruise on Lake Hallstatt aboard a traditional boat is an excellent way to see the village from a different perspective.

By exploring the historic downtown of Hallstatt, you'll be immersed in its unique charm and rich cultural heritage, offering an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Austrian Alps.

2 - Visit the Hallstatt salt mines

Visit the Hallstatt salt mines

The Hallstatt Salt Mines are an iconic attraction in the region, offering a fascinating glimpse into Hallstatt's mining history, which dates back over 7,000 years. Here are some key points about the Hallstatt Salt Mines:

  1. History: The Hallstatt Salt Mines are among the oldest salt mines in the world, with a history that stretches back to the Bronze Age. The salt extracted from the mines was a precious resource that played a crucial role in the region's economy and trade for millennia.

  2. Guided Tours: Visitors have the opportunity to take guided tours of the salt mines, which provide an immersive experience into the underground tunnels where salt was once extracted. Guides lead you through the underground galleries, explaining the history of mining and the techniques used.

  3. Mining Train: Part of the experience of visiting the salt mines includes a ride on a mining train through the tunnels. It's an exciting way to experience the underground environment and understand the working conditions of miners in the past.

  4. Salt Sculptures: Inside the mines, you can also see salt sculptures crafted by talented miners. These sculptures showcase the creativity and skill of the workers who spent their lives extracting salt from the depths of the mountain.

  5. Hallstatt Salt Mine Museum: In addition to mine tours, there is a dedicated museum showcasing exhibitions on the mining history and technology of Hallstatt. You can learn more about tools, techniques, and the daily life of miners through the ages.

  6. Panoramic Views: Aside from the historical and educational aspects, the salt mines also offer spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding region from the mountaintop. It's a great spot for photography and to appreciate the natural beauty of Hallstatt.

By visiting the Hallstatt Salt Mines, you'll have the opportunity to delve into the fascinating history of the region and discover the crucial role that salt played in its economic and cultural development.

3 - Take a boat on Lake Hallstatte

Take a boat on Lake Hallstatte

Taking a boat ride on Lake Hallstatt is a delightful way to experience the beauty of the region from a different perspective. Here's what you need to know about enjoying a boat trip on Lake Hallstatt:

  1. Boat Rentals: Several boat rental companies operate in Hallstatt, offering various types of boats including rowboats, pedal boats, and electric boats. You can typically rent a boat by the hour or for a half-day/full-day excursion.

  2. Exploring the Lake: Once you have your boat, you're free to explore Lake Hallstatt at your own pace. Glide along the serene waters, taking in the stunning scenery of the surrounding mountains, forests, and charming lakeside villages.

  3. Swimming: If weather permits and you're inclined, many people enjoy a refreshing swim in Lake Hallstatt during their boat excursion. Just be mindful of designated swimming areas and safety precautions.

  4. Photography Opportunities: The boat ride offers excellent opportunities for photography, with picturesque views in every direction. Capture the iconic Hallstatt skyline from the water, framed by the towering Dachstein mountains.

  5. Relaxation and Enjoyment: Whether you're seeking adventure or simply want to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the lake, a boat ride on Lake Hallstatt is a wonderful way to spend time with friends or family.

  6. Safety: While boating on Lake Hallstatt is generally safe, it's important to adhere to local regulations and safety guidelines. Wear life jackets if required, stay aware of your surroundings, and be mindful of other boats and lake traffic.

  7. Weather Considerations: Check the weather forecast before heading out on the lake. While Lake Hallstatt is beautiful in all weather conditions, it's essential to be prepared for changes in weather, especially if you're out on the water.

Overall, a boat ride on Lake Hallstatt offers a unique and memorable experience, allowing you to connect with the natural beauty of the region in a peaceful and enjoyable way.

4 - Climb the Hallstatt Skywalk

Climb the Hallstatt Skywalk

To visit the Skywalk in Hallstatt:

  1. Travel to Hallstatt: The first step is to get to the town of Hallstatt. You can reach there by car, train, or boat, depending on your starting point.

  2. Access the funicular: Once in Hallstatt, you'll need to take the funicular to ascend to the Skywalk. The funicular departs from the center of Hallstatt and takes you up the mountain.

  3. Walk to the Skywalk: Upon reaching the mountaintop via the funicular, you'll need to walk a short path to reach the Skywalk. Make sure to follow signs or ask onsite staff for directions if needed.

  4. Enjoy the view: Once on the Skywalk, take your time to admire the spectacular panoramic view of Hallstatt and its surroundings. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture some memorable moments.

  5. Descend: After enjoying the view from the Skywalk, you can descend by taking the funicular back to the center of Hallstatt.

Be sure to check the opening hours and funicular fares, as they may vary depending on the season. It's also recommended to visit the Skywalk on a clear day for the best experience.

5 - Visit the Ossuary Chapel of Hallstatt

Visit the Ossuary Chapel of Hallstatt

Visiting the ossuary chapel in Hallstatt is a fascinating experience. Hallstatt is a charming village located in Austria, known for its history, picturesque architecture, and stunning natural setting by the lake. The ossuary chapel, also known as the Beinhaus, is a small church situated on the hill overlooking the village.

Here are some useful tips for visiting the ossuary chapel in Hallstatt:

  1. History: The ossuary chapel was built in the 12th century and originally served as a place of worship for local miners. Over the centuries, it became a resting place for human bones due to the limited space in the village cemetery.

  2. Bone Collection: The interior of the chapel is adorned with thousands of skulls and long bones, arranged artistically. These bones are from Hallstatt's former residents and have been carefully maintained over the centuries.

  3. Guided Tour: It's recommended to take a guided tour to learn more about the history and traditions associated with the ossuary chapel. Local guides can provide detailed information about local funeral customs and the region's history.

  4. Respectful Conduct: As it is a final resting place, it's important to respect the sacred nature of the chapel. Visitors should behave with respect and discretion during their visit.

  5. Opening Hours and Admission Fees: Opening hours may vary depending on the season, so it's advisable to check the opening hours before planning your visit. There may be minimal admission fees to visit the chapel.

  6. Access: The ossuary chapel is located on a hill overlooking the village of Hallstatt. To access it, you can take a walking trail from the village, which also offers panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

By visiting the ossuary chapel in Hallstatt, you'll have the opportunity to discover a unique aspect of the history and culture of this charming Austrian region.

6 - Go hiking in the mountains

Go hiking in the mountains

Hiking in the mountains near Hallstatt is an incredible experience. Hallstatt is located in the picturesque Salzkammergut region of Austria, surrounded by the Alps. Here are some hiking suggestions to explore in the area:

  1. Hike to Hallstatt Lake (Hallstätter See): This hike offers stunning views of Hallstatt Lake and the surrounding mountains. You can start your hike from the village of Hallstatt and follow well-marked trails that will take you through forests and meadows to the shores of the lake.

  2. Ascend to Salzberg (Salt Mountain): You can take the funicular to ascend Salzberg, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Hallstatt and the surrounding area. Once at the top, you can hike along the marked trails that traverse the mountain.

  3. Hike to Gosau Valley: Gosau Valley, located near Hallstatt, offers spectacular scenery with its alpine meadows, lakes, and mountain peaks. You can hike through the valley by following trails that will lead you to breathtaking viewpoints.

  4. Hike to Dachstein: For more experienced hikers, an ascent to the summit of Dachstein can be an exciting adventure. Dachstein is one of the most iconic mountains in the region, offering stunning views of the Austrian Alps.

Make sure to check the weather conditions and trail difficulty levels before setting out on a hike, and don't forget to bring water, snacks, a map, and a compass. Enjoy your exploration of the beautiful mountains near Hallstatt!

7 - 5 Fingers Platform (Dachstein Krippenstein)

5 Fingers Platform (Dachstein Krippenstein)

The "5 Fingers" platform is located on the Dachstein Krippenstein mountain in the Austrian Alps near Hallstatt. Here's some information about it:

  1. Location: The 5 Fingers platform is situated on the Krippenstein peak of the Dachstein mountain range in the Salzkammergut region of Austria.

  2. Description: The platform consists of five protruding fingers made of steel and glass, extending over a precipice. Each finger provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Alps, including Hallstatt Lake and the nearby valleys.

  3. Access: Visitors can reach the 5 Fingers platform via the Dachstein Krippenstein cable car, which operates from the village of Obertraun near Hallstatt. From the top station, there's a short walk to reach the platform.

  4. Activities: Besides enjoying the breathtaking views from the platform, visitors can engage in various activities such as hiking, mountaineering, and paragliding. There are also designated hiking trails that lead to other points of interest on the Dachstein Krippenstein mountain.

  5. Facilities: The 5 Fingers platform has facilities for visitors, including a café and restroom facilities at the cable car station. Additionally, there are informational signs providing insights into the geological and environmental significance of the area.

  6. Safety: While the platform offers exhilarating views, it's essential for visitors to exercise caution, especially if they're afraid of heights. The platform has safety features in place, but visitors should adhere to all safety guidelines and warnings.

Overall, the 5 Fingers platform offers a unique and thrilling experience for visitors to enjoy panoramic views of the Austrian Alps from a spectacular vantage point.

8 - Excursion to Obertraun

Excursion to Obertraun

Going on an excursion to Obertraun from Hallstatt is a fantastic way to explore more of the stunning Salzkammergut lake region. Here are some tips for a successful trip:

  1. Transportation: Obertraun is located approximately 4 km from Hallstatt. You can get there by car, taxi, bike, or by using the local bus service. There are also boat connections between Hallstatt and Obertraun during the summer months, offering a scenic way to travel.

  2. Dachstein Krippenstein: One of the main attractions in Obertraun is the Dachstein Krippenstein, where you can take the cable car to reach panoramic peaks. Be sure to visit the 5 Fingers platform for spectacular views of the Alps.

  3. Dachstein Ice Caves: If you're visiting in summer, don't miss the opportunity to explore the Dachstein Ice Caves, accessible by cable car from Obertraun. These natural ice caves offer a unique and refreshing experience even on hot days.

  4. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Obertraun offers numerous hiking opportunities and outdoor activities. You can explore hiking trails around Lake Hallstatt or venture into the surrounding mountains for breathtaking views and outdoor adventures.

  5. Koppenwinkl: Koppenwinkl is a charming hamlet located near Obertraun. You can stroll through its peaceful streets, discover its traditional houses, and enjoy the tranquility of the Austrian countryside.

  6. Watersports: If you're visiting during the summer months, take advantage of watersports on Lake Hallstatt, such as swimming, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Obertraun has a public beach where you can relax by the water.

Make sure to plan your excursion to Obertraun based on your interests and preferences, and don't hesitate to explore this charming Austrian destination neighboring Hallstatt.

9 - Taste Austrian cuisine

Taste Austrian cuisine

Tasting Austrian cuisine in Hallstatt is a delightful and unforgettable experience. Hallstatt, located in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, is not only famous for its picturesque landscape but also for its traditional cuisine rich in flavors.

Here are some Austrian dishes you might enjoy in Hallstatt:

  1. Schnitzel: Austrian schnitzel is an iconic dish consisting of a thinly pounded slice of meat (usually veal or pork) breaded and fried. It's often served with potatoes and salad.

  2. Tafelspitz: This is a dish of slowly boiled beef, often served with boiled potatoes, root vegetables, and a horseradish sauce.

  3. Kasnocken: This dish features cooked egg noodles, typically gnocchi or spaetzle, mixed with melted cheese, onions, and sometimes bacon.

  4. Apfelstrudel: A classic Austrian dessert, apfelstrudel is a pastry made with flaky dough filled with cooked apples, raisins, and spices, usually served with whipped cream.

  5. Kaiserschmarrn: This dessert is a kind of thick, shredded pancake, typically dusted with powdered sugar and served with applesauce.

By enjoying these dishes in local restaurants in Hallstatt, you'll have the opportunity to experience the richness of Austrian cuisine while soaking in the charming and picturesque atmosphere of this historic town.

Hallstatt - Where to Stay?

In Hallstatt, there are several lodging options ranging from hotels to guesthouses to vacation apartments. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Hotels: Hallstatt has several hotels that offer comfortable rooms and quality services. Some of the most popular hotels include the Heritage Hotel Hallstatt, Seehotel Grüner Baum, and Hallstatt Hideaway.

  2. Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts: Guesthouses and B&Bs are another popular option in Hallstatt. They often provide a more intimate and family-oriented accommodation experience. You might consider places like Gasthof Bergfried, Haus Höll Herta, and Haus Lenz.

  3. Vacation Apartments: For those who prefer self-catering accommodation, there are also vacation apartments available for rent in Hallstatt. Websites like Airbnb and Booking.com offer a variety of options to suit all budgets.

It's recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, as Hallstatt is a highly sought-after destination and accommodations can fill up quickly.

Hallstatt - How to get around?

To get around and explore Hallstatt, here are some options:

  1. Walking: Hallstatt is a small, compact town, so many attractions are within walking distance. You can easily stroll through the picturesque streets, visit historical sites, and enjoy panoramic views without needing transportation.

  2. Boats and shuttles: To explore the surroundings of Hallstatt, including Lake Hallstatt and neighboring villages, you can use boat and shuttle services. Tourist boats ply the lake, offering guided tours and spectacular views of the alpine landscape. Land shuttles also connect Hallstatt to other attractions in the region.

  3. Bike rental: If you want to explore the outskirts of Hallstatt more actively, bike rental can be a great option. You can rent bikes in town and ride along bike paths by the lake or through the surrounding countryside.

  4. Public transportation: Hallstatt is served by regular bus lines that connect the town to other destinations in Austria. You can use public transportation to get around the region if you plan to visit other nearby towns or attractions.

Whether you choose to walk, take a boat, rent a bike, or use public transportation, you'll find several options for getting around and exploring the beautiful Hallstatt region.

Hallstatt - Best period

The best time to visit Hallstatt largely depends on your preferences for weather, crowd levels, and activities. Here's a breakdown of each season:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring in Hallstatt brings milder temperatures and blooming flowers, making it a beautiful time to visit. The tourist crowds are generally smaller compared to the peak summer season, allowing for a more relaxed experience. However, be aware that spring weather can be unpredictable, with occasional rain showers.

  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Hallstatt, attracting the largest crowds. The weather is generally warm and sunny, perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and exploring the town. However, be prepared for higher prices and longer queues at popular attractions during this time.

  3. Autumn (September to November): Autumn is another lovely time to visit Hallstatt, with cooler temperatures and stunning fall foliage adding to the scenic beauty of the region. The tourist crowds begin to thin out after the summer rush, making it a good time to enjoy the sights with fewer people around.

  4. Winter (December to February): Hallstatt transforms into a winter wonderland during the colder months, with snow-covered landscapes and festive holiday decorations. Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating in the nearby area. The town also hosts traditional Christmas markets, adding to the magical atmosphere. However, keep in mind that some attractions may have limited hours or closures during the winter season.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Hallstatt depends on your personal preferences and interests. If you prefer warmer weather and don't mind larger crowds, summer may be the ideal time for your visit. On the other hand, if you prefer quieter surroundings and don't mind cooler temperatures, spring, autumn, or even winter can offer unique and memorable experiences in Hallstatt.

Last update : 23/02/2024 10:09

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