A beautiful day in Hallstatt, Austria – winter and summer
Hallstatt, is a beautiful small village, located right on lake Hallstatt, in Austria’s Salzkammergut region. The picturesque little village is famous and one of the must-do things when you are in Austria. I have had the luck to visit Hallstatt, Austria in winter as well as in summer and both times I have been amazed by the beauty of this. This inspired me to write a comprehensive post about all you need to know about Hallstatt, Austria as well as the best day trips to Hallstatt from Vienna, Salzburg and Munich.
Table of Contents
- When is the best time to visit Hallstatt, Austria?
- How to get to Hallstatt?
- Best hotels in Hallstatt, Austria
- The history of Hallstatt, Austria
- Things to do in Hallstatt in winter
- Things to do in Hallstatt, Austria in summer
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When is the best time to visit Hallstatt, Austria?
Personally, I don’t feel like there is an ideal time to visit Hallstatt. However, Hallstatt in winter is vastly different than Hallstatt in summer. Both versions are undeniably beautiful and worth a visit, but the activities you can do, change with the seasons.
Summer in Hallstatt is very nice, because you can sit outside on the terraces, enjoy the scenery without being cold and even take a boat ride on the lake Hallstatt. However, keep in mind that this is the busiest time in Hallstatt, so it might get a little crowded. Parking spaces will be limited and you might have to walk a bit in the glistering sun.
Winter in Hallstatt, on the other hand, is truly magical. The mountains will be covered in snow and there is a small Christmas market in Hallstatt. I personally preferred my trip in winter, because the scenery looked even more impressive. Parts of the lake were frozen and all the trees were snowed in.
How to get to Hallstatt?
You can easily reach Hallstatt by car, it is about an hour of driving away from Salzburg. Even from Vienna, the drive with a drive time of three hours, is not too bad. There is paid parking everywhere in Hallstatt, so you can nicely leave your car there and walk a couple of steps to the city center. If you are planning on taking a full blown road trip through Austria, keep on reading this blog post. If you wanna know more about the Steiermark area of Austria, head over here.
Hallstatt can also easily reached by train, since there is a train station called Obertraun-Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof, at the other side of the lake. From there, you can take a shuttle service, that will take you to the city center. Trains to Obertraun-Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof are operated by ÖBB, the Austrian national rail network, you can book your tickets here. Make sure to not forget switching trains in Attnang-Puchheim, if you come from Vienna or Salzburg.
There are many great tours and excursions with busses that offer day trips to Hallstatt. Here are my favorite Hallstatt excursions and day trips from Munich, Salzburg and Vienna:
- Day trip from Vienna to Hallstatt
- Half day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt
- Private day trip from Munich to Hallstatt
Best hotels in Hallstatt, Austria
Here is a selection of the best hotels to stay in Hallstatt (with an amazing view):
The history of Hallstatt, Austria
The city of Hallstatt, Austria has a very interesting history, some artifacts dating long back until 1200 BC. The community around Hallstatt has been known to have worked in the salt mines around the city, many ancient artifacts have been conserved in the mines, such as leather and shoes and tools. The Hallstatt museum in town has the largest collection of materials from early excavations.
The production of salt was always been a major source of income for Hallstatt, ever since 1595, the salt has been transported with a 40 km long pipeline. This is one of the oldest pipelines known to humans. It has been constructed from 13.000 hollowed out trees. The salt mine itself is the world’s oldest salt mine.
In the 19th century, tourism slowly but steadily increased. The town, that could only be reached with boats thus far, got finally connected to the street grid in 1890. Ever since the town was marked as a UNESCO cultural heritage site in 1997, tourism exploded. Shortly after, Hallstatt was featured in a South-Korean television show, and it became huge all over Asia. They even went as far as building a replica of the town in China.
Over-tourism has been a problem in Hallstatt ever since. Luckily, they are trying to focus on quality tourism now, cutting the number of allowed buses per day in half. The town is now focusing more intensely on overnight guests, instead of day tourists. Try to keep that in mind before booking your trip!
Things to do in Hallstatt in winter
Visit The World Heritage museum
The World Heritage museum is located right in the town square and is a great activity for young and old. Thanks to multimedia technology, the visitors will be taken back almost 7000 years and learn all about the culture and history of Hallstatt. History is being presented with modern day technology, such as video animations, holographic representations, 3D presentations, life-like dioramas. For more info head over here.
- Adults: 10 EUR
- Children: 8 EUR
- Families: 20 EUR
Seestraße 56, 4830 Hallstatt, Austria
Check out the World Heritage View
If you are not afraid of heights, you definitely have to check out the World Heritage View. Roughly 350 m high, a view platform is hovering above the town of Hallstatt. The viewpoint offers a gorgeous view over the village, the lake and the mountains. Make sure to stop at the restaurant on top, they serve delicious Austrian cuisine.
You can reach the Skywalk in Hallstatt using the funicular railway up the salt mountain. Another option is to hike up to the salt mine. The ascent from the valley takes about 1 hour. The descent via a part of the ‘Soleweg’ (brine path) takes about 90 minutes.
The cable car operates between 09:00 in the morning and goes down for the last time at 16:30 in the afternoon. Make sure to check the opening times before you go, since they can vary on holidays.
- Adults: 20 EUR
- Children: 10 EUR
- Family Ticket: 41, 50 (two adults and one child)
Visit the Salzwelten (salt mines)
The Salzwelten (salt mines) in Hallstatt are an amazing experience you cannot miss on your trip to Hallstatt, Austria. Dive in deep into the mountain and retrace the steps of the ancient salt miners. Go down a miners slide and see the underground salt lake.
09:00 until 14:30
Adults: 40 EUR (includes tickets for the cable car)
Children: 20 EUR
Visit the catholic church of Hallstatt and the charnel house
The catholic church as well as the Ossuary and the mountain cemetery are nicely hidden away in the mountain. To see the church you have to walk on the small hill over stone-steps. You have not only the possibility to visit the church, but also the historic bone-house (called charnel house) with over 600 painted skulls and an amazing view over the area and the town.
Take a walk in the historic old town and see the Christmas market
On the 8th of December, a local holiday in Austria, you can find a Christmas market in the town square of Hallstatt. Drink some hot mulled wine and enjoy the beautiful view! But also on other winter days, the city center is very beautiful and is definitely worth being visited.
Things to do in Hallstatt, Austria in summer
Basically, you can do all the same things in Hallstatt in summer than you can do in winter. However, in summer you can additionally enjoy a scenic boats tour on the lake on board of the MS Hallstatt. The boating tour will take you across the lake to Obertraun and back later in the day. What a fabulous excursion!
Aw, Austria is a beautiful country, in summer and in winter. I have visited if a few times, but haven’t been to Hallstatt yet, but it’s on my list… Thanks for sharing some great tips!
So glad to hear that you liked my home country (: I bet you will love Hallstatt once you go!