Are you looking for the best Hallstatt Christmas markets and activities to do in Hallstatt in Winter? Then I got you covered!
Hallstatt is a beautiful and scenic little village located between an impressive lake and a stunning mountain range. Its historical value is priceless, and it is oh-so picturesque.
I have grown up in Austria, and Hallstatt is one of my favorite destinations to visit with friends from abroad.
It can be a bit tricky to get there and avoid the masses of tourists.
To help you out with your planning, I have created this ultimate guide for traveling to Hallstatt in winter.
Table of Contents
- About Hallstatt
- Why Visit Hallstatt in Winter?
- Hallstatt Christmas Market
- Christmas in Hallstatt – Popular Events
- How to Get to Hallstatt
- Things to Do in Hallstatt in Winter
- 1. Explore the Village of Hallstatt
- 2. World Heritage Museum
- 3. Skywalk – World Heritage View
- 4. Get the Picture Perfect Shot at the Viewpoint
- 5. St. Michael’s Church and Charnel House
- 6. Winter Hiking in the Salzkammergut
- 7. Skiing and Winter Sports
- 8. Dachstein Giant Ice Cave
- 9. Warm Up in a Thermal Spa
- 10. Eat Traditional Austrian Cuisine
- Where to Stay in Hallstatt for Christmas
- Weather in Hallstatt in Winter
- Is Winter a Good Time to Visit Hallstatt?
- What to Pack for Hallstatt in Winter
- Other Things to Do Nearby
- Alternatives to Hallstatt
- How Much Time Do I Need in Hallstatt?
- Conclusion: Hallstatt Christmas Markets & Winter Activities
- FAQ: Hallstatt Christmas Markets & Winter Activities
Hallstatt is a small village located in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. It’s located right by the Hallstätter See. The beautiful lake is surrounded by the Dachstein Alps.
The village is renowned for its picturesque beauty, charming architecture, and rich history.
Hallstatt has a long history that dates back to prehistoric times. It’s known for the Hallstatt Culture, which used to be an early Iron Age civilization.
One of the village’s most important assets is the historic salt mines. Salt has been mined in the Hallstatt region for thousands of years.
The salt mining in the village dates back to 5.000 BC – making it the oldest salt mines in the world.
The village has also become quite famous because of its traditional architecture. The houses are tightly clustered together, giving Hallstatt a bit of a cozy feel. The idyllic setting attracts tourists from all over the world.
The cultural landscape of Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Why Visit Hallstatt in Winter?
In winter, Hallstatt transforms into a winter wonderland worth many Instagram pictures.
I have visited Hallstatt in winter many times and it is my favorite time of the year to go. While Hallstatt in summer is certainly charming, it has a unique atmosphere during Christmas times.
The village and the landscapes look beautiful with snow-covered rooftops, frozen lakes, and snow-draped mountains.
The winter season in Hallstatt is usually from December to February. From the end of November until the end of December, you can celebrate Christmas in Hallstatt at the Christmas market in the town square.
Winter temperatures in Hallstatt can range from around -5°C (23°F) to 5°C (41°F) during the day. Nights are colder, often dropping below freezing, with temperatures around -10°C (14°F) or lower.
Hallstatt Christmas Market
📌 Market Square, Hallstatt
The Hallstatt Christmas market is one of the most special events of the year. It is traditionally hosted only on the 8th of December, which is a public holiday in Austria.
The romantic Christmas market is hosted on the Market Square. It is the highlight of Advent in Hallstatt. It usually starts around 10:00 am and is open until 06:30 pm. Make sure to check the times before your trip.
It usually consists of little chalets presenting authentic Austrian food and arts and crafts. A stunning three dimensional crib scene is one of the highlights of the market.
Make sure to try hot mulled wine and cheese fondue – typical Christmas dishes.
Sadly, the Hallstatt Christmas market only takes place on one day per year. But there are many other great Christmas festivities in the Hallstatt area.
Christmas in Hallstatt – Popular Events
Since the Christmas Market sadly only takes place for a day, I have looked up other fantastic things for you to do during Christmas in Hallstatt.
Some of these events are in Hallstatt town, others are in the region around it.
Here are my favorite Christmas events around Hallstatt:
- Gosauer Berg Weihnacht (2. December, Homeland museum Gosau, 4824 Gosau, Colorful and traditional Christmas market)
- Krampus Run in Hallstatt (05. December, Market square Hallstatt, Fire shows, St Nicholas Parade and Austrian traditional masked figures)
- Advent Market Hand.Werk.Haus (16. and 17. December, Salzkammergut Hand.Werk.Haus, Bad Goisern, Traditional Christmas market for arts and crafts)
- Famous Tunes in Romantic Setting (24. December, Market square Hallstatt, Classical Concert)
- Salzburg Christmas Market
Check the official website of the Salzkammergut area for dates and directions.
How to Get to Hallstatt
Hallstatt Small-Tour Day Trip From Vienna
- 12 hours
- Hotel Pickup
- Professional Guide
- Lake Attersee
- St. Gilgen
It takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes to drive from Vienna to Hallstatt. There is paid parking everywhere just outside the town of Hallstatt.
You can leave your car there and walk a couple of steps to the city center. Parking in Hallstatt is not too expensive.
If you don’t have a car, I suggest picking up a rental car with DiscoverCars at Vienna Airport or the city center.
You can also go to Hallstatt by train. The next train station is called Obertraun-Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof, on the other side of the lake. From there, you can take a shuttle service to the city center.
Trains to Obertraun-Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof are operated by ÖBB, the Austrian national rail network, you can book your tickets here. You have to switch trains in Attnang-Puchheim, if you come from Vienna.
Full-Day Minivan Tour from Salzburg to Hallstatt, with Lakes & Mountains
- 8 Hours
- Free Hotel Pickup
- Small Group Tour
- St. Gilgen, Bad Ischl, 5 Fingers
- Gosau, Abtenau
Hallstatt is about 1,5 hours of driving away from Salzburg. You can either rent a car or go on an organized tour.
It is also possible to go to Hallstatt by train from Salzburg. Just like when coming from Vienna, the next train station is called Obertraun-Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof. From there, you can take a shuttle service to the city center.
Trains from Salzburg to Obertraun-Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof are operated by ÖBB as well. You have to switch trains in Attnang-Puchheim when coming from Salzburg.
Things to Do in Hallstatt in Winter
1. Explore the Village of Hallstatt
My favorite thing to do in Hallstatt in winter is to wander through the narrow streets of the old town. The snow-covered roofs and charming traditional houses are worth an Instagram picture.
The village takes on a magical quality during the winter months and the mountain backdrop is even more stunning covered in snow.
Make sure to grab a hot chocolate in one of the cafes in the town square to warm you up. On the town square, you can find a huge Christmas tree that is usually lit up until January.
Of course you can also participate in a special Hallstatt walking tour with a guide. Here are my favorites:
- Hallstatt 2-hour Walking Tour With Photographer
- Hallstatt: City Highlights Guided Walking Tour
- Special Christmas Tour Around Hallstatt
2. World Heritage Museum
When walking the town square of Hallstatt, you will pass by the World Heritage Museum. It is an amazing, interactive museum that will teach you everything you need to know about Hallstatt and its history.
The expositions in the museum will take you back to 7.000 years ago, and teach you everything you need to know about salt mining in the past.
Video animations, holographic representations, and 3D presentations are only a few examples of what the museum has to offer.
Keep in mind that the opening times vary in winter.
- Adults: 10 EUR
- Children: 8 EUR
- Families: 20 EUR
Seestraße 56, 4830 Hallstatt, Austria
3. Skywalk – World Heritage View
The Salzbergbahn (a nice cable car) will take you up the mountain in just a few minutes for a stunning view. It will take you up to an altitude of 838 meters.
This is one of my favorite things to do in Hallstatt in winter. Make sure to wear good shoes, there is usually a lot of snow up there.
You can walk out for 12 meters on a viewing platform for some amazing panoramic views.
A small restaurant called Rudolf’s Tower will serve you traditional Austrian dishes and delicious hot chocolate on top of the mountain.
Usually, the ticket price included is admission to the Salzwelten. Sadly, they have limited opening times in winter. Tours down the salt mines are not available in winter.
09:00 until 16:30
Adults: 40 EUR
Children: 20 EUR
4. Get the Picture Perfect Shot at the Viewpoint
The Classic Village Viewpoint is one of the most prominent picture spots in Hallstatt.
It is not really original, but you will get an unfailingly spectacular picture from that spot. It is in walking distance from the Market square, so you can easily hop by there.
Directions: HJ7X+RX Hallstatt, Austria
5. St. Michael’s Church and Charnel House
The catholic church of St. Michel & the Ossuary is a great hidden gem dug into the mountain. To see the church you have to walk on the small hill over stone steps. The chapel has a long-standing history, dating back to the 12 century.
It is definitely worth visiting, but the true spectacle is hidden inside the Bone House.
The historic bone-house (also called the Charnel House) has over 600 painted skulls and an amazing view over the area and the town.
They are sorted by families and their dates of death are noted on the back of the skull. It is quite creepy but a long standing tradition in Hallstatt.
6. Winter Hiking in the Salzkammergut
Winter hiking is one of the best things to do in Hallstatt. The entire area turns into a magical winter-wonderland and is ready to be explored by seasoned hikers as well as beginners.
The most famous hiking trail in Hallstatt in winter is along the Waldbach stream. It takes you through the Echerntal into a magical winter wonderland.
Other popular hiking trails are the Bachweg in Gosau and the Traunreiterweg in Bad Goisern.
7. Skiing and Winter Sports
While Hallstatt itself is not a major ski destination. But there are several ski resorts and slopes located only a short drive outside the village.
Here are some ski facilities around Hallstatt that you might consider:
- Dachstein West Ski Resort: This is one of the closest ski resorts to Hallstatt. It is located in Gosau. It offers different slopes for all skill levels. The resort also has cross-country skiing trails and other winter activities.
- Krippenstein Ski Resort: Also near Hallstatt, Krippenstein offers a unique skiing experience with stunning panoramic views.
- Postalm Arena
- Tauplitz Ski Resort
Do you need travel insurance in Hallstatt? Yes, travel insurance in Hallstatt is recommended. Especially in winter, when roads are slippery and winter sports is popular, travel insurance can be important. EKTA offers world-wide travel insurance with 24/7 service and no hidden fees or restrictions.
8. Dachstein Giant Ice Cave
Dachstein Ice Caves are a great spot to visit when in Hallstatt in winter.
They are not directly in Hallstatt but nearby.
Dachstein Ice Cave is an incredible natural wonder that you can visit during winter. You can take a guided tour through an ice palace inside the mountain. Huge ice sculptures and objects are displayed impressively in the cave.
The tour takes about 50 minutes and is a great spectacle for young and old.
9. Warm Up in a Thermal Spa
Thermal Spas are a great place to visit in Austria, they are a big part of our culture. The warm, thermal water is said to have healing qualities.
Many people from all over the world flock to the thermal spas for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
In the Hallstatt area, there are quite a few different stunning thermal spas with infinity pools, saunas, and much more.
My favorite thermal spas near Hallstatt are:
- Daffodil Spa Resort in Bad Aussee (Narzissentherme)
- Grimming Therme in Bad Mitterndorf
- Eurothermen Resort Bad Ischl
10. Eat Traditional Austrian Cuisine
When it comes to food, Austria has a lot to offer. There is a big choice of delicious dishes that are perfect for warming up during the colder months.
Here are some of my favorite foods to eat in Hallstatt in winter:
Traditional Austrian Dishes
You haven’t lived before you have tried Wiener Schnitzel (breaded and fried veal or pork), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), and Tafelspitz (boiled beef). They are usually served with sides like potatoes, dumplings, and sauerkraut.
Warm up with a cozy fondue – a traditional Austrian Christmas market dish. Whether it’s cheese fondue or fondue bourguignonne (hot oil for dipping meats), sharing a fondue experience with friends or family is fun and delicious!
Street food-style sausages and bratwurst can be found in many markets and food stalls – and Hallstatt Christmas market is no exception. The tasty sausages are served with mustard and bread, sometimes even horseraddish.
Don’t forget about dessert! Indulge in a slice of Apfelstrudel, a delicious Austrian apple strudel pastry. It’s usually served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. If you don’t like apples, try the traditional Austrian Sacher cake instead.
Warm up with hot beverages like Glühwein (mulled wine) or hot cider. Eggnog and punch are also among Christmas markets favorites.
Where to Stay in Hallstatt for Christmas
Seehotel Grüner Baum
- 20 m to City Center
- 4 ****
- Stunning Lake View
- Breakfast Included
- Spacious Rooms
- 9,7/10 Booking.com Rating
Pension Cafe zum Mühlbach
- Cozy Rooms
- Lake View or Mountain View
- Great Location
- Affordable Rates
- Typical Austrian
Weather in Hallstatt in Winter
Hallstatt experiences a lovely winter atmosphere from December to January. It is in my opinion the most beautiful time to visit the town. Especially Hallstatt before Christmas is charming and worth a trip.
Here is a bit of an overview of the weather in Hallstatt in winter:
December: December marks the start of the winter season in Hallstatt. Temperatures range from -1°C to 3°C (30°F to 37°F). Snowfall begins, covering the town in a soft white layer. It’s typical to see a few inches of snow on the ground throughout the month – a lovely atmosphere is guaranteed. December is typically the most expensive month to travel, because Christmas in Hallstatt is quite popular.
January: January is the coldest month of winter in Hallstatt. Temperatures hover around -3°C to 1°C (27°F to 34°F). Snow days are more frequent, creating a picturesque winter landscape. By the end of January, there might be several inches to a foot of snow covering the town.
February: In February, the cold weather persists in Hallstatt. Temperatures range from -2°C to 2°C (28°F to 36°F). Snowfall remains frequent, and the town maintains its winter charm. By the end of February, there will be big amount of snow on the ground.
Is Winter a Good Time to Visit Hallstatt?
Yes, winter can be a great time to visit Hallstatt. Personally, I loved visiting Hallstatt in winter the most for many reasons.
If you enjoy snowy landscapes and a cozy atmosphere, you will love it just as much as I did. During the winter months Hallstatt transforms into a winter wonderland. Snow-covered rooftops, frozen lakes, charming streets and the Hallstatt Christmas market make it so special.
Visiting in winter allows you to experience a quieter and more peaceful side of Hallstatt. Hallstatt in summer is super overrun.
It is usually not as crowded as during the peak tourist seasons. December is the most popular month in Hallstatt in winter, so keep that in mind.
You can enjoy typical Austrian winter activities like walking in the snow, taking scenic photographs, and sipping hot mulled wine.
Additionally, Hallstatt holds traditional winter events and festivals, such as the Hallstatt Christmas market and the Perchtenlauf. This is a great way to experience Austrian Christmas traditions.
Keep in mind that the weather can be quite cold. Some attractions might have limited opening hours or are closed for the season (like the tour down the salt mines).
Snow makes the streets and walkways slippery, so it is not a great season if you are not too steady on your feet. Especially the Skywalk is tricky to navigate.
To sum it up: I find Hallstatt in winter a great place to visit. But you do need to bring warm clothes.
What to Pack for Hallstatt in Winter
Certainly, here’s a basic packing list for a trip to Hallstatt in winter:
- Warm Clothing:
- Winter coat
- Sweaters & layers
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Warm socks
- Hat, gloves, and scarf
- Waterproof boots
- Hiking shoes
- Sunglasses (to protect against snow glare)
- Hand and foot warmers (for extra comfort)
- Small backpack
- Cash and Payment:
- Local currency (Euros in the case of Hallstatt)
- Credit/debit card
- Ski or snowboard equipment (if you plan to ski in nearby areas)
- Snowshoes or other winter outdoor gear
- Swimsuit (for potential spa visits or hotel amenities)
Other Things to Do Nearby
- Dachstein Skywalk: The Dachstein Skywalk is a platform hovering over a cliff above the Dachstein Glacier. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Alps. The Dachstein is located in Styria, Austria.
- Salzburg: This beautiful city is famous for being the birthplace of Mozart and is rich in cultural heritage. You can explore the old town, visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress, and enjoy its musical traditions. The Mirabell Castles and gardens are always worth a visit. Salzburg has a very famous Christmas market as well.
- Bad Ischl: This historic spa town is about a 30-minute drive from Hallstatt. It has charming streets, historic buildings, cozy thermal baths. Bad Ischl used to be the summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria
- Five Fingers Viewing Platform: Another popular viewpoint in the Dachstein region is the Five Fingers viewing platform
- Wolfgangsee: Wolfgangsee is a picturesque lake located not far from Hallstatt. The towns around the lake, such as St. Wolfgang and St. Gilgen, are super charming. They offer lakeside promenades, boat rides, and opportunities for leisurely strolls. Here you can also find stunning Christmas markets.
Alternatives to Hallstatt
If the crowds and the cold temperatures deter you from Hallstatt, there are still a few alternatives in Austria that have a similar charm.
Here are some of the best alternatives for Hallstatt in Austria:
- St. Wolfgang
- Bad Gastein
- Zell am See
- St. Gilgen
- Maria Wörth
- Schloss Ort
How Much Time Do I Need in Hallstatt?
I suggest to spend at least one night in Hallstatt.
It is definitely possible to see the entire town and the best attractions in one day, but it might be a bit rushed.
Especially if you are coming from Vienna, you might want to take an extra night in Hallstatt. 2 days in Hallstatt is perfect for a relaxed experience.
If you are planning to also see other things in the area, I suggest staying about 3 nights. This gives you enough time to see other beautiful spots and maybe even do some winter sports.
If you are planning to make a big trip out of it, you can probably fill an entire week with fun things to do in the area.
Conclusion: Hallstatt Christmas Markets & Winter Activities
As you have seen in this post, Hallstatt in winter is definitely worth a visit. Not only is the Hallstatt Christmas market a true hidden gem, but there are many other things to do.
The World Heritage View Point, the Salt Mines and the Charnel House are interesting winter activities in Hallstatt.
The area around Hallstatt is certainly stunning as well, so there is a lot to do and see. Make sure to visit Vienna in winter for more cute Christmas markets.
Check more Destinations for inspiration!
FAQ: Hallstatt Christmas Markets & Winter Activities
Yes, Hallstatt has a Christmas market. The annual Hallstatt Christmas market is hosted each year on the 8th of December in the town square. It boasts lovely chalets selling arts and crafts and traditional Austrian street food.
Yes, Hallstatt is worth visiting in winter. Hallstatt’s beauty takes on a magical quality in winter. The village’s charming architecture looks stunning against a snowy backdrop. The frozen lake and the nearby skiing opportunities make it a picturesque and tranquil destination for a winter getaway.
Hallstatt is lovely in December. The village shows festive decorations, creating a cozy atmosphere. The serene lake, snow-covered landscape, and traditional Christmas markets add to its charm. Keep in mind that the weather can be cold, and some attractions may have limited hours. But the overall ambiance is great for a winter visit.
Yes, it often snows in Hallstatt during Christmas. The village transforms into a winter wonderland with a high likelihood of snowfall. It has a picturesque and festive ambiance. The snow-covered scenery adds to the charm, making it a perfect destination for a cozy and magical winter holiday.
Yes, 2 days is enough to see Hallstatt. You will have plenty of time to see the attractions in town in a relaxed way. If you want to see some of the surrounding landmarks, make sure to stay a little longer.
In December, dress warmly for Hallstatt’s cold temperatures. Layering is key: wear thermal underclothes, sweaters, a heavy coat, gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Waterproof boots are essential for potential snow. Pack cozy clothes for indoor exploration and holiday markets. Don’t forget sunglasses and comfortable walking shoes for icy surfaces.
Yes, Hallstatt is expensive compared to other Austrian towns of that size. It is very popular among tourists, so prices are comparable to Vienna and Salzburg. However, compared to other European cities, traveling to Austria is still relatively cheap.