For some people it is a lifetime destination whereas for others is still unknown. This little charming town nestled between the Austrian mountains and a lake makes you feel like you entered into a fairytale. In 1997 Hallstatt was declared as one of the World Heritage Sites by Unesco and lately has become a very popular destination attracting thousands of tourists.
Its surreal beauty caught my attention from the first time I saw pictures on line. It was something like love at first sight and since then I have been looking for an opportunity to visit it.
Located an hour away from Salzburg but 3,5 hours away from Vienna it was the perfect excuse to plan a road trip around the country. That’s why, we decided to drive from Vienna to the west part of Austria and spend couple of days in the Austrian countryside. It turned out to be the highlight of our trip.
Hallstatt might be small in size, it takes less than an hour to cross it on foot, but there are many things to do if you want to make the most of your stay.
Starting, of course, with strolling around and visiting all the super cute shops, the main square and its narrow streets. I can guarantee you won’t stop taking pictures!
If you are into panoramic views than you should definitely hike and reach the Skywalk, a route on the upper hill part of the town. A lift will take you up there, where you can enjoy great views of the town, Lake Hallstatt, and the mountains. There is even a waterfall somewhere on the way!
Next, visit the Salzwelten Museum. Hallstatt is very famous (and became wealthy) because of salt. The mine is the largest active salt mine in Austria, and once in the museum, you can find out more about salt mining.
During spring and summer months don’t miss the lake tour. Small boats will take you around and you can enjoy views of the town and the mountains from another perspective.
When to visit
Due to its high popularity it can get pretty busy during peak season (summer and Christmas period). Then you can expect large crowds and higher prices. If you want to avoid all this, it’s best to visit it off season e.g. April, May, October. We were there in November on a Thursday and really enjoyed walking around, finding a parking spot was easy and same was finding a cozy restaurant for lunch.
In general, it gets more crowded during weekends so if you want to explore it peacefully try to arrive as early as possible.
Where to stay
Accommodation in Hallstatt is limited, it’s a small village after all. Finding a place to stay might be expensive and time consuming. Depending on the period you are traveling might be worthwhile to extend your search in the wider area, for an overnight stay. We spent 2 nights half an hour way from Hallstatt in a beautiful bed & breakfast and was really convenient in every aspect.
Where to eat
There are several cozy, little cafes and restaurants across the lakeside. We chose to have our lunch at Café Derbl and really liked it. The hot pumpkin soup was perfect for the cold and overall prices were affordable.
Did you know?
In fact, it is so picturesque that they have even made a replica of Hallstatt in China.