Hallstatt is a picturesque UNESCO World Heritage site tucked away in the Austrian Alps full of history and culture. Situated in the Salzkammergut region of the Austrian Alps, Hallstatt is nestled between snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes and lush meadows. In this ultimate guide to Hallstatt, Austria we’ll go over how to get to Hallstatt, where to stay, what to see, what to do and essential experiences to have. We will also cover some of the best nearby attractions, activities, and places to eat. Whether you want to engage in thrilling adventure activities such as skiing or hiking or just relax and explore the town and its surroundings, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes in this photogenic and historic town.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Get To Hallstatt
- 2 Where to Stay in Hallstatt, Austria
- 3 Best Things to Do in Hallstatt
- 3.1 Wander Around the Lake
- 3.2 Visit the Market Square (Marktplatz Hallstatt)
- 3.3 Visit the Hallstatt World Heritage Museum
- 3.4 Take Pictures from the Hallstatt Viewpoint
- 3.5 Visit St. Michael’s Chapel and Hallstatt Charnel House
- 3.6 Visit the Evangelical Church of Hallstatt
- 3.7 Hallstatt Waterfall
- 3.8 Visit the Skywalk
- 3.9 Visit the Hallstatt Salt Mine Museum
- 3.10 Go hiking around Hallstatt
- 3.11 Visit the Dachstein Giant Ice Cave
- 3.12 Relax by Hallstatt’s bathing island
- 3.13 Go to the 5 Fingers Observation Deck
- 3.14 Rent a boat
- 3.15 Try winter activities
- 3.16 Shop local products
- 4 Where to Eat in Hallstatt
- 5 Best Time to visit Hallstatt
- 6 Some More Useful Tips on Visiting Hallstatt
How To Get To Hallstatt
Traveling by car from Vienna
If you’re traveling by car from Vienna to Hallstatt take the A1 motorway which runs through the town. The A1 provides easy access from all over Austria and it’s usually very busy during peak hours so expect long delays if you’re planning on travelling during those times. The estimated time from Vienna to Hallstatt is about 3.5 hours. Since cars are prohibited in the town, you will need to leave your car in one of the parking lots. Parking lot “P1” is reserved for visitors that have booked an overnight stay in one of the hotels in the town’s city center. For more information click here. Day visitors can leave their car for a few hours in one of the parking lots found in this guide.
Traveling by train from Vienna
There is a direct train from Vienna Central Station to Hallstatt Bahnhof that is about 3.5 hours long. Otherwise, there is another train route that requires a transfer at Attnang-Puchheim station before arriving to Hallstatt Bahnhof. Trains going to and from Hallstatt tend to be quite overcrowded so it’s worth reserving a seat for a guaranteed spot on the train. Once at Hallstatt Bahnhof, you will need to take a short ferry ride to reach Hallstatt town. The ferry departs about every 30 minutes and costs 7€ (make sure to hold onto it as it includes your return ticket). Tickets may be purchased at the ferry, but don’t forget to carry cash as they do not accept any other form of payment.
Note: Due to the renovation work, the ferry does not run at the moment between Hallstatt Bahnhst and Hallstatt town from 06/02/2023 through 17/03/2023. As an alternative, you can go via Steeg-Gosau on bus line 542 and Obertraun-Dachsteinhöhlen on bus line 543.
Where to Stay in Hallstatt, Austria
The town of Hallstatt has several Airbnb and hotel options for staying overnight. The best place to stay in my opinion is in or near the market square.
I da Mitt: Situated right in the town’s market, this charming hotel offers quaint and comfortable rooms, a delicious breakfast buffet and exceptionally welcoming staff.
Seehotel Grüner Baum: Also found in the market square, Seehotel Grüner Baum offers rooms with balconies facing the lake as well as the town square.
Apartment Müllerstiege: A spacious apartment that sleeps four and has sweeping views overlooking Hallstatt. The climb up to the apartment is via a tall staircase, but the view is totally worth it.
Polreich: Set right on the lack, Polreich is a couple of minutes’ walking distance from the town square. Unblocked views of the lake make this a one-of-a-kind property, especially ideal for couples.
Hallstatt Lake View House: Perfect for families or a group of friends this lake house comes with two bedrooms and a living room with a sofa bed.
Boutiquehotel Strand Hallstatt: This adults-only hotel is about a 5-minute walk from the center of Hallstatt and is perfect for those looking to have a quiet and peaceful stay along the lake.
Explore more hotels in Hallstatt
Best Things to Do in Hallstatt
Hallstatt is an idyllic alpine town full of history, culture, and natural beauty. No matter the season you plan to visit Hallstatt there is a plethora of activities both indoors and outdoors. From stunning views from the Skywalk viewing platform to traditional delicacies at local eateries, there’s something for everyone in Hallstatt. In this section, we’ll outline the best things to do in Hallstatt while staying true to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town.
Wander Around the Lake
Taking in the beauty of Hallstatt Lake is best appreciated via an amble along the edge. It is a sight to behold. On the left, stand the imposing mountains, looking down upon you with grandeur. Meanwhile, on the right, are the small, quaint houses, with their unique aesthetic, nestled within their backdrop. Finally, the lake itself which sparkles in the sunlight is indeed an awe-inspiring sight ready to be captured on camera.
Visit the Market Square (Marktplatz Hallstatt)
Take a walk through the cobblestone streets that lead to the town’s market square and admire the bright, colorful buildings that have stood since the 18th century. This is the main square Hallstatt where several hotels, restaurants and shops can be found. You can also take a stroll around the picturesque town and take in the amazing views of the mountain that towers over the buildings. Once you’re feeling hungry after all the sightseeing, you can sit down for a traditional Austrian meal at one of the restaurants found in the Market Square to cap off your day.
Visit the Hallstatt World Heritage Museum
The Hallstatt World Heritage Museum is a great place to explore if you’re interested in Hallstatt’s culture and history. This museum is impressively comprehensive, covering more than 7000 years of Hallstatt history dating back to the original Hallstatt settlement during the Iron Age. More specifically, this UNESCO heritage site has exhibitions ranging from the Early Iron Age to modern times, showing you the progression of Hallstatt culture with every exhibit. The entire visit should take 1 to 1.5 hours, and with an entrance fee of 10 € per adult and various discounts available, this makes the museum an incredibly affordable attraction.
Take Pictures from the Hallstatt Viewpoint
Arguably the best and most popular spot to take pictures of Hallstatt is from the Hallstatt Viewpoint. Take iconic shots of the stunning backdrop of this historic alpine town with the famous Lake Hallstatt in your foreground, imposing snowy mountains in the background and the notable Evangelical church and colorful houses presiding in the center. This lovely vista captures the charm and beauty of this centuries-old town no matter what the season is.
Visit St. Michael’s Chapel and Hallstatt Charnel House
The beautiful, and somewhat mysterious, St. Michael’s Chapel is situated high up on the hill providing sweeping views of the Hallstatt below. Completed in the year 1519, St. Michael’s Chapel, with its accompanying Ossuary and cemetery, serves as a popular destination for tourists who wish to experience and admire this historic pilgrimage church. Adjacent to the chapel, visitors may enter the Hallstatt Charnel House, or “Bone House” for 2€, which houses over 600 painted skulls. Not to be overlooked, the chapel also provides a breathtaking view of the magnificent, emerald-green Lake Hallstatt – a beautiful backdrop when visiting the chapel.
Visit the Evangelical Church of Hallstatt
One of the first landmarks you will notice upon entering the village is the prominent Evangelic Church. Located directly at the foot of the town, along the lake, the church stands tall and provides a stunning view for visitors and locals. Boasting an extensive history of architecture, with its tall tower reminiscent of the Middle Ages, this church is a must-see when visiting Hallstatt.
Within the picturesque bounds of the town of Hallstatt passes a small but delightful waterfall. If you have the time and the energy to make your way up the windy stairs that take you up to the waterfall, you will be rewarded with a truly stunning and panoramic view of Hallstatt. Once you make it to the top of the stairs and onto the road that leads to the waterfall, you will be able to marvel at the incredible sight that greets you: the vivid and clear blue waters of the lake as it meets the lush green forest in the distance. It is a breathtaking sight and one definitely worth the climb!
Visit the Skywalk
The “World Heritage Skywalk” is a magnificent platform located 350 meters above the roofs of Hallstatt in the stunning Salzkammergut region. This incredible viewing platform offers incredible views of Lake Hallstatt and the surrounding Alps. Once there, take in the incredible vistas of extraordinary mountains while being surrounded by the graceful beauty of nature. Right above the observation deck lies the Rudolf Tower which is home to a café/restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. With a large panoramic terrace, you can enjoy spectacular 180-degree views of the surrounding Alpine panoramas while indulging in delicious local specialties and homemade pastries.
How to get there: You may take the funicular up to the Skywalk for 22€ (round trip). From there, the skywalk is about a 2-minute walk. There is also the option to buy a combo ticket for 40€ that includes the price of the funicular plus the entrance fee of entering the Salt Mine Museum. Otherwise, there is a hiking trail for those that wish to hike to the Skywalk. The hike is about an hour long on the way up and about 90 minutes on the way down via the “Soleweg” or Brine Trail.
Visit the Hallstatt Salt Mine Museum
The Hallstatt Salt Mine Museum is the oldest salt mine in the world and dates back 7000 years. Visitors can learn about the history of salt production and its uses throughout the ages as well as walk through these chambers and caverns. The salt crystals you’ll find in the mines date back over two millennia – an incredible testament to the epochs of history that have passed within its depths. Exploring this ancient site can provide you with a unique perspective on the history of the area, and the long-gone people who inhabited the region long ago. It’s a truly remarkable experience, that is both educational and fascinating.
Go hiking around Hallstatt
With hundreds of kilometers of trails filled with captivating landscapes, Hallstatt is a great destination for hikers. Surrounded by lakes and mountains, climbers can wander through nearby valleys and explore the iconic hills of the Hallstatt area. From scenic beginner trails to challenging mountaineering ascents, Hallstatt has the perfect trail for every outdoor enthusiast. Towering two-thousand-meter-high mountain peaks and a majestic massif of mountains of all sizes line the horizon. On the mountainsides and foothills are a variety of trails waiting to be explored, such as the renowned “Soleweg” (Brine Trail) or the hike to the “Waldbachstrub” Waterfall in Hallstatt.
Visit the Dachstein Giant Ice Cave
The Dachstein Giant Ice Cave is located in the heart of the rugged Salzkammergut region of the Austrian alps. You will have the chance to explore a dazzling world of rock and ice, with incredible views of glaciers and cascading waterfalls. This adventure includes a thrilling light and sound show, a unique rope bridge, and an amazing cave with impressive cave bears depicted in ancient frescoes on the walls. Dachstein Giant Ice Cave is open to visitors between April 30th and November 6th.
Relax by Hallstatt’s bathing island
Hallstatt’s beach is just a ten-minute walk from downtown Hallstatt, offering the perfect escape for the entire family to enjoy. The artificial island is connected by a bridge from the shore, which was crafted from the rocks that were excavated when the Hallstatt tunnel was built in the sixties. Nowadays, the Island provides a special refuge for visitors and locals alike. Whether you are looking for a place to unwind and relax, or fancy swimming and sunbathing in absolute nature, the beach in Hallstatt is the perfect destination to get away and clear your mind. Once there, guests can take in the unique surroundings sitting under the shade of a tree whilst reading a book, or enjoy the wide range of playgrounds available to entertain the kids.
Go to the 5 Fingers Observation Deck
With a breathtaking view over Lake Hallstatt and the surrounding mountains, the 5fingers viewing platform near Hallstatt is a must-visit destination in the Alps. Located 400 meters above the ground, this viewing platform will provide an adrenaline rush to even the bravest of hearts. Standing out like a hand, this is probably the most spectacular observation deck in the entire Alps. With its vertigo-inducing beauty and stunning view, the 5fingers platform is a must-visit location any time of the year.
How to get there: You must take the cable car (39,60€) to the top of the mountain. From there, 5 Fingers is about a 30-minute walk. Buy tickets here.
Rent a boat
Renting a boat during the summer is one of the highlights of visiting Hallstatt. There are several boat rental companies along the lake and the price to rent a boat ranges from 15-30€ an hour depending on the type of boat. Admire the towering mountains surrounding Hallstatt from the tranquil waters during this unique experience.
Try winter activities
For snow enthusiasts, there are several winter activities available in the Hallstatt region. There is a ski resort, Dachstein West just 20 minutes from Hallstatt that apart from family-friendly ski slopes, also offers snowshoe hiking and cross-country skiing. Another ski resort near Hallstatt is Dachstein Krippenstein, which is home to the longest slope in Austria.
Shop local products
And finally, don’t forget to shop some local products. Hallstatt is known for its handcrafted goods and souvenirs that are sure to make any souvenir hunter happy. Be sure to stop by historic downtown Hallstatt where you’ll find charming boutiques and art galleries overflowing with local treasures.
Where to Eat in Hallstatt
Seehotel Grüner Baum: Found on the main square overlooking the lake, this hotel & restaurant offers upscale as well as traditional Austrian dishes.
Bräugasthof: Authentic Austrian restaurant set inside a 1400’s guesthouse with views of the lake.
Restaurant Rudolfsturm: Restaurant found next to the Hallstatt Skywalk. The view alone from this restaurant makes it a one-of-a-kind lunch spot.
Café Bäckerei Konditorei Maislinger: Café, bakery and confectionery with homemade pastries, cookies and sandwiches. Seating is very limited in the shop however you may also buy the sweets to go.
Simple 169: Delicious and homemade pizza, soups and sweets run by a lovely couple. A perfect stop for lunch or to grab something on the go.
Marktbeisl Zur Ruth: Situated in the town’s square, this coffee shop/bistro offers coffee, drinks, pizza and some small meals.
Seecafé Hallstatt: Small but welcoming café offering indoor and outdoor seating. Outdoor tables boast amazing views of Hallstatt.
Best Time to visit Hallstatt
The great thing about Hallstatt is that it’s an all-year-round destination. Wintertime in Hallstatt is a sight to behold. The snow-covered mountain peaks and shimmering alpine lake make for picturesque views that would make any photographer burst with excitement. Winter activities are limited due to the chilly temperatures, but visitors can still enjoy a walk in the crisp winter air or explore other indoor attractions such as museums. Meanwhile, spring and fall weather provides conditions that are favorable for hiking, biking, and outdoor activities. Summertime in Hallstatt typically brings crowds of tourists, but for those looking for an adventure, there is no shortage of outdoor activities.
Some More Useful Tips on Visiting Hallstatt
- Bring extra cash with you as some cafes and shops don’t accept cards.
- Bringing a camera to Hallstatt is a must! The views are simply breathtaking.
- Bring extra layers as the temperatures tend to drop no matter what season it is.
- Wake up early to avoid the crowds of the day-trippers.
- Reserve a table at the restaurants as the town only has a few to choose from.
- No cars are allowed in the town, however, there is parking right outside the town where for a fee you can leave your car.
- Restaurants and cafes may close early so if you tend to look for snacks late at night buying a few things from the supermarket ahead of time may be your only option.
- Hallstatt is a very popular destination so try to book ahead in advance to find a good accommodation. Likewise visiting on weekdays tends to get less crowded.
Leave a Reply