Located around 2 hours from Salzburg and 4 hours from Vienna, Hallstatt is an understated, quaint and traditionally Austrian town, and an absolute must for a day trip if you’re staying nearby. The 16th-century Alpine houses are nestled on the edge of Hallstätter See and beneath the towering Dachstein mountain, and the town is said to be the oldest and most photographed in Austria.
Hallstatt is also home to the world’s oldest salt mines and a mummy of a prehistoric miner – preserved in salt. Take a day to explore the rich history, postcard-perfect village and stunning hiking trails in the mountains above.
How to get to Hallstatt
Trains from Salzburg take around two and a half hours and you will need to change trains at Attnang-Puchheim Bahnhof. Tickets for both trains will total around €30. The train line passes by the opposite side of the lake to the town, so be sure to get off at Hallstatt Bahnoff station.
From there, a small boat will take you across the lake for around €10 return. The boat will usually link up with the train, arriving shortly after you disembark. Ask the friendly captain of the return times so you can link up a boat and train home. Once across the lake, wander through the charming town and enjoy the many gift shops and galleries, and soak in the fascinating history of the town.
If you wish to see which will best suit your schedule (bus, train or a combination of the two) check out the ÖBB Ticket Shop.
How to get around
This town is home to only 850 people and stretches only a kilometre or two along the lake – you can walk from either side in around 10 minutes.
Where to eat
The restaurant Bräu-Gasthof serves up a delicious lunch special; soup of the day, fresh caught trout from the lake with a traditional potato side dish and salad, and a custard dessert for only €15.
Where to stay
While Hallstatt is perfect for a day trip, if you do wish to stay longer there are a handful of Air BnB’s and hotels in the town.
An idea of costs
€70 per day
– Hostel in Salzburg: €20
– Free Breakfast at Hostel
– Return bus ticket from Salzburg: €30
– Lunch Special: €15
– Dinner made at hostel: €5
How long to spend here
Hallstatt is perfect for a day trip from surrounding areas.
What to do in Hallstatt
Enjoy the serenity and stillness of the lake. Be sure to walk to the north side of town to look back onto the village and capture that iconic postcard shot of the church and lake.
Wander through the town and window shop at the many ski stores and Austrian souvenirs.
There’s plenty of historical sights in town, including Hallstatt Charnel House, Archaeological Excavation sights and the World Heritage Museum of Hallstatt. For more information, see the official Hallstatt website.
The hike up to the lookout above the town is definitely worthwhile for the remainder of the afternoon. The path is somewhat steep and mostly zig zags upwards, small boards of information are placed along the route offering a place to stop and catch your breath while reading more about the area. At the top you’ll find a gorgeous look out across the lake and even to neighbouring towns hidden in the alcoves and valleys of the giant alps towering above. Up here, there is nothing but silence and the quiet hum of the boat in the lake below. Bliss!
Be sure to watch the time as the boat trips start to become less frequent as the day draws to an end, and you don’t want to miss your train!