If you’re planning on visiting Hallstatt in Austria, then check out our ultimate guide of things to do and see in Hallstatt, where to eat, and how to get around Hallstatt. We’ve got you covered
Is Hallstatt worth visiting?
Yes, The Hallstatt village is full of amazing history, architecture, and sights and you will fall in love with the place at first sight.
Hallstatt is the most photographed village in Europe
Hallstatt, a small village in the state of Upper Austria and part of the Salzkammergut region is often called the most photographed village in Europe and the world. Lake and mountain view charm tourists all around the year, but there are also many other things to see and do.
Check out this Travel guide on how to master Hallstatt and of course, a list of the best things to do in Hallstatt on your visit.
Hallstatt – The #1 UNESCO World Heritage Site in Austria
Officially Hallstatt is on UNESCO’s list because of two reasons:
- first, its unique local traditions
- secondly, due to the outstanding scenery
Austria has a total of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Hallstatt is one of the most popular ones.
When you travel to this World Heritage Site, the important thing is, of course, to walk around and see what all the hype is about. On this list of things to see and do in Hallstatt, we have many items to ensure that you enjoy everything as much as possible. So, keep reading and enjoy one of the most beautiful places in Austria!
Hallstatt Salt Mines
Hallstatt is mainly known for its salt mines dating back to prehistoric times. Nowadays this salt mine is the main attraction of the city. Locals are proud of their world’s oldest salt mine and it’s a must-see.
The train ride will take you through a 2 kilometers long tunnel enabling you to discover the insides of a real salt mine. The salt content of the mine is about 60% and so lights lit it up beautifully.
Top Tip: I suggest you, buy a package including the salt mine and the funicular ride as this becomes cheaper than obtaining them separately. For adventurers, book in advance your “prehistoric expedition tour that will take you to special places not accessible to the normal tourist.
Photo Credit Hallstatt Tourism
Skywalk Viewing Platform
While up there, from the free-floating Skywalk, 360 meters above the ground, the unforgettable alpine scenery will take your breath away. This World Heritage Skywalk gives you s 360-degree view of the Alpine town and the nature around it.
Ride around the Hallstatt lake
The Austrian Alps are known for their majestic lakes. Hallstatt isn’t an exception and there are many different ways to enjoy this beautiful lake.
You can hire pedal boats or go on the ferry or you might try kayaking and surfing. You will see couples enjoying a pick-nick in small boats or children playing and having fun in the sunbathing area.
Rent a bicycle
If you prefer, you can also rent bicycles and explore the special hiking and bike path surrounding the lake. Hallstatt is one of the most romantic destinations in Austria.
Take a ferry boat cruise
Ferries operate every day of the year. You just have to hop in and enjoy the views. A cruise is a unique way to see the village from the lake and the scenery is amazing. Taking the ferry is also a good way to go from one place to another. Some ferries operate between the town center and the train station.
Top Tip: When deciding to go for a cruise keep in mind that in the winter the sun goes down very early, as compared to the summer.
Walk around the Hallstatt village
As already mentioned, Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its scenery. This is a wonderful reason to just walk around this town without doing anything else. In addition, you can find many photogenic places.
Many tourists take amazing social media shots here. The village-like atmosphere and small shops, restaurants, and cafes make your promenade even more enjoyable.
You can also find online audio and written guides about the city while strolling along.
Hallstatt Hiking Trails
If walking in the village isn’t enough, there are many hiking trails around Hallstatt. Whether you are a professional hiker or just someone wanting small breaks from the town, there will be suitable tracks for you.
The lake views and luscious nature make hiking one of the top activities to undertake. Sometimes going alone may feel scary, but, fortunately, there are many guided tours that start from the city and may last for a day or even for a few nights.
The Hallstatt Museum or the World Heritage Museum has been open since 1884. If you want to get to know more about the history of Hallstatt and Austria, it will be the right place for you.
Hallstatt Museum is purely historical as there are no paintings and arts.
They introduce you to the old culture of Hallstatt by showing findings from salt mines and old cemeteries. Some of these dates even back to the iron age.
Top Tip: One of the main attractions of the museum is the collection of Roman artifacts.
Catacombs & Cemetery
Behind Hallstatt’s Catholic Church near St. Michael’s chapel, you can find the cemetery and the Charnel House.
Charnel House is a small place full of skulls and bones, which were gathered there by the church to make space for the newly dead by digging out the older bones, bleaching them in the sun, and carefully stacking them there. 1200 skulls can be found each skull is beautifully painted and most of them have names and dates.
Hallstatt has one of the smallest catacombs in the world.
As small-town Hallstatt didn’t have enough space for cemeteries, so locals used to take care of the deceased like this. It’s creepy
Whilst visiting the catacombs, you can also visit the cemetery. There are many interesting graves and people buried there. Just remember to be considerate as a cemetery is a place of grief for locals who still go there to remember their friends and relatives.
Top Tip: If you are easily spooked, keep away from these sights in Hallstatt.
Hallstatt Main Square
The Main square or market square is the central part of any city. In Hallstatt, this busy part of town is the place to have coffee or try the local delicacies.
The old houses are colorful and in the summer there is always something happening. Events vary from live music to Christmas markets and many tourists start their sightseeing tour around Hallstatt from this point.
Statue of the Holy Trinity
The real eye-catching attraction in the market square is the statue of the Holy Trinity. It’s also one of the most photographed places in the city, excluding lake and mountain sceneries.
Archeology under sports shop
You can find the Janu sports shop right in front of the World Heritage Museum. However, this store isn’t just any normal shop. The owner of this store found old artifacts and remains while doing construction work in the undergrounds of his sop. Now you can visit the cellar and see these findings during the opening hours.
Paintings, artifacts, and remains make this interesting site worth visiting.
Hallstatt has a few churches, but the Kalvarienberg Church is known as the most romantic one and many couples take romantic walks to the edge of the village to see this church.
This is a true piece of art from the time of baroque architecture. Originally built in 1711, the church is located on the Kalvarienberg mountain close to the town.
The view is amazing, but you have to first walk up there. Remember to walk around the church because it truly looks amazing from every possible angle.
Church of Christ
The Church of Christ is one of the best-known landmarks in Hallstatt. You can often see photos of it standing elegantly in the center of the city.
You will notice it right away when looking towards Hallstatt from the lake. In the 18th century, protestants decided to build a prayer house, and later on, it was transformed into a church after adding a tower and bells. Now, this building is known as the Church of Christ.
Parish of the Assumption
This parish was built for Roman Catholics. It has been changing a lot during the years and was fully renovated at the beginning of the 21st century. The attraction of this parish is its double-winged altar which is also well-known amongst Catholics in Austria.
Winter fun in Hallstatt
When you are staying in an alpine village, winter can be a magical time.
You can take a free ski bus from the city to the close-by ski centers.
Renting equipment is easy and you can snowboard, ski or sled down hills for a whole day. In addition, there are many activities around the freezing lake.
You can try skating or even dive into the underwater world. Afterward, you can visit a spa to relax.
Top Tip: Don’t forget that wintertime in Hallstatt can be really cold. If you are not used to it, planning a summer visit is usually a better idea. On the other hand, a snow-covered village is one of the top things to experience in Europe.
What to Eat in Hallstatt?
Gastronomy is an important part of any holiday and you should also treat yourself in Hallstatt.
Despite the small size of the town, you can still find a variety of restaurants, mostly European cuisine.
Follow the locals or your nose to find the perfect restaurant. You can either visit one of the more touristic places near the market square, the restaurant next to the Skywalk Viewing Platform or be a little more adventurous and walk around to find smaller local restaurants.
Being next to a lake, fish is a dish which I would strongly recommend trying as one can find many different variations of fish and their preparations in every restaurant.
Austrian sweets are a dream so ensure that you leave enough tummy space for more treats after your main meal. Try out local pies, strudel, cakes, and other delicacies, and of course the traditional Austrian apricots jam with crepes!
Now you can start planning your own trip to Hallstatt!
This fairytale village welcomes travelers all year round and you can easily access it from any part of Austria. The easiest way to get to Hallstatt is by car, but you can also use public transportation or go for a group tour. Even a short day visit will be enough to see the top things in Hallstatt.
Organized Hallstatt tours from Salzburg
Taking public transit in a foreign country can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are multiple tour operators that can get you to and from the village, and even show you what to see in Hallstatt.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hallstatt knows how to treat travelers of all kinds. You can book romantic winter holidays or photography trips to the roots of this beautiful European cultural village. Under 1000 citizens and a few additional tourists make sure that you can truly enjoy the peaceful remote village.
Book your Ticket here: Half-Day Tour to Hallstatt from Salzburg
*) Travel through the Salzkammergut to Hallstatt, passing a number of small villages en route. Enjoy a guided tour of Hallstatt. Have the chance to do a Skywalk, take a leisurely lakeside walk, see the Mullbach waterfall, and visit the Bone House.
Book your Ticket here: From Vienna: Full Day Trip to Hallstatt and Salzkammergut
*) Explore the lakes and mountains of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Salzkammergut on a guided bus tour from Vienna.
More about Hallstatt ( Hallstatt Tourism Office Official Website) and how to get there
How to Travel from Vienna to Hallstatt
The train journey time between Vienna and Hallstatt is around 3h 12m and covers a distance of around 303 km. Operated by ÖBB Intercity, the Vienna to Hallstatt train service departs from Wien Hbf and arrives in Hallstatt. Typically two trains run weekly, although weekend and holiday schedules can vary so check in advance.
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