Until the 19th century, Hallstatt was accessible only by a boat or a mountain trail. Today, the village on the lake with the 800 inhabitants is considered to be the most photographed in the Alps and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
That’s why the Chinese decided to build a village-replica in China in 2012, in order to admire this wonderful landscape as often as they want.
It is located between Salzburg and Graz, in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. It is built on a steep bank of the lake of the same name (Hallstättersee), at an altitude of 508 meters.
The local “treasure” is the salt, which has been a source of wealth for Hallstat tfor centuries and is found in the hills above the city. In fact, it is the oldest salt mine in the world and is still active. Salt has been mined in this area for more than 7,000 years.
MY TOP 3 INSTAGRAM SPOTS
The most photographed spot
Church of Christ
Accommondation – At 4-star Seehotel Grüner Baum, in the main square overlooking the lake and Heritage Hotel in the center, consisting of three houses. Staying in Hallstatt is a bit pricey. But it’s nice to wake up in this fairytale place.
Alternatively, if you want to reduce the cost of accommodation, two very good overnight solutions that are within walking distance and offer stunning views and access to Hallstatt within minutes are the villages Obertraun and Gosau.
Transportation – Within 20 minutes or half an hour you can walk around the whole village, from one end to the other, as it is essentially small. Cars are prohibited in the center from May to October (from 10:00 to 17:00).
There are 2 parking lots (P1, P2) at the end of Hallstatt, so you can leave the car and walk towards the village. As you get closer you will see the electronic screens that will show the number of seats left in each parking lot. When you’re ready to leave, just put the parking ticket on the machine and pay in cash or credit card.
Parking rates: 20 minutes free – up to 1 hour € 3.50 – up to 2 hours € 6.00 – 3 to 6 hours € 8.00 – 7 to 12 hours € 9.00 – 12 to 24 hours € 0.50 / time
By plane: The nearest airport is of Salzburg about 80 km away (1 hour and 20 minutes) by car. From Salzburg Airport and Vienna Airport you will find many ways such as bus, train, etc. to get to Hallstatt. But the best way is to rent a car. Distance from Vienna is 4 hours by train. A little more than 3 hours by car. It is much better to see Hallstatt as a day trip from Salzburg than as a stop between Vienna and Salzburg.
From Salzburg: Although Hallstatt and Salzburg are only 52 km away, there are some mountains that make the trip a little longer. Specifically, the route takes 2 hours and 15 minutes by bus or 2.5 hours by train that leaves you on the opposite side of the lake plus the short ferry ride (15 minutes, for € 2.5 for a ride). It takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes by car. Nevertheless, it is still an easy day trip, by whatever means you choose to go.
By bus: You need to get the following lines, 150, 542, 543. More specifically the stations are Salzburg Bus 150 -> Bad Ischal Bus 542 -> Gosaumuhle Bus 543 -> Hallstatt Lahn. The first bus starts at 5:55 a.m. (8:15 a.m. on Sundays) and the last bus return is between 5-6:19 pm. To find the hours with the best responses between the buses, arrange the route here.
By train: Salzburg HBF –> Attanang-Puchheim –> Hallstatt Bahnhst. The first train starts at 5:12 and the last return is at 6:32 p.m. (Last ferry 17 minutes ago). Check the itineraries of ÖBB here. Prices from € 9.00-28.00 depending on the time and how in advance you will make the reservation.
By bus and train: Bus line 150 to Bad Ischl train station and then the local Express train 3412 to Stainach-Irdning. Price about 15 €.
Hallstatt Travel Tips
Days needed: 1-2
Best season: Christmas & Spring season, Summer. If you want to avoid the hordes of tourists then go at any time, except during these periods.
Country: Austria (capital Vienna)
Currency: Euro (Make sure you have cash on you because many restaurants and shops do not accept credit or debit cards. Alternatively, ask if they accept cards before ordering)
Political system: Federal Presidency
*Under no circumstances should you try to drive on the main road of the village. You need a special ticket, that you can take only if you are a local or stay in one of the hotels in the village.
*Until 5 pm, when the last buses usually depart, there are hordes of tourists during the high tourist season. If you want to enjoy Hallstatt without a lot of people, consider staying overnight or visiting the place during a low tourist season.
*The best way to see Halstat’s natural beauty is to take one of the small boats on the lake, for 15-18 euros per hour, which will give you enough time to explore the lake and see the village from another perspective. Boating is not available in winter.
*The best spot for photos is after the main square, if you walk for about 3-4 minutes in the opposite direction from the one you entered the village. Here you can see the exact location on Google Maps.
*The Tourist Office is located next to the bus terminal. There you can leave your luggage. The office can store up to 20 bags at a cost of € 5 per day and per baggage. Luggages must be collected during opening hours. for more information you can check here.
*Ferry for Hallstatt is owned by the company Hallstättersee Schifffahrt, also owners of four boats sailing on the lake. The largest boats make sightseeing tours in the summer. For € 19, you can buy a combi ticket that gives you access to all boats for one day.
*Don’t waste time getting on the ferry right away, as soon as you get off the train, to secure a good seat on the open front deck to take pictures of this idyllic landscape.
*Hold € 0.50 on you for public toilets in the center. They are located to your right on a small side street from the main pedestrian street immediately after the main square.
*There is a wi-fi hotspot in Market Square.
Hallstatt has been in my travel dreams ever since I discovered the existence of this beautiful village in Austria through photos by Elia Locardi. I love picturesque villages, especially when they have triangular roofs and snow-capped peaks.