To be brilliant is an art; to be outstanding is an attitude. Hallstatt has that attitude to allure the hearts and souls of millions, with its unrealistic picturesque beauty and splendid exquisity.
Hallstatt is one of those places that god has designed and created in his free time. A gamut of reinstating mountain ranges, a divine lake of pure ecstasy and a village of mesmerizing architecture outlines the city’s panoramic beauty. Each sight creates an appealing orbit of magnetic trance that drenches the eyes and soul in its vivid devotion.
How to get to Hallstatt
The nearest stop to Hallstatt is Salzburg which is evidently the best option as well. There are regular means of transportation that one can opt to enjoy a scenic ride to the village.
There are multiple ways of reaching Hallstatt from Salzburg.
- Via dedicated tours– This is the least recommended option. There are couple of tour organisers in the city that arrange a day trip to Hallstatt. The duration and starting time depends on the season and the month that one is visiting. For an example, click here.
- Via Trains and Buses– Check this site here that would direct and guide about various route options that one can choose and select as per their convenient time and availability. Please check the route from Salzburg Hbf to Hallstatt Lahn. The site also has an option to check the fare prices.
- One of the options is via changing 3 buses. Take Bus number 150 from Salzburg Hbf to Bad Ischl. The bus stop at Salzburg is outside the station and is clearly mentioned. The bus stops at platform number F at Bad Ischl, from where the next bus 542 can be taken from its neighbouring platform C. Just one final change is required at Hallstatt Gosaumühle from where bus number 543 will take directly to Hallstatt Lahn. This is the cheapest and fastest option to reach Hallstatt. Also, there are no reservations required in the bus, hence, it is advisable to reach early to get a seat with a better view. The route promises an enchanting spectacle of Austrian beauty.
- The other alternative is to take a train from Bad Ischl Bahnhof, which is right there at the bus stop where bus number 150 drops its passengers. From there Train REX 3416 goes directly to Hallstatt Bahnhst (Schiffstation). This will be followed by 2 sequential ferry rides; first till Hallstatt Markt and finally to Hallstatt Lahn. Yet again, ferry ride offers a landscapist vista.
- Highly recommended is to try both the routes while coming to and going from Hallstatt.
- Via Obertraun– The other way is reaching Obertraun first and then paving way to Hallstatt. Obertraun can be reached via Bus Number 150 to Bad Ischl and from there Train Number R3410. From Obertraun, there is an option for a ferry ride directly to Hallstatt Lahn or one can also rent a bicycle and ride on a dedicated bicycle path for 5 kms to reach Hallstatt.
- Buying tickets from the counter or vending machine is cheaper than buying it from the bus directly. Hence, make sure to reach early to Salzburg Station to have enough time to buy tickets from the counter for a cheaper affair.
- One can also buy an Austria day pass (2nd class ticket for 13 zones) for 27 Euros per adult that gives unlimited travel across various buses and trains only in Austria. The day pass is valid for 24 hours ending at 12 midnight. Ferry and cycle ride is not included in this day pass.
- There are no cycle renting stands in Hallstatt. One can only rent them from Obetraun and they have to be returned back to the same place.
Hallstatt- All that one can do
Visit the Old Town
There are churches, history museum, artisan shops and a market square that one can visit. Everything in the village is within the walking distance. The beauty is ecstatic and divine, captivating one and all in the symphony of pure bliss.
Stay at Hallstatt Lahn to capture the best viewpoint and behold the mesmerisation. The village portrays a scenic blend of vivid colours and diverse landscape. Stroll along the lake side, moving further in the old town to catch a glimpse of artisan workshops and shops that offer unique and antique craftsman work. One would be surprised and enchanted at the same time to notice homes made of timber and stones and so contiguously placed. There is also a free admission museum called ‘Door of History’ that enlightens more about the history of the place and the recent past.
The most popular church in the vicinity is the Protestant Church that is also the highlight of the village. With its charming architecture that marks the vista of the village, it definitely scores a visit inside. Also, of interest is the Marktplatz (Market Square) that encompasses various eating joints, pubs and restaurants. It has a grasping force demanding one to stay more and keep staring at it.
One can also rent a boat available at various shops in Hallstatt and can rover through the lake for a delightful experience. Available are slow speed electric boats, paddle boats, rowing boats and interestingly, the swan boats. These shops are easy to find as there are noticeable sign boards all around. Get clicked in the royal Austrian outfit inspired by a legacy of ages and try some authentic cuisine along the lake side. Beef Goulash, Schnitzel and Apple Pie are Austrian speciality and something that’s worth not a miss.
- It is always a good idea to visit the Tourist Information Centre as they can share more information on latest events, festivals, offers and places of interest. I got a brochure from them allowing me to avail 2 CHF on the tour Salt Mine.
- Alternative to boat ride is a ferry ride that revolves all around the lake. One such provider is Stefanie ferry. Prices start from 2.5 Euros and can be further checked here.
The Sky Walk
If one is not keen on the Salt Mine or the Ice Caves, atleast the Skywalk lookout is definitely something to be included in. There are two ways of reaching the Skywalk Lookout:
- Hiking via the Salt Brine Trail which is beautiful and features varied facets of the lake and the village.
- Via Funicular which has transparent windows and takes only 3 minutes to reach the Skywalk. The rates and timings can be checked here.
Skywalk Lookout is a cone shaped vantage point that summarizes the panoramic view of the lake and the village. Also, on the same level is Rudolph’s Tower Restaurant serving Austrian good food.
- Wi- fi is available at Skywalk and inside the restaurant, also in the ticketing area.
- The price for Funicular is 9 Euros per adult for one side and 16 Euros return. One can take the Funicular to climb up and can hike down via the Salt Brine Trail.
- The same route is followed upto the Salt Mine tour.
If one has never visited a salt mine before, then this one is definitely recommended. After all it’s the oldest ever in the world carrying a history of 7000 years. The whole experience will last for almost 2 hours but will leave a memory of a lifetime behind.
The tour exposes the origin of salt mining and its reformation over the years. Interestingly the tour guide also allows using and experiencing the slides, tunnels and the mining train. The tour is interesting as it touches on various prospects of salt mining, its emergence, the techniques and the future of salt mining in the world.
There is also an interesting history of ‘Man in the Salt’ whose body was submerged in salt and hence was preserved for years. He was later buried when historians and excavators found his body inside the salt mine.
- The cost for return Funicular trip + Salt Mine tour is 30 Euros per adult. The fare price only for Salt Mine tour is 22 Euros per adult. Extra discounts are there for families and children. Check for complete price list here.
- One can get audio headsets to listen to the whole tour in their own preferred language. It’s for an additional cost. Otherwise for all those who are comfortable with English or German, there are multiple signs alongside the route that keep adding information about the place, salt mines in particular.
- The Funicular is till the Skywalk, after that it’s a climb of approximately 20-25 minutes to the entry of the salt mine.
- One gets to wear the costumes that of the workers, because it could get little colder inside and also while sliding or riding the train, they are easier and comfortable.
- The tour and Funicular are closed from late November to early April.
- It is important to plan the time for the tour and the Skywalk if one is opting for Funicular. Please check the timing for the tour here.
- At the end of the tour, the guide also gives a free sample of 10 grams of salt as a token of a love and courtesy.
Ice Caves and Five Fingers
Since I had a day in Hallstatt, I chose Salt Mine Tour over Ice Caves tour. Bus number 543 directly takes to the stop from where the tour originates. More information about this tour can be fetched from here.
In coordination with Ice Caves, there is another vantage point almost at 5000 feet above the ground in the shape of a hand palm, hence it is called Five Fingers. It has perforated steel floored fingers that would give a feeling of walking on the clouds of heaven. For more information on this, please click here.
Although Hallstatt is just a village in Austria, but is UNESCO World Heritage region claimed because of its entrancing and fascinating beauty. Being the creator of the ‘White Gold’ (salt) and also starring the Ice Caves, the place calls thousands of tourists every season from all parts of the world.
Please feel free to connect with me for any queries related to Hallstatt.