The charming Hallstatt is Austria's most visited village. The village on the shores of Lake Hallstattersee attracts many tourists every year. Some come here to relax, some to hike in the area. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997 as part of the Hallstatt-Dachstein cultural landscape.

As mountains cross the Hallstatt area, only a small area could be used to build houses. Squeezed between the lake and the mountain, you will find lovely Austrian buildings of different colours.

Photos

Map - Where is Hallstatt?

Hallstatt is located in the Upper Austria region. It is located in the southernmost region of the province (Traunviertel) and within the district of Gmunden. The closest village to Hallstatt is Obertraun, and to the north is the most famous town, Bad Ischl.

The town is located north of the Dachstein Mountains on the southwestern shore of Lake Hallstatt. It is part of the Salzkammergut cultural region.

  • Distance from Vienna: 3.5 hours / 290 km
  • Distance from Linz: 2 hours / 130 km
  • Distance from Salzburg: 1.5 hours / 75 km
  • Distance from Obertraun: 10 mins / 5 km
  • Distance from Bad Ischl: 30 mins / 20 km
Map of Hallstatt
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You will find a comprehensive description of parking at the end of this article.

More about Hallstatt

The Hallstatt culture developed from the urnfield culture, roughly 750–450 BC. The development of the cultural circle is significant because, based on the discovered finds, weapons and tools made of iron. The iron and steel boom has led to society's differentiation and faster use of resources.

In other respects, Hallstatt is also of historical significance. In 1595, the first 40 km long pipeline carved out of wood was built here, transporting salt mixed with water to the nearby town. The channel still works today!

Hallstatt has a population of 778 people. The population was the highest in 1951 when the village had 1422 inhabitants.

It is interesting to note that the train station belonging to Hallstatt is located on the lake's eastern shore, opposite the town. You can get there by ferry, which aligns with the railway schedule.

Attractions - What to see?

The Austrian city is special because it is located on the shores of Lake Hallstatt, surrounded by the Alps. If you are looking for adventure and active recreation in the surrounding mountains, you can find everything from a beginner to a difficult hiking trail.

#1 Downtown

If you are visiting Hallstatt, you should take a short walk around the city and then take the small downtown area! The main square, the Marktplatz, is very bustling compared to the size of the city. There are plenty of nice cafés and restaurants which you can enjoy.

Downtown of Hallstatt

The main square consists of a street, so you don't have to deal with a map. Another special feature of the city centre is the street fruit trees. As the houses were densely built and it was impossible to create a garden, the locals were looking for a new solution. The fruit trees are planted at the base of the houses, and the branches are fixed to the walls. A fairytale sight of a pear tree blossoming around the buildings.

#2 Hallstatt City Museum

You should also visit the City Museum in the centre. The area was extremely rich in finds. The museum can be exciting even if you’re not so passionate about history or museums, as the exhibits have been made interactive with modern multimedia tools.

Season Months Opening hours
Out of season Dec, Jan, Feb, March Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 to 15:00
Pre- and post-season Apr, Oct Every day, 10:00 - 16:00
May, June, July, Aug, Sept Dec, Jan, Feb, March Every day, 10:00 - 16:00

You can buy tickets for the museum on the spot in cash or by card. Pre-booking and no shopping.

  • Adults: 10 euros
  • Child, student: 8 euros
  • Family ticket: 20 euros
  • Over 60 years: 9 euros

#3 Catholic Church and Bone House

You can walk to the city’s Catholic church from the main square in a few minutes. The church is built on a cliff, so you can expect stunning views from there. But the real attraction is in the chapel next to the church, as there is a collection of bones at the bottom of the building. The Bone House is a bizarre yet attractive attraction in this fabulous town.

On the lower level of the Gothic St. Michael's Chapel is the bone house, the Beinhaus. The building has been used to store bones since the 17th century, and bones were placed here until 1995. There is a very simple reason behind the strange tradition. There was little burial area between the hillside and the lake, so the graves were excavated every 15-20 years, and the names, dates of birth and death of the deceased were painted on the skulls in Gothic letters. On some occasions, an ornate floral pattern was also painted.

There are currently 1,200 skulls in the chapel, more than half decorated with flowers and wreaths. The maintainers of the church and the graveyard also make sure that the relatives and relatives get close to each other.

  • The church is open from Monday to Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Entrance is free.
  • The bone house is open from May to October, every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Visiting the church: free
  • Visiting the bonehouse: 1.5 euros

#2 Hallstattersee

Lake Hallstatt is the southernmost of the five lakes in the Salzkammergut region. The lake is 508 meters high and is surrounded by three different peaks in the Alps. Only the northern side of the lake is open, where the river Traun flows into it.

  • To the south is the 2 995-meter glacier side of the Dachstein
  • The Plassen peaking at 1,953 meters to the west
  • The Hoher Sarstein peak at 1,975 meters to the east.

The lake is 8 km long, 2 km wide and 125 meters deep on average.

The lake's water is crystal clear, almost drinking water quality. It is sparkling in a beautiful blue colour.

Swimming

The lake does not warm up during the summer, so only get ready for bathing if you can stand the cold water! If you want to go to the lake, there is a small island not far from the parking lot on the city's outskirts.

Biking

You can go cycling around the lake or rent a bicycle in the area. You can find all bike tours here.

Boat trip, cruise

If you want to relax, you can rent a boat or take a guided water tour in the port of Hallstatt. You can surrender to nature for a few hours, your only thing is to enjoy the fresh mountain air, the rocking of the boat and the alpine peaks.

Visit the lake when the moon is full and go on a night boat trip. You can admire the lake from a completely different perspective in the moonlight.

  • 50 minutes day shipping 9 euros
  • 1-hour morning shipping 15 euros
  • 1-hour overnight shipping 20 euros

#3 Salt mine

The town of Hallstatt is a fantastic destination not only because of the lake around it but also because of the Salzberg (Salt mountain), which rises next to it. In the belly of the mountain is one of the oldest salt mines in the world, which can be explored on an adventurous hike.

  • The easiest way to reach the salt mine is by taking the Salzbergbahn cable car from the city. The cable car starts at the outskirts of the city. There is a restaurant and a dazzling view of the mountain station. The route takes merely 3 minutes!
  • If you’re not afraid of a couple of hours of hiking, you can also climb up to the mine via the ancient hiking trail, the Salzbergren.

First, you take a mining train inside the mountain and arrive at a robust, breathtaking salt crystal room. The journey continues on a wooden slide, taking you down to the lower levels.

There's the deep exhibition space, where you can see artifacts preserved in salt, including a two-thousand-year-old human remains! At the end of the tour, you take another small train to get out into the open air through the mines.

It is important to note that the temperature in the mountain does not rise above 10 ° C, so you should bring a good warm sweater, long pants, and closed shoes suitable for hiking. You must wear protective clothing as well!

  • Prices: 34 - 12 euros
  • Season: June - Sept
  • Opening hours: Every day from 9:30 to 16:30.
  • The last uphill lift leaves at 16:00 and downhill at 18:00

#4 Skywalk

Before visiting the Salt Mine, you should stop at the Skywalk, a panoramic view of the city. The lookout point is a World Heritage Site and one of Austria's best-known lookout points. The view and the experience are fantastic as it feels like you are standing over the city. You can go up to the lookout with a ticket redeemed for the mine.

Skywalk Hallstatt

Attractions nearby

#5 Dachstein

The Dachstein (Dachsteingebirge) is one of Austria's best-known hiking destinations, culminating on the southern shore of Lake Hallstatt, about 3,000 meters high. The mountain range has about 24 subunits and belongs territorially to the Eastern Alps.

In the mountain's depths, you can admire special ice caves and ice formations. You can get here from Obertraun by cable car (see the map below), and after a short walk, you can start your cave tour! Visiting the cave is only possible with a tour guide!

The range offers many hiking and trekking routes. If you enjoy hiking, take at least a day to explore the area.

As you walk along the Dachstein, visit the 5fingers lookout point, which, like the Skywalk lookout point, giving you a sumptuous view! The lookout got its name because it looks exactly like a palm with 5 fingers.

#6 Gosausee

Gosausee is an ensemble of glacial lakes on the other side of the Dachstein (it consists of 3 lakes).

Gosausee lakes
  • The area is ideal for hiking. The three lakes can be explored in about 5 hours at a comfortable pace. The hiking distance is about 13 km.
  • You can also have a comfortable picnic here.
  • It is also possible to rent a boat at the lakes. Perfect program for a little boating!

The Gosau Lakes offer great accommodation if you can't find accommodation in Hallstatt. The area is quieter, and you don't have to worry about the crowd. The two lakes are just 20 km away and can be reached in less than 30 minutes by car.

#7 Bad Ischl

If you want to relax, you can visit the town of Bad Ischl, north of the lake. Bad Ischl is less than a 30-minute drive from Hallstatt ( 20.8 km).

Bad Ischl

The Kaiservilla and Kaiserpark in the city once served as the summer residence of Franz Joseph and Sisi and now functions as a museum. As it is one of Austria's most visited spa towns. Several resorts have a wellness area.

When is the best to travel?

You can check the weather in Hallstatt here. Generally, the temperature is cool. This is especially good in the summer if you don’t like the great heat.

But it's not just summer that is beautiful Hallstatt. The village and its surroundings are the most beautiful in the fall when the country wears varicoloured clothes and the number of tourists halves. Many people visit the fairytale village to relax in the winter or spend a day on their way back home from skiing.

Parking

Life is much easier if you can drive to Hallstatt. Unfortunately, due to the village's small size, few parking spaces are available. It is impossible to drive to Hallstatt by car or through the city during the day! You have to leave your car in the P1 or P2 car parks.

It is not possible to drive on the city streets during the day! There are some parking spaces in the village for locals, but you should find the ones for tourists.

  • The P1 car park is open all year round, while the P2 car park is open only in summer. An electric display board at the entrance to the car parks shows the free spaces.
  • If your accommodation is in Hallstatt, try to park in the P1 car park, as its primary purpose is to accommodate tourists sleeping there. If your accommodation is elsewhere, try parking in P2 first.
  • By caravan, you can only stop next to the gas station in the "Camp" area.

A full day’s parking costs around € 15, while a one-hour ticket costs € 4. 15 minutes of parking is free. You can find more information about parking here.

If you have any problems with parking, you can find out more here:

PEB GmbHCar park Hallstatt Management
Seestraße 1584830 HallstattAustria
Phone: +43 (0) 6134 8255 19
E-Mail: peb@hallstatt.ooe.gv.at

Shuttle bus

Buses run from the car park every day from 09:00 to 19:00.If you prefer to walk, you can reach various points of Hallstatt within a 10-20 minute walk from the car parks.