Europe Austria Salzburg Tips for Visiting Hallstatt from Salzburg

Tips for Visiting Hallstatt from Salzburg


The Alps of Europe are home to many truly magical sights, but none quite like Hallstatt. Surrounded by epic mountains and full of old Alpine houses, this lakeside village in the traditional Salzkammergut region of Austria is completely captivating. Unsurprisingly, it’s a regular part of itineraries for trips to Austria, especially since it’s easy to visit from the major city of Salzburg.

Photos of Hallstatt look so pristine that it can be difficult to believe it’s real without seeing it for yourself. This wonderful scenery makes it one of the best day trips from Salzburg. If you follow these tips for traveling to Hallstatt, you’ll see exactly what we mean.

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Brief Background on Hallstatt

To make the most of our travel tips for Hallstatt, you’ll need a bit of background on the small village – and it really is small! Its population is fewer than 1,000 people, likely due to its somewhat remote setting on the northern edge of Austria’s Alpine region. It’s close to the country’s western border with Germany, and Salzburg is the nearest major city.

Hallstatt’s specific region is the Salzkammergut (Salt Domain), named for its many salt mines. The area’s mountains have been mined for millennia, which created a settlement and allowed it to prosper during the Middle Ages. Thanks to this mining legacy, the Salzkammergut (including Hallstatt) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s fair to say that the mountains have served as more than pretty scenery.

Best Time To Visit Hallstatt

There’s no bad time to visit Hallstatt. This Alpine lake village looks incredible in every season, whether it’s decked in snow, bursting with autumn colors, or green and lively. You could return to Hallstatt in each season without the experience getting old.

Of course, there are factors other than weather to consider, which is why these Hallstatt travel tips are here. For one thing, attractions like the salt mine and its funicular are closed in winter. Then there’s the matter of peak season, when this small village struggles to deal with the many summer tourists. These points don’t need to stop you from visiting in winter or summer, but take them into account if you’re on the fence.

Classic postcard view of famous Hallstatt lakeside town in the Alps with passenger ship on a beautiful cold sunny day with blue sky and clouds in winter, Salzkammergut region, Austria
canadastock /

How To Get To Hallstatt From Salzburg

One of the great things about planning a trip to Hallstatt from Salzburg is how easy it is to reach. Salzburg is a fantastic city with so many things to see and do, and it has the bonus of being a great base to visit Hallstatt from.

Even though Hallstatt and Salzburg are only 52 kilometers (roughly 32 miles) apart, there are some mountains in the way that make the journey a little longer. Nevertheless, it’s an easy day trip, with three main options for you to get there.

1. On A Guided Tour

Given how this Alpine village’s popularity has soared in recent years, it’s little wonder that there are now many guided tours to Hallstatt. This may be a useful and stress-free way to make your first trip to Hallstatt. These tours tend to run 5-8 hours, depending on what other places they visit. Longer tours often visit different lakes in the area, the spa town of Bad Ischl, and the Dachstein Glacier.

Recommendation: If you want to visit Hallstatt on a guided tour, consider this half-day tour from Salzburg.

2. By Car

For the most freedom when traveling this corner of Austria, you may want to drive yourself. This is the quickest way to reach Hallstatt and allows you to see the village at your own pace. The drive from Salzburg to Hallstatt takes about 70 minutes, though you can also take in several lakes along the way with a few minor detours. 

On arrival, look for the large paid parking lot, P2, in the neighborhood of Lahn. This is a convenient area to both start and finish your visit.

Recommendation: If you need to rent a car for your visit, check out This aggregation site searches and displays prices and availability from hundreds of rental companies, helping you find the best car for your budget.

3. By Public Transport

To take public transport into Hallstatt, you first need to take the 150 bus to the town of Bad Ischl. From the station there, you can take another bus or the train to Hallstatt. If you go by bus, you’ll need to switch over at Hallstatt Gosaumühle from the 542 bus to the 543, which will drop you off right at the southern end of the village.

If you travel to Hallstatt by train, keep in mind that the town’s train station is actually on the far side of the lake. You’ll need to take the year-round ferry that brings train passengers to the village. A one-way ticket for the ferry costs €3 (about $3.30).

What To See And Do in Hallstatt

A common mistake on Hallstatt trips is not allowing enough time to see everything. Many people don’t realize that there’s more to see here than just the village itself, so they miss out on the other enjoyable attractions. One of our most important travel tips for visiting Hallstatt is to figure out in advance what you want to do there so that you give yourself enough time.

Scenic picture-postcard view of the historic town square of Hallstatt with traditional colorful houses and church at Hallstatter See in the Austrian Alps in fall, region of Salzkammergut, Austria
canadastock /

Hallstatt Village

Naturally, the most important thing to do in Hallstatt is to see the village itself! Since you can walk from one end of the village to the other in about 20 minutes, this may not seem so interesting. But when you find yourself stopping every few steps to admire the sights, not to mention the different routes you can take, exploring the village can take quite a while.

First off, you’ll want to walk along Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt), saying hello to the swans as you survey the iconic waterfront. With old wooden boat sheds by the water’s edge and beautiful Alpine houses everywhere, you’ll likely want to take a lot of photos. Later on, you can follow staircases up to higher parts of Hallstatt and find even more charming houses and entirely new vantage points.

The first landmark to find is the quintessentially pretty Marktplatz, the main square in the village. Nearby, you’ll also find several Protestant and Catholic churches, which are best viewed from above, where their spires merge with the village rooftops and create more postcard-worthy scenery.

Skulls painted with names, colorful flowers and crosses in the Charnel House or Beinhaus, Hallstatt, Austria
Joaquin Ossorio Castillo /

Charnel House

Among Hallstatt’s various landmarks, there is one particularly unusual site that you should seek out. Inside St. Michael’s Chapel in the cemetery of the village’s Catholic parish church, you’ll find the Charnel House, or the Bone House. Because of the limited space in Hallstatt, burial plots here were reused, and the bones were stacked in this small ossuary. The skulls are decorated and bear the names of the dead, making them an eerily beautiful sight.

Scenic picture-postcard view of famous Hallstatt mountain village during a boat tour on Hallstatter See in the Austrian Alps in beautiful golden morning light in fall, region of Salzkammergut, Austria
canadastock /

Lake Boat Ride

If you haven’t already taken the ferry from the train station, consider a gentle boat ride on Hallstätter See. This will not only provide you with a new perspective on the village and surrounding mountains, but also give your legs a little break. In addition to the ferry to the train station, there are ferries to the village of Obertraun and the Obersee (Upper Lake). Boats leave from the southern Lahn terminal and the northern Markt terminal.

The World Heritage Viewing Platform in Hallstatt with a spectacular view of Lake Hallstatter See and the surrounding mountains Hallstatt, Austria
Uta Scholl /

Skywalk and World Heritage View

While one side of Hallstatt lies on the shore of the Hallstätter See, the other side is pressed up against a steep hill. On this hill behind the village, you’ll find the floating Hallstatt Skywalk and the World Heritage View. This lookout platform 360 meters above the village provides unparalleled views over Hallstatt, the lake, and the surrounding mountains.

You can either hike or take the funicular up to the skywalk. There are several steep paths out of town that eventually converge and bring you to the top of the hill. Expect the hike up to take you at least an hour, and you’ll also take a few gentle walks once you’re up there. If you need coffee or a snack after the walk up, stop at the hilltop restaurant, Rudolfsturm.

Salt Mine

Up the mountainside from the skywalk is yet another important landmark, the Hallstatt Salt Mine. Though one of many salt mines in this region of Austria, it has the distinct honor of being the world’s oldest salt mine and remains active to this day. While there has been salt mining here since the Bronze Age, there are now over 65 kilometers of tunnels through the mountainside.

The mine is closed from mid-December to the start of March, but the rest of the year, you can walk through its tunnels, slide down historic wooden slides, and watch a film animation of what life was like for the miners who worked 400 meters underground. A ticket to the salt mine not only includes the guided tour, but also allows you to freely take the funicular up from the village and back.

majestic view of Alp mountains against beautiful blue cloudy sky background from viewing platform Five Fingers in Obertraun, Austria
John_Silver /

5 Fingers Lookout

With the mountains surrounding Hallstatt, there are plenty of high places to go for views, but none can compete with the 5 Fingers viewpoint atop Mount Krippenstein. Off to the south of Hallstätter See, this viewpoint includes five separate platforms emerging from the mountain like fingers, as the name suggests. Each “finger” offers a slightly different perspective, with one even featuring a glass bottom for a view of the perilous drop below.

To reach the lookout, take the cable car from outside Obertraun up to Lodge Krippenstein. Here you can admire the view of the Dachstein Glacier before taking the gentle 20-minute walk across to the 5 Fingers. You’ll also find the World Heritage Spiral viewing platform and a remote chapel nearby.

Where To Eat in Hallstatt

At some point during your explorations of Hallstatt, the need for food will come up. In the village’s cafes and restaurants, such as Cafe Derbl or Bräugasthof, you can get traditional dishes like schnitzel, local freshwater fish, and Austrian coffee and cake. In the warmer months, you’ll also have a vast selection of ice cream places. You won’t find much variety beyond this, but you don’t come to Hallstatt for the food!

Where to Stay in Hallstatt

Most people just take a day trip to Hallstatt from Salzburg, but in case you’d like to stay longer in this charming little village, here are some good places to stay:

We hope these traveling tips for Hallstatt will set you on the right path for a fantastic visit. Considering how enchanting Hallstatt is, it shouldn’t be too hard!



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