Hallstatt, Austria, known to be the prettiest lakeside village in the world, is the definition of the word Picturesque. It is so charming and historical that it has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. This charming village is home to only 1,000 people, which thrive off the money that tourism provides. It is yet another fairytale place in Europe besides Flam, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Lake Bled.
The best way to see Hallstatt is by foot, simply because cars are not allowed in the town centre. The town square is really tiny and filled with colorful houses, small cafés and a picturesque architecture.
I’ll spare you the clichés about how it’s a hidden gem and let the pictures speak for themselves.
Things To Do in Hallstatt
1. Welterbeblick – World Heritage Viewpoint
If you’re in Hallstatt during the spring or summer, you must make a visit to Hallstatt’s World Heritage viewpoint. The funicular to the top takes you to the large patio hanging 360 meters above Hallstatt and to one of the oldest Salt Mines in the world. There’s such a beautiful view from the top that even if we weren’t going to the salt mine, we’d definitely go here for the views!
2. St. Michael’s Church
St. Michael’s Church, resting for centuries alongside the beautiful emerald water of the Hallstättersee is one of the most picturesque churches in Europe. The basement of St. Michael’s is a room full of painted human skulls, hence the name “Bone Church.”
3. Waldbachstub Waterfall
This is one of the most serene and soul-satisfying experiences we’ve ever had. A short hike to the Waldbachstub Waterfall is a must on any itinerary. It will become one of your favorite travel memories.
4. Shop for Artisan Goods
You’ll notice a handful of artisan shops in Hallstatt selling local goods. Hallstatt having the world’s oldest salt mine, the variety of salty delights in these shops makes perfect souvenirs for family.
5. Rent a Boat
ALERT! If you think the views of Hallstatt are gorgeous from land, just wait until you’re seeing this breathtaking landscape from a boat. Enjoying the Alps from this perspective is an experience every traveler should add to their adventure list. Renting a boat in Hallstatt is simple and completly worth it.
6. Salt Mine
We liked the idea of visiting the world’s oldest salt mine, but the tour itself mostly consisted of videos and explanations. It seemed a super fun attraction for kids, but we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to fellow travelers – unless you’re bringing the whole family or are very interested in salt mine history. For us, personally, it was too much of a kids attraction.
6. Walk till the end of the town!!
To all the photographers, do walk till the end of the town. These is the spot where you get to click the trademark picture of Hallstatt. And it is beautiful! Here are some of our pictures from that picture perfect spot.
7. Take in the Views completely
For travel bloggers and tourists alike, it’s easy to get caught up with taking photos and checking in on Facebook, Instagram etc. But it’s really important to mindfully enjoy where you are and soak in the beautiful surroundings. Sit down for 20 minutes along the Hallstättersee, totally disconnected, and comprehend the natural beauty.
8. Visit St.Wolfgang town
As per the locals, some tourists like St Wolfgang more than Hallstatt, which can be true. St Wolfgang, situated just few kms away from Hallstatt is yet another charming town on the steep banks of the Wolfgangsee. The streets are busy and happening with visitors during the day and usually settle down by early evening, which is the best time for a tranquil stroll along the forested lakeshore with wooden houses.
Where to Stay:
Our choice: Airbnb – As we were 5 members getting a house at airbnb was anyday cheaper and affordable for us. We got a beautiful apartment in the neighbouring town-Bad Ischl right in the centre. Our host was a very friendly and a welcoming person. We had a great time in her house.
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How to reach
While up until the 19th century, Hallstatt was only accessible by boat and by mountain trail, there are now more ways to reach this charming village.
Getting here by car is the easiest way. You’ll need a road toll sticker, which costs about 8.90 euros and is valid for 10 days. There is plenty of inexpensive parking around the town.
The village’s website has excellent instructions on getting to Hallstatt by train and bus. You can find more information on getting to Hallstatt here.