What to do in Hallstatt, Austria?
Visiting Hallstatt, Austria, is discovering a charming, typical village nestled on the shore of Lake Hallstättersee.
Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Europe and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hallstatt, and its surroundings can be visited in one day.
To not miss any of the places of interest in the village, follow our guide to things to do and see in Hallstatt. Also, find our list of the best accommodation and our tips on how to get to Hallstatt.
Visit Hallstatt: The essentials
- Discover the village of Hallstatt
When you arrive in Hallstatt, I recommend that you start by walking around the village. I assure you, you cannot get lost!
Walk the pretty little alleys, pass by the market square, admire the old houses with wooden balconies, enter the small shops and relax in this village of another time. Do not hesitate to venture down the many stairs to gain a little height and discover new points of view.
I also advise you to go see the Catholic Church overlooking the city and its cemetery. Contrary to popular belief, the place is not at all dismal. The tombs are well decorated, and flowered and it offers a nice view of the lake.
Next to the cemetery, in a chapel, is also one of Hallstatt’s most visited landmarks, its ossuary. You will find hundreds of skulls painted and decorated with different patterns, each with its own meaning. The name and date of death are also printed on the skull.
The deceased are buried for about ten years in their graves, then the skull is removed to be displayed in the ossuary. Today, for those who wish, the tradition is still perpetuated in the village. A rather impressive and atypical place whose entrance costs barely 1.5€
AnecdoteMany Chinese visit Hallstatt every year. They also found it so beautiful that they built a replica of it in southern China, in Guangdong province.
- Le Hallstatt Skywalk / Welterbeblick
To enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramas of Hallstatt, you will need to climb a little higher and go to the Hallstatt Skywalk (Welterbeblick).
For this, you have two solutions:
- Take the funicular, it’s quick and practical but a bit expensive (€16 per person).
- Use your feet! It’s sure that it is the most economical solution:). Several paths lead to the platform and even if it is uphill, they are not too difficult. Allow about a 1-hour walk.
When you reach the top, you will have access to the panoramic platform overlooking the entire village of Hallstatt and the lake. The view is magnificent!
Next to the Hallstatt Skywalk, you will also find a good restaurant/cafe if you are feeling peckish.
TipsBefore going to the Skywalk, ask if the weather is overcast, it would be a shame to spend €16 to see nothing! To only do when the sky is clear.
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- Visit the Hallstatt salt mines
Right next to the Welterbeblick is one of Hallstatt’s main tourist attractions, its salt mines.
The picturesque village is home to the oldest salt mine in the world. At the time, salt was transported from Hallstatt to the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
Today, guided tours are organized. After putting on your beautiful miners’ outfits, you can enter the mines and discover their history and that of the region, notably through films. A sound and light show on an underground lake, two toboggans descent in the gut of the mine and a ride on a small train complete the visit.
Allow around 2 hours to visit. The price is around €25 per person and includes the return trip by funicular.
- Enjoy Hallstatt Lake
It would still be a shame to visit Hallstatt and not enjoy its lake!
The edges of the lake are well laid out and you can have a nice walk all along. It’s also the perfect place for cycling.
I also advise you to take a boat trip on the lake. You can rent small electric boats or opt for a mini cruise. The opportunity to discover Hallstatt from a new angle.
- The Ice Caves of the Dachstein Massif
About ten minutes by car from Hallstatt, I then suggest you go to Obertauern. The village is the starting point for visiting the Dachstein ice caves, another unmissable tourist spot in the region.
From Obertauern, take the cable car (stop at the first landing) which will take you to the entrance of the caves. The “Rieseneishöhle” (giant ice cave) is very impressive. During the 50-minute tour, you can admire the “King Arthur Cathedral” or the “Ice Palace”, huge ice rooms. Also, see an ice cream cone over 9 meters high and the ice bell and its play of lights.
Right next to the ice cave, you can also visit the mammoth cave (Mammuthöhle). I advise you to buy a combined ticket to visit the 2 caves, it’s cheaper. It is one of the largest in Europe. The visit lasts approximately 1 hour during which you walk through the corridors and the various rooms.
AnecdoteIn some places in the ice cave, the ground reaches 25 meters thick of ice!
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- The 5 Fingers
After your visit to the caves, take the cable car back to the second level, where you will find The 5 Fingers.
The 5 Fingers is a viewing platform that reproduces the shape of a hand (hence the name!) And offers spectacular views of the mountains and Lake Hallstattersee below. The platform is hung on a 400-meter high cliff. You will take full view but better not to be dizzy! One of the fingers even has a transparent glass floor.
The 5 Fingers is one of the most impressive platforms in the Alps. To reach it from the cable car, take around 20 minutes on foot.
It really is a must-do experience around Hallstatt.
Visit Hallstatt in 1 day
Itinerary to visit Hallstatt in 1 day:
- Walk in the village and discover the ossuary in the chapel
- Ascent to Hallstatt Skywalk
- Lunch break
- Salt mines tour
- Quiet late afternoon by the lake or on the lake
And if you prefer a slightly more dynamic afternoon, I advise you to visit the ice cave from Obertaun and The 5 Fingers to finish.
If you are lucky enough to be able to devote 2 days to Hallstatt (or at least 1 and a half days!) You can also do these 2 activities the next day.
Where to sleep in Hallstatt
Hallstatt is a very small village, ultra touristy, you can imagine that there is not so much accommodation and that the prices are quite high. I therefore advise you to book your accommodation in Hallstatt now!
- Heritage Hotel Hallstatt: Hotel is located in the historic center of Hallstatt. Modern and bright double room from €190 per night, breakfast at €17. The best: the location right in front of the landing stage for boats (practical if you have suitcases), the calm, the size of the rooms.
- Fenix Hall: Double room combining rustic and modern decor from €200 per night, breakfast included. More: the comfort of the place, the very friendly welcome and the good advice of the owner, the location. This is our favorite for its benefit/price ratio!
- Wallner Apartments: Large modern apartments, very clean and fully equipped! One of them even offers a superb view of the lake. From €210 per night. More: the location, the free private parking (very convenient in Hallstatt!), the host’s availability.
- Seehotel Grüner Baum: Hotel located in the historic pedestrian center of Hallstatt. Warm, comfortable and spacious double room from €300 per night, breakfast included. More: the location, the rooms with a view of the lake, the lakeside terrace, the magnificent setting, the excellent breakfast, the quality of the welcome. It is simply the best hotel for an upscale stay in Hallstatt.
Where to sleep in Obertraun
If you don’t have as much budget to devote to a hotel night or if all the hotels in Hallstatt are already taken, I recommend that you stay in Obertraun, a pretty village also located by the lake and only 10 minutes away by car from Hallstatt.
The great thing is that from Obertraun you can also take the river shuttle to Hallstatt. It’s fast, cheap and you will enjoy a boat trip on the lake!
- Haus Marie: Suites and apartments with views of the Dachstein massif from €90 per night. Goodies: the view, free private parking, large garden with barbecue and picnic area, spacious accommodation, welcoming guests.
- W&S Executive Apartments – Obertraun: Located 2km from the lake in Obertraun. All apartments include a seating area, a kitchenette and a private balcony. They are very well equipped with the same washing machine and dishwasher. They are very modern and designed. From €95 per night + €25 cleaning fee per stay. It’s a big crush on their price. I highly recommend you to sleep in Obertraun and visit Hallstatt easily!
- Seeblick Krippenstein: Hotel offers recently renovated double rooms and is therefore modern and comfortable from €100 per night, breakfast included. Goodies: the mountain view, the location near the cable-car for the ice caves, the good breakfast, and very friendly owners.
- Dormio Resort Obertraun: Modern and fully equipped chalets from €130 per night (price for 4 people!). Each of them has a balcony and a terrace. The Dormio also has a wellness center with indoor pool, sauna, hammam and a large garden with children’s playground. It’s the perfect place for a family holiday in Austria.
Where to eat in Hallstatt
I repeat myself a little but Hallstatt being a highly touristy place, you will only find restaurants there…. For tourist! Not really the best place to taste good typical Austrian cuisine.
The prices are quite high and the quality is not necessarily there. In addition, you will most certainly have to wait a while to be served. Anyway, for your midday meal, I advise you to opt for a sandwich!
How to get to Hallstatt
The closest major Austrian city to Hallstatt is Salzburg. If you wish, it is also (relatively) easy to get to Hallstatt from Vienna.
- By car: 1 hour 15 minutes, it’s the fastest, the most practical and the landscapes are superb for photos!
- By bus: 2.5-hour journey. You will then need to take the ferry to reach Hallstatt.
- By train: around 2h30 journey. Please note that the line is not direct, you will have to make Salzburg – Attnang Puchheim (line Salzburg-Vienna) and take another train to Hallstatt. Again, you will have to take the ferry.
- By car: 3h20 journey
- By train: 4-hour journey. Make Vienna – Attnang Puchheim then another train to Hallstatt.
And you, did you plan to visit Hallstatt during your stay in Austria?