Is Hallstatt Austria worth visiting or is the Town a tourist TRAP?

Ever thought about taking a trip to Hallstatt in the picturesque Salzkammergut region of Austria? Wondered, is Hallstatt worth the hype? Let’s dive in!

Nestled in the heart of Austria, Hallstatt is often hailed as a fairy-tale come to life. It’s not just one of Europe’s beauties; it’s a sparkling gem in the Salzkammergut region. But beyond the Instagram photos and travel blogs, why do people keep raving about this place?

This isn’t just another pretty town. Hallstatt’s history is as deep as the mesmerizing Lake Hallstatt. Dive into its ancient salt mines, or just get lost wandering its charming streets. There’s a story behind every corner!

Considering a summer trip? Oh, Hallstatt in summer is a vision! Alpine houses glow under the sun, while snow-capped mountains play peek-a-boo in the background. But honestly, every season paints this town in a unique hue, making it hard to pick the best time to visit.

Wondering about getting around? While the town’s quaint streets invite you for a leisurely walk, a car rental in Hallstatt can be your ticket to explore the neighboring beauty. And if you’re weighing up Hallstatt or Salzburg, why not both? Each offers its own magic.

Budget travelers, we hear you! Like any popular destination, it has its luxe corners, but with a little research, you can find charming spots without the hefty price tag.

Hallstatt – car hire:

We have rented cars many times during holidays in Austria and we always used

Check out our guide to the best car hire companies in Austria or simply explore the options directly on if you need a car during your next trip to Österreich.

If you are planning to visit Austrian Alps, there is a huge chance you have Hallstatt on your itinerary. Let’s see if you will keep it after reading this article 😉

Hallstatt in Austria
Austria Hallstatt

What is special about Hallstatt?

Hallstatt, a hidden gem nestled in the Austrian Alps, is a place of extraordinary beauty and allure. With its fairytale-like setting on the shores of Lake Hallstatt and surrounded by towering mountains, it exudes an enchanting ambiance that captivates visitors.

Its idyllic charm and picture-perfect vistas have earned it the reputation of being one of the most beautiful lakeside villages in the world. Hallstatt’s rich history, spanning over 7,000 years, is steeped in the fascinating tradition of salt mining, which shaped the village’s culture and prosperity. Exploring the ancient Salt Mine offers an immersive journey into this captivating heritage.

The Hallstatt Skywalk, a thrilling panoramic viewing platform, takes you to new heights, providing awe-inspiring vistas of the village, lake, and mountains. Delving deeper into Hallstatt’s allure, the Hallstatt Ossuary, a small chapel adorned with intricately decorated human skulls, adds an intriguing and macabre touch, evoking a sense of mystery and contemplation.

Outdoor enthusiasts can embark on thrilling adventures, from hiking in the surrounding mountains to cruising on the serene waters of Lake Hallstatt. With its blend of natural splendor, captivating history, and a sense of magic in the air, Hallstatt truly stands as an extraordinary and special destination.

Best time to visit Hallstatt?

The best time to visit Hallstatt is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). During these times, you can experience the village in full bloom or witness the vibrant fall colors painting the landscape. The weather is generally mild, allowing you to comfortably explore the area, take boat rides on the lake, and enjoy outdoor activities without the large crowds that flock to Hallstatt during the peak summer months.

Where to stay in Hallstatt Austria?

If you are looking for the best Hallstatt Austria hotels, the good news is that there is no shortage of amazing places to stay during your trip to Hallstatt in Austria. Please see below some of the TOP hotels in Hallstatt and around that we have selected for you.

Best places to stay in Hallstatt Austria:

“Heritage Hotel is located in the car-free historic centre of the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hallstatt in Upper Austria’s Salzkammergut region. It offers free wired internet access in the rooms and free WiFi in all areas.”

“Authentic Hallstatt is located in Hallstatt, a 2-minute walk from Museum Hallstatt, 0.6 miles from Salzwelten Hallstatt, as well as a 17-minute walk from Hallstatt. Featuring garden and mountain views, this apartment also includes free WiFi.”

Where is Hallstatt Austria?

Where is Hallstatt located? Hallstatt is situated in northern Austria on the western shores of Lake Hallstatt. In the intersection of national roads 166 and 145, the town is easily accessible and just an hour’s drive from Salzburg.

Most tourists visiting this town would actually drive from Salzburg to Hallstatt and the reason is that Salzburg is Hallstatt’s nearest airport. You can also book a Hallstatt tour in Austria from Salzburg:

Travelling here has not always been easy. In fact, up until the end of the 19th century, the only way to access the town was by boats or narrow paths. Now, there are still restrictions on the area, as the UNESCO World Heritage List has recognised the town and region.

Where is Hallstatt?
Lake Hallstatt Austria

How touristy is Hallstatt?

Hallstatt has become increasingly popular among tourists in recent years and can be considered quite touristy, especially during the peak travel seasons. The village’s picturesque beauty and unique attractions have attracted visitors from around the world, resulting in a steady flow of tourists throughout the year.

The narrow streets of the village can get crowded, particularly during the daytime when day-trippers from nearby cities arrive. In particular, the influx of tour groups and the popularity of social media have contributed to the village’s rising popularity.

However, it is worth noting that Hallstatt still maintains its charm and beauty despite the tourism, and there are quieter moments to be found, especially in the early morning or evening. To avoid the crowds and fully appreciate the village’s atmosphere, visiting during the shoulder seasons or weekdays can offer a more peaceful experience.

Can I visit Hallstatt by car?

How to get to Hallstatt? Most people spend only one day in Hallstatt so it is highly recommended to rent a car in Austria for your trip to Hallstatt. But it’s not possible to enter the centre of Hallstatt by car as the appearance is fiercely protected and regulated. However, there are plenty of parking areas in Hallstatt for you to leave your car.

Although, these are in demand and can be challenging to find a space during the height of the summer season. In this case, buses and coaches may be easier.

How to get to Hallstatt?

Vienna to Hallstatt by car

If you fancy experiencing the famous Vienna to Hallstatt scenic drive, then you have to expect at least 3 hours behind the wheel. The distance between Hallstatt and Vienna is around 300km and the fastest route will take you a good 180-200 minute drive.

A Vienna to Hallstatt day trip is probably a tricky one but if you consider spending a weekend around Hallstatt then it’s 100 work driving!

There is also a Vienna to Hallstatt train but it will require transfers and takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Getting to Hallstatt from Salzburg

Looking for a day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt?

You have really two options – either a Salzburg to Hallstatt tour or going from Salzburg to Hallstatt by car! If you look at Hallstatt Austria map you will see that the driving distance to Hallstatt is just above 1 hour – perfect for a Hallstatt summer trip!

Car rental Hallstatt

Looking for Hallstatt car rental companies? Check the prices and book a car!

Can I visit Hallstatt by car?
Hallstatt car hire

How far is parking from Hallstatt town?

Parking in Hallstatt costs three euros an hour (in the designated spaces) and is only a short walk from the centre. This is undoubtedly a walk you’ll enjoy as the lines of prettily coloured houses comes into view.

If you’re quick and planning a whistle-stop tour, you can see Hallstatt in an hour, but it is worth lingering for at least a few hours to make the most of the views.

How far is parking from Hallstatt town
What to do in Hallstatt in one day?

Hallstatt – what to expect?

Due to its popularity and feature with UNESCO, Hallstatt is popular and heavily adapted to tourism. Some call it the most romantic destination in Europe! The town is full of small shops that sell local produce such as the salt that is extracted there. There is also plenty of restaurants that serve local specialities.

Hallstatt Austria – What to expect
Hallstatt austria tourism

As a result of the influx of tourists, prices are tailored to suit that market. There are many shops selling the same generic souvenirs. However, the fact that the town is so heavily regulated means that the beauty of the landscape and town itself will never be lost to commercial tourism.

Hallstatt in Austria – What to expect
What to see around Hallstatt?

Tourism in Hallstatt is at its peak in summer. If you want to experience Hallstatt without the crowds, plan your visit in the spring or autumn months. We visited Hallstatt Austria in October – and it was a perfect time 🙂

Hallstatt Austria in October
Hallstatt tourists

Why is Hallstatt famous?

The main attraction of Hallstatt is the beautiful view of a typical Alpine setting. Surrounded by steep, snow-capped mountains, the picturesque blue lake provides the calm and tranquillity that every traveller seeks. The coloured wooden houses are so perfect and orderly that every snap of your camera is a picture-postcard view.

Hallstatt tourism is massive! So whether you are planning a Hallstatt Austria summer tour or a short Salzburg to Hallstatt day trip you can be sure that there will be 1000s of people. Everyone wants to see this famous town! 🙂

You can even rent a small boat and admire the view of the Hallstatt town from the middle of the lake – just stunning!

Why is Hallstatt famous?
Halstatt Austria

The view of Hallstatt is so beautiful and so ‘wanderlust’ that China has built an exact replica of Hallstatt in China. Just so more people can benefit from the incredible view.

Sounds perfect right? The views certainly are. However, one slight drawback is how touristy the town is. Instead of feeling like an authentic and liveable town, it can feel more like a living museum.

living museum Hallstatt
Places to visit in Hallstatt

Things to do in Hallstatt Austria

What to do in Hallstatt Austria? As soon as you get to the lake, it will be hard to tear yourself away, and many will sit there, contemplating its beauty for hours on end.

However, if you need to get moving, walking throughout the town offers yet more beauty, window-shopping and a chance to peak into a stunning neo-gothic church.

What to see in Hallstatt in Austria?
Best things to do in Hallstatt

Looking for Hallstatt things to do? There are not many attractions in Hallstatt apart from the famous and world’s oldest salt mine. Mining in the region dates back to the Iron Age, and the visitor centre here takes you back through the history of the salt mine.

The salt mine is at the top of the hill, and while you can walk to the mine on a hiking trail, a more relaxing way to get there is to take the cable car which gives you a mesmerising bird’s eye view. At the top of the hill, there are several viewing bridges, including one that provides a fantastic view of a waterfall. The mine costs around 30 euros per person while the cable car costs 16 euros for a return trip. If heights aren’t your thing, then head back to the lake and enjoy a peaceful boat trip.

boat trip
Hallstatt places to visit

What to do in Hallstatt Austria? Another attraction is a burial ground that includes a ‘skull chapel’. It is home to over 1,200 skills and many bones from the dead inhabitants of the area. This can be visited for just a small fee.

If nature is your main thing, go for a day trip to Schafberg Mountain – the best mountain in the Austrian Alps! The views there are spectacular! 🙂


Why you should visit Hallstatt?

Despite how busy the town can be, the views are unmatchable and definitely need to be seen in person. Considering it is thought of as the most beautiful location in Europe, you’ll certainly want to see if it lives up to the hype.

Planning to travel from Vienna to Hallstatt? Hallstatt is one of the most popular day trips from Vienna so make sure you go for this day-long adventure while visiting the capital of Austria 🙂

It really is one of the most beautiful towns in Europe.

How long should you spend in Hallstatt?

The recommended duration for a visit to Hallstatt depends on your interests and the depth of exploration you desire. However, a suggested timeframe would be around 1 to 2 days to fully appreciate the village and its surroundings. Here’s a sample itinerary for a 2-day visit:

Day 1:

  • Arrive in Hallstatt and take some time to wander through the village. Explore the charming streets, admire the traditional Alpine architecture, and soak in the scenic beauty.
  • Visit the Hallstatt Salt Mine to learn about the village’s rich mining history. Take a guided tour and experience the underground tunnels and slides.
  • Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on Lake Hallstatt, taking in the panoramic views and immersing yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings.

Day 2:

  • Rise early and capture the sunrise over Lake Hallstatt for stunning photographs.
  • Take a hike or cable car ride to the Hallstatt Skywalk to marvel at the breathtaking vistas of the village, lake, and mountains.
  • Visit the Hallstatt Ossuary, a unique chapel adorned with beautifully decorated human skulls, offering an intriguing glimpse into local burial customs.
  • Spend the afternoon exploring the surrounding area. Take a scenic hike in the Dachstein Mountains or visit nearby attractions like the Ice Cave or Mammoth Cave.

Of course, if you have more time, you can extend your stay to explore further or simply relax and soak in the village’s serene ambiance. Hallstatt’s compact size allows for a comprehensive experience within a couple of days, but the beauty of the region may tempt you to stay longer.

Why you should visit Hallstatt? So, is Hallstatt worth visiting?
Is Hallstatt worth visiting? 🙂

So, is Hallstatt worth visiting?

So, to answer the burning question – is Hallstatt worth visiting? In a heartbeat, yes! It’s more than just a postcard picture; it’s an experience, a story, and a memory waiting to be made.

But let’s be honest! There is not much to do in the town and you wouldn’t like to spend days in Hallstatt. It’s worth adding to your itinerary if you are visiting & exploring more of the Salzkammergut region and local area – there are also other stunning things to do in Austria. Believe us – it’s worth visiting all of them! 🙂

Considering its proximity to Salzburg, it is well worth a day trip if you’re heading to northern Austria for a holiday or to explore this fascinating area.

Is Hallstatt in Austria on your travel bucket list?

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Travel to Hallstatt Austria

Hallstatt Austria FAQ

Why is Hallstatt so popular?

Hallstatt is popular due to its stunning natural beauty, charming architecture, and its unique position as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It attracts visitors with its idyllic lakeside location, historical salt mines, and the picturesque views of the surrounding mountains.

How to go from London to Hallstatt?

Book a flight to Salzburg –> rent a car at the airport –> drive to the beautiful town of Hallstatt in Salzkammergut!

Is Hallstatt in the Alps?

Yes, Hallstatt is located in the Alps. It is a small town situated in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, known for its picturesque setting between mountains and a serene lake, surrounded by the Alps.

Is Hallstatt closer to Vienna or Salzburg?

Hallstatt is closer to Salzburg than Vienna. It is situated approximately 75 kilometers (47 miles) southwest of Salzburg, while it is about 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of Vienna.

Things to do in Hallstatt in winter:

What to do in Hallstatt in winter? There are many Hallstatt attractions you can visit in winter: Altaussee Salt Mine, The Bone House or take a Magical Christmas Tour around Hallstatt.

Is 2 days enough for Hallstatt?

Two days can provide a decent amount of time to explore Hallstatt and its surroundings, allowing you to visit the village, take a boat ride on the lake, explore the salt mines, and enjoy the scenic beauty. However, if you want to immerse yourself fully and take your time, extending your stay to three or more days would offer a more leisurely experience.

What is the nearest airport to Hallstatt?

Salzburg airport will be the closest airport to Hallstatt Europe.

Hoher Dachstein

Hoher Dachstein is a prominent mountain located in the Austrian Alps and offers breathtaking views, hiking opportunities, and the chance to explore the Dachstein Ice Cave, a stunning natural wonder. Additionally, it is a popular destination for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.

Day trip to Hallstatt from Vienna

While it is possible to do a day trip from Vienna to Hallstatt, be prepared for a long day of travel as the journey takes around 3 to 4 hours each way. Consider an early start to maximize your time in Hallstatt and prioritize key attractions such as the village, lake, and salt mines.

How long do you need in Hallstatt?

How many days in Hallstatt? Most people visit the town in one day (5-7 hours to be precise) but you should consider spending 2 days around the town to fully appreciate its charm.

Which is better Salzburg or Hallstatt?

Hallstatt is a compact town perfect for a day trip but Salzburg is a mid-size city great for a weekend trip or as a base from which you can explore nearby towns, villages and other attractions.

Hallstätter See

Hallstätter See, also known as Lake Hallstatt, is a picturesque lake nestled amidst the mountains in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. It offers stunning views, opportunities for boating and swimming, and is a serene spot for relaxation and enjoying the surrounding natural beauty.

What is the name of Hallstatt Lake?

Hallstätter See offers many water sports opportunities, boating & nearby hiking around this mountain lake!

Vienna to Hallstatt

To travel from Vienna to Hallstatt, you can take a train from Vienna to Attnang-Puchheim and then transfer to a regional train or bus to reach Hallstatt. The journey takes approximately 3 to 4 hours, depending on the mode of transportation chosen, and offers scenic views of the Austrian countryside along the way.

Salzburg to Hallstatt

To travel from Salzburg to Hallstatt, you can take a train from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to Attnang-Puchheim and then transfer to a regional train or bus that will take you to Hallstatt. The journey takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, offering picturesque views of the Austrian landscape during the trip.

Best place to take stunning Hallstatt Austria pictures?

Get an electric boat and take a picture (or two) from the middle of Hallstatt Lake!

Visiting Hallstatt isn’t just about checking off a top European destination; it’s about immersing yourself in Austria’s breathtaking Salzkammergut region. Whether you’re curious about why Hallstatt is so famous or pondering the best activities, here’s a snapshot:

  • Beauty Beyond Words: From the serene Lake Hallstatt to charming Alpine houses, Hallstatt promises visual delights all year round. It’s not merely scenic; it’s soul-stirring.
  • Historical Treasures: Dive into the town’s ancient salt mines and walk down memory lanes through its historical alleyways. Discover the stories that make it stand out in the annals of Hallstatt tourism.
  • Ease of Exploration: With options for car rentals or leisurely strolls, navigating the town and its attractions is a breeze. If you’re keen on discovering what to do around Hallstatt, the town is your oyster.
  • Ideal for Every Season: Each time of year brings out a unique facet of the town, from snowy vistas in winter to sun-kissed streets in summer. Hallstatt in Austria never fails to enchant, regardless of when you visit.

In essence, Hallstatt isn’t just another tourist spot. It’s a blend of nature, history, and authentic Austrian charm.

If you consider visiting the town, then book one of the top Hallstatt Austria things to do:

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