Heavenly Hallstatt

Hallstatt Austria is a sight to behold. The little village is surrounded by towering mountains and includes a pristine lake. Boats and even the occasional swan can be spotted on the crystal clear lake. The houses reminded me of the Snow White fairy tale for some reason. Think wooden houses, and homes which are pastel coloured which include flower boxes with colourful blooms throughout the summertime. One can be forgiven for forgetting that Hallstatt is a real place. It looks more like a set for a Disney film. In fact, Hallstatt is so picturesque that it has been duplicated. In China, you can find a replica of Hallstatt, which took a fortune to build. Talk about awe-inspiring.

Swan boats on the lake

I was lucky to visit Hallstaat in September 2016. I booked a trip with Studifahrten a tour bus company which operates in West Germany. I got onto the bus alone in Cologne given that my friends were either broke, saving or studying. The bus had stopped at Frankfurt, Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Stuttgart. During the journey, I met travel buddies from India, Malaysia, Nepal and Indonesia in the bus. I spent 15 hours on the bus, by the end of the trip I had a group of people to tour Hallstatt with.

The ladies I met in the bus. This is our lakeside selfie.

Once the bus arrived a collective sigh could be heard on the bus. We were all blown away by Hallstatt and the light mist made the village look even more like a fairytale. I walked along the lake it’s a short walk. I took a lot of photos and had my photo taken. Then I went to the city square the shops were still closed. But, I got to take pictures of the villagers’ houses whilst they were asleep. Less weird than doing it when they were awake. The bus arrived just before 8am and it was a Saturday. Only a few villagers were awake and my tour bus was the only tour group to arrive so early.

The Main square of the village

I hiked up to the Catholic church, St. Micheal. The view from the churches graveyard magnifies the beauty of the crystal clear lake which lies below. The church is pretty inside and it’s basement houses the bone house (bienhaus). The bone house or ossuary contains human skulls which are painted. I skipped viewing the bones. Since looking at human bones didn’t interest me.

St. Micheal’s Church behind the houses

We hiked back down in search of coffee. We found Cafe Bakeries Maislinger at Seestraße 156. The bakery sells a selection of cakes, rolls, coffee, and tea. Austrian and German cakes are very similar though. I found a lot of the things which I could find in Germany. Austrian and German restaurants also sell schnitzel and apple strudel. I didn’t get a chance to have lunch in Hallstatt but, the pastry was good. Hallstatt restaurants do sell fresh fish which is caught from the lake daily. I missed out on trying the fish but I’m not a big fan of fish so I’m not too sad about that.

With my coffee done, I went shopping. I ended up only buying a postcard due to having bought too many souvenirs already whilst studying and living in Germany for a year. The wooden outdoor kiosk I bought it at was adorable and the shopkeeper was so friendly. I then popped into Salzkontor which sells bath salts and soap which look like candy. I then browsed around at a shop that sells handcrafted wood furniture and smaller wooden souvenirs. The items were intricate and so wonderful I wish I could have bought items. It was way impractical though and out of my price range as a student traveller. Unsurprisingly I saw a few boats for hire signs in the shopping quarter, who wouldn’t want to take a boat trip on Hallstatt Lake. I also saw Dirndl To Go, which is a shop where you can hire a dirndl a traditional dress worn in Austria, Germany and some parts of Italy.

Even the kiosk is pretty

I then walked around the village some more and took photos of the Lutheran Church. I spotted swans and boat sailors on the lake. I took photos of the museum and of its interesting steps. The sun was shining brightly by then, it was a perfect weather day. My tour group then posed for a group photo. I only got to explore Hallstatt for a short while, a few hours but, I was happy I got to see the UNESCO World Heritage site.

My next blog post will include what to do in Hallstatt. I included what I did along with what I wished I had more time to do. 20 things to do in Hallstatt is a well-researched list and it is extensive. Most to-do lists end at ten things, so if you are planning on visiting Hallstatt one why not check it out.

P.S I will also add more photos of this wonderful village.

For more information see:

Tourist Office Hallstatt
Tourismusverband Inneres Salzkammergut
Seestraße 99
4830 Hallstatt
Phone: +43 (0) 5 95095 30
Fax: +43-6134-8352
E-Mail: hallstatt@dachstein-salzkammergut.at

Opening hours
Tourist Office Hallstatt
November to April: Mon – Fri 8.30 – 17:00 hrs.
Sat./Sun./Holiday 9.00 – 15.00 hrs.
May to October: Mon. – Fri. 8.30 – 18.00 hrs.
Sat, Sun & Holidays 9.00 – 15.00 hrs.

A free audio guide for Hallstatt is available at http://www.hallstatt.net/about-hallstatt/weltkulturerbe-en-US/themed-trails-and-audio-guide-tour/audio-guide-tour-hallstatt/

Thank you for reading and please let me know what you think. Have you been to Hallstatt?

Wishing you happy travels through the journey of life!

xxx Nikki xxx