Hallstatt is more than just a postcard styled village. It has a rich history which is rooted in salt mining. It is quaint and otherworldly. But there’s more to do than just stare at the view. This list of 20 things to do might help you plan your Hallstatt trip.
Take a walk around the lake
It’s a short walk and the view is not to be missed. You simply cannot miss this short stroll. It’s less than 1km and it will make you feel better about digging into your apple strudel later.
Check out St. Micheals
Like everything else in Hallstatt the church isn’t big but its charming and has stood the test of time. Plus, the graveyard view is stunning. If you are interested in human bones check out the Bonehouse Bienhaus to see the bones stored there. Do note though that it’s completely dark inside save for candlelight and it has no windows.
Check out the Lutheran Church
It’s located in the village centre. Built in 1785, for the Protestant community of the village. You can read more about the church’s history on a front panel which discusses it both in German and English. The church also hosts events during summer and so does the square which is a few steps away from the church.
Close to the Lutheran Church is the main square of the village. Here you can get something to eat or grab a drink. You can also do what I did and take pictures of peoples personal homes whilst they are still asleep. You will need the photo’s to explain to your friends and family back home how pretty Hallstatt is.
Go on a boat trip
There are electric and more traditional styled wooden boats called Fuhre, which can be rented. The boats were designed to transport salt. Signs are up at places where boat rental is offered. The cost varies according to what kind of boat you are taking and how long you rent it. The lowest price is 12 euros for about a 30 min on an electric boat. For more information check out the Dachstein Salzkammergut site
If could have taken a boat trip I would have chosen Navia. This tour operator uses the Fuhre boats. I like to try traditional things when travelling. It makes the experiences unique and far more memorable. Navia has daily 30 minute trips from May through late September from Hallstatt. It only has two boats so do book in advance if you are able to. The company’s website is still under construction and all in Austrian-German so use google translate. However, the flyer does have an English section with all you need to know. You can also call or email Navia their details are on the site’s homepage.
Visit the Salt mine
Hallstatt used to be a salt mining town. In fact, the salt mining allowed the village to prosper. You can go on a tour of the salt mines. More details can be found at the Salt mines official website, Salzwelten . Going to the mine by funicular and a tour inside the mine costs 30 euros. You can book your ticket online and opening times can be found on the site as well. They vary so do take note of that.
Go see the Dachstein Ice Cave
In 1910 the Dachstein Ice Cave was found. It is a huge cave which has spectacular ice formations inside of it. Grab a jacket when going inside it’s cold even in summertime, also wear sturdy shoes. In fact, the cave’s average temperature is -2degrees, that’s 26.6 degrees Fahrenheit. I have seen photo’s of the caves and it looks interesting. You can only enter the cave with a guide. The tour lasts for 50min. Your guide will tell you more about the caves and will ensure that the passageways you walk through are safe. There’s also vantage points where you can see Hallstatt from. Making the trip even more worthwhile according to my research. The Dachstein Krippenstein site has all the details and impressive visuals of the cave.
Go to 5 fingers lookout point
This lookout point is located at Dachstein mountain, where the ice cave is. So why not go see it, if you do go to the ice cave. The lookout point sits up at 5,000 feet above Hallstatt. There’s a glass floor and the platform has been built to resemble 5 fingers which are spread out. Want to know more and see what it looks like just check out Dachstein Salzkammergut.
My hike was in the village. There are many trails all around Hallstatt though. Why not hike to the top of Dachstein since it hosts the ice cave, and the 5 fingers lookout point. The list of trails includes a trail that caters to families. So check out the site Hiking in Hallstatt. I didn’t get the chance to hike these trails, hopefully, I will next time.
There’s a chapel located on the Dachstein mountain. From the Drachenstein caves, you have to take the cableway up to the upper station, Berghaus Krippenstein. Then you have to climb for about 15 minutes. The chapel was built to commemorate 13 students and teachers who died at the site. You will see the Welterbespirale, another brilliant viewing platform which looks like a metal boat. It also boasts 360-degree scenic views. Then you can hike back down to 5 fingers.
Rudolfsturm (Rudolf’s Tower)
It was built in the 13th century and was created as a defence tower. To guard the salt of Hallstatt. Soon after it was built there was a salt war between Salzburg and the Hapsburg monarchy. The tower was therefore important and named after king Rudolph the first. It was built by his son Alfred the first. And served as the residence of the salt mine manager.
Below the Rudolf’s Tower (Rudolfsturm) is the pointy steel viewing platform. The Salzbergbahn funicular , elevator and panoramic bridge allows you to easily get to the sky walk. Both young and old can enjoy the view.
In winter you can go skiing or take a snowshoeing walk. Or do what I would have done go build a snow man and start a snow ball fight. Need to hire gear go to Ski Hire Obetraun, you can also book online.
Restaurant Bräugasthof, is a restaurant which is located on the lakeside and it’s also under a chestnut tree. It’s highly ranked on Tripadvisor. It sells Reinanke (whitefish) which is s caught out of the lake and Saibling (Lake Trout) which is a bit cheaper. You can just stroll around and just pick a random place. I tend to do this often when travelling.
Hallstatt plays host to a few festivals. In Summer you can check out the Corpus Christi Procession. This festival started in 1623 originally boats were not included. But, in 1628 boats were added because of the limited space. The beautifully decorated boats are blessed during the procession. You can hire a Fuhre and see the boats up close if you are in the area during the festival.
Hallstatt also hosts the Krampus run and a Christmas Market. Villagers dress up in creepy looking handmade masks. They walk around and aim to frighten off evil spirits and the darkness of winter solstice with they monstrous masks. More details about these festivals and others can be found at: http://www.im-salzkammergut.at/veranstaltungshighlights-en-US/?stage=Live.
Remeber to read carefully and check the dates. Some of the festivals only last one day. If you don’t want to miss out, plan ahead and plan properly. Also, do note that it will be more difficult to find accommodation during festival times so make sure you book in advance. I have read that it is difficult to find a room with a view available for two days in a row during summertime, so be smart about booking.
Below the Sport Janu store in Hallstatt archaeological finds were discovered in 1990. The structures are artefacts can be traced back to the Stone Age and Middle Ages. It’s free to go see it and you get to experience history in an unusual way.
World Heritage Museum
The World Heritage Museum (Welterbemuseum Hallstatt) has exhibits which provide more details on the history of the salt mines and Hallstatt’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Part of the museum was built over an ancient burial site. There are also traditional costumes which can be viewed at the museum. Hallstatt’s long history helped make it a world heritage site. In fact, the period between 400-800 BC is called the Hallstatt period. So if you haven’t grown weary of museums go to Seestraße 56, 4830 Hallstatt and learn more about Hallstatt. If it had been open whilst I was there I probably would’ve taken a look inside.
You can buy postcards of Hallstatt since the village does look like a postcard. And other great gifts. You can grab sporting gear at Sport Janu. The Salzkontor now also sells pizza and pasta sauce, and bruschetta along with bath salts etc. Geschenk’s Platzerl is a souvenir which can be found at Seestraße 141. Tara Sharron Gold is a shopping store owned by Sharron Gold. Sharron is British and lives in Hallstatt.Many of her clothing items are sold in support of charities her store can be found at Marktpl. 58. There are many more souvenir shops just walk around and you will spot them. Hallstatt is small so it’s not hard to find places.
Go for a swim
During summer you can swim in the Lake. There’s a small artificial island connected by a bridge to Hallstatt. It’s only a few minutes walk from the centre of the village.
The diving instructors and guides, of the diving club Dachstein-Salzkammergut, will be able to help drivers. They can point out the great sites, and where fish can be found. Classes are offered for children and you can contact the Dachstein-Salzkammergut diving club on 0664 88600481. For those who want to get married, there’s an underwater alter. You can get legally married underwater, by priests and registrars. If you don’t have diving training experience you need only 5 days of diving classes and then you can get married underwater.
The tourism office is your best bet if you need any more information. Plus check out the link to the free audio guide at the bottom of this page. I stumbled upon it whilst compiling this list and listened to it. The recording is informative and interesting.
For more information see:
Tourist Office Hallstatt
Tourismusverband Inneres Salzkammergut
Phone: +43 (0) 5 95095 30
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 this post. Hope this will help make your trip to Hallstatt heavenly if you do go. If you have any comments just drop me a line.
xxx Nikki xxx