Hallstatt, Austria: Best Attractions & Places to Visit
Hallstatt in Austria is a breathtaking beautiful village in the Dachstein Salzkammergut region and one of the most famous tourist attractions in Austria. Located next to the idyllic Lake Hallstatt, this small town with only 750 inhabitants enchants visitors from all over the world. Above all, Hallstatt is known for the incredibly spectacular location between high mountains and the mystical lake. Together with the Dachstein Mountain and the inner Salzkammergut, Hallstatt is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Therefore, there are amazing attractions and places to visit on a holiday and also the area around Hallstatt has countless memorable activities and highlights to offer.
This blog post is a comprehensive travel guide for people visiting Hallstatt in Austria. Here we show you the best things to do in Hallstatt and around. What are the best activities, best Viewpoints and ultimate photo spots?
Best Attractions in Hallstatt, Austria
In Hallstatt there are really wonderful attractions to discover. Here you can stroll through a picturesque old town, admire the old wooden houses, a beautiful market square and enjoy an unbelievable view from the Hallstatt Skywalk. But also the salt mines are worth seeing. Here are the best things to do in Hallstatt, which shouldn´t be missed on any trip to Salzkammergut.
Explore the Old Town
The special thing about Hallstatt in Austria is definitely the exceptionally beautiful old town, which owes its existence to the rich salt deposits of the region. In the past, until the end of the 19th century, due to its extraordinary location this place could only be reached by boat or by foot. The pretty old wooden houses built close to each other are densely embedded between the high mountains and the beautiful Lake Hallstatt. A panorama like the one you know from postcards – no wonder that Hallstatt is probably the most photographed in Austria.
Tip: On a guided photo tour you have the opportunity to explore the historic centre off the beaten track and, at the same time, you can take professional pictures of Hallstatt!
During a visit to Hallstatt you should not miss out on a walk through the centre. In addition to that explore the small side streets of the old town, there are many attractions to discover. The best thing to do is just to stroll around and see the secret corners of the old town. In small shops you can buy all sorts of gifts and souvenirs but also art works and crafts, natural products and sweets, such as gingerbread are offered in Hallstatt.
Tip: If you fancy something different, you can rent a pretty dirndl in Hallstatt and then explore the lovely town in the traditional Austrian costume.
Hallstatt Market Square
One of the most famous attractions in Hallstatt and a popular motif of many travel pictures is the historic market square with the beautiful Trinity Column. Especially lovely are the many colourful houses, which are decorated with magnificent flowers in summer. There is always something going on at Hallstatt’s marketplace and whether in summer or in winter, plenty of events are taking place. For example, every year in December there is the Hallstatt Christmas market. In spring, the Corpus Christi procession takes place on the market square.
Tip: For a very special holiday in Hallstatt we recommend the Seehotel Grüner Baum – one of the best hotels on Lake Hallstatt. It is located in the centre, right on the market square and at the same time it is situated directly on the beautiful lake.
Cemetery and the “Bone House”
One of the most interesting places to visit in Hallstatt is definitely the “Beinhaus” – translated the bone house – next to the cemetery. Located on a hill, from the parish church of the Assumption (Maria am Berg) you will enjoy a fabulous view of Hallstatt and Lake Hallstatt. Right next to it is the idyllic cemetery of Hallstatt and the Bone House of the small Michaelskapelle.
The special feature of Hallstatt’s Beinhaus are the many colourful painted skull bones. Around 600 of these ornate and labelled bones were picked up in the Ossuary. Some are from the 8th century and some even date back to the 20th century. The reason: The cemetery in Hallstatt is quite small and so graves had to be reused for new funerals. Bones that were found were brought to the Bone House there they got some kind of a second funeral. For reasons of piety we do not show you any photos here.
Taking photos from Hallstatt Viewpoint
Who does not know the world-famous photos of Hallstatt: The magnificent view of the idyllic village with the beautiful church, the wonderful Lake Hallstatt and the mountains as a backdrop? Nowadays, it is the most photographed attraction in Austria. No matter what time of year, be it spring, summer, autumn or winter – this view will not only delight photographers and instagramers.
Tip: Here at the Hallstatt Viewpoint there is always a hustle and bustle. But if you come when the sun starts to rise, you can enjoy this beautiful scenery with much more peace.
World Heritage Skywalk & Salt Mines
A visit of the Hallstatt Skywalk, the so called “World Heritage Skywalk“, is really impressive and absolutely recommended. This attraction is located on the Salzberg, about 360 meters above the roofs of Hallstatt. From this vantage point you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Hallstatt, the old town and the spectacular mountains of the Salzkammergut. The Skywalk can either be reached comfortably by the funicular railway or active people hike up 1 hour to reach the World Heritage Skywalk.
On the Salzberg, in addition to the excellent view, there is another important attraction of Hallstatt waiting for you: the salt mines. Already around 7.000 years ago, the white gold was mined here in the region. Guided tours through the salt mines are offered here every day. A great experience for old and young.
Attractions in the area near Hallstatt
The Hallstatt – Dachstein Salzkammergut region has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997 and offers some wonderful places to visit; enough to spend several days in Hallstatt. Especially nature lovers, sports and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the Salzkammergut. Here are the best attractions that make the area around Hallstatt so unique:
Dachstein Krippenstein & 5-Fingers Skywalk
The mountains around Hallstatt are really beautiful. A real highlight is definitely a visit to the Dachstein Krippenstein. For that, it is best you take the cable car up to the mountain station at 2,100 meters above sea level. Up there are beautiful panoramic walks where you can enjoy a heavenly view of the Dachstein montain down to Lake Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut. The mountain landscape is just amazing and very idyllic, and with a bit of luck, even a peaceful herd of sheep is running towards you.
However, the most important attraction is the 5-Fingers Skywalk with its gigantic view down to the valley. This spectacular skywalk has the shape of a hand and was built incredible 500 meters above a rocky slope. From this vantage point you truly have the most exciting and fascinating view over the Salzkammergut and down to Hallstatt. To get to this 5 fingers platform, you should start at Krippenstein mountain station and take the fairly easy but still beautiful hike towards this viewpoint. The hike takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on how many photo stops you want to take.
Discover the Dachstein Ice Caves
Another fantastic place to visit near Hallstatt is the ice cave. The so-called Dachstein Giant Ice Cave is located in Obertraun below the Krippenstein. During a guided tour visitors admire the underground ice landscapes, walk past huge ice formations and mighty ice chapels. In summer, this tourist attraction offers pleasant refreshment and even when it rains in Hallstatt a visit to the caves is the perfect excursion program.
Tip: The Dachstein Giant Ice Cave is closed in winter. It usually opens from the end of April to the end of October.
Hiking at Löckermoos
A hike to the Löckermoos and the Loecker Lake Gosau is an unforgettable nature experience and an absolute insider tip for the Lake Hallstatt region! This beautiful high moor is located near Gosau, about 15 kilometres from Hallstatt. On a circular hike you marvel at an intact nature system at an altitude of 1,400 meters above sea level and enjoy a brilliant view of the tines of the Gosaukamm.
Tip: The Löckermoos is really beautiful during sunrise, when the rising sun colours the mountain panorama in amazing pink variations.
If you want to take a break during your hike, the best place for a stopover is the Badstubnhütte. The dear hostess Linde takes special care of her guests!
In addition to Lake Hallstatt, the Lake Gosausee is another important natural attraction in Salzkammergut. This beautiful mountain lake enchants with a unique panorama. The view of the crystal-clear lake, the Dachstein and the surrounding mountains are simply breathtaking and beautiful. When the weather is good, Gosausee glows in the most beautiful blues and greens. In summer you can enjoy really great hikes here. The Gosaukammbahn takes you up to the Zwieselalm. In winter Gosau is a popular ski resort.
Tip: Due to its proximity to Hallstatt and the beautiful nature, Gosau is a popular holiday area. Very nice and located directly on the lake is the Gasthof Gosausee.
How do I get to Hallstatt
In order to get to Hallstatt you have several options. The easiest way is to drive your own car or rent a car. With the car you have the advantage to reach the most beautiful places around Hallstatt quickly.
But also a journey by bus or train is possible. The quickest way to reach Hallstatt is by bus from Salzburg. If you want to come by train then the Salzkammergutbahn takes you to Bad Goisern, Hallstatt and Obertraun.
If you want to take the plane then Salzburg would be the nearest airport to Hallstatt. A larger offer of flights might be found at Vienna airport or Munich airport. Cheap flights can be found on websites, such as Skyscanner.
Day Tours to Hallstatt
Certainly, you can also visit Hallstatt as part of a day trip. If you want to join a guided tour then there are some nice trips that you can go on from Salzburg. Also Austria’s capital, Vienna, offers various tours. Fantastic excursions can be found online, for example on GetyourGuide – there are helpful reviews and you can book your favourite tour very easily. Many of the excursions can be cancelled for free until 24 hours before the start.
Where to stay at Lake Hallstatt & Surrounding Areas
Getting an accommodation in the old town is very popular and therefore more expensive. Cheap and good hotels can be found in the region around the lake, such as in Gosau or Bad Goisern. If you are looking for a great accommodation in the Hallstatt region, we can recommend the following hotels and apartments:
- Haus am See: The Haus am See is situated on the northern shore of Lake Hallstatt. Here you can enjoy a wonderful ambience and it is only a 10 minutes’ drive to the old town.
- Rustic-comfortable double rooms: The Welterbe-Wirtshaus Steegwirt near Bad Goisern offers really cosy and quaint rooms; a really great place to explore the wonderful Lake Hallstatt and its surroundings.
- Great Hotel in Hallstatt: The Seehotel Grüner Baum is one of the best hotels in Hallstatt. An ingenious accommodation for a very special holiday at Lake Hallstatt!
- Pension in Gosau: The Landhaus Koller in Gosau spoils its guests with a wonderful and idyllic location, a beautiful pool area and a delicious breakfast.
Conclusion: Hallstatt is one of the most amazing places to visit in Austria. Due to its wonderful attractions, the Hallstatt lake and the great opportunities for excursions in Salzkammergut, you can spend a few unforgettable days in the holiday region.
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