Thinking about a day trip to Hallstatt Austria? You’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out all the best things to do in Hallstatt Austria for the perfect outing.
Hallstatt is a charming, fairytale town in Austria’s Sakzkammergut Region. Located on the shores of Lake Hallstatt Austria and surrounded on all sides by towering mountains, it truly is a sight to behold.
The entire town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known for its natural beauty, gingerbread houses and picturesque streets.
While the town’s small size might suggest there isn’t much to do, the opposite rings true. There are so many things to do in Hallstatt in Austria from exploring the streets of the village itself to making the most of the mountainous surroundings. (There are even some thermal spas around too).
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know and what to do in Hallstatt Austria for a perfect day trip and beyond.
*This ‘Hallstatt Austria things to do ’ guide contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top-quality content for free.
Is One Day in Hallstatt Enough?
Hallstatt is a tiny lakeside village and you can easily walk around it in under an hour. While you probably want to stay for a little longer than an hour, having a full day, or even half a day for Hallstatt in enough time.
However, there are many Hallstatt attractions located around the village in the surrounding mountains and countryside. In order to be able to visit all the Hallstatt Austria things to do in this post, you will need more than one day.
If one day in Hallstatt is all the time you have you’ll still be able to experience many of the highlights the little village has to offer.
I encourage you to use this guide to pick and choose the activities and best places that interest you most so you can make the most out of the time you have.
I also recommend visiting over a 24-hour period and spending one night in Hallstatt. This will allow you to wake up slowly and still have time to explore the beautiful town before the tour buses begin to arrive.
During the busy summer months when crowds are at their highest, this is something you might want to consider.
How to Get to Hallstatt, Österreich
Most visit the small village of Hallstatt on a day trip from Salzburg or Vienna. It’s possible to get to Hallstatt by renting a car and driving yourself, taking the train and ferry combo or taking a tour.
It takes longer to get to Hallstatt from Vienna as it’s further away. I recommend leaving early in the morning to get the most out of your day.
It’s also possible to get to Hallstatt from the Czech fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov in 3 hours. Click here to check the travel options via Bookaway.
How to Get to Hallstatt from Salzburg
Rental Car – Driving to Hallstatt from Salzburg is the easiest, most convenient and fastest option. It takes just 1 hr 20 mins to drive from Salzburg to Hallstatt.
If you arrive early you can find parking fairly easily in one of the visitor lots around town.
Train + Ferry – You can also take an Austria National OBB train from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof which arrives at Hallstatt Bahnhof and involves one change generally.
As Hallstatt train station is located on the other side of Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt) you’ll then need to hop on the next ferry at the dock just outside the station, a short walk away.
The train schedules and ferry schedules are synced well meaning you won’t need to wait long after arriving.
Arriving to Hallstatt along the perfectly still lake first thing in the morning really is a sight to behold.
To plan your journey by train use Omio here.
Buses also run from Salzburg to Hallstatt but you’ll need to change routes in Bad Ischl.
Tour – A small group tour is a great way to visit Hallstatt from Salzburg, even in half a day. Try this highly rated Half Day Tour to Hallstatt if you’re short on time or this Full Day Private Tour to Hallstatt.
Read more: Salzburg in Winter: Best Things to Do
How to Get to Hallstatt from Vienna
From Vienna, you’ll need much more time to get to Hallstatt. To make the most of your time it’s best to stay the night in Hallstatt when coming from Vienna.
Rental Car – It takes 3.5 hours to get to Hallstatt from Vienna.
Train + Ferry – From Vienna’s Westbahnhof, trains take about 4 hours to get to Hallstatt. You’ll need to change in Attnang-Puchheim. After arriving in Salzburg you’ll then need to hop on the ferry to take you over the lake to the village itself.
Tour – Day tours from Vienna to Hallstatt are possible but you will spend a lot of time travelling. If you prefer to have more time in Hallstatt I recommend hiring a car or taking the train and making an overnight trip of it.
11 Best Things to Do in Hallstatt
Explore the Village & The Town Square
Once you’ve arrived in Hallstatt you’ll immediately want to start exploring.
One of the best things to do in Hallstatt is to walk through and explore the picturesque village itself.
There are incredible views around every corner you turn; pastel-coloured gingerbread houses, and wooden chalets built into the mountainsides. Church spires rise upwards, the still, azure lake glistens in the distance and the towering mountains surround you.
Hallstatt is really small and you won’t need long to walk its entirety- basically a long street running lakeside with a few other alleys coming off of it.
Pretty soon you’ll arrive at the town square or Market Square (Marktplatz), another beautiful spot in Hallstatt. The square is lined with gorgeous wooden chalets and colorful, souvenir shops. It’s the perfect place for a stroll and to take some photos.
In the holiday season, you’ll also find the Hallstatt Christmas market here which definitely makes Hallstatt worth visiting during the colder months.
Take a Boat Trip out on Hallstätter See
When the weather is fine, there’s no better place to be than out on Hallstätter See or Hallstatt Lake as visitors call it.
Getting out onto the water gives you a different vantage point of Hallstatt town and you’ll be able to see more of the beautiful surrounding mountain scenery.
There are two main ways to get out on the water; a pedal boat ride and a ferry tour.
Pedal boats are available to rent in the warmer months in town and you can also take the ferry.
Ferries run all year round from Hallstatt Pier to the train station. Whether or not you’re arriving by train this is still a good way to see the lake.
In the summer months, tour ships sail around the lake calling at various piers. You can choose from the North Tour or South Tour depending on what interests you most. Check the Hallstatt Shipping website here for more information and boat schedules.
Take THE Postcard Photo of Hallstatt
You’ve probably seen it before, but where exactly do you find THE postcard photo of Hallstatt?
This (above photo) is the classic view of Hallstatt and I have to say (after having found all the town’s viewpoints) it is probably the most stunning.
It’s labelled as ‘ Viewpoint Hallstatt or Aussichtspunkt’ on Google Maps and you can find it here.
Top Tip: As this viewpoint is no secret, it’s busy all day, especially in the warmer months. For the best pictures and to have the spot to yourself consider coming for sunrise or sunset.
Find the Best Viewpoints around Town
Apart from the gorgeous viewpoint above, there are actually a number of other very nice viewpoints around town to explore.
If you’re a fan of photography or simply want to get some unique photos of Hallstatt make sure not to miss going a little off the main street to find these viewpoints.
Most of the viewpoints you won’t find on Google Maps as all the tiny alleys and staircases just aren’t shown. I highly recommend just walking around in order to find them.
This viewpoint is a great place to start and there are several more along this staircase going downwards. You’ll also find many gorgeous views from the lane going up to Pfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt.
I also loved the view of wooden chalets on the street just outside the Hallstatt Tourism Office.
Visit the Hallstatt Catacomb or Hallstatt Ossuary
An absolute Hallstatt must see is the Hallstatt Ossuary.
Pfarrkirche Maria am Berg is a small Catholic Church that I’m sure you’ll come across when exploring Hallstatt. It’s located on the side of the hill with a small cemetery surrounding it and beautiful views of the village and Hallstatt Lake.
Take a moment to step inside the church and you’ll find a beautiful neo-Gothic interior which dates back to the 18th Century. Inside you’ll find ribbed, vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows and a beautiful altarpiece.
While the church itself is nice enough, the real highlight here is the Chapel House (Bone House) located in the cemetery. It’s here where you’ll find the Hallstatt Catacomb and what’s most interesting are the six hundred or so painted skulls that now adorn the chapel.
During the Middle Ages, as cemetery space became limited, they started digging under the church to create more space to bury the dead and it looks like most of these skeletons have been there since.
While the Skull Chapel might not be the prettiest thing to see in Hallstatt it certainly is an intriguing sight.
Take in your surroundings from Above at the Skywalk
Hallstatt Skywalk is a viewing platform located on top of a mountain just above Hallstatt. In fact, if you look up while exploring some parts of town, you might just see it.
The viewing platform itself actually juts out from the mountaintop creating a sensation that you’re walking in the air. It offers an unrivalled panoramic view of the enchanting Hallstätter See and the surrounding majestic Dachstein mountains.
To get up to the Skywalk you can take the Salt Mine Funicular or for the more adventurous, you can hike to the top of the hill which takes about an hour.
From the top, you’ll be able to see stunning views down on Hallstatt, the lake and the surrounding mountains and villages. This is easily one of the best places to visit in Hallstatt.
Visit the Hallstatt Salt Mine
One of the best things to do in Hallstatt, Austria is to uncover its rather interesting history.
What many don’t expect about Hallstatt is that the small town is actually home to one of the oldest salt mines in the world. Salzwelten Hallstatt is some 7,000 years old and throughout history salt was the area’s largest export which allowed this region to prosper.
Today visitors can tour the still-operating salt mine and discover its history and the salt mining process. The mine also contains Europe’s longest underground slide (at 64 metres), a salt mummy and a subterranean salt lake.
The Salt Mine is located at the top of the mountain right above Hallstatt- on the same mountain that you’ll find the Skywalk. To get there you can take the Salt Mine Funicular from the station in Hallstatt town.
If you’re planning to visit Hallstatt Skywalk and the Salt Mine I highly recommend getting a combined ticket which includes both attractions and a round trip ticket for the funicular railway. This will save you both time and money.
Learn About Hallstatt History at Welterbemuseum
For a chance to learn more about the history of Hallstatt as well as its salt mining past, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Welterbemuseum, a small museum dedicated to Hallstatt’s history.
Inside you’ll find various exhibits related to the history of the town and its early settlers, which include the Romans as well as how the town prospered from salt mining.
You’ll also be able to learn about its more recent role as one of the most popular tourism hubs of Austria’s Sakzkammergut Region.
The museum is located in Hallstatt village itself and is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm.
Soak in a Thermal Spa
For anyone who wants to put wellness at the forefront of their trip to Austria, you might want to extend your stay in Hallstatt and visit one of the region’s best thermal spas.
Hallstatt itself doesn’t have any, but there are some incredible thermal spas in the Salzkammergut Region and beyond within a short drive from Hallstatt. Most thermal spas are attached to hotels so it might be a good idea to combine your stay with a visit to a thermal spa in the evening.
Some of the best thermal spas near Hallstatt:
- EurothermenResort Bad Ischl – A popular spa resort, they have both indoor and outdoor options.
- Spa Hotel Restaurant Erzherzog Johann– Another good option with outdoor and indoor pools, saunas and steam rooms.
- Narzissen Vital Resort Bad Aussee – Connected to the Narzissenbad Spa, they offer a saltwater spa, sauna, and entry to which is also extended for non-hotel guests.
For those wanting to dig a little deeper into Austria’s thermal spas make sure to also check out Badgastein, a popular spa town just under 2 hours drive from Hallstatt.
Enjoy Dachstein Mountain or Dachstein Krippenstein
If you’d like to experience Hallstatt’s places to visit with more adventurous activities, you’ll want to extend your trip and get up into the stunning surrounding mountains.
Dachstein Krippenstein with a mountain park located just south-east of Hallstatt town. The park has so many different activities on offer for visitors of all ages and what you do here will also depend on the season that you visit.
In summer, some of the best things to do here are to stop at the 5fingers Viewing Platform, an adrenalin-pumping viewing platform in the shape of a hand that reaches out over a 400-metre drop.
You can also hike the Heilbronner Circular Trail, an easy 3-hour hiking trail through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Austrian Alps.
If you happen to visit in the winter, there’s skiing, snowshoe hiking, winter hiking, ice climbing and paragliding to help you get your adrenaline fix.
To get up to Dachstein Krippenstein you’ll need to take a bus from Hallstatt and then the Cable Car. One of the best ticket options is the Panorama Ticket which includes 3 sections of cable car, 5Fingers Viewing Platform and two other attractions.
Even though this spectacular cable car connects Hallstatt with Dachstein Mountain, it really is a top attraction all on its own.
Hallstatt Austria Things to Do: Visit Dachstein Ice Cave
On Dachstein Krippenstein, you can also visit Dachstein Giant Ice Caves, one of the most spectacular natural, Hallstatt attractions.
Upon entering the cave you’ll find a world of shimmering ice formations, stalactites, and stalagmites that adorn the cave’s interior, creating an otherworldly spectacle that captivates the senses.
Guided tours lead visitors through the labyrinthine passages, providing insights into the geological processes that have shaped this subterranean marvel over millennia.
A guided hike through the cave takes about an hour as you explore the unique ice cave system. Make sure to take warm clothes with you as the temperatures of the cave reach below freezing even in the summer months.
The Ice Cave ticket also includes a return trip on section 1 of the Cable Car which you can take from here. At the cable car’s ticket office make sure to purchase the combined ticket from the cable car and ice cave tour.
Where to Stay in Hallstatt
While this Hallstatt itinerary mainly focuses on a day trip to Hallstatt, it can easily be extended, especially if you want to explore the village’s surroundings and get out into the mountains.
While most find somewhere to stay in Salzburg or Vienna, Hallstatt does have some really magical places to stay so it’s worth considering.
Also, if you are visiting in the busy summer months, then I’d highly recommend staying in Hallstatt where you can wake up early and get a head-start on the magical village before the tour buses roll in.
Seehotel Gruener Baum– Located right on the town’s market square, this is where we stayed in Hallstatt and it was just perfect. Rooms are large, clean and well-decorated in a more traditional style. Make sure to opt for a room with a stunning lake view. There’s no better place to stay in Hallstatt. Book your stay here.
Heritage Hotel Hallstatt – Another fabulous property in Hallstatt, this gorgeous, chalet-style property offers cosy rooms, a great buffet breakfast and spectacular views of Hallstatt Lake. Book here.
Naturhotel Forsthofgut – Okay, this property is nowhere near Hallstatt but this bucket list hotel is the kind of place you travel for. Nestled in a valley surrounded by mountain peaks, this property celebrates all things wellness and nature, allowing you to fully relax and unwind like you never have before. Find out more here.
Recommended tours for some other Hallstatt things to do:
- Special Christmas Tour Around Hallstatt
- Hallstatt: 2-Hour Guided Walking Tour with Photographer
- From Vienna: Melk, Salzburg, and Hallstatt Private Tour
- Hallstatt Ancient Treasures: Outdoor Escape Game
- Guided e-bike tour of the alpine pastures in the Salzkammergut
So, which of these Hallstatt Austria things to do will you add to your Hallstatt itinerary? Have any questions or comments about your trip? Let me know in the box below.
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