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Things to Do in Hallstatt

Set between Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt) and the snowy summits of the Dachstein Mountains, Hallstatt has long been attracting visitors—including prominent public figures such as Emperor Franz Josef—with its Alpine good looks. The UNESCO World Heritage–listed town is known for its picturesque churches, chalets, and Charnel House, which is packed with painted skulls.

The Basics
The Austrian town of Hallstatt is a very popular half-day or full-day tour destination for visitors based in Salzburg. Hallstatt tours typically include round-trip transportation from Salzburg by coach or private vehicle. Many tours give participants the chance to take a boat ride out on the lake, visit to the 7,000-year-old Hallstatt Salt Mines, and ride the Dachstein Krippenstein cable car up to the free 5 Fingers viewing platform.

Full-day trips may include stops at other locales in west-central Austria, such as Schloss Fuschl castle, St. Gilgen, and Russbach. You can also visit Hallstatt as part of day tours from Vienna, which often stop at attractions such as Ort Castle in Gmunden along the way.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Hallstatt is a must for scenery seekers.
  • For more information, visit the Hallstatt tourist office, which is situated on the lakefront Seestrasse.
  • Wear comfortable footwear; hilly Hallstatt is best explored on foot.
  • Most Hallstatt attractions are not accessible to wheelchair users.

How to Get There
Hallstatt is situated within Austria’s Salzkammergut (Lake District), about a 75-minute drive from Salzburg. Take the train from Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim, then switch to the local train to Hallstatt. From the Hallstatt train station, take a ferry into town, which is across the lake.

When to Get There
The best time to experience Hallstatt is between May and late October. Many of Hallstatt’s main attractions—such as the boat rides and salt mines—are closed in winter. Check the various attractions’ websites for opening dates and times.

Lake Activities
This part of the Austrian Alps is known for its scenic lakes, and Hallstätter See is no exception. Take a ferry ride out on the water to admire the towering peaks that surround it, or venture out on paddleboats or kayaks instead. If you’d rather stay on dry land, take a stroll along the lakefront, where you might encounter swans swimming near the shore.

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Hallstatt Museum (Welterbemuseum Hallstatt)
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Thanks to its alpine beauty, lakeside location in the heart of the Austrian Alps and the fact that it has been almost continually inhabited since Neolithic times, the picture-perfect Salzkammergut (Lake District) village of Hallstatt was UNESCO World Heritage site-listed in 1997. Blessed with wooden chalets, a flower-festooned central square and an 18th-century ossuary where skulls are decorated with floral motifs, the village owes its growth and wealth to the salt mines that were first worked over 7,000 years ago, making them the oldest known mines in the world. Perched high above the village and accessible by funicular, the mines can only be visited in summer, but the Hallstatt Museum (Welterbemuseum Hallstatt) is open all year around to showcase their history as well as the religious and cultural development of the region. The collection includes a mixed bag of prehistoric tombs, Celtic animals statues, crockery from Roman times and skulls of the brown bears once indigenous to the Austrian Alps but the undoubted highlight is the priceless Iron Age grave treasure – including vast urns and pitchers – excavated near the mines and previously exhibited in Vienna.

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