One Day in Hallstatt

One Perfect Day in Hallstatt, Austria

Julie Austria 34 Comments

Hallstatt is a picture-perfect town in Austria. This was once a quiet place, off of the radar of many European visitors. However, in recent years, Hallstatt has become one of the most popular places to visit in Austria. Spending one day in Hallstatt can be a wonderful experience, there are just some things you should know before you go.

This post could have been called a lot of things…”Surviving Hallstatt in the Summer,” “Is Hallstatt Worth It?” or “7 Tips to Escape the Crowds and Actually Enjoy Your Visit to Hallstatt.” During the summer months, Hallstatt feels more like a crowded amusement park than a quaint, European town.

Our visit to Hallstatt was an eye-opening experience. We will let you know what it was really like and how to plan your day so you really can enjoy your visit to Hallstatt.

Our Experience in Hallstatt

We visited Hallstatt on a Monday in August. We drove up from Slovenia, getting to town late in the morning, which we knew was a bad idea, but it was our only option.

Parking in town was completely full. The closest we could get was over a mile away, not a good start to our “fairytale experience.”

Once in Hallstatt, we knew to expect crowds, but it was mobbed with people. Plus, Europe was in the midst of a freak heat wave, so temperatures were in the mid-90’s. It felt more like a summertime visit to Disney World than to a quaint, European fairytale town.

We spent several hours touring the main sites and honestly counted down the minutes until we could leave. That is not the experience I want you to have.

Best Things to do in Hallstatt

Hallstatt is a very small place. You can walk from one end to the other in just fifteen minutes. And with just a handful of sites, you only need a few hours here.

Wander the Old Town

Exploring the old town is the best thing to do in Hallstatt. With streets that look like they are lined with colorful gingerbread houses and a gorgeous setting on Hallstatter See, it’s hard to believe that this place is real.

Hallstatt Market Square

Walking in Hallstatt

Hallstatt Street

Hallstatt House

Get the Postcard Views of Hallstatt

There are two great photo spots in town. For the iconic photo you see on postcards (and at the top of this post), walk to the north side of town (the viewpoint is labeled as Aussichtspunkt Hallstatt on Google Maps).

Hallstatt Photo Spot

Hallstatt

There is a second viewpoint on the south side of town (labeled Badestrand on Google Maps).

Badestrand View Hallstatt

Badestrand

The World Heritage Skywalk, Another Great View of Hallstatt

This platform sits 350 meters over the tops of the Hallstatt houses, offering panoramic views of the entire Dachstein Salzkammergut region.

Hallstatt Skywalk

Hallstatt Old Town View

Rudolfsturm

To get here, take the funicular or hike (roughly 1 hour of walking). A ride on the funicular costs €18.

Tour the Salt Mine

For thousands of years, salt has been mined from the mountains around Hallstatt and Salzburg. While in Hallstatt you can tour one of these salt mines.

The salt mine can only be visited on a tour. Tours last 70 minutes and start near the Skywalk. For the entire experience, including the tour and the round trip ride on the funicular, budget 2.5 hours of time and €34. Learn more on the official website.

Hallstatt Ossuary

The Hallstatt Ossuary, also called Charnel House or the Bone House, is the most unusual spot to visit in Hallstatt. In this small cave-like room, over 2,100 skulls and other various human bones are perfectly stacked along the walls.

Hallstatt is a small place with a small burial ground. As cemeteries filled, bodies were exhumed in order to make room for the more recently deceased. The bones were painstakingly stacked in the charnel house and the skulls were painted with roses, wreaths, and crosses.

Hallstatt Bone House

Hallstatt Charnel House

Get Out on the Water

Rent a boat and get out on the water. You can rent a swan paddleboat, a small motorboat, or even go stand up paddle boarding. Learn more here.

Visit Dachstein Krippenstein

Journey up into the Alps and add a little adventure to your visit to Hallstatt. Located just a few minutes away from Hallstatt, this is a great spot to see alpine scenery, go hiking, enjoy spectacular views across the Alps, and even escape those Hallstatt crowds. You can simply ride the gondola and enjoy the view, or spend hours here doing short hikes or exploring the giant ice cave.

Dachstein 5Fingers August

5Fingers Dachstein

Dachstein Viewpoint

Kara in Dachstein

Best Things to do on Dachstein Krippenstein

  • Enjoy the view from the 5Fingers viewing platform
  • Take a tour of the Giant Ice Cave
  • Climb the via ferrata
  • Hike the family friendly Heilbronner Circular Trail
  • Go paragliding
  • In the winter, go skiing or snowshoe hiking

You could spend an entire day here, and it’s something worth considering, especially if you like the idea of exploring the ice caves and climbing the via ferrata. We spent just a few hours here, mostly walking the alpine trails and enjoying the view, but the via ferrata and the ice cave sound like fun!

Learn more on the official website.

Pro Travel Tip: If it is a cloudy day, consider skipping Dachstein. The best part of a visit here is the view, but if it’s cloudy, you won’t see much.

One Day in Hallstatt

Hallstatt Day Trip Itinerary

Here is our recommendation if you will be visiting Hallstatt on a day trip.

Summer is peak season in Hallstatt. Crowds will be at their highest from 11 am to 4 pm. If you can, avoid these hours and explore Hallstatt in the morning and evening hours.

For the best experience, arrive in Hallstatt by 9 am. By getting here early, you’ll avoid issues parking (if you are traveling by car) and you can explore Hallstatt for an hour or two before it really gets busy.

In the morning, explore the old town, tour the salt mine, and enjoy the view from the Skywalk. Have lunch in Hallstatt.

If you like the idea of visiting Dachstein, do this in the middle of the day, when Hallstatt is the most crowded.

Pro Travel Tip: Consider using public transportation to get to the Dachstein cable car station in Obertraun so you do not have to give up your parking space. You can hire a taxi or take bus 542 or 543 from Hallstatt.

Return to Hallstatt in the late afternoon. Rent a boat and drift on the lake for an hour or two and then end with dinner in town. Return to your starting city.

Alternative Hallstatt Day Trip Itinerary

Visit Dachstein in the morning and Hallstatt in the afternoon. This works well during the off-season months when Hallstatt is less crowded. Doing it in this order saves you from having to travel back and forth between Hallstatt and Dachstein. Just note that if you do this in the summertime, finding a parking spot in the afternoon in Hallstatt may be a challenge.

Ideal Itinerary: Plan an Overnight Stay in Hallstatt

For the best experience, plan on spending one night in or near Hallstatt. This puts you in town in the evening and the early morning hours, the best times to explore Hallstatt crowd free.

Arrive in Hallstatt in the morning of day one. Spend the day touring Hallstatt and Dachstein. On the morning of day two, before leaving for your next destination, you can visit whatever you missed the day before.

Hallstatt Rooftops

How to Get to Hallstatt

From Salzburg

If you want to visit Hallstatt as a day trip, Salzburg is your best option. Salzburg is the closest city to Hallstatt and there are several options if you are traveling by public transportation.

By car

This is the easiest and most convenient option, assuming you get to Hallstatt early enough to find parking. It takes about an hour and a half to drive from Salzburg to Hallstatt.

Once in town, there are three public parking areas all within easy walking distance of the old town. All parking lots have an electronic display showing how many spaces are available. Parking P1 and P2 are located next to the old town. P3 is located 1 km south of the old town, roughly a 15 minute walk.

The closest we found parking was at Parkplatz Landbettler, 2.2 km south of the old town (a 30-minute walk).

By bus

It takes about 2 hours and fifteen minutes to travel by bus to Hallstatt. Use bus 150, 542, or 543.

By train

It takes roughly 2 to 2.5 hours, plus time for the ferry across the lake (the train station is located on the other side of the lake). Start at Salzburg Bahnhof, change trains in Attnang-Puchheim, and then disembark at Steeg-Gosau in Bad Goisern. From Bad Goisern, take bus 170 to Hallstatt.

Click here to use the OBB route finder and book your tickets.

Even though Salzburg is relatively close to Hallstatt, you will have to leave very early in the morning if you want to arrive in Hallstatt by 9 am.

From Vienna

You can also do this from Vienna but it’s a very long day. By car, it takes 3.5 hours and by train it takes 4 hours (one way). I would only recommend doing this if you plan to stay overnight in Hallstatt.

When to go to Hallstatt

Peak season is the summer months of June, July and August, and sometimes this busy season spills over into September. During these months, expect large crowds and higher prices. We visited Hallstatt in August and were shocked at the number of people here.

The winter months of December through February can also be busy, particularly around Christmas. Hallstatt is gorgeous in a fresh blanket of snow. Just note that the salt mines and the funicular are closed during the winter months.

The months of March, April, May, October, and November are the best time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds (although I have even heard that October is getting quite busy).

Where to Stay

Hallstatt Obertraun Bad Goisern

This is the view from Dachstein over Hallstatter See. This photo is perfect to see where Hallstatt is located relative to Obertraun and Bad Goisern.

In Hallstatt

Ferienhaus Salzberg. This lovely little property offers apartments that can accommodate 3 to 6 people. It gets rave reviews and it’s just a short walk to the old town. They also offer parking, a nice perk while visiting Hallstatt during the busy season.

Pension Sarstein. This is another great option located within walking distance of the old town. Rooms can accommodate two to four people. If you are traveling by car, they do not offer parking.

In Obertraun

Obertraun is located just 3 miles from Hallstatt. It is also easily accessible by bus or train if you are traveling by public transportation.

Haus Salzkammergut. People who stay here rave about the views, the excellent location, and the awesome breakfast. This is one of the highest rated properties in Obertraun.

Haus Hepi. This newly renovated property also gets rave reviews. They offer rooms for two to four people and some rooms offer panoramic views of the mountains.

Pro Travel Tip: During my research, I could not find hotels in this area that offer air conditioning. And usually this is not an issue, since normal high temperatures in the summer months only reach 25°C (77°F). But there is a chance that you could visit Hallstatt during a heat wave, just like we did. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about it, since no one offers air conditioning. This is just something to be aware of…and keep your fingers crossed for nice weather. 🙂

In Bad Goisern

Hotel Moserwirt. This is where we stayed. This hotel is located in the small town of Bad Goisern. We had a family room on the top floor, which had two bedrooms, a living area, and a balcony that overlooked the town.

We liked Hotel Moserwirt, but if we did it again, we would stay at one of the two recommended hotels in Obertraun. They look like a nice escape from busy Hallstatt and it’s easy to get around by car or public transportation. Just book your hotels way in advance!!

Is Hallstatt Worth It?

So, is Hallstatt worth it?

Yes, with proper planning and the right expectations, Hallstatt can be a wonderful experience.

Try to spend one night in town (or nearby), so you can wander the streets before and after the day trippers leave. And on a clear day, the side trip to Dachstein is awesome, especially if this is your first time seeing alpine scenery.


If you are planning a trip to Hallstatt and have questions, let us know in the comment section below. And if you have already been here and would like to share your experience, we would love to hear about it!

More Information for Your Trip to Austria:

Planning a trip to Austria? Read all of our articles in our Austria Destination Guide.

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Comments 34

  1. Hi Julie,
    Your travel blog is very informative to our planning. We been reading about where to stay in salzkammergut and since we have a car, we would like to stay in a lake with gorgeous mountain views and Bad Goisern seems to fit the bill. Is it a good place to base yourself for 3 nights to travel in Salzkammergut?
    Many forum recommend staying in St. Gilgen or Bad Ischl but we would like to wake up to an unblocked views of mountains. I supposed away from the crowd would also be less touristy and cheaper accommodation. We want to do some beautiful walks too.

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      Author

      Bad Goisern is a town so you won’t get much in the way of lakeside mountain views here. We stayed here and we had views over the town with mountains off in the distance. Take a look at our two recommendations for Obertraun. This very small town sits just across the lake from Hallstatt and you can get lakeside mountain views here. St. Gilgen might be a nice option too but I don’t know much about it. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hello, We are planning to do Austria for 10 days covering Vienna (4 days), HallStatt (2), Innsbruck (3) and then travel to Munich on 10th day. Is this a good schedule ? Do we have so much to cover in Hallstatt vs Innsbruck? Please suggest.

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      Author

      When we visited Austria, one day in Innsbruck and one day in Hallstatt was just enough time for us (we visited Innsbruck on a day trip from Garmisch-Partenkirchen with a car as our transportation). 2 days in Hallstatt is very nice because it would give you plenty of time to see the city and to visit Dachstein. I think that 3 days in Innsbruck is a lot. You could take a day or 2 from Innsbruck and add in Salzburg, if you haven’t been to Salzburg yet. If you like the idea of adding Salzburg, add it in between Vienna and Hallstatt.

      Here’s a sample itinerary: Vienna (3 days), Salzburg (2 days), Hallstatt (2 days), Innsbruck (2 days), travel to Munich on day 10. You move a little faster than your original itinerary but you get to see Salzburg. Both itineraries make great options…just up to you which one you like more.

      Cheers, Julie

      1. Thanks Julie, appreciate your suggestions. We now have extended our trip by adding another 7 days.. we will have total of 17 days (excluding travel days). Our plan now is to do Prague (4) to Vienna(4), to Ljublijana(3) to Hallstatt/Salzburg (4) to Innsbruck (2) and final day in Munich as our flight back home is at 10PM. Any suggestions (additions/ modifications) on the itinerary / places to explore for trekking/hiking etc? Our daughter is going to be 18 on this trip, so, trying to make it teen friendly.

        Thanks, Vinod.

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          Author

          This is really shaping up to be a great trip! Ljubljana is a great base in Slovenia with lots of options for day trips. Ljubljana is small, so you only need a day to see it. With your other 1 or 2 days (depending on how your transportation to and from Ljubljana works out), you can day trip to Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge for outdoor activities. You can also go to Piran on the Coast, Lake Bohinj, or go to Skocjan Caves and Predjama Castle. If you have a car, you could also drive to Kranjska Gora, drive up the Vrsic Pass on the way to Hallstatt. We stayed in Kranjska Gora and then drove to Hallstatt and it’s a very pretty drive. And Slovenia is a gorgeous. Here are some links to our Slovenia articles if you have not seen them yet.
          https://www.earthtrekkers.com/best-things-to-do-in-ljubljana-slovenia/
          https://www.earthtrekkers.com/best-things-to-do-in-slovenia/
          https://www.earthtrekkers.com/best-things-to-do-in-lake-bled-slovenia/
          https://www.earthtrekkers.com/ultimate-guide-visit-vintgar-gorge-lake-bled-slovenia/
          Or visit our Slovenia page to see all of them.
          Cheers, Julie

  3. Hi! I’m planning a 10 day trip covering Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg & Prague. We are traveling by train so is the order above correct or it should be Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg Prague? We plan to stay a night in Hallstatt and another night in Salzburg. Looking forward to hear from you.

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      Author

      Hello Jesslyn. I think Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg, Prague works best because it might be challenging to get a train from Hallstatt to Prague versus Salzburg to Prague. Here’s an article that will give you a little more info on how to get between Vienna, Hallstatt, and Prague. But that’s great that you are spending the night! Have a nice trip! Cheers, Julie

  4. Hi,

    Your posts are very helpful. I’m from Vietnam, 69 yo. I’m planning to go to Europe this September with my wife, 68 yo. We’re thinking about either going to Salzburg, Hallstatt, Vienne or Milan, Venice, Rome. Could you please give me your recommendation? Thank you very much.

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      Author

      Hello Quan. Both sound like great trips. And we have info for all of your destinations on this website. Salzburg, Hallstatt, and Vienna are all near other. If you have less than 10 days, I’d pick this itinerary since they are near each other and you don’t need much time for each spot. Plus, if you want to see the Alps, pick the Austrian trip. If you have 10 days or more and like the idea of Austria, take a look at our Bavaria itinerary for more ideas. If you have 8 – 10 days (or more) do the Italy trip. Here is the link to our Italy Travel Guide so you can read our articles about these 3 cities. Both will be amazing you just have to pick the one that looks the best to you. Cheers, Julie

  5. That is a great review.

    I have three days in Salzburg and was planning a day trip to Hallstat. Have a slightly ambitious plan of visiting the Ice caves(Dachstein), the salt mines and have a stroll around the old town/lake for some pictures and then back to Salzburg.

    I would probably do a bus tour from Salzburg taking bus 150/542/543 and starting with the ice caves and then come down to old town.

    Is this plan do-able and if yes how do I plan my timings such that I dont miss out on anything.

    Your feedback and suggestion would be of great help.

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      Author

      If you just want to stroll around Hallstatt, you only need 2 hours in town. Confirm how long a tour through the salt mines takes and then add on some extra time just to get to and from the salt mines (maybe 30 minutes). If you can book your tour in advance, do this because it could save you some time and let you take the tour at the time you want. For Dachstein, you could spend hours up there. If you want to visit the ice caves and walk to the viewpoints, give yourself a minimum of 4 hours. So, if you want to do Dachstein first, see Dachstein, then the salt mines, then wander Hallstatt in the late afternoon, early evening (maybe by then most of the crowds have left). Cheers, Julie

  6. Hi! Planning on a trip w 6,10 & 12 years in Oct..
    planning to cover Venice and done nearby country.. any recommendations itineraries?
    Thank you.

    1. Post
      Author

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