One Day in Hallstatt

One Perfect Day in Hallstatt, Austria

Julie Austria 32 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


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

Badestrand View Hallstatt


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


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 32

  1. Hi there, just wanted to hear your opinions if hallstatt would be a good idea for female solo traveller? Will be travelling around end june to july, for a day trip, might be staying there for a night since I’ll be coming from vienna.

    Thank you in advance, thanks for the informative post!

    1. Post

      Yes, this is a great place for solo travel. It’s safe, it’s easy to get around, and gorgeous to visit. That’s great that you are staying the night. You can see Hallstatt at night and in the morning when it is less crowded. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

  2. Is there an Easter market in Hallstatt this year and, if there is, when does it close on the Saturday before Easter?

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      I don’t have any information on the Hallstatt markets. You could check the Hallstatt tourism website. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hi, do you need to take the cable car to 5 finger or the cable car is to take from Dachstein to Hallstatt? I intend to visit Dachstein in early Apr & I understand cable car is closed. Thus, I m thinking if I can simply drive up to 5 Fingers to lookout Dachstein? Appreciate your advise.

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      The only way up on top of Dachstein (that I know of) is by cable car. To get to the 5 Fingers, take the cable car to Krippenstein and then it’s a short walk to the 5 Fingers. But you’re right, I just looked at their website and they are closed in April, other than at Easter and the last few days of the month. You might be out of luck, but try emailing them just to confirm if they are really closed or not. Good luck! Cheers, Julie

  4. Your information is really impressive and very helpful. I’m so much grateful for you about that, as a person who are planning to visit Halstatt this May. I’ll be staying in Saltzburg and thinking of having one-day return trip to Halstatt as most people do. Though I myself also prefer “quiet” and “slow” over “dynamic liveliness” of crowdedness, making another reservation just for one night at Halstatt is a little bit burdensome, too. Given this, what would you recommend, buying a one-day guided trip to Halstatt from Salzburg, or just going there by myself and take time? I can’t speak German, and is English OK to communicate there? It’ll be May 17or18 when I’ll visit Halstatt. Another question is: Is Salzkamergutt worth another one-day trip from Salzburg? Is it much different from Halstatt or Salzburg in scenery or atmosphere?

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      As far as deciding between the tour and going on your own, do what feels the most comfortable for you. Hallstatt is simple to do without a guide. It’s tiny and you can literally walk through it in 30 minutes. English is perfect, we can only speak 10 words of German and we got by just fine. There are lots of English signs and many, many people who speak English. Salzkammergut is the entire region that includes Salzburg, Hallstatt, Dachstein, and the other small towns in the region. Dachstein is the mountain that you can take a cable car up to and once here, walk to the viewpoints and go to the ice cave (so it’s much different than the cities). Since Hallstatt was so crowded on our visit, we actually preferred Dachstein more. Cheers, Julie

    2. We spent 3 days in Hallstat in May in 2010. It was by far our favorite place in Europe we visited and very much worth the effort. We flew in and out of Frankfurt from Texas. We started out driving in Wurzburg Germany then drove the Romantic Road down to Munich and stayed there two nights; which 3 nights might have been better. Then we drove to Salzberg and saw it for the day; which seemed fine to us. We drove to Hallstat and stayed at a really gorgeous place on the water; which included free parking. I think just about any place in Hallstat would have a view but I would only stay on the lake so you could have a fabulous view of the lake; the town; and all the scenery around there. After reading about the crowds in the summer; now I realize how lucky we were to have parking within walking distance of our hotel. We left the car parked for 3 days since you don’t need a car in Hallstat. You need to check out the Salt Mine and get higher altitude so you can see fabulous views of the area over the lake. In May it wasn`t crowded and was really a great place to travel. We had nice cool temperatures at night perfect for sleeping. We had no problem only speaking English but German would have been nice to know some key phrases. That particular trip; we traveled Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The waiters at the restaurants spoke English. I can’t remember where we stayed but it was one of the pictures you see when you look at Hallstat; a 3 story yellow hotel with a delicious restaurant on the premises with an incredible English Speaking waiter named Gary. Hallstat had light rain most of the time but it was such a beautiful town; it didn’t really matter. From there we drove to a city in Germany at lake that separates Germany from Switzerland. We then took a ferry across the lake and started traveling by train from there to St. Moritz, where we caught the Glacier Express train to Zermatt Switzerland; that is supposed to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Zermatt is another very cool town that you walk everywhere. Even though it was very overbuilt; we totally enjoyed staying there two days and got some incredible photographs of the Matterhorn with clear skies; which I was told we were extremely lucky to see that. The places above were the highlights of our trip. After Zermatt, we took a train to meet a nephew in Lucerne; then stayed at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast on Lake Lucerne. Our nephew then took us to Strasbourg, France where we spent the day; and totally enjoyed checking out a 1000 year old church that was breathtaking. From there we went to our nephew`s apartment close to Frankfurt; where he was stationed in the Army. Then we took a train to Koblenz where the Mosel and Rhine River intersects and spent the night. We took a river cruise back down to Mainz; that is near Frankfurt; then flew out of Frankfurt back home. Rudasheim was the highlight of that day river trip and might be worth spending the night. We did everything around the Glacier Express train ride and we still liked Hallstat more than any other place we visited. Since then we spent 3 weeks in Europe a few years ago since our son was stationed in the Army there. That was a great trip too. Our next trip; we are thinking about possibly checking out a Danube River cruise even though I don`t cruise and going to Budapest, Prague, and checking out some other beautiful places in the area and trying to go in the Fall time and possibly going back to Hallstat since it was such a Jewel of a town.

      1. Post

        Sounds like a wonderful experience. I have heard great things about the Glacier Express in Switzerland. Thanks for sharing your experience! Cheers, Julie

  5. Hi

    will be travelling from Linz to hallstatt and leaving forInnsbruck in the evening. I have seen that there are no luggage storage at the train station. Do you have any idea how i can store my luggage? Thanks!

    1. Post
  6. We are headed there next week as a “stopover” between Neuschwanstein and Venice. My hubby wasn’t keen on it but we missed seeing Hallstatt 5 years ago due to time constraints and I’ve always regretted it! We are staying overnight in an AirBnB, and will only stay til early afternoon until we drive to Venice.
    Is it worth it in the winter to try to Get up to Dachstein? Since the funicular doesn’t run, so you know of any alternatives? Thanks so much for a great article! I love your theme of “one perfect day in…” because one day is usually all we get as we try to squeeze as many sites in to quick trips! My hubby is lucky to work in Austria and this will be the first time I get to tag along!

    1. Post

      Just out of curiosity, I looked at weather for Hallstatt. I don’t know when exactly you will be there, but a week from now Hallstatt might get a little snow. That would be so nice!! I think this time of year is a nice time to visit Hallstatt…I’d be surprised if you had the crowds like we did in early August.

      I looked at the Dachstein website online, and from what I learned, it only looks like it’s worth it in the winter if you like skiing. Instead, maybe just a leisurely stroll through town and a nice meal would make a great, low-key day here.

      I’m glad you like “our perfect day” series…I’m trying to give travelers ideas how to see the best of a place if they only have a little bit of time.

      Have a great trip!! Cheers, Julie

  7. There are few other very interesting things to see in Salzkammergut area – we would advice to visit Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Stairway to Nothingness and our favourite spot: Schafberg – stunning views! 🙂

    1. Post

      Thanks for the recommendations! The Glossglockner High Alpine Road does look amazing…I had it on our list but we just didn’t have enough time. Thanks again, Julie

  8. Hi,

    could you tell me please what camera/lens did you use? I’ve read your photo gear post and I’m curious if it was with Canon 5D Mark IV or Powershot GX7? Anyway thanks for great tip, Salzburg is on our list for a long time and so is Hallstatt now 🙂


    1. Post

      All of these photos were taken with the Canon 5D Mark IV and the 24-70 mm lens. We primarily use the Powershot GX7 for our videos. Cheers, Julie

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