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Hallstatt is one of the most beautiful and famous places in Austria. It is located in the Salzkammergut region of the country and is fairly close to Salzburg. The village is small with traditional Austrian architecture and built near the Dachstein mountains on Hallstätter See (Lake). One of the beautiful features of the village is that many of the buildings are built climbing up the mountain which is wonderful to see.

This village is so beautiful in fact that China has created a copy of it in Luoyang, Boluo County. Their design includes similar architecture styles, copying the famous church tower and various other aspects. Although this is sometimes viewed as controversial it has added a nice bump to tourism, as many more people from China now visit Hallstatt in Austria as a result.

Buildings and architecture, Hallstatt
Buildings and architecture

When to Visit

Hallstatt is beautiful at every time of year. If you go in the winter you may have snow-covered rooftops and on the mountain, and it may be a bit gloomy which adds a wonderful atmosphere. If you go in the spring it will have that fresh look with flowers and new leaves on the trees, summer will be green and perfect for hiking and going on boat trips, and in the autumn there will be the most incredible colours. So far I have only visited Hallstatt once in the Autumn and it was breathtaking. If you do visit in late autumn (October/November), or into the winter you may find places close earlier and there are fewer places to eat.

Roads and paths in Hallstatt
Roads and paths

How to get to Hallstatt

You can get to Hallstatt by train, or using a tour company such as www.panoramatours.com.

When I have visited I used Austria’s National Railway service OEBB to get there. I travelled from Vienna and it involved two train changes en-route and took around 3.30-4 hours.  When travelling from Salzburg it takes around 2-2.30 hours and you will have one change.

TIP
When booking trains in Austria book at least one or more weeks in advance. This way you may get saver tickets, which might be as little as €25 each way for long routes. If you’re visiting from Salzburg you can also book tours such as via getyourguide.com.

Things to See and Do

Here are a few things to see and do in Hallstatt.

Visit Beautiful Viewpoints

There are several great viewpoints to see and capture Hallstatt. The most famous of which is north of the village on the lake and is on an elevated part of the road. Click here to see the location on Google Maps. From this angle, you get those famous postcard shots with the Hallstatt Lutheran Church and other buildings, and with the mountains in the background! If you do visit Hallstatt then this is the one spot you definitely don’t want to miss.

Hallstatt from the classic postcard viewpoint
Hallstatt from the classic postcard viewpoint

Another good perspective along the lake is from the south near where the Tourist Information Centre is. Often around this area, you may see swans in the lake.

Hallstatt from the south of the village
Views from the south of the village

For some high perspectives, you could head up to a parking area at this location where you will get views that overlook the village and the lake. You’ll find several paths and steps leading up to this.

High views of Hallstatt Village
High views of the village

And for the highest view head up the funicular, which takes you up the mountain to a viewing platform at 360 meters. You can even hike up and down to this viewpoint, although it would take you some time. As well as the viewing platform this is the starting location for visiting the Salt Mines, and you will also find Bergrestaurant Rudolfsturm which is a restaurant with views over the lake.

Viewing platform in Hallstatt
Viewing platform
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Go on a Boat Ride

Along the waterfront, you’ll find various spots where you can hire a boat for yourself, or go on a boat cruise with others.

For more information head to dachstein.salzkammergut.at

Boats Rides in Hallstatt, Austria
Boats Rides in Hallstatt

Head to a Museum

Also in the main part of the village is the Hallstatt Museum where you could learn a bit about the history of this destination.

www.museum-hallstatt.at (german website)

Museum in Hallstatt
Outside of a Museum

Visit the Salt Mines

The Salt Mines are a famous attraction in Hallstatt. To get there you go up the funicular to the viewpoint that overlooks the lake and village. From here you will then go into underground tunnels which were dug over 3000 years ago.

For more information head to: www.salzwelten.at/en/hallstatt/saltmine

More Things to See and Do:

Head to dachstein.salzkammergut.at for some more ideas on things to do in Hallstatt.

Staying overnight

It is possible to stay overnight in Hallstatt, although not completely necessary as it also makes for a great day trip. I found accommodation in Hallstatt very expensive and you don’t always get a lot for your money. During my visit, I stayed at Cafe Restaurant zum Mühlbach which cost €90, and at the end of the season. This was for only one night and with a shared bathroom. The accommodation wasn’t that great and the service from the staff was very bad, so I wouldn’t recommend staying here. However, we went to Seewirt Zauner next door for dinner and the food was fantastic as was the decoration. As well as being a restaurant this hotel has a review average of 8.5 from 711 reviews so it may be a good choice.

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Hallstatt Photography Tips

Here are some tips for taking pictures of Hallstatt:

  • Use an ND filter to take long exposures during the day. This smooths the water and can create wispy clouds.
  • If you stay overnight then head out early when the water is still and before any boats are moving. This way you may get perfect mirror reflections on the water. On windy days it’s unlikely the reflections will be that perfect.
  • Try and use local subjects, such as swans and boats to add interesting elements to your pictures.
  • Remember to capture details of the architecture and buildings.
  • Head to the viewpoints mentioned above, for some of the best perspectives.

Visit my page Travel Photography for more tips.

Taking pictures with smooth water using an ND filter
Taking pictures with smooth water using an ND filter

More information

To find out more about visiting Hallstatt and Austria visit:

dachstein.salzkammergut.at
www.hallstatt.net
www.austria.info

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Mike Clegg

Editor-in-chief at travelanddestinations.com
Mike is the creator and primary author of Travel and Destinations. He started this website so as to share his experiences and tips with travellers. He is from the UK and has travelled to many places around the world. He loves to shares his pictures and stories through Instagram and this website... [Read full bio]
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