It’s surprisingly easy to list 10 things to do in Hallstatt, one of those places that you fall in love with as soon as you set foot there. Situated on the shores of the Hallstatter See, it offers a wonderful escape from reality. You don’t need much time to see it properly, but somehow you will not want to leave.
How to get there
As usual, the best way is by car. If you don’t have one or you don’t want to rent it, travelling to Hallstatt using public transportation is quite easy. There are two main points of departure: Salzburg and Vienna. In both cases, you can use a train. More information on OEBB website.
- From Salzburg, you have to change train in Attnang-Puchheim and then continue to Hallstatt Station. From the station, take a ferry to Hallstatt Markt.
- From Wien, change train in Attnang Puchheim and follow the instruction as per Salzburg.
These are the 10 things to do in Hallstatt
1. Enjoy a wonderful view from Rudolfsturm
Rudolfsturm (or Rudolf’s Tower) used to be a defence tower back in the medieval times, and throughout the centuries it has changed its function several times.
We can guarantee that the view is truly breathtaking. It was the first stop on our trip in Hallstatt early in the morning and it turned out to be a great idea since the tiny terrace of the tower fills with tourists pretty quickly. You can either walk (which we highly recommend) or take the cable car (one way ticket – 9 euro, return ticket – 16 euro). Once you are up there you can have a fresh drink or a cake at the restaurant inside Rudolf’s Turm.
2. Visit the salt mines
We always look for particular things when we visit a place and seeing a salt mine will be a completely different experience for most people. You will take the funicular railway to the heart of the mountain and see the labyrinth of tunnels that used to be swarming with miners. As a bonus you will visit the Bronze Age Cinema which is pretty impressive.
3. Visit the Catholic Church and the Ossuary
What kind of sightseeing would it be without checking the local church? A lot of people find churches boring but this one is worth visiting with its view on the lake, a tiny cemetery and an ossuary. Definitely a must among the things to do in Hallstatt!
We found it scary and fascinating at the same time: more than 1200 skulls, 600 of them decorated, that used to be living human beings a long time ago! The official reason of all those decorations is that the graveyard was too small. It could hold a limited number of graves, and until recently the church didn’t allow cremation. Therefore, to make space for newly deceased, the bodies of Hallstatt‘s long dead were exhumed, and their skulls stored in the Bone House. New graves were then available for new burials. The decorations are really characteristic, often including family names, flowers, ivy or snakes.
4. Take a walk around the center
Hallstatt is tiny but more than impressive and you will feel relaxed just walking in its streets and checking the local architecture which is simply beautiful. You can check the local shops which offer mostly handmade clothes, souvenirs and other high quality local products.
5. Eat fresh fish from the Hallstatter See
Trouts here are surprisingly tasty. You can have one fried, served with potato salad, for about 18 Euro. Not the cheapest on the market, but Hallstatt is as beautiful as expensive.
6. Have a beer by the lake
One of the most memorable moments of our visit in Hallstatt was definitely the one when we found a pub close to the lake with a nice terrace and cold craft beer. They say that you should enjoy the little things in life but a huge refreshing beer in hot weather is definitely not a little thing!
7. Have an ice cream in the square
Austria is not really famous for its ice cream but we really enjoyed the one in Hallstatt. There are more ice cream places in the center (most of them located around the main square) so just choose the one that inspires you the most.
8. Take a boat trip around the lake
Boat trips are one of the main attractions of Hallstatt and they are always sold out. Don’t worry if there is no place: the trips are organized several times a day and it is not really necessary to book in advance. The ride lasts around one hour and you will have the possibility to check the surroundings and the opposite shore of the lake which is full of cottages and summer residences. It’s also a nice opportunity to take some nice pictures from different point of views.
9. Rent a folk costume
On every trip we like to do something crazy or unusual. In Hallstatt it was definitely renting of a local costume. You might know how they look like but have you ever dreamt of trying them on? The price is acceptable and you will get some time (based on what you agree on with shop-assistants) to walk around and pretend to be a proud Austrian. Unforgettable experience!
10. Do some proper hiking
Are you a fan of hiking just like us? In that case Hallstatt is the right place for you. If you have more than one day available we advise you to do some hiking in the mountains surrounding the lake. There are a lot of possible routes and some of them start directly in Hallstatt which makes things easier for those who don’t have a car.The Gosau Valley is just 15′ from Hallstatt and it has truly beautiful views. Check this link for more info.
Have you ever been in Hallstatt? Do you know about any other things to do in Hallstatt? Let us know in the comments and share the article on your socials!