Hallstatter See, Austria

On a tiny piece of land between mighty mountains and a beautiful lake, there is a town of rare beauty – Hallstatt. It is no coincidence that it is called “the most beautiful lakeside town in the world”: Hallstatt and its environs are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Interestingly, the exclusivity of this place was appreciated even in China; in 2012, in the Chinese province of Guangdong, an exact copy of the paradise of Austria was built for the rich. Hallstatt is a dream city, and the mirror-like surface of the fabulous lake gives it a unique charm. Mentions of these places appeared already in 1400 BC. e. It is known that at that time salt mining flourished here, and it became the basis of the material well-being of local residents. Trade in “white gold” reached large-scale volumes by the 12th century. During this period, a pipeline (the oldest in the world) appears in Hallstatt.

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Hallstatt is a dream city, and the mirror-like surface of the fabulous lake gives it a unique charm.

Needless to say, the extraction and sale of salt incredibly enriched the city and at the same time brought him many enemies who sought to take possession of priceless mines. In the 13th century, a defensive tower was erected, at the same time the first settlements with a central market square and streets appeared, some of the residential buildings date back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

By the way, the name of the village and the lake comes from the Celtic word for salt, and the Hallstatt era began to be called by the name of this wonderful town.

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How to get there

The cheapest way to get to Hallstatter See from Salzburg is with a change in Bad Ischl. At the main station of Salzburg, we take bus number 150 “Salzburg – Bad Ischl”, at the destination we change to the train “Bad Ischl – Hallstatt” and go to the station “Hallstatt” (ticket price – 10-15 EUR, the trip takes about 2,5 o’clock). The railway station is located on one side of the lake, and the town with its sights is on the other, so the final point in your road marathon will be a mini ferry trip.

Part of the road runs along the mountain lakes Fuschl and Wolfgang in the Salzkammergut region, so you will find fantastic landscapes that will prepare you for meeting Hallstatt.

You can also get to Hallstatt by train “Salzburg – Hallstatt” (with a change in Attnang), but this option will cost many times more, and even longer in time. If you still prefer this method, purchase the Salzkammergut Guest Tourist Card, which will provide a nice discount on the section between Atttnang and Hallstatt.

Tourists traveling by car will have to leave the car at the entrance to the city; travel to the territory of Hallstatt is allowed only with a special permit. Finding a parking lot is not difficult at all: you drive through the tunnel and follow the main road, equipped with signs, soon it will run into a car park, here we place our vehicles for the duration of the walk.

By the way, modern travelers are very lucky. Just a couple of centuries ago, Hallstatt could only be reached on foot or across the lake, since there was no direct road leading to the city. Those were good times for the residents: silence and no tourists!

Description of the town

Hallstatt, of course, is not the tiniest city in the world, but it has not gone so far from the champions: a little less than a thousand people live here. To match the population and the so-called historical center of the city, consisting of only two streets. Moreover, by car it will be possible to drive through only one of them, but for tourists this is not very important: we remember that we left the car at the entrance. A little more and the new districts of Hallstatt: it will take you no more than half an hour to slowly get to know them.

Entertainment and attractions of Hallstatter See

An amazing action will open before those who are lucky enough to be on the Hallstatter See in May. At this time, events are held here on the occasion of the church holiday of the Body of Christ. The lake is filled with boats decorated with flowers and forming a colorful procession. One has only to imagine that this impressive ceremony has been taking place every year since 1628, and it becomes clear how much the locals are committed to their traditions and how they revere them.

But if your visit to this wonderful corner fell at a different time, do not be discouraged, the very opportunity to feel like in a fairy tale is worth a lot. In addition, there are plenty of activities available throughout the tourist season. For example, you can rent a small boat, ride it along the Hallstatter See and capture the town from an unusual angle. By the way, you can choose a boat to your taste: an electric motorboat or a vintage boat with a rower. You can board the boat both at the pier located in the city center and at the pier at the lower funicular station.

Tour boats usually operate a standard circular route towards Obertauern (duration – 50 minutes) and a route with a visit to the northern part of the lake. Excursions are made in accordance with the schedule.

And how much fun will bring fishing or scuba diving in the waters of this amazing lake. Agree, there has never been such an experience in your life. True, a license is required for such entertainment, but it’s really worth spending a little time and money on acquiring it, all of a sudden it’s you who will open the treasure hidden in the depths of the lake during the Second World War. Who said it’s just a legend?

3 things to do in Hallstatter See:

  1. Visit the salt mines and take a photo of the whole town from the top of the mountain. By the way, if you decide to go back down on foot, the reward for the difficult road will be magnificent views of the lake and mountains.
  2. Escape from the worldly bustle in one of the restaurants overlooking the lake and order fish caught in the Hallstatter See.
  3. Find the local church of Michael with an incredibly cozy cemetery and think about the mortal in the Beinhaus crypt with skulls and bones.

But in order to simply swim in Hallstatter See, no license is needed. Go to the new district of the city – Lana, here you will find an artificial green island with an equipped descent to the water. At the height of the season, all local lovers of the sun and water gather there. And even for young travelers there is something to do: there is a children’s playground nearby. Only one warning: the lake is filled with glacial rivers, so even on the hottest day the water in it remains quite cool. If you have some free time, take a stroll along the east bank of the Hallstatter See, a hiking and cycling trail that is part of a long cycle route leading to the neighboring lake. In some places, the trail goes right over the water along bridges driven into the rock.

Hallstatter See, Austria