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Hallstatt in Austria – A Real-Life Fairytale Town

Hallstatt in Austria – A Real-Life Fairytale Town

Hallstatt in Austria is the definition of a real fairytale town, especially in the early hours. With idyllic scenery and picturesque streets lined with old houses by the lake, it doesn’t get much prettier than this. 

If you’re traveling to Hallstatt in Austria anytime soon, this guide will share everything you need to know plus my best recommendations for hotels and restaurants. 

Old town square in Hallstatt

We visited Hallstatt both in the afternoon and evening as well as the early hours. It can get quite crowded during the day, especially in the summer. I do recommend going here early in the morning as it won’t be crowded, and you’ll have the town almost to yourself.

There’s something magical about strolling around the old streets of Hallstatt and watching the sunrise behind the mountains. 

View of the lake and Hallstatt

The view outside the town is famous worldwide and is also what often attracts visitors to come here.

I also want to recommend another spot which is about 5 minutes away by car. It’s another part of the Hallstätter See and offers spectacular views and scenery. 

Hallstatter See

It’s very peaceful to sit here and just relax while embracing the mountain views and the beautiful reflections. Many tourists miss this spot and just drive past it since it’s not marked with tourist signs. 

The lake by Hallstatt

There’s a magical feeling over Hallstatt, and the views are like taken from a fairytale book. The small town is surrounded by majestic mountains and features old churches and traditional houses.

The locals sure know how to decorate as well, and you’ll see beautiful details and colorful flowers all over the town. Admittedly, it will get crowded during the summer months when thousands of tourists come here. However, as the daytrippers go home, a tranquil atmosphere will enter Hallstatt once again. 

There are plenty of cozy restaurants where you can eat traditional Austrian food and drink a glass of wine. Hallstatt is a great vacation place to relax and spend time outdoors.

Start the day by strolling around the town before the crowds are coming, and later on go back to your hotel and eat breakfast. When the tourists arrive, then go outside and explore the nearby area. There are countless of hiking trails and beautiful nature to explore nearby Hallstatt. 

Some examples are Ebensee, Salzburg, Gosau, Fuschl Am See, Wolfgang See and many more. When you get back a few hours later, most tourists will have left the town.

With that said, it’s definitely worth to travel to Hallstatt on a day trip as well. It’s such a beautiful little town, and if you’re nearby, make sure to make a stop here. 

Sunrise in Hallstatt

How to get to Hallstatt

By Car

We rented a car when we visited Hallstatt, and started our road trip from Zagreb in Croatia. It was a long drive, but there are plenty of nice stops to make along the way. The highway goes almost all the way, and the roads are in great condition. 

Most visitors will drive to Hallstatt from Vienna or nearby Salzburg. I recommend using Google Maps even though it’s quite easy to find the way by following the signs. 

Driving to Hallstatt

By Bus

There are also buses from several cities in Austria to Hallstatt, both arranged bus tours and regional and local buses. It’s also possible to travel on specific bus tours from München and Prague.


Taking the train to Hallstatt from Salzburg or Vienna is easy. Just hop on the train to Attnang-Puchheim and transfer there to a local REX train toward Hallstatt. The travel time from Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim is 50 minutes and a little more than 2 hours from Vienna.


Salzburg has the closest airport, some 60 minutes by car from Hallstatt. It’s also possible to travel to Vienna, which has a larger airport with more daily connections. However, the travel time by bus or rental car is much longer from the Austrian capital.

Hallstatt Marktplatz

Recommended hotels in Hallstatt

Recommend restaurant

  • BRAUGASTHOF am Hallstattersee

More information about Hallstatt

The surrounding place of the town has been inhabited for thousands of years. The oldest relics and settlements found dates back to 5500 years B.C. However, most objects that have been found in the area dates back to some 400-800 years B.C. 

Archeologists have been able to link some relics to the Celts and other tribes from early European iron age. In recent times of history, Hallstatt has been renowned for its salt which also made the locals wealthy. Nowadays, it’s possible to go on a guided tour of one of the oldest salt mines in the world. 

Hallstatt is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Austria. As late as the 1800s, the only way to get here was by boat or small hiking routes. The first road wasn’t built until 1890. 

Since 2012, there is an exact replica of Hallstatt in China. The Austrian village is very popular among Asian tourists, especially Chinese and Japanese tourists.

hallstatt houses

The cemetery and ossuary

Hallstatt’s cemetery is another popular place to visit and is considered as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. Visitors can also see the ossuary with more than 2000 skulls where each skull has a unique message. 

It’s a little creepy to walk inside here but nonetheless an interesting experience. The latest skull to be added in the ossuary was in 1995 after a local woman exclaimed her last wish to have her skull placed inside. 

However, most of the skulls in the Hallstatt ossuary, also known as the chapel of skulls are much older.

Hallstatt Ossuary

Photo: Alexander Sviridov /

Street in Hallstatt

Hallstatt is full of charming houses in traditional style and it’s a bliss to stroll around. Don’t forget to walk up the stairs that are located north of the main square (Marktplatz) where you get the best view of the town. 

Visitors can also rent pedalos that resembles a swan. Going on a boat tour in these or a rowing boat is one of the most popular things to do in Hallstatt. 

Pedalo in the Hallstatter See

Tourist attractions in Hallstatt

  • Skywalk – Welterbeblick
  • Salz Welten (The salt mine)
  • Marktplatz (The main square)
  • Ossuary – Cemetery and chapel of skulls
  • The Lutheran church
  • Waldbachstrub (waterfall)

Do you have more questions about visiting Hallstatt in Austria? Leave a comment below!