One Day Exploring Hallstatt: Austria’s Most Famous Lake Town

Nothing Familiar Hallstatt Austria

When traveling through Europe it’s important to get a taste of nature. So often we get lost in the historic cities like Rome and Berlin, that we forget about the beautiful mountain ranges and small towns. Hallstatt Austria may be a little off the grid, but it’s a must-see when visiting the region! We only had one day in Hallstatt, but it was more than enough time to take in its beauty. We rented a boat and saw the town from the center of Lake Hallstatt, then hiked above the houses and visited the Hallstatt salt mines. Here’s everything you need to know for a great day visiting one of the best small towns in Europe!

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Getting to Hallstatt Austria

Although Hallstatt is a popular place it’s not so easy to get here! Due to its remote location, plan to spend at least one day in Hallstatt if not several exploring the surrounding towns.

Hallstatt is accessible through the Alps, so be prepared to drive through the mountains and the winding roads that come with that. Once you enter the tunnels heading into town you’re almost there. However, if you brought a car it’s time for your next challenge of finding where to park it.

Cow Road Block in Europe

Parking in Hallstatt Austria

The parking situation in Hallstatt is not ideal and is definitely something to know before you go. If you’re driving into town you’ll see a few parking areas to pull into. The prices are not listed anywhere, and once you enter them it can still be tough to navigate and find a spot.

Although the prices are unlisted they’re actually quite reasonable. The hourly rate was a few euros, and it was only 16 euros for 24 hours. Just remember the spots are very limited so try not to get frustrated when finding a place. We used Hallstatt Parking P2 which is one of the closest lots to the main walking street. 

Hallstatt Tip: Don’t under any circumstances try and drive down the main walking street! You need a special pass to drive this road which you can only get if you’re a local, or staying at one of the exclusive hotels.

Hallstatt Austria

What to Expect Visiting Hallstatt Austria

Since it’s such a beautiful area there is obviously going to be a lot people coming to see it. This means from late morning until about 5pm, you’ll see busloads of tourists overtaking the walking streets.

We’ve talked about avoiding the crowds in Germany, and now it’s time to use similar tactics here in Austria. Since it’s such a tiny town this can be overwhelming, but have no fear!

Once everyone leaves you basically have Hallstatt and the incredible lake to yourself. If possible, this is why you should really spend the night. After the crowds leave you’ll get to see how incredible Hallstatt Austria really is.

Since Hallstatt is such a popular area the prices, unfortunately, reflect that. Much like other touristy destinations, it will cost a pretty penny for a nice meal out at a restaurant.

Still, the best budget travelers can find a way around that! If you’re thirsty for a drink walk into one of the gift shops and try a local Hallstatt brewed beer.

They’re delicious, and you can even bring the tasty bottled beverages right to the lake. Also, if you’re looking for a cheap food option there is a kebab stand at the end of the walking street that was decent.

Austria Small Lake Town

Take a Boat onto Lake Hallstatt

The best way to see all of the natural beauty of Hallstatt Austria is by renting one of the small boats and taking it out on the lake. The electric boats will run you about 15-18 euros an hour, and will give you plenty of time to explore Lake Hallstatt. If you go straight across the water from where you depart you’ll see a beautiful castle-like mansion.

From there you can take a right and circle your boat around the entire lake. There’s another small part of town across the lake that you can check out, too. After that, head back across and cruise slowly along the shore, taking in all the beautiful colors of Hallstatt from the water.

Lake Hallstatt Boat

Castle on the Lake

Best View in Hallstatt Austria

There are plenty of places to take in the view of Hallstatt Austria, but the best spot is about a 10 minute walk from the end of town.

Once you pass where the ferry boat comes in at the end of the walking street, keep going up the path into the neighborhood. After about 10-15 minutes of walking uphill you’ll have the opportunity to snap your perfect photo.

Yes, this is the one you’ve seen that probably made you decide to take the journey here in the first place! From this location you have a great side angle of Hallstatt, giving you the famous shot you’ve been waiting for. Make sure to wake up early and catch the sunrise from this spot as well!

Location of our favorite view in Hallstatt Austria

Hallstatt Austria

Hiking Above Hallstatt Austria

One of the first things we noticed about Hallstatt was the tremendously beautiful waterfall hovering above the town. What followed was the immediate thought of “How do we get up there?” We soon found out that there are multiple hikes to get to the waterfall from town, some of which are unmarked.

If you have the willpower it’s even possible to hike higher above the waterfall for the best view of Lake Hallstatt and the surrounding mountains. Not too keen on hiking? Then you can always take the funicular railway to the World Heritage Skywalk viewing point.

Hiking in Austria

Hallstatt Austria Salt Mines

Here’s a piece of world history for you… The oldest salt mine in the world is located in Hallstatt, and it’s still active. Salt has actually been mined in the Hallstatt area for over 7,000 years! If you take the funicular mentioned above to the top of the mountain, it’s only a short walk to the Hallstatt salt mines.

Here you’ll be able to enter the mine over the Cristina Tunnel which was built in the 18th century. The actual mine is 21 floors deep, and you’ll be able to explore 3 of them on a tour. So even if you’re only in Hallstatt for one day try to fit this in!

Salt Mines of Hallstatt Austria Europe

Until Next Time Hallstatt!

Overall, we had a really great experience in Hallstatt Austria. We typically gravitate away from touristy areas, but as far as they go Hallstatt was amazing. As soon as you enter this town you’ll be blown away by the historical architecture and the gorgeous green mountains above. We have seen a lot of incredible small towns, but Hallstatt Austria is truly one of a kind.

Exploring Small Towns of Europe

Have any questions about our one day in Hallstatt, taking a boat onto the lake, or visiting the Hallstatt salt mines? Comment below and we’ll be happy to help. Also, feel free to share your own Hallstatt Austria travel tips!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where To Stay In Hallstatt Austria

Ultra Luxury –Seehotel Grüner Baum  Located right on the lake in the heart of Hallstatt Austria, Seehotel Grüner Baum is the perfect upscale stay when visiting Hallstatt. Your only problem will be leaving your spacious room with panoramic views to actually explore the town! 

Fun Vacation – Gasthof Bergfried  –  Only a minute walk from the lake (but about 1/3 of the price of the other hotels) Gasthof Bergfried is a great place to stay. We actually spent a night here and were pleasantly surprised. The rooms have been redone recently, have a modern clean look, and beautiful views of the mountains. 

Hostel Life – Hostel Bad Goisern  –  There are no hostels in Hallstatt Austria. However, hostel Bad Goisern is located about 4km away from Hallstatt, and offers dorm rooms which makes it easy to spend one day in Hallstatt. 

For more places to stay for your one day in Hallstatt you can explore the latest prices here!

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Beautiful Small Towns of Europe

Austria Travel Planning 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can skip the line at the Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens, attend a classical concert at Mozarthaus in Vienna, or take a two-hour guided walking tour in Hallstatt with a photographer!

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars for vehicles while traveling. Consider renting a car and taking a road trip through Austria and Germany! 

 Information: Explore amazing destinations around the world, travel planning tips, street food guides, and so much more.

 Flights: We always find great flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Austria Travel

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  1. Elizabeth
    August 20, 2021 / 11:59 pm

    Hi – do you have tips for reaching Hallstatt by train/bus from Vienna?
    Is the boat trip booked in advance online?


    • Brigitte
      August 23, 2021 / 11:52 am

      Hi Elizabeth! We drove so I am not certain about the train/bus. For the boat, you do not need to book in advance as it’s first come. We do however recommend arriving early in the morning as they are very busy. Have a great time!

    • Brigitte & Jake
      April 12, 2019 / 6:28 am

      That’s so awesome! Always good to save something for next time (:

    • Brigitte & Jake
      April 12, 2019 / 6:27 am

      Thanks for sharing this info! We were actually just referring to the parking lot when we pulled in. We didn’t see a sign anywhere listing the prices there, but we’re happy to hear it’s listed on the website!

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