Hallstatt is a picture-perfect town in Austria. This was once a quiet place, off of the radar of many visitors. However, in recent years, Hallstatt has become one of the most popular places to visit in Austria. Spending the day in Hallstatt can be a wonderful experience. The best time to going to Hallstatt is in December during the winter season since it will be much cooler and less crowded compared to the summer season. During the winter season, you will be able to see snow on the Dachstein Salzkammergut Mountains which surrounds this picture-perfect town making it look like a winter wonderland! Let’s get straight to the point, Hallstatt is a very small place. You can walk from one end to the other in just fifteen minutes and with just a handful of sites, you only need a few hours here.
Wander the Old Town
Exploring the old town is the best thing to do in Hallstatt. With streets that look like they are lined with colorful gingerbread houses and a gorgeous setting on Hallstätter See (or Lake Hallstatt) it’s truly hard to believe that this place is real.
Get the Postcard Views of Hallstatt
There are two great photo spots in town. For the iconic photo you see on postcards, walk to the north side of town (the viewpoint is labeled as Aussichtspunkt Hallstatt on Google Maps). There is a second viewpoint on the south side of town (labeled Badestrand on Google Maps).
The World Heritage Skywalk, Another Great View of Hallstatt
If you really want to get the best views of Hallstatt then check out the World Heritage Skywalk is another great spot for a photo opportunity. This platform sits 350 meters over the tops of the Hallstatt houses, offering panoramic views of the entire Dachstein Salzkammergut region. To get here, take the funicular or hike (roughly 1 hour of walking). A ride on the funicular costs €18 (around $19.65 USD).
Tour the Salt Mine
For thousands of years, salt has been mined from the mountains around Hallstatt and Salzburg. While in Hallstatt you can tour one of these salt mines. The salt mine can only be visited on a tour. Tours last 70 minutes and start near the Skywalk. For the entire experience, including the tour and the round trip ride on the funicular, budget 2.5 hours of time and €34 (around $37.11 USD).
The Hallstatt Ossuary, also called Charnel House or the Bone House, is the most unusual spot to visit in Hallstatt. In this small cave-like room, over 2,100 skulls and other various human bones are perfectly stacked along the walls. Hallstatt is a small place with a small burial ground. As cemeteries filled, bodies were exhumed in order to make room for the more recently deceased. The bones were painstakingly stacked in the charnel house and the skulls were painted with roses, wreaths, and crosses.
So, is Hallstatt worth it?
Yes, absolutely! with proper planning and the right expectations, Hallstatt can be an eye-opening experience. Another suggestion is to try spend one night in town (or nearby), so you can wander the streets early in the morning before and after the day trippers leave.
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