For anyone looking to discover some of the most beautiful spots in Austria, learn (and look at) some salty Austrian history, explore some exciting slopes and hikes, or just wonder beautiful little village streets – Then you will fall in love with this one.
Hallstatt has gotten its place on UNESCO World Heritage list because of the beautiful scenery. The Austrian Alps and the lake surrounding this tiny village really makes it look like a scene from a fairy-tale.
The sleepy town has stolen many hearts, most notably in China, were an exact replica stands. Nowadays, even beautifully quaint Austrian villages are ‘made in China’.
If you plan on visiting Hallstatt and its Austrian attractions in the near future, or even just have the town on your bucket list – then this summary of the top things to do in Hallstatt in Summer and Winter is for you!
Lake Gosau Austria
The picturesque views definitely draw visitors to the lakeside town of Hallstatt, however once standing at the photo-end of this magical little village, it is definitely the backdrop of the Dachstein Glacier that rises behind the mountain lake which helps cement Lake Gosau in as one of the top travel destinations in the Salzkammergut.
Throughout the year – yes even in winter (if you are brave) – special boat tours of the Hallstatt lake region will feed your curiosity and give you some insight into the power of water this lake holds.
Hallstatt Austria Summer
So, it’s summer time in Austria, it’s warm with temperatures around 25℃, and the lake is looking rather inviting. But with limited time in Hallstatt, where should you start.
What’s on your list of must-see sights and and must-do activities?
It doesn’t really matter if you are planning a day trip or staying over – here are a few of the things I recommend should be at the top of your list:
Hallstatt Salt Mine
With a total of 60 percent salt content, 21 tiers (levels), 65 km of tunnels (22.5 km of which can be used to venture deep down into the core of the mine), the technical details of Hallstatt Salt Mine are impressive all on their own.
The tour is not easily forgotten and starts with a guided tour of the mine (you can also use their free wifi to download your own mobile guide – for all languages!)
Magical light shows that are projected before your eyes in order to share the rich history of the salt mine in a truly unique way – you will be constantly captivated.
This tour will cost you around € 9,00 (one way to the top) or € 30,00 (for an all inclusive experience).
Besides the hilariously fashionable overalls you wear to protect your clothes from the salt inside the mine – one of my favourite experiences inside the mine was definitely the slides (yes, as in playground style!).
You will literally slide down into the deeper levels of the mine.
Another one of the great Hallstatt Austria attractions? The mine is also home to one of the oldest staircases in the world.
Before heading back down the cable car, don’t forget to checkout the Hallstatt Skywalk. 360 meters above the rooftops of Hallstatt and a 12 meter walk out to the point, this is a fantastic photo opportunity.
Hallstatt Austria Hiking: (Glacier Garden and Panorama Trail)
Hallstatt is home to many hiking trails – most of them are fairly easy to find as there are signs that point you in the right direction. There are, however, some hikes which are off the beaten track. These trails, usually overlooked by travelers, are definitely worth discovering.
A perfect example of such a trail is the unique Glacier Garden at the end of Echern Valley in Hallstatt. This amazing and fairly gradual hike will take your through romantic forests and along soft streams. Set aside about 2-3 hours for this one.
Another fantastic hike is the Panorama trail. This hike starts just behind the cemetery at the Catholic church, and continues a few steps up onto a forest road. From here you will have a wonderful view of the captivating village and the Evangelical church’s very famous tower.
Happiness is everywhere in the magical region of Hallstatt, especially in and around the spectacular Waldbachstrub Waterfall.
Masses of water plunge over the edge of a 90m high gorge, roaring thunderously to the Glücksplatz, which literally means place of happiness. Locals and tourists alike refer to this spot as one of the most energizing and unique spots to be explored (by foot, obviously) in Hallstatt.
Rent a boat for the summer
Renting a boat in Hallstatt is a must-do for anybody visiting in the summertime – what an amazing way to admire Hallstatt from the water. Most places along the Hallstatt lake will allow you to take your own drinks with you too, making it a great way to float back and relax.
An added bonus is that most places will allow you to pay (price varies depending on the boat you choose to rent) when you return, allowing you to really just take everything in and relax.
Swan paddle boats are also an exciting and fun way to explore the lake.
Paddling around in a giant floating swan makes for yet another uniquely Hallstatt photo opportunity.
Naturally, you do miss out on some things in Hallstatt by going in the winter.
That shouldn’t make you cold though – there are so many beauties to be seen in this magical winter wonderland that – yes – only winter can bring about!
The pure white snow perfectly covers the wooden roofs of the little houses. The mountains surround the crisp, glassy lake and the icicles that hang from literally anything (and everything).
Hallstatt in winter is definitely still worth it – and there is no shortage of things to do in Hallstatt in the winter.
Altaussee Salt Mine
Altaussee Salt Mine is an absolute must see during winter, and is the oldest salt mine in the world. Unlike the sat mine in Hallstatt, which is closed during most of the winter, Altaussee is about 20 out of the city.
Three Happiness Alpine (Seehotel Grüner Baum Hotel)
Giving travelers three main reasons to smile, Seehotel Grüner Baum is a trifecta of happiness. The hotel is located in the best spot in town – right in the center of everything. The traditional interior of the hotel is unique, and the rooms are sure to satisfy a travelers need for comfort (and warmth).
There is also a restaurant with stunning lake views where you can enjoy some steamy hot chocolate or coffee – whatever your heart fancies.
Then why not head down to the hotels steam room and sauna – winter has never been this cozy.
Just 5km from Hallstatt, lies Obertraun, and the very popular Free Ride Arena Krippenstein. This is one of the longest free ski spots in Austria.
The Freesports Arena Krippenstein at the Lake Hallstatt is something for the thrill seekers – whether on skis or boards. The various slopes on offer are sure to get your blood racing.
Be it the summer or the winter – Hallstatt is beautiful and exciting all year round, no matter the season.
Snowy, white Winters may limit you in terms of activities, but it makes up for it with beautiful white backdrops, cozy hideaways and fewer crowds. Summer can become extremely busy.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what time of the year you are planning to visit this beautiful village of Hallstatt. As an all-year round destination, I guarantee it will be a trip to remember.