After spending an amazing time at Lake Bled, Slovenia the next stop on the Riss and Andy Euro Road Trip was Hallstatt, Austria. I had seen numerous pictures of this iconic and famous place but I wanted to see it with my own eyes. The Baroque style houses perched along the edge of a majestic lake surrounded by soaring mountains. Who doesn’t want to see that? Let me show you how to spend 24 hours in Hallstatt:
First things first, Hallstatt is a tiny town. There is one small main square and you have to drive to a parking lot to park your car and wait for your allotted time for the man to drop you off at your hotel which is a bit of a pain but thats how it works in Hallstatt.
We arrived in the afternoon and quickly checked into our hotel (Heritage Hotel Hallstatt ) which had views over the Halstatter See (lake).
After freshening up we set off to explore this gorgeous little town and to find the spot to get the iconic shot at sunset. The weather wasn’t really playing along while we were in Hallstatt but I can imagine this place looking even more beautiful in the right conditions.
Our hotel was situated at the corner of the market square and right near where the stairs start for the climb up the mountain for some lovely scenic views over the town.
After exploring the area we found the spot for sunset. There wasn’t actually much of a sunset but it was still a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.
NOTE: Make sure you book your dinner reservation early.
After sunset we went back to the hotel to book a table for dinner. A truckload of tourists arrived just after we did and booked out the entire restaurant. Because Hallstatt is a tiny town there aren’t too many places to eat. We tried every other restaurant but they were all completely booked out too. Luckily there was a little food van right outside our hotel that was serving hot dogs and kebabs etc. We managed to order the last kebab and hotdog before he sold out.
The next morning the sunrise was basically the same as the sunset the night before. We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then it was time to head off to the next destination.
Hallstatt is a beautiful little town and would be an amazing place to live. Hallstatt has 946 inhabitants and thrives on the salt mine which villagers traded as a very sought after commodity since 5,000BC.
Other thing to do in Hallstatt include:
The Bone House
Due to the extremely limited space in the cemetery, burials are only temporary. After 10-15 years the grave is opened and the bones are removed and bleached in the sun. Then they are stacked in the Beinhaus. It’s not as gruesome as it sounds. Skulls are decorated with painted flowers and the family name. This practice was stopped in the 70’s with the approval of cremation by the catholic church.
Ice Caves, Mamoth Cave and 5 fingers lookout
In Dachstein, across the lake from Hallstatt, you will find Dachstein Caves, a network of caverns up to 1,174 meters deep and among the most impressive in the Eastern Alps. Highlights include the Giant Ice Cave (Rieseneishöhle) with its many great caverns and magnificent frozen waterfalls. There is also the Mammoth Cave (Mammuthöhle) consisting of huge pipe-shaped galleries formed by an ancient underground river. Another highlight is the 5 fingers viewing platform with its vistas of the Alps from a platform jutting out of the rock face over a 400-meter drop.
Travel the 64-meter-long Mega-slide, Europe’s longest wooden slide deep into the world’s oldest salt mines. Discover a subterranean salt lake and the mummy of a prehistoric miner who became preserved in salt.
Boat ride on the Lake
Get a unique view of the town of Hallstatt with a trip around the lake.
This skywalk is located in the Upper Austrian ski resort of the Dachstein Mountains, at an altitude of about 2,700 meters. With this height the viewing platform is clearly much higher than the platforms at the Niagara Falls in the USA or the Iguazú Falls at the border of Argentina and Brazil. On clear days it is possible to see over Austria to Slovenia in the south and the Czech Republic in the south. Besides this viewing platform, there is also a flat platform completely made of glass which is the highest suspension bridge in Austria.
I really wished that we could have spent a few more days in Hallstatt. There is so much more fun to be had. It just means that I will have to keep it on the list for next time.
Have you been to Halstatt, Austria? What was your experience like? I would love to know so leave a comment below.