The Perfect Day Trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt
Hallstatt left a deep impression on us when we went for the first time. We were doing some research on the places we could visit outside of Salzburg and came across this gem in the Salzkammergut region, exactly where we were headed to.
We were going to hike Dachstein, and Hallstatt was the perfect place to make a side trip. It looks magical and it was easy to understand why once we arrived. Although we did not get the perfect weather, we had lots of fun exploring this short stretch of a town and its hidden back alleys.
To find out how you can do a day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt, be sure to read on for our best tips. Make use of the contents table to skip to the parts you want to know most about!
What's covered in this post
- Why visit Hallstatt?
- What and Where is Hallstatt?
- What is the Best Time to visit Hallstatt?
- Getting to Hallstatt from Salzburg
- What are the best things to do in Hallstatt Austria?
- 1. Stroll around the Hallstatt Old Town
- 2. Take part in one of Hallstatt’s festivals
- 3. Discover an Archaeological Excavation Site
- 4. Market Square
- 5. Take a boat ride on Lake Hallstatt
- 6. Check out the Oldest Salt Mine in the world
- 7. Rudolf’s Tower and Skywalk
- 8. Learn more at the Hallstatt World Heritage Museum
- 9. Visit the Catholic Church of Hallstatt and Bone House
- Where to eat in Hallstatt?
- What other Salzburg day trips are there to consider?
- Logistics before visiting Hallstatt Austria
- Final thoughts about visiting Hallstatt
Why visit Hallstatt?
Salzburg occupies a great location in Austria.
It sits right beside the border with Germany and thus is in close proximity with many interesting cities, such as Munich or Dresden in Germany, or Austria’s own alpine heaven Innsbruck.
Although there are lots of day trip options (check out our report on a Vienna to Salzburg day trip), on this day we chose to make a day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt village instead, being inspired by the huge amount of beautiful photos of this picturesque fairytale small town.
The transport system in Austria is really good, so we knew that we could make it here pretty easily, and we really wanted to pass by the amazing countryside and lake towns many have told us about before.
We made this guide so that you can enjoy Hallstatt too, and get the nitty gritty details on how to get there.
What and Where is Hallstatt?
Make sure to get to know a bit more about this magical place before you travel there!
This small town called Hallstatt is located about 1.5 hours drive from Salzburg, or about 3 hours if you are coming from Vienna.
From prehistoric times, it has been a site for the production of salt, and made the town a wealthy one.
Today though, it is best known for its amazing surroundings as part of the Salzkammergut region, the stunning views and the oldest salt mine in the world.
Not forgetting the fact that you will also get a chance to visit a UNESCO World Heritage location!
Lying right beside the crazy gorgeous Hallstatt Lake, it is favourable for day trippers who can also squeeze in time on the Dachstein massif to enjoy sweeping views over Hallstatt and the nearby Alps.
What is the Best Time to visit Hallstatt?
The weather in Hallstatt varies greatly throughout the year.
Hallstatt in summer or during June to August period, the temperature goes up to the mid twenties.
In winter time, it is at its driest and snow sets upon the tiny town, and this is the time when Hallstatt transforms into a magical Christmas town, completed with snow and festive decorations.
Whichever climate or season you prefer to visit, you should bear in mind that in recent years, Hallstatt has become incredibly popular.
It is packed with visitors who wants to get a piece of it, which also means higher prices around Hallstatt.
If you prefer a less crowded experience, our advice is to visit Hallsttt during March to May (you might be able to catch an Easter parade, performed by students)
Another choice is to choose September to October, though it does fill up pretty speedily on the weekends too.
When we visited in early September, the crowds were manageable but it could also be due to the light drizzle.
Whenever you decide to visit, just set a lower expectation regarding the crowds and focus more on getting the most of your trip, which are the gorgeous views!
Tip: Before visiting Hallstatt, we strongly recommend that you check the opening hours of the attractions you wish to visit.
For example, the Salt Mines could close for maintenance, so it is best to check on their website before planning your trip.
Getting to Hallstatt from Salzburg
Since we are talking about a day trip from Salzburg, we will show you the ways to reach Hallstatt from here.
What is the distance from Hallstatt to Salzburg or vice versa? How far is Hallstatt from Salzburg? Is it difficult to get there?
We have heard some people comment that they are unsure how to get to Hallstatt, or debate about what is the best way to get to Hallstatt, or simply at a loss about the options available to them.
So to take the guesswork out, we have put together some detailed information below, and you should get there pretty easily after reading it.
Salzburg to Hallstatt By Bus
Getting to Hallstatt from Salzburg by public transport is pretty easy, and may seem a bit confusing to some if you have read some of the sites out there.
We are here to help you get over this hump.
Using the bus service is a great way to visit Hallstatt, and along the way you will be treated to marvellous vistas of the Austrian countryside.
This is also the best option in our opinion as the journey is slightly faster than the train option (but there are exceptions, such as bad traffic).
It is also cheaper and sends you directly to Hallstatt, versus the train route where you alight across the lake and will need to transfer to the ferry.
From Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, which is the main train station of Salzburg, look out for the bus terminal right in front of it.
In all, you will need to take 3 different bus services and 2 hours 15 minutes to reach Hallstatt, but don’t be shocked!
The transfers are quick and painless, so no problem even if you have some luggage or bags with you.
- At the Salzburg bus station, Locate Bay F, and take the bus 150 service
- The cost is $14.60 per person and this can be purchased on board the bus
- At times, there may also be staff standing outside of the bus to simplify the process of buying tickets
- Take note you will only need to purchase tickets this once, and remember to keep them well.
- The ticket grants you a one way trip all the way to Hallstatt (and in fact, all the way to Dachstein Krippenstein, the cable car service to access the Dachstein mountains).
- From here, it takes 90 minutes to reach Bad Ischl, a spa town eastwards of Salzburg.
- Bus 150 will take you to a small station which is right outside the Bad Ischl train station.
- At Bad Ischl, you can take a short break and admire the views of the mountains surrounding this little town.
- Toilet breaks are a good idea and the restrooms are found on the side of the building beside the train tracks.
- Across the road from this small station is a tobacco shop where you can get some light refreshments such as drinks and chips.
- In about 20 minutes time, bus service 542 will pull up into the bus bay C, which you will use to head towards Gosaumuhle for the final transfer.
- It is a short ride, lasting not more than 30 minutes.
- Upon reaching Gosaumuhle, the bus will park right beside the bus service 543, which is the final bus that will take you to Hallstatt Lahn in about 5 to 10 minutes.
- This bus stop is located at the Southern end of Hallstatt.
Total time taken by bus from Salzburg to Hallstatt: 2 hours 15 minutes including transfers.
See? We told you it was pain-free!
For the Hallstatt to Salzburg return journey, all you need is to reverse the sequence, or consider taking the train back to Salzburg (more below).
TIPS: There is a SPAR supermarket inside the train station which opens at 6am in the morning. Buy all the snacks and refreshments you need here. Good time to enjoy cheap Austrian food, the schnitzel!
MORE TIPS: View schedule for the bus services here:
- Bus Service 150
- Bus Service 542 (use the timetable function)
- Bus Service 543 (use the timetable function)
Salzburg to Hallstatt By Train
Another popular method to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg is using the train.
From the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, you are required to take the national train to Attnang Puchheim Bahnhof and transfer to a regional train (REX) to reach the Hallstatt Bahnhof, or Hallstatt Train Station.
Prices vary and if you manage to get yourself a Sparschiene ticket (discounted tickets), it could be comparable to the price of buses.
Journey from Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim takes 46 minutes, and you will have between 5 to 17 minutes to get to your next train.
We find this quite stressful at times especially if you are a tourist and unsure of how connections work or where they are.
From here, it takes 88 minutes to reach your destination, but that’s not all!
You got to walk out and switch over to the Hallstatt ferry service ($2) to get to THE Hallstatt you are meaning to go to.
All in all, expect the Salzburg Hallstatt train to take around 2 hours and 35 minutes to get there.
Salzburg to Hallstatt By Car
Driving to Hallstatt causes a bit of a dilemma. Why do we say that?
On one hand, it offers the fastest way to reach Hallstatt, but on the other, parking is a huge headache.
Imagine having to park 2 kilometres away and walking your way into Hallstatt.
We are not saying that it is always the case but it could happen, since this is an extremely popular spot.
If you do want to drive, you can do so by taking the B158 route and then continue on B145.
The distance from Salzburg to Hallstatt is roughly 73 kilometres.
Road signs are clear and you should reach there in about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Just like the bus route, you will pass by numerous beautiful small towns and see first hand the lakes and hills that accompanies your drive.
Upon arriving to Hallstatt, there are 3 main parking lots where you can park your car and proceed to explore Hallstatt on foot.
These parking lots are just outside of Hallstatt, on the Southern end, and if you wish to visit the Salt Mines (Salzwelten), the lots are in close proximity to it.
Salzburg to Hallstatt By Guided Tour
A simple way to visit Hallstatt is to book yourself a guided tour.
With transport taken care of for you, visiting Hallstatt is a breeze.
The pickup location is conveniently located right next to Mirabell Palace, and since it departs at noon time, you do not have to be up at ungodly hours to make the journey to Hallstatt.
A guide is on hand to provide some useful information about the area, and covers the main sights in Hallstatt.
Take note though, you will have to pay extra $18 for the funicular.
Overall, this option will be suitable for you if you want a fuss free solution that saves you travelling time and brings you to all the main sights of Hallstatt.
While Hallstatt tours might cost you the most, it does bring you the greatest convenience too.
What are the best things to do in Hallstatt Austria?
Hallstatt is a tiny and remote village nestled among the giant mountains and a stunning lake.
For centuries, it has been a salt production village and access to it is very limited.
Today, Hallstatt is only populated by less than a thousand people, so you can imagine how small it is.
In fact, it doesn’t take you more than half an hour to walk from one end to the other!
Having said that, it makes for a perfect day trip since you won’t feel overwhelmed to see dozens of attractions within a day.
Look out for the lovely houses, the waterfall cascading over the top of the town and the majestic mountain views from the lake side.
Here’s what we think are the 9 best things to do in Hallstatt:
1. Stroll around the Hallstatt Old Town
From one end to the other, Hallstatt stretches only around 1 kilometre, allowing you to walk the whole town in 15 minutes.
But of course this is not what we are asking you to do, since there are some many spots in town that will make you stop and be mesmerised by its beauty.
The buildings in Hallstatt look like they are right out of a fairytale, and you will find a dazzling display of colourful shop fronts and gingerbread houses.
Walk along the coast side and be treated to magnificent views of the snow capped mountains protecting this tiny town.
Everywhere you turn, you will be rewarded with something special, we promise you that.
2. Take part in one of Hallstatt’s festivals
Throughout the year, there are a number of fun activities being held in Hallstatt.
Depending on when you visit, you can easily take part in one of them.
One of them is the Farmer’s Market, which happens every Tuesday from 7.00 am to 12.00 pm.
Producers in the region bring about their freshest foods, offering a wonderful culinary experience for people from all walks of life.
3. Discover an Archaeological Excavation Site
For sure one of the most unique things you can do in Hallstatt is visiting the ancient archaeological site below the cellar of the Janu Sports Shop.
Ok you may be thinking what are we talking about. Let us explain.
When the merchant Frederick Janu went about expanding his sports shop cellar in the 1980s, he discovered a world of treasure.
Upon further excavations carried out by the Federal Monuments Office, a massive 300 square metres of remains were found, and today, you can take a look at Hallstatt’s history which dates back to 7000 years ago.
Opening hours: In the month of July and August, from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.
4. Market Square
The heart of Hallstatt, where the Holy Trinity statue stands and basks in its glory.
It is filled with cute and cozy cafes where you can relax over a beverage and watch the crowds walk by. Or trying hard to take selfies with the statue.
This is also where main events take place, such as the Corpus Christi procession and Christmas markets.
Make your way up the staircases to get the best view of the Hallstatt Markt Square and all of Hallstatt.
Tip: there is free Wi-Fi here!
5. Take a boat ride on Lake Hallstatt
Surely no one needs extra motivation to get on a boat to experience Hallstatt Lake right?
Sailing around the lake will bring you to the most beautiful views you can find, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Not only is this a unique event for you and your family, you will get front row seats to the best picture spots!
A few options are available to you:
- Electric boat 300 W: $14 for 30 minutes; $19 for an hour
- Electric boat 500 W: $17 for 30 minutes; $22 for an hour
- Swan (pedal boat): $10 for 30 minutes $15 for an hour
- Rowing boat: $10 for 30 minutes $15 for an hour
- Stand up Paddling Board: $10 for 30 minutes $15 for an hour
Family Schwarzmayr, Gosaumühlstr 98, 4830 Hallstatt
6. Check out the Oldest Salt Mine in the world
This activity is considered one of the must dos in Hallstatt, and is great whichever way the weather turns out.
Touring through this 7000 years old quarry will open your eyes to the oldest salt mine in the world, and how it was operated in during its early days.
The tour allows you to go down wooden slides, a small train ride and ends with a parting gift of salt. During the educational journey, you get to learn more about the history of not just the mine, but the region and what led to it being salt rich.
An underground lake that utilises a light show will tell you about the neolithic times that the area went through.
After the tour, make sure to head up to the Rudolf’s Tower and Skywalk. More on it in the next section.
- Salt Mine Tour and Funicular Round Trip: $34 per adult
- Salt Mine Only: $24 per adult
- Funicular Only (return): $18 per adult
7. Rudolf’s Tower and Skywalk
Back in the medieval days, the Rudolfsturm (Rudolf’s Tower) was a defence tower that dated back to the 13th century.
It then turned into the residence of the mining company’s operations manager all the way up to 1954.
Perched over a thousand feet up on the mountain side, you can get sweeping views of the region and take a walk out onto the Lookout Bridge.
Getting there on foot is suitable for those looking for a short hike (roughly an hour), or you can simply take the funicular which brings you to the top in 3 minutes.
There is a restaurant at the tower that doubles up as a fantastic Alpine viewpoint.
Right outside the Tower on the patio, you will find one of the most famous spots in Hallstatt, the Skywalk.
It is an impressive lookout point that is shaped like an inverted “V” and juts out of the cliffside, thus “suspending’ you in mid air. It does take some nerves to walk out there!
Funicular to get up to Rudolf’s Tower and Skywalk:
Cost: $18 per person
Hallstatt Salt Mine Railway
8. Learn more at the Hallstatt World Heritage Museum
Museum lovers, we have not forgotten about you.
Since Hallstatt belongs to a World Heritage Site, it makes sense to have a World Heritage Museum here!
Also known as the Hallstatt Museum, it sits right in the middle of town, and uses some cool modern technology such as holographic images and 3D presentations to illustrate the history of Hallstatt.
You get entertained by sword fights that happened over Hallstatt in the medieval times, plus a ton of knowledge through the wonderful exhibits.
Rain or shine, this should be on your priority list!
$10 per adult
Address: Seestraße 56, 4830 Hallstatt, Austria
9. Visit the Catholic Church of Hallstatt and Bone House
Warning: if you have a fear of human bones, you should definitely stop reading this entry.
For the rest of us looking for an intriguing activity, the Catholic Church of Hallstatt is certainly a place to find that.
Not only is the Church an architectural standout, it is next door where you can find an ossuary, essentially a bone church, or bone house.
Found with St Michael’s Chapel, in it lies hundreds of skulls painted with the names and dates of the deceased buried here.
Decorative paintings and inscriptions are included to identify the bones by the family members.
The walk leads you through some houses in Hallstatt, and the views that accompanies it makes it super worthwhile.
Cost (for the bone house):
$1.50 per adult
Address: Kirchenweg 40, 4830 Hallstatt, Austria
Where to eat in Hallstatt?
We think this might be one of the toughest things to do in Hallstatt, picking a place to eat!
With so many lovely cafes and restaurants to choose from, where should you go?
For a taste of authentic traditional Austrian food, check out Bräugasthof, which is located at the ground floor of the hotel of the same name.
At the top of Rudolf’s Tower, make sure to visit Restaurant Rudolfsturm. While it is somewhat touristy, it has the best seats in the whole town.
What other Salzburg day trips are there to consider?
If you are looking for other activities to fill your time in this stunning wonderland, you should definitely consider the following nearby locations:
1. St Wolfgang, charming little Austrian market town
2. Bad Aussee, one of the most urban towns in Salzkammergut region
3. Admont Abbey, located about 1.5 hours from Hallstatt and contains the largest monastic library in the world
4. Dachstein Mountains, alpine mountain range that offers stunning views over the Salzkammergut region, including Hallstatt, great hiking spots and the Ice Caves
5. Fuschlsee, or Fusch Lake. This is where we dream of retiring, living on the shores of the lake and surrounded by giant mountains
6. St Gilgen, small village right beside the Wolfgang See (Wolfgang Lake)
Logistics before visiting Hallstatt Austria
Find cheap flights.
Air tickets are usually the bulk of your expenses. Set up an alert and snag cheap fares with Skyscanner.
Find the best accommodation.
Book a place ahead of time to get good rates. Booking.com has transparent fees and excellent rates.
Handy travel guide.
For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.
You don’t need us to teach you to be a responsible adult, do you? Get a quote here.
Planned for you activities in Hallstatt.
Need a guide to show you and your group around? Lots of operators here to choose from here. You know who they are and how they are reviewed.
More resources to help you.
What other useful travel resources we use when we book our trips.
Final thoughts about visiting Hallstatt
As you can see (or read), Hallstatt is a really special place in our world.
The activities are varied and there is something for everyone in the family, whether it rains or shines.
Couple that with some of the most gorgeous views anywhere, this is really a perfect day trip from Salzburg.
We love Hallstatt and hope you can enjoy it as much as we did too.
Let us know which is the favourite part of your visit here in the comments down below, and if you liked this article, please pin it to Pinterest and share with your friends on social media too!
Make sure to check out our other articles for more travel inspiration!
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- Travel Destinations Guide
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