Despite its small size, the village of Hallstatt, Austria is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. In fact, the one million tourists who visit the city every year eclipse its 800 permanent residents!
Rich in culture and history, this picturesque village offers plenty of activities for tourists of all kinds. Below, we’re going to be examining the most beloved of them.
Here are the top 25 things to do in Hallstatt.
1. Hallstatt Salt Mine
Hallstatt is famous for its salt production. For more than 7000 years, its salt caves have been mined. Today, they remain a crucial part of the village’s economy.
Although its mines are still active, certain ones are open to tourists. Most notably, there is the Hallstatt Salt Mine. Guided tours of this mine are offered for affordable rates and generally last about 90 minutes.
© Andrew Bossi/Wikimedia
2. Visit Market Square
Market Square is the heart of Hallstatt. It is home to a number of cafes and restaurants in which tourists can enjoy authentic food from the region.
You can also purchase souvenirs and, during the summer months, catch concerts in the square. Be sure to snap a picture of the breathtaking Holy Trinity statue that stands in the center of Market Square!
3. Hallstatt Christmas Market
If you visit Hallstatt in December, you can indulge in some shopping at the Hallstatt Christmas Market. As you might have guessed, the market takes place in the town’s Market Square, so you can also experience all the sights and sounds that make the square so famous all year round. Along with ample shopping opportunities, visitors to the Christmas Market can enjoy festive food and drink to mark the season.
4. Krampus Run
As long as we’re talking about festive things to do in Hallstatt, we have to shine a light on the Krampus Run. Hallstatt legend says that Krampus is the counterpart of Father Christmas.
Every December 5th, he emerges to punish naughty children for their misdeeds. The village marks this event with the Krampus Run, in which revellers don devil masks as fireworks are released into the sky. It is both a terrifying and thrilling experience!
5. Hallstatt Bone House
The perfect accompaniment to the Krampus Run, the Hallstatt Bone House is located in St. Michael’s Chapel. It is decorated by more than 600 skulls, each of which has been painted and arranged to create a surprisingly pleasant visual effect.
The Bone House is open all year round, so you don’t have to visit during the Christmas season to experience its eerie beauty.
6. Lakeside Dining
Okay, let’s get back to normality with a spot of lakeside dining. Hallstatt Lake is lined with restaurants offering local and international cuisine. Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, but you can be certain of spectacular views of the lake whichever one you choose.
Many people don’t realize that one of the world’s finest ski regions rests just outside the village of Hallstatt. Dachstein West boasts snow-covered mountains that vary in size and shape. This means beginning and experienced skiers alike can find the challenge they’re looking for in the region.
Obviously, the best time to visit is during the winter. However, you may also find some good slopes during the autumn and spring months.
If skiing isn’t your thing, you can still have some fun in the Dachstein West region. Snowboarding is also a popular sport here.
Once again, the variety of mountains and terrains ensures snowboarders can enjoy a safe and effective afternoon on the slopes regardless of their experience level.
9. Dachstein Ice Cave
As long as you’re in the Dachstein West region of Hallstatt, you should pay a visit to its famous ice cave. The cave is home to wondrous ice sculptures that will tower over you and your fellow tour-goers.
Perhaps the most mesmerising thing about the Dachstein Ice Cave is that it is entirely natural. Its magnificent ice statues were created not by a master sculptor, but by nature, in a stunning testament to the Supreme Architect.
10. Memory Of Mankind
The memory of Mankind is one of the most popular things to do in Hallstatt, and for good reason! Rather than a museum, it can be more accurately described as an archive of humanity. It houses 100 of the most important books of all time, along with stories and artifacts donated by contemporary tourists.
The intention is for this time capsule to be discovered by some unfathomable society millions of years from now, so be sure to leave your mark when you visit.
© Martin Kunze/Wikimedia
11. The Hallstatt Skywalk
The Hallstatt Skywalk is the backbone of the village’s tourism industry. Every year, scores of tourists visit with the sole intention of performing the walk. So what makes it so special? For starters, it rests 350 meters above the rest of the village.
From its observation deck, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of both the mountains and everything that lies below. Even tourists who have a fear of heights will forget their worries when they gaze out over the beautiful Alpine scenery.
Take a look at these stunning views from the top!
12. Rudolf’s Tower
Like the Skywalk, Rudolf’s Tower offers stunning views of the village. It also boasts a historic dimension. The tower was built all the way back in the 13th century. It was used as the residence for the head of mining from its inception all the way up to the mid-1900s.
Today, it houses a restaurant and serves as something as a living museum, offering a glimpse into life as a salt miner hundreds of years ago.
13. 5 Fingers Lookout
5 Fingers Lookout is another way to experience the majesty of Hallstatt from hundreds of meters above. As its name suggests, the lookout is located on 5 Fingers mountain and features five separate platforms for visitors to peer down 400 meters below. Each platform features a separate design, with one particularly noteworthy platform being made entirely from glass!
14. Welterbemuseum Hallstatt
Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It seems only fitting, then, that it is home to the World Heritage Museum. Also known as Welterbemuseum Hallstatt, this museum offers an interactive approach to learning. It achieves this through 3D presentations, animated videos, and even holographs. It is arguably the best family activity in the entire city.
15. Salt Brine Trail
During the summer months, Hallstatt weather can get as high as 24 degrees Celsius. This provides the perfect environment for hiking. The most popular hiking trail in the village is the Salt Brine Trail.
The trail runs from Lake Hallstatt all the way to Lake Traunsee. It holds the distinction of being the oldest pipeline in the world, so you may even find some historical relics as you cross the trail!
16. Corpus Christi Boat Procession
Every spring, Hallstatt Lake hosts the Corpus Christi Boat Procession. During the procession, you can see a variety of decorated boats parading through the lake as they journey towards a nearby church. Tourists can follow the procession in a lake cruise boat and can even rent a motorboat if they wish.
17. Walk Hallstatt Lake
Not every visit to Hallstatt Lake needs to be marked by dining or sailing. If you’d like a more simple experience, why not simply stroll along the lake? You can enjoy all the sights and sounds of the river without spending a dime. If you are open to parting with a little bit of cash, a warm cup of coffee makes for the perfect partner when walking the lake on an autumn afternoon.
18. Hoher Krippenstein
The Hoher Krippenstein feels like a universe unto itself. The mountain boasts snowy peaks contrasted by patches of green grass and blooming flowers. Despite its massive height, the mountain is a relatively easy hike. Even older tourists can expect to comfortably make it up the mountain to enjoy the stunning views at the top.
© Liachtl Dominik/Wikimedia
19. Admont Abbey
Not far from Hallstatt is Admont Abbey. The abbey dates back to 1704 and features wonderful Baroque architecture, including towering statues of Old Testament prophets. Its library is home to more than 100,000 texts, some of which date back hundreds of years. Even for those who aren’t theologically inclined, a visit to Admont Abbey is a must!
20. Ascension Of Our Lady Church
Another place of worship you should visit during your time in Hallstatt is the Ascension of Our Lady Church. More than 500 years old, the church is notable for its double altar. This most unusual feature is perfect for photos, as are the church’s stained glass windows.
The Ascension of Our Lady Church has the advantage of being right next to the aforementioned Hallstatt Bone House, so you can cross both attractions off your list in one afternoon.
© Andrew Bossi/Wikimedia
21. Hallstätter See
The Hallstätter See is located just outside Hallstatt. Although it isn’t in the village, it is certainly worth going out of your way to visit.
This mountain lake boasts crystal clear water that is largely unaffected by pollution. Unlike some other lakes in the area, the Hallstätter See is great for activities such as fishing, swimming, and snorkeling. It is dotted with beaches, which provide the perfect environment for a day of sunbathing in the summer months.
22. Waldbuchstrub Wasserfall
You don’t have to be a master in German to know that the Waldbachstrub Wasserfall is a waterfall. You do, however, have to see it in person to truly appreciate its magnificence.
The peak of the waterfall stands at 90 meters. From this peak, water thunders to the lake below. As you might imagine, the noise of this stream is thunderous, yet it is also extremely relaxing. It creates the perfect soundtrack to reflect on your time in Hallstatt and all that lies ahead.
23. St. Wolfgang
© Nick Stenning/Wikimedia
St. Wolfgang is a resort town located just 36 kilometers from Hallstatt. You may recognise it as the home of the White Horse Inn.
The inn, which has been operated by the same family since the 18th century, is the subject of a film, so the town is a must for any movie buffs. While you’re there, you can also indulge in the descant luxuries which define the town, such as its hot tubs, spas, and saunas.
24. Janu Sports Shop
We know what you’re thinking; “Why would they include a sports shop on this list?” The reality is, Janu is much more than a sports shop. It is also the site of an ongoing archaeological investigation.
Some years ago, the owner of the shop discovered artefacts dating back thousands of years. This sparked a dig that continues to uncover jewelry, pottery, and even artwork from the earliest Hallstatt residents. Visit the store and catch a glimpse of archaeologists at work!
PS: For the record, this is a great place to buy some sneakers.
25. Kermez Kebab Cart
There are plenty of places to get traditional Austrian cuisine around Hallstatt. But if you really want to eat like a modern local, you’re going to have to pay a visit to Kermez Kebab Cart.
This cart is a favourite among locals, particularly after a night in the pubs, and offers affordable food that will keep your belly full. Kermez Kebab Cart may not be the most glamorous place to dine in Hallstatt, but it is arguably the most realistic representation of what it is to be a Hallstatt resident.