Hallstatt – where time stands still
Hallstatt (Hallstatt to be precise) in Austria is a dream place! You could say that this is the reason we went to Austria in the spring of 2014. Hallstatt is not just a small Austrian charming town, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the shores of the purest Austrian Lake Hallstatttersee and known to the world for its salt mines and one of the world’s most spectacular and best “5 Fingers” lookout points (located near the village).
Here it is – the most famous postcard view of Halstatt!
Due to the fact that Halstatt is located in a hard-to-reach alpine area, there are still very few tourists here. Passing through the dense Austrian forest, as if in a movie, you will see a stunning view of Halstathersee Lake and Halstatt. The train will stop just for a couple of minutes, immediately on the shore of the lake you will be waiting for a small boat, which takes people to the other side, to the city.
Here it is, Halstatt, on the opposite shore of the lake.
Sailing closer, we can already make out the spire of the Halstatt Evangelical Lutheran Church. To its left is the yellow three-story chalet, the popular Gruner Baum Hotel.
Look at these toy Austrian houses! No sooner had the first tier of houses finished than the second tier follows from their roofs. Locals joke that while visiting their neighbors on the second tier, they can go through the courtyard to their home on the second floor. This is no joke, for Galstat is characterized by an acute shortage of land. This town, sandwiched between cliffs and a lake, cannot afford to grow and develop to its full potential.
And even the church of St. Michael literally hangs over the roofs of the houses of the lower tiers! And by the way, its construction dates back to the 12th century.
Not only is there nowhere to build in Hallstatt, there’s nowhere to bury your descendants! Every 10 years the graves are unearthed, all the bones are carefully removed and dried in the sun until they are “ivory.” After drying, the bones are painted, mortal data is applied and transferred to the ossuary (Bin House), which is located on the first tier of the Gothic chapel at St. Michael’s Church. New arrivals are buried in the vacated grave.
Walking around Halstatt you can’t help but feel the “lack of land”, the streets are very narrow, the houses are nestled right up against each other, the lovely courtyards of the locals are open to the eye – and perhaps that only benefits curious tourists!
Here, for example, drying laundry in the fresh Austrian air!
And these hosts, on the contrary, hide their windows from prying eyes behind the hedge.
And some, I think, even like to attract the attention of tourists, like the owner of this house
The locals have a great love for their home, and the town as a whole. You can feel it in literally everything!
Look at these cute decorations that carry a special meaning. For example, here: “Du musst kein Held sein, aber du sollst immer Mensch bleiben” – “You must not be a Hero, but you must always be a Man”.
Or here: “Das Wertvollste Geschenk eines Freundes ist die Zeit, die er mit dir verbringt” – “The most valuable gift of a friend is the time he spends with you”.
Halstatt tops my personal must visit list for its unreal atmosphere. Those with a “squirrel in the wheel” lifestyle will at some point want to stop for a while and be alone with themselves and their thoughts. This is exactly the kind of atmosphere that makes a trip to Halstatt worthwhile.
I am still amazed that on such a small piece of land there is so much amazing and beautiful – the purest Hallstatttersee lake, framed in a mountain range, cascades of Austrian cottages, friendly Austrians.
We promised ourselves that we would definitely return there again to contemplate the creation of nature!
Next time I will tell you about the sights of Hallstatt, show you the most beautiful Austrian lodges, tell you the best way to get to Hallstatt and how much it will cost!
Halstatt (Austria) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Hallstatt with descriptions, guides and maps.
Halstatt or Hallstatt is a small charming town (municipality) in Western Austria. Located in a picturesque area on the western shore of the lake of the same name, surrounded by the Alps. Halstatt is actually a tiny village lost among the mountains and forests. This is a beautiful gingerbread houses, which are reflected in the clear water of the mountain lake, narrow streets, a few small old churches and fantastic natural scenery.
Galstat until the 19th century was virtually inaccessible to the general public. The village was accessible only by boat or by narrow mountain path. Nowadays, a mountain road leads here, and the place has become one of Austria’s calling cards. The municipality is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What to do (Austria):
€250 per tour.
Vienna guided tour with a professional photographer
Enjoy an unforgettable experience in Vienna and get a striking portfolio of photos.
€182 per tour
Bike tour along the Danube to the summit of the Leopoldsberg
Pedaling, feeling like a modern European and enjoying life and nature
Geography and climate
Hallstatt is located in the Upper Austria region on the shores of Hallstatt Lake. The community lies between the southwestern shore of the Holstetter See and the steep slopes of the Dachstein massif in the Salzkammergut geographical area, on the national road connecting Salzburg and Graz.
The climate is temperate mountainous with fairly warm summers and cool winters. During the year falls more than 1,000 mm of precipitation, most of which falls in the warmer months. In winter, there is usually little frost. Fogs are possible during the cold season.
Autumn in Halstatt
- The population is 758 people. Tourists in high season there are thousands, so in this small town can be crowded.
- Area – 59.8 square kilometers.
- The language is German.
- Currency is the euro.
- Visa – Schengen.
- Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
- Galstat is worth visiting the famous salt mines, take a boat trip on the lake or make an excursion into the mountains.
- The food is worth sampling with local fish dishes, König Ludwig Dunkel Brau beer and traditional red beer.
- As a souvenir you can buy a variety of products made of salt.
A settlement on the site of today’s Hallstatt existed in the Neolithic period. In the middle of the 19th century, archaeologists discovered a prehistoric cemetery with more than a thousand burials. Many researchers consider Halstatt one of the oldest settlements north of the Alps.
Since the 8th century B.C., salt mines have been operated here, which are the oldest of their kind in the world. Many Bronze Age artifacts have also been found here.
There is practically no information about the settlement in the ancient Roman period and the early Middle Ages. The first mention of Halstatt dates back to the 14th century. At the end of the 16th century a salt pipeline was built to Ebensee. At the end of the 19th century the first road was built here.
How to get there
Getting to Halstatt is not easy. From Salzburg and Vienna you have to take the train to Attnang-Puchheim, then take the train to Bad Ischl or Obertraun, get off at Halstatt station, which is more like a stop in the woods, walk to the lake and take the ferry. Tickets for the train back can be bought in a special machine. The nearest airports are in Vienna and Salzburg. You can get to Halstatt from Prague, going to the town of Cesky Krumlov and then by bus. From Salzburg there are also direct buses to Bad Ischl.
You can reach Hallstatt by a scenic mountain road. There are several parking lots at the entrance to the village.
Halstatt itself is an attraction. A fantastically beautiful place with wonderful nature and pretty houses, which is a bit crowded with tourists.
The salt mine is one of the main attractions of the village. It is considered the oldest in the world and has been operating since the 15th century. The mine was active until the mid-20th century. Now it is more of a tourist attraction.
A small cemetery in Halstatt.
Museum is one of the most interesting places in the town. It was opened at the end of the 19th century. Includes exhibits from the Bronze Age.
Church of Christ
Christ Church is a small Protestant church from the late 18th century. It is one of the symbols of Hallstatt. If you walk from the church farther you can reach the observation deck. It is from here are made all the most beautiful and famous photos of the town.
View of Hallstatt from the observation deck
In the southwestern part of town is a charming little Market Square.
Church of the Assumption
The Church of the Ascension of Our Lady is a Roman Catholic church with a Romanesque tower, three beautiful winged altars, and late Gothic frescoes from around the 16th century.
Hallstatt at night.
A cable car can take you to the Dachstein caves and the top of the mountain. The journey takes about fifteen minutes.
You can also visit the Bone House with a collection of skulls.
Winter in Halstatt