Things to do on a day trip to Hallstatt
Hallstatt, is one of the top places to visit when traveling through Austria. Hallstatt is a charming alpine village that takes visitors back in time. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a photographer’s dream, nestled between the towering Dachstein Mountains and the crystal-clear waters of Hallstatt Lake. Hallstatt provides a unique blend of natural beauty and rich cultural history, from its attractive traditional buildings to the ancient salt mines. Hallstatt is the ideal spot for your next trip, whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat or an adventurous outdoor adventure.
Although Hallstatt is a small village and one would expect to not have much to see and do, the reality is that Hallstatt is a place that will impress you. Here are all the best things to do on a day trip to Hallstatt.
1. Stroll in the town
The town is really a gem. It will not take long to walk it but it is worth more than a walk from end to end. Observe the little houses with their small courtyards how magical they make the landscape. Crossing the city you will notice some wooden houses too with beautiful baubles hanging at the entrance or on their balcony. At some point you will arrive at the Market Square. You will understand when you arrived because you will see a lot of people gathered enjoying their coffee and the most picturesque houses. In the centre of the square you will see the mighty Holy Trinity statue.
2. Visit Bone House (Ossuary) in the St. Michaels Chapel
The Bone House has been in existence since the 12th century. 1200 human skulls are kept there, 610 of which have been hand-painted. As creepy as it may seem, the date of death is marked on them. The collection and painting of the skulls happened for a specific reason. The graveyard in Hallstatt is very small. In older times, cremation was prohibited, and there was a serious lack of space for new graves to be dug. The decision was taken ten to fifteen years after when graves were re-opened, and the skulls and long bones which took up the most space were removed. The skulls were cleaned and then left outside under the sun. Then they were painted with flowers, since flowers decorate the graves of the dead. See in the photos below that even the tombs have the same style as the houses of the village. Is it my idea?
3. Enjoy the view of the village from above
In order to do this, you will have to climb some stairs. If you cannot find the stairs, head to the cemetery and start from there. Once you reach high enough the view is magical. You will see the church, the market and the houses from above.
4. Take a picture in Hallstatt’s classic view
Surely you have seen, even by chance, the most photographed spot of the village. I do not know if this point will ever find its peace from the people who are looking for a small place to be photographed there. But it is not possible to go to Hallstatt and go back without having a photo from that point since a photo there looks like a postcard. See for yourself!
5. Take a boat tour on Lake Hallstatt
If you want to see Hallstatt from a different perspective you have to explore it while you are in the water. Well not exactly in the water but in a boat, although of course if you go in summer you can swim in the lake. You can rent your own boat for this experience. The best place to rent from is the shop of the Krumböck Family. They have a variety of boats such as slow-speed electric boats, relaxing row boats, and paddle boats. They are open from April through September from 6 am to 8 pm.
In my opinion there is not the perfect time to visit Hallstatt. We visited it in December and we have the image of the atmospheric foggy landscape. Of course it was beautiful because in the fog, Christmas lights appeared creating a beautiful atmosphere. There is also a Christmas market, another advantage if you go Christmas. Nevertheless, we really want to go again at some point in spring when everything is in bloom and the landscape is completely different.
A visit to Hallstatt for a day or two is enough, it is a very beautiful but small village and you do not need more time to see what you need to see.
If you are a fan of hiking, there is a route that you can do and even with an incredible view. There is usually a cable car that takes you to the skywalk panoramic bridge of Hallstatt, but as I said you can do it on foot. It makes sense to try this if it is not foggy, so that you can definitely enjoy the view from above.
We personally wanted to go to Hallstatt so much that we combined it with our trip to Vienna. It took us almost four hours to arrive after having changed two trains and boarded on the small boat that takes you to Hallstatt. But it can be more easily combined with Salzburg.