The small Austrian town of Hallstatt is situated in the beautiful Dachstein Mountains. On the one hand, it is surrounded by an emerald lake of the same name, and, on the other hand, it is protected by green mountain slopes. It seems that such a fantastic place in the world does not exist — it is just a flight of fantasy. But when you find yourself here, you realize that this is reality, and you freeze to death from pristine beauty. Hallstatt is straight from the past, where you can still go down to the salt mine, and the church keeps the skulls of local residents, buried by ancient custom. In this city, you don't want to rush anywhere. Time flies without being noticed here, and the clean air and breathtaking views make you silently enjoy the existing Elysium.
Attractions of Hallstatt
This city does not compete with other tourist destinations for the number of attractions. Hallstatt's small size and incredible nature transform it into one big wonder of the world, where you want to be completely peaceful, strolling through the cobblestone streets near the crystal clear lake and the highest mountains. The city's main advantage is the interesting architecture of houses, gothic churches, and a lot of greenery. And the salt mines preserved since Neolithic times and the ancient cemetery immerse you in this unique and incomparable Hallstatt culture.
Population of Hallstatt
Later on, little is known about the history of the city. In 1595, a pipeline was built here, and only by the end of the XIX century was the first road to Hallstatt from Salzburg. The town remained in the shadows for such a long time because of its inaccessibility and difficult location.
The houses here are constructed in 5 tiers because of the acute shortage of space. For the same reason, a special tradition operated in the city until the end of the XX century. It consisted of the fact that local cemetery were excavated every ten years, and the bones of the dead were sent to the chapel. A city artist would paint the skulls with the dates of birth and death and indicate the deceased's occupation. After a few weeks, the remains would be displayed in a special ossuary, and new ones would appear in place of the old burials. Such a custom became obsolete with the advent of cremation. But still, any city dweller could show a desire to be buried according to the old custom.
The modern city is almost no better than its ancient counterpart. It differs only in the presence of cars and crowds of tourists. The stunning architecture with many fine details and the salt mines are only a small part of what it is worth coming here for.
The best time to visit Hallstatt
During the tourist season, travelers from China actively come to the city. They are so fond of Hallstatt that they recreated a full-scale replica in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
At the end of December, Hallstatt is filled with lights and Christmas paraphernalia. With the arrival of Christmas, the city turns into a fairy tale. The fair opens on the square, where you can not only buy various unusual decorations but also warm up with hot chocolate, punch or mulled wine and taste the local delicacies.
Most Hallstatt attractions are open from the second decade of April until the end of October and are closed from November to the end of March.
Many locals have a negative attitude toward so many tourists with cameras, photo cameras, and especially drones.
In the salt mines, all year round, the temperature is around zero degrees, so it does not hurt to be insulated.
The only supermarket and many cafes in town are overpriced. So if you need to save money, you can stock up on food in advance.
You should always have your camera handy here. There are so many beautiful views around that it's hard to come back without a photo.
Things to do in Hallstatt
- Lose your breath at the unreal view from the Hallstatt Sky Walk. You can walk or take the funicular up to a height of 360 meters.
- Repeat the path of the salt miners by descending into the depths of the salt mine. The way to it is a slide, about 50 meters high. Wearing a special suit, you can not only ride down it but also walk through the labyrinths of the mine and watch informative videos.
- Visit the famous St. Michael's Chapel. On the first floor of the building is the ossuary, where the skulls of the townspeople buried according to the old custom are still preserved.
- Visit the Evangelical Church. This two-story shrine with a sharp Gothic spire is a structure by which, looking at a photo or postcard, one can recognize the Austrian town of Hallstatt with certainty.
- Admire the unique architecture in the main square of the city. Despite its small size, it boasts colorful houses with cute miniature balconies adorned with lush plants.
- Enjoy the peace and quiet by treating swans on the shore of the lake. They are quite friendly and eager to socialize with tourists. In this city, any corner can be an observation deck, so this pastime will be the best way to escape the hustle and bustle and constant traffic.
- Follow the hiking trails up to the waterfall. The road to it will be a bit of an ordeal, but the view from the top is stunning. Opposite, across the lake, you can catch the train passing at the foot of the mountain.
- Go to the observation deck "5 fingers", one of the most picturesque in Austria. It is named so because it consists of five bridges over the cliff face. The fourth of them is the most impressive because the floor is made of thick glass, through which you can see from a dizzying height.
- Taste the local delicacy - lake trout. For example, the Balthasar serves it at an altitude of 855 meters. From here, you can see incredible views of the lake and the entire Hallstatt.