Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstatt is best known for being home to the world’s first (known) salt mine.

In addition to its castles and cake, Austria endeared itself to me still more when I discovered the tiny lakeside village of Hallstatt. Set in Austria’s lake district (Salzkammergut), Hallstatt is one of the tamer UNESCO World Heritage sites I’ve visited, offering stunning views of the Alps and a general sense of serenity.

When planning out the trip’s itinerary, it took me a while to decide what order to visit all these places (Fly into Vienna, or leave it as a grand finale?). But by the end, I was relieved to have visited the grandeur of Vienna first, and left the last few days of my trip for soaking up these more natural wonders.

Owing to its millennia of salt mining, Hallstatt is an archaeologist’s dream–people have lived here for 7,000+ years, and it serves as namesake for the Celtic Hallstatt culture (approx. 800-400 BC). Hefty cultural significance aside, it’s still just a fun place to walk around. (Taking a Bob’s Tour, which I’d highly recommend, my fellow tourists and I had a couple hours to take in the town and its lake.)

Believe it or not, there’s a full recreation of Hallstatt in China, built by the Chinese company Minmetals for $960 million. Something makes me doubt the Sachertorte and Apfelstrudel can quite be replicated, though.


Evangelical Church of Hallstatt and ferry

Hallstatt’s Evangelical church (built in 1785) and the ferry we took across the lake.

Hallstatt mountains

For those with a few hours, take the salt-mine funicular up to the Hallstatt upper valley, offering panoramic views of the area.

Hallstatt Cemetery

Hallstatt’s well-known cemetery, where a grave can be re-occupied every 10 years.

 Hallstätter See

Hallstätter See, taken from the ferry that crosses the lake.

Mondsee Abbey

Mondsee Abbey, where the Sound of Music’s wedding scene was filmed. (We stopped here later in the tour.)




  1. Moritz · September 24, 2014

    Hallstatt looks pretty nice. Not sure why I did not visit this place yet. I was really curious when reading about the “second Hallstatt” in China. That’s pretty weird…

    • ebenbow · September 24, 2014

      Indeed–this is one place I can say without hesitation is as beautiful as the pictures. It was fascinating to watch this video about the full-scale replica in China: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP-7f1XW7jE

      • Moritz · September 25, 2014

        Thanks for that video. That’s really just crazy…

  2. travelsandtomes · November 12, 2014

    We were in Salzburg last weekend, and had wanted to make it to Halstatt but ran out of time. It looks so beautiful! You’ve inspired me to make it a priority next time we are there.

  3. fartoonear · November 12, 2014

    I’m headed there this weekend–thanks for the lovely preview and tips!

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