12 things to do in Hallstatt in one day (itinerary for 2024)

Looking for the best things to do in Hallstatt in one day? Here are my travel tips and Hallstatt itinerary.

Hallstatt Austria, my friend: You’re about to experience a real-life fairy tale. 

The lakeside town of Hallstatt is the most beautiful place in Austria. Whether you’re visiting from Salzburg or Vienna or as part of a road trip, it’s easy and most definitely worth spending a day here. 

In this article, I’ll give you all the travel info you need to plan your trip.

Let’s get started.

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Things to do in Hallstatt in one day

Introduction to Hallstatt

Hallstatt is unique in more than one way. 

It’s a charming little lake village with vibrant houses, yes. But did you know that it’s more than 7,000 years old?

That’s right. There’s even a period in history named after it – the Hallstatt period (800-400 BC).

Hallstatt is home to the oldest salt mine in the world and is considered to be one of the oldest still inhabited settlements in Europe. For this reason, UNESCO deemed Hallstatt worthy to be preserved in 1997. 

Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt, Austria

Is one day in Hallstatt enough?

Yes. You can see everything in Hallstatt in one day.

But if you’d like to experience the area around Hallstatt, like Dachstein Krippenstein, or really just soak the scenery in, consider spending the night here.

A benefit of spending more than one day in Hallstatt is that you can venture out early in the morning and evening when the town is quiet and tourists are gone. 

Is Hallstatt worth visiting?

Yes, a thousand times yes! 

Just know that Hallstatt is no hidden gem. Tourists HAVE already discovered Hallstatt and they flock here during the summer.

So, to have a good experience, you need to adjust your expectations and travel smart.

To travel smart, get there as early in the morning as possible!

Have an itinerary ready. Visit the salt mines in the afternoon when it’s hot. And try not to visit in the high season (July and August). I visited in May and while there were people there it wasn’t super crowded.

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Hallstatt Austria photography. Hallstatt Austria summer. things to do in Hallstatt Austria. Hallstatt things to do. Hallstatt Austria things to do. Hallstatt travel guide. Hallstatt what to do. Europe.

How to get to Hallstatt

Lake Hallstatt, Austria is easy to visit on a day trip from SalzburgYou can also visit Hallstatt from Vienna although it’s further away.

If you leave in the morning, you can get there from Salzburg in a few hours by car, bus or train & ferry. At first glance, it might seem complicated, but I promise, it’s very easy.

Salzburg to Hallstatt

Getting to Hallstatt from Salzburg is easy. You can either take the bus all the way (2,15 hours) or go by train and ferry (2,30 hours).

By bus: Take Bus 150 from Salzburg to Bad Ischl. Then change to Bus 542 or 543 towards Gosaumühle/Hallstatt.

By train: Take the train to Attnang-Puchheim. Then change to the train towards Hallstatt train station. At the train station, take the ferry to Hallstatt port. (I took this option and it was super easy).

Vienna to Hallstatt

By train (3,22 hours): Take the train to Attnang-Puchheim. Then change to the train towards Hallstatt train station. At the train station, take the ferry to Hallstatt port.

Hallstatt, Austria

What to do in Hallstatt itinerary

1. Find the iconic viewpoint

If you’ve seen a picture of Hallstatt, it probably looks like this ↓

It’s the most iconic viewpoint in Hallstatt and it can’t be missed! Go there to take a photo or just admire the stunning view.

It’s located on Gosaumühlstrasse, an easy 5-minute walk (290m) from the central square.  

Hallstatt, Austria
And here it is!
Hallstatt, Austria

2. The Central Square (Marktplatz)

Your one day in Hallstatt should include a visit to the historical town square. It’s really tiny and so, so cute.

Think colorful houses, small cafés, and picturesque architecture with a statue of the Holy Trinity in the center of the plaza.

This was once a bustling medieval nexus of trade and commerce.

Hallstatt, Austria

3. Walk around Hallstatt

Afterward, I recommend following the small alleyways through town.

Simply wander by the host of old buildings marked by balconies and steep roofs. There are lots of unique things to notice, which brings us to…

Hallstatt, Austria

4. Austrian swans and owls

Try noticing the many swans and owl figurines all around Hallstatt. I also saw a swan mom with her babies.

Fun fact: The swans (or their great-grandswan parents) were imported here in the 1860s by the Austrian Empress Sisi when she vacated here.

She, like her cousin the Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, was obsessed with swans. Remember I introduced you to Ludwig a few weeks ago? He loved swans so much that he named his favorite castle Neuschwanstein (New Swan Stone Castle).

And then there were the owls; on doors, on balconies, and on the ground. They are everywhere. 

Hallstatt, Austria
The police owl – standing guard at the police station
Hallstatt, Austria

5. The Bone House

The most fascinating and alternative attraction in Hallstatt is no doubt the charnel house or ‘Bone House’ in St. Michael’s Chapel. And yes, it’s EXACTLY as bizarre as it sounds. The charnel house is filled with bones and human skulls.

As mentioned above, Hallstatt Austria dates back to the early Iron Age (800-400 BC) and is considered the oldest still-inhabited village in Europe.

And all these people who have lived here in later times, well, they obviously need a final resting place. They couldn’t all be at the cemetery so the villagers built the bone house.

The bone house has an unusual collection of over 600 artistically painted skulls and even more bones. Most of the skulls were painted in the 18th century, but a few of them are from the 20th century.

Every skull was decorated with inscriptions and painted by the deceased family members. Depending on their relationship, the skulls were painted with names, leaves, or initials.

Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt, Austria

6. Evangelical Church

The Evangelical church is a protestant church commissioned in 1785.

It’s special because it was built in a catholic region, but Emperor Franz Joseph I allowed Protestants to practice their religion.

The church is located in the city center and is worth a visit.

Hallstatt, Austria
The Evangelical Parish church
Hallstatt, Austria

7. Hallstatt skywalk

  • Funicular Round Trip: €20
  • Regular opening hours: 9 am-6 pm (27/3-26/9). Other hours for the rest of the year

Once you’ve spent a few hours visiting Hallstatt town, it’s time to head up to see Hallstatt from above! Find the funicular to the top to see the oldest salt mine in the world OR walk there.

The hike takes about 1 hour.

At the top, there’s a large patio hanging 360 meters above the town and Lake Hallstatt – this is the Hallstatt skywalk.

There’s such impressive mountain scenery from the top that even if you’re not visiting the salt mine, you should go there for the view! 

Hallstatt, Austria
Rudolf’s Tower and Restaurant
Hallstatt, Austria
The vertigo-inducing walkway
Hallstatt, Austria

8. Visit the world’s oldest salt mine

Close by is the salt mine where miners once did their heavy labor.

In the mine is a salt lake and the finding place of the Mann in Salz (the man in salt); a well-preserved corpse of a man discovered in 1734 by miners.

I liked the idea of visiting the world’s oldest salt mine, but the tour itself mostly consisted of videos and explanations.

It seemed a super fun attraction for kids, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to fellow travelers – unless you’re bringing the whole family or are very interested in salt mine history. For me, it was too much of a kids’ attraction.

Hallstatt, Austria
Entrance to the salt mine

9. Take a boat trip

Your one day in Hallstatt is almost up. But if you have time, I suggest taking a boat trip to Lake Hallstatt (Hallstätter See).

I was lucky to see Hallstatt from the lake when I arrived by ferry and it’s really beautiful!

Hallstatt, Austria
One day in Hallstatt, Austria

10. Hallstatt Island (bathing island)

Before you leave for the day, go to Hallstatt Island to see the town from a different angle. This little island is connected to the mainland by two small bridges. 

It’s a 10-minute walk from Hallstatt Market Square.

When I visited (in May), I was the only one there, except for a few local fishermen. But this might not be the case if you visit in the high season.

Hallstatt, Austria
Austria Hallstatt photos
Hallstatt, Austria
The luckiest duck in the world

11. Swimming in Lake Hallstatt

If the weather permits it, you can swim in Lake Hallstatt.

The place for it is Hallstatt island where you can enjoy a cool swim, relax or maybe have a picnic. For families, there’s an adjacent playground.

Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt, Austria

12. See Hallstatt from above the rooftops!

For a different view of Hallstatt, go above the rooftops!

Not a whole lot of people know that you can do this, so you can escape the crowds here!

Look for some stairs and climb them. Once up, there’s a walking path above the rooftops where you can look down on the lake and buildings below.

Hallstatt, Austria

Many thanks to the Hallstatt Tourism Board for welcoming me and providing me with an entrance pass to the salt mines in Hallstatt. All opinions are my own.

FAQ – Things to do in Hallstatt

Is one day enough for Hallstatt?

One day in Hallstatt is tight but doable. Prioritize your must-see spots and start early to make the most of your time.

How many hours are needed in Hallstatt?

You need at least 4-6 hours in Hallstatt to see its highlights, including the market square and Hallstatt Lake. Add more time if you plan to visit the salt mines or take leisurely walks.

Is Hallstatt Skywalk worth it?

Yes! The Hallstatt Skywalk is worth it for its stunning views over the village and the lake. It’s a unique perspective you shouldn’t miss.

Is Hallstatt worth the hype?

Hallstatt lives up to its hype due to its breathtaking scenery and charming architecture. However, expect crowds, especially during peak seasons. Visit early or during the off-season for a more serene experience.

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  1. I visited Hallstatt couple of years ago but it was a grey and gloomy day with very low clouds and rain here and there. And it still looked beautiful. But after seeing how stunning it is in the sunshine I want to go back really badly!!!

  2. Oh wow I had never heard of this place before! It looks soooo incredible! Love the pictures you took 🙂 definitely adding Hallstatt to my list of places I have to visit one day!!!

  3. It’s a awesome place for traveling to Austria, I think the best place of Austria is Hallstatt for travel. Brilliant Tempting captures, Austria is my dream destination for traveling.

  4. Just wanted to tell you how happy I am I came across your blog last night! Hubby and I are in Skt. Johann and I was looking up details on Liechtensteinklamm on google last night when I stumbled upon your page. In the comments you attached the link to your blog entry for your visit to Hallstatt… this city was not on my radar at all when planning our trip to Austria. As soon as I saw your pictures and beautiful descriptions, I convinced hubby to change our plans for today (another trip into Salzburg, but this time to see the fortress). We have a car so we drove to Hallstatt, about an hour and a half of beautiful winding roads. WOW!!!!! Today has been the absolute highlight of our trip!!! That says a lot because we’ve also been to Munich and Vienna during our time here.

    We thanked the gods of chance dozens of times today that google sent me to your page!

    Thanks again and best wishes on future travels! Your blog will be my first stop from now on when looking for places to see!

  5. Hi I love your blog so much, very comprehensive information for traveler like me and very beautiful pictures. I just want to ask you that which equipment you used to take this such beautiful pics

  6. Dear Miriam:
    We are considering visit Hallstatt next October. We will be at Viena and we also like to visit Salzburgo. Could we go from Viena by car? we necessarily need to cross by Ferry if we come from Viena? Thank you very much for your kind comment

    1. Hi Gustavo,
      Yes, you can easily visit Hallstatt by car from Vienna (and anywhere else). You need to park the car when you arrive in Hallstatt and then walk around town, but it’s very small so it shouldn’t be a problem. You only need to take the ferry if you arrive by train.
      Have a lovely trip – Hallstatt is amazing.

  7. Great post, I’ll be visiting Vienna for a weekend soon. your pictures get me super excited to go. Can’t wait to see all of these places in person!


  8. My wife and I visited Hallstatt many years ago and have never forgotten how beautiful a town it is. Every time we see pictures it brings back memories. I have read that it is one of the most inexpensive places to retire. Love to investigate that possibility if anyone has any information of how to proceed. Thanks for sharing all your pictures.

    1. Oh, what a place to retire!

      Everyone, feel free to help Greg if you know anything about retiring in Hallstatt. I’ll pitch in if I come across information, too.

  9. discovered you and Hallstatt… and thank my stars for that…. keep it up…. write about austria-italian borders, northern italy lakes and borders with switzerland….thanks once again

  10. I’m an Australian lady, recently retired and spending three months exploring Europe. I love beautiful villages best of all and am on my way to Hallstatt from Vienna right now. I can’t wait to see the picturesque place you have described. Thank you for your insightful blog.

  11. Hi, I was told about this village and have been lucky enough to find your blog. I’m planning to go there in autumn 2023 (from Australia) and am interested in an overnight stay in Hallstad. You said to comment and you’d share info for a stay of more than one day. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lynette, Great idea to stay overnight in Hallstatt. You can explore the town and do hikes from the top (there’s a funicular). That would keep you busy for a few days.

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