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Hallstatt vs. Eagle's Nest

We're going to Salzburg in late July and were considering a day trip outside of the city. We were originally thinking of doing Eagle's Nest, per RS's suggestion, but I've been looking at Hallstatt and now think that might be a more fun option. For those of y'all who have been to one or both, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what to do!

Posted by
225 posts

Well- Ive been to both. They are totally different experiences. You can't compare the two. One is absolutely stunning with lots of hiking and the beautiful lake and cute small town. The other is a museum. It really depends what your into I guess. Maybe make it weather dependent. If its a beautiful sunny warm day go to Hallstatt (I would spend a night or two if possible). If its raining Eagles Nest. I also don't feel you need a whole day at Eagles Nest. Maybe 2-3 hours.

Posted by
1425 posts

Interesting factoid about the Eagle's Nest and HBO's Band of Brothers. In episode 10, "Points," the show depicts U.S. soldiers lounging on a deck at the Eagle's Nest overlooking the Alps when the news of the official German surrender arrives. The Alps shown in the background are actually the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau in central Switzerland; it's not the actual view from the EN. I think the panarama is probably as viewed from the Schiltorn.

Posted by
31530 posts

Kendra,

If you're interested in the WW-II history, then a visit to the Eagle's Nest is probably worthwhile. If you decide on that option, I'd highly recommend using Eagle's Next Tours as you'll learn far more than by travelling on your own, and will also visit the Dokumentation Centre and Bunkers.

Of the two, Hallstatt will probably give you more "bang for the buck". It's a stunningly beautiful location and while there you could visit the Salt Mine (which is older than Rome) and have a fine meal or a "cool one" on the balcony at Rudolfsturm (the Castle on the way to the Salt Mine). There's a small Museum in town and Hallstatt is a great place to just "chill" and enjoy the ambiance.

Posted by
25 posts

We were in Hallstatt on May 14. We had visited there about 6 years ago as well. What an incredibly wonderful town it was. That has changed a bit! At the risk of being marked a xenophobe, I can't help but note how much the peacefulness of this wonderful town has been disrupted by the trampling hordes of Asian tourists. There was now a near frenzy of humanity roiling through the town. One shop was completely engulfed by these tourists frantically poking and fingering the candles and soaps as though they were some rare delicacies with a limited "use by date" of that night. It appeared as though the walls of the little shop were about to burst. Meanwhile, a few more of this group were anxiously pacing about the entrance trying to squeeze in where no mortal could possibly go. Meanwhile, two fine males decided that whatever was annoying their sinuses had to be expelled in a very loud "hawk pew" right on the street with a splash almost on my shoes. The nausea still haunts me. Unfortunately, these were not unique events. They were repeated throughout other parts of Europe in our 2 week trip. Perhaps someone could create a course on touring/foreign visiting etiquette for Asian tour groups. On the other hand, get to Hallstatt later, visit the town, stay the night and go out early and up the funicular to see the town from above and/or visit the salt mine. That will help you avoid the invasions of tour busses and actually enjoy this incredible place. We visited the Eagle's nest in the past as well. It is both intriguing and sort of spooky. There's not that much to see except for the incredibly gorgeous view of the lake, valleys and hills surrounding it. The spooky part is to realize that one of the most evil beings and his minions actually took the same elevator and spent time in that place. And some of the cable channels actually have film of them walking in the very same place that you are standing. Rent a car and see both.

Posted by
781 posts

Hallstatt is very crowded because it is worth seeing and it is on a Lake which creates a relaxing place to visit and also the salt Mine tour will take up a good Part of the day.The Eagles Nest is best Seen on a clear day to enjoy the View.I don't think that you will encounter the Drama of the other Poster.
Mike

Posted by
18390 posts

I too have been to both - 2 nights in Hallstatt, more days than I can count in Berchtesgaden in 4 visits.

There is really no comparison. Berchtesgaden is lovely and a lot more than just the Eagle's Nest. Hallstatt is possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth. But Berchtesgaden is a short trip from Salzburg (in fact, I would stay in Berchtesgaden and venture to Salzburg on day, max); Halstatt is a lot farther. Given the ease of visiting from Salzburg, I would call it a toss-up.

Posted by
259 posts

I have not been to Eagle's Nest (would like to go sometime), but I want to share thoughts re Hallstatt. I was there for one night last week on the Rick Steves' Munich/Salzburg/Vienna tour. Our tour guide had warned us that we would find many Chinese tourists there/that the town is a top priority destination for Chinese tourists visiting southern Germany/Austria. Rick Steves' guidebook comments on this also.

I found two different Hallstatts:

Daytime (we arrived around 11:00 a.m.) - packed with Chinese tourists who seemed concerned about little except themselves and taking photos. Because of our tour guide's suggestion, many of us ate lunch at a restaurant not jam packed with rude tourists. Our tour group did its own, lovely boat tour. In the afternoon it rained, so I chose not to ride the funicular to the salt mine to see the view (and with limited time I had already decided not to tour the salt mine). Instead, I saw the Protestant church, the Catholic church with its bone chapel, and the town museum (very interesting for history buffs). In general, the heavy volume of Chinese tourists detracted somewhat from my daytime experience at Hallstatt.

Evening/early morning - wow, what a peaceful, lovely place after the day trippers had left!!!! The rain had stopped, so many in my group took short walks after supper. Delightful!!! Same ambience in the early morning before our 8:00 a.m. departure.

Summary: I think Hallstatt is worth seeing. Stay overnight if possible. Be prepared for it to be packed with Chinese tourists.

Posted by
80 posts

Hallstat is much more compelling, after all the Hallstatt era was named for it! The Eagle's Nest is fun and you can hike from there down,but on an overcast day you won't see much! Hallstatt has lots of great hikes,and just about everything wonderful from Europe!

Posted by
917 posts

We were in Hallstatt today and spent yesterday afternoon at Eagle’s Nest. Both days were sunny and in the 80’s. The view from Eagle’s Nest is jaw-dropping, but there isn’t much else to see. My son is a huge history buff, so he noticed that we ate lunch on the same terrace that he’s seen pictures of Hitler standing on. Basically the entire building is a restaurant - other rooms are accessible by private tours. We spent less than 3 hrs there including the ride up and down (15-20 min each way).

This was my 2nd time to Hallstatt - the first was 18 years ago (in September.). We arrived around 11 and it was crowded, hot and humid. We made our way through town, took some fantastic pictures, then went up the funicular and had lunch. There was a great breeze and the view is spectacular. We then went on the salt mine tour. (It’s an uphill walk to the tour, then lots of stairs. I’m beat.) when we got out of the tour it was pouring, but cleared quickly.

The heat will take its toll, so keep that in mind. The appeal of Hallstatt (which is my favorite place in the world) is the view. Sitting outside means no a/c! I wished we had booked a room in town so we could escape the heat, but a/c isn’t very common so I’m not sure that would have worked. I would definitely recommend booking places with a/c if possible! Also I’ve noticed that shops and sites close by 5/6:00, so keep that in mind. The idea of taking a mid-day breaksnd going back out after dinner doesn’t work for shopping and museums. Restaurants will be open later.

In the end, I think weather plays a huge factor. Don’t bother with Eagle’s Nest unless it’s clear. I think Hallstatt is worth it in any weather. It truly is unique and stunningly beautiful.

Posted by
122 posts

I went to the Eagle's Nest yesterday. I spent 2 nights in Salzburg and 1 night in Berchtesgaden (mainly to be walking distance to the bus stop to take the bus to the Eagle's Nest).

Didn't spend time in Hallstatt.

I didn't care for Salzburg to be honest. It just didn't do anything for me. I loved Berchtesgaden. I splurged for a night and stayed at the Kempinski. Hard to now go back to cheap places after being at a really nice hotel.

I wouldn't though describe Berchtesgaden as fun.

Posted by
15072 posts

My experience (3 years ago, early June) was very much like others have described - quiet, peaceful charming in the early morning and from late afternoon, horribly crowded during the day. I was on an RS tour. I once tried to figure out how to get to Hallstatt independently from Salzburg and it looked like a hassle. What I found is that it's about an hour's drive and scenic, and at least 2, maybe 3 times that long using public transport.

If you don't want WWII, you could do the "other thing" in Berchtesgaden - spend the day at Lake Konigssee, said to be the most beautiful Alpine lake in Germany.

Posted by
1104 posts

Haven't been to the Eagles Nest though I plan on getting there sometime. Hallstatt was lovely! We arrived in the afternoon so the crowds were not bad. We saw the museum to get a good background in the amazing Celtic history of the area with the Hallstatt era named after it. Then we headed up to the Salt Mine tour which was fabulous along with the slides down! So much fun!!