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Hallstatt worth it or not?

Hello. My wife and I are planning a trip for next year to Germany and Austria. We will be spending 3 days in Munich, 2 in Salzburg, and 3 in Vienna. I have another day or two to play with and am wondering if spending a day/night in Hallstatt between Salzburg and Vienna is worth it. Or would I do better to add the additional day onto one of those two cities? Or any other must-see places in between? We are hoping to avoid renting a car and using public transport the whole way (preferably trains over buses, but we could do buses).

Thanks so much!

Posted by
99 posts

In a word Yes. We stayed there one night in 2014 as part of the RS GAS tour. Amazing little town built right on the slopes. The hotel was the one on the main square and some of the rooms backed up to the lake with a courtyard style balcony. I think this hotel priced itself out of RS comfort range with the influx of tourists from Eurasia. When you say 3 days Munich, 2 Saltzburg, etc. are you referring to the number of nights you are staying in each city? I hope that is the case. I do not know the train stops for Hallstatt because we were on the bus. I've also heard that Melk is a good town with a famous abbey up high. Good Luck.

Posted by
6649 posts

I would. Its a nice change of pace from the rest of your itinerary which are all large cities.

Posted by
847 posts

Probably. We visited July 2018. It had been on my "list" for years and I'd seen lots of photos and expectations were high. So I was a bit disappointed. Could have been the weather - a good deal of rain. I'd heard it's become terribly 'over touristed' so we planned to arrive mid day, spend the night (when crowds would be less) and depart mid next day. That worked, and the crowds were not as bad as feared (probably the rain). But it is very touristy - and almost all were Asian. Apparently it's become so popular with Chinese that they have recreated the entire village in China (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallstatt_(China)).

So - it's a cute town, but not as amazing as it is made out in a lot of guide books. So if it fits well on your itinerary then go for it. Do plan to overnight though.

Here's my photos of it - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p824170758

Posted by
75 posts

I would skip Hallstadt. It is not what it used to be. It has become incredibly touristy, people from all over the world are coming there in great numbers just because it was in the film. Instead of seeing a quiet, serene mountain village and its normal life, you will probably see hundreds of tourists around you, making noise while trying to make a selfie. Tourists that don't want to see natural beauty but only to make another checkmark on their boring "bucket lists" of trendy places, just to be able to say at home they were there. There are many similar villages in Austria and Germany but more natural and less crowded, and Hallstadt is the LAST I would like to visit. It is ruined by tourists and greed in the same way Dubrovnik has been with "Game of Thrones", or Neuschweinstein. There are many beautiful places around Munich or Vienna to spend a day, more natural an less crowded.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/17/world/europe/hallstatt-austria-frozen-tourists.html

Posted by
27762 posts

I agree with Isabel and Mislav.

I made a special effort to visit Hallstatt two years ago, in early summer.

I was driving anyway so drove over from Salzburg (one of my all time favourite places).

The drive was scenic and uneventful except for finding a fabulous supermarket just off the road a few miles before Hallstatt where my wife and I loaded up with picnic supplies which we took to a roadside picnic bench overlooking a beautiful lake and had a great picnic.

We arrived in Hallstatt about 2:30 and there was not a single parking place in the town. The queue for the northernmost large cer park looked about an hour, probably 50 cars snaking through town. The most southerly, a fair walk back into the town, had about 30 cars in the queue.

We gave up and went around the bottom of the lake and parked near a train station. One or two stops on the train to the Hallstatt stop where we dashed down the hill onto the little ferry boat before it was full, and rode across the lake.

The town was absolutely wall to wall packed.

We didn't enjoy it at all. Scenic enough but I know of others, especially in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and Hesse which I like more.

We tried to go into one of the churches for a bit of peace and quiet but it was just as bad as the rest of the town. People were climbing on the altar to get selfies.

I don't need to return.

Posted by
543 posts

Stunning views. Consider arriving by boat rather than driving. Lots of people will be there with you during the hours of 10a - 5p, at least. But there are quiet spots to be found. Go up the mountainside to the skywalk. Stop for a drink and a dessert and enjoy the fabulous views.

As an alternative, consider stopping instead at Steyr - on the way to Vienna from Salzburg. Pretty town with few tourists. Plenty to see and do as well.

Posted by
720 posts

Was there a year ago on our way from Salzburg to Vienna......I had seen so many beautiful pictures of it that I wanted to experience Hallstatt myself, crowds or no crowds.....we were there last May......lots of tourists but we took the funicular up to the skywalk and had an incredible view....also took the boat ride to the train pickup spot to get some “from the water” views of the village. We stayed on the square in a lovely hotel that served a delicious dinner and breakfast and walked the town streets as the sun was setting......enjoyed the lake view from our hotel balcony......I think it was well worth it to see Hallstatt. We had a rental car and drove to Melk after this visit and saw a tour of the abbey and the gorgeous scenery along that river on our drive to Vienna.

Posted by
1492 posts

... seeing a quiet, serene mountain village and its normal life ...

This summer you will have a unique opportunity to do so.

Posted by
1222 posts

It is easy to add a day to any of your three main locations but Hallstatt is wellworth visiting if you are close by. I did not have the same bad experience with crowds as Nigel and others had. I've visited twice, both times in late September, about twenty years apart, the last time around 2012/13 (?). The view of the lake is very pretty. These are close by:

https://www.salzwelten.at/de/hallstatt/

https://dachstein-salzkammergut.com/en/

Posted by
89 posts

We were in Hallstatt on Krampus. The 1st Thursday of December. What a wonderful coincidence to be on a Rick Steve's tour and the night of Krampus in Hallstatt. If you are there during December--I would say it's wonderful. If you are there in the long days of summer, the salt mine could be really cool. I enjoyed the town and respite from the "bigger city scene." Or, if in Vienna--use a day to go to Bratislava. Very cool town- and a quick bus ride from the airport, or train or boat from the central area of Vienna.

Posted by
996 posts

We were in Hallstatt in 2016. I thought it was well worth the time, but that was then. It was my first trip to Germany, so I have no means of comparison to what it could be like at other times.

Posted by
156 posts

Personally, I loved Hallstatt. I was only there for a half-day several years ago, and found it refreshing and charming. A half-day was plenty.

Posted by
5697 posts

We went on a day-long Bob's Tour from Salzburg last December 26 (figured that lots of stuff in Salzburg would be closed the second day of Christmas holiday) -- very pretty ride through scenic countryside in a 9-person van, stops at scenic points and Sound of Music sites. Van dropped us off at a close-in lot in Hallstatt in early afternoon and picked us up there three hours later. Yes, wall-to-wall tourists but we looked past them to the beautiful lake and buildings and decided to try an overnight there on a future trip. But be warned that it's not exactly like the Rick Steves video any more.

Posted by
31473 posts

sg,

IMO, a visit to Hallstatt is worth it and the visit there may be less crowded for the next year or so. One night will only provide the afternoon of arrival day and a few hours on departure day for sightseeing. Depending on what you plan to see, that may not be enough time?

As you'll probably be travelling by train, it should be easy to fit Hallstatt in between Vienna and Salzburg. The Hallstatt rail station is across the lake from the town, so you'll have to take Stefanie across (it's a short trip and only costs a few Euro). If your budget will allow, the Seehotel Grüner Baum is a very comfortable place to stay.

Posted by
85 posts

We visited Hallstatt and the Wolfgangsee in 2017 over a full week. If we were to do it again, I'd skip Hallstatt and just do the other Salzkammergut lakes. Hallstatt was nice, but the Wolfgangsee was on another level.

We stayed at Hotel Furberg on the Wolfgangsee (https://www.fuerberg.com/en/). It was spectacular, by far one of the best places we've visited. The Wolfgangsee (Lake Wolfgang) feels far more authentic and less crowded than Hallstatt. Not meaning to be an advertisement for the Hotel Furberg, but wow, was it phenomenal. Private beach, fantastic breakfast, and a boat stop we could take to the other Lake Wolfgang towns.

St. Wolfgang also is a lovely town to stay in, and it has a little cog train that will take you to a mountain summit (cog train is featured in "Sound of Music"). St. Gilgen was a cute, very small town worth spending an hour or two. We borrowed bikes from the gasthof and biked to Strobl and enjoyed an outdoor antique market. On the way back, we stopped for lunch at the market stalls set up in St. Gilgen.

However, if you stay in Hallstatt, the Hotel Greuner Baum is quite nice. Book as far in advance as possible, especially if you'd like a room with a lake view. Plan to pay a premium. The Hallstatt salt mines are worth a half-day's visit. Quite scenic at the top. You also can rent an electric boat and tool around the lake for an hour or two for a reasonable price. We also enjoyed a full day exploring the Dachstein mountains nearby, which can be reached by a series of gondolas from nearby Obertraun. The bone church is interesting for an hour or two; best to visit if you stay in town overnight and visit the church in the morning before the crowds arrive.

Posted by
130 posts

Hallstatt. Best ever. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Hotel Bruem in the main square. Best ever. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Enjoy.

Posted by
852 posts

Hallstatt is a beautiful World tourist Mecca, at least during the last 15 years and maybe Rick had a hand in it with his guides and videos. It is what it is. I'd put it in the same boat as Schloss Neuschwanstein and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. You could expand your time in Salzburg for places outside the city like Königssee in Germany or travel in the Salzkammergut, Austria area.

Posted by
27762 posts

good new information.

Just to say, if somebody hasn't looked, this question is from 5 months ago, reopened by a relative newcomer to the Forum just
two days ago...

Posted by
1492 posts

Austrian crowds have replaced Asian crowds. The upside is a significant change in quality and variety of cuisine in the restaurants.
As a restaurant owner bluntly stated in an interview: "Asian tourist groups get 30 minutes for the lunch break to swallow 4 courses. Austrians take their time when eating and drinking."