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Halstatt, Yes or No?

We will be in Salzburg the first week of May and have a chance to go to Halstatt. I've read a lot of varying opinions about whether to go or not. What say you? Is it early enough to that it won't be that crowded ? Or should we skip it and spend time elsewhere?
Thanks,
Dan

Posted by
88 posts

We went to Hallstatt a couple of times, but that was before Frozen came out. Awesome place back then and I suppose if you spend the night you will still see the magic there!

Posted by
4600 posts

The crowds appear to be quite awesome and the locals even put up a wall to stop photos at one point, I'd say do the Wolfgangsee

Posted by
1912 posts

Matter of opportunity cost I suppose. Halstatt is a pretty town, but what else might you do with that day?

Transfer time each direction including showing up and waiting around is probably going to be +-3 hours each way on public transit. If you hit it just right you can do a bit quicker.

You might be better off paying for a tour - a direct bus is going to be faster and more efficient.

Personally, I'd take a 1 hour public bus to St. Gilgen, ride the cable car up to the Zwolferhorn view, hike a meandering pathway back down with a stop at a mountain hut for Kaiserschmarm or a beer. Then I'd lunch somewhere atmospheric in lovely St Gilgen, swim in the lake at the public beach club, and ride the bus back to Salzburg. To me that's a better day with more cultural interest and plenty of cute Austrian stuff. And only a sliver of Halstatt's bus tour crush.

But Halstatt is postcard pretty, no doubt of that. If you really want to see it then it's worth the inefficiency of its location.

Posted by
7465 posts

Tagging onto Hank’s comment, we also loved St. Wolfgang near St. Gilgen. Charming place that we stayed for a couple of nights. Take the little ferry boat from St. Gilgen if the weather is nice. Austria's steepest cogwheel train is on the edge of St. Wolfgang up the Schafberg. I think the Sound of Music scene going up the mountain on the cogwheel train was filmed there.

Posted by
712 posts

Crowds or not, it is worth seeing, but plan on spending 2-3 hours. My husband and I went there in our leased Mercedes right after we married in Salzburg-years ago. Quite different then as we have a picture in the main plaza of town with the Mercedes in the photo. Traffic is no longer allowed to go there. We visited again in 2018 and yes, it had changed a lot, but the views across the lake are lovely and really, Hallstatt is special. Ignore the crowds and go up to the church and just wander the back streets uphill from the lake.

We had our wedding dinner at the Weisses Rossl in St. Wolfgang!

Posted by
5064 posts

Halstatt is a beautiful place, and we were lucky enough to go there before it became so overcrowded. If at all possible, try to spend a night there. In the late, late afternoon, early evening, and early morning it is a totally enchanting place.

Posted by
7465 posts

@SJS, just looked up your wedding dinner spot - lovely! I would love to go back to beautiful St. Wolfgang! When we were there, I pictured coming back in Winter, too.

Posted by
2935 posts

An option would be head to St. Gilgen, have a look around and take the lake ship on the Wolfgangsee to Strobl and especially St. Wolfgang and then back to St. Gilgen.

Hallstatt was a must see for us many years ago. We visited in mid October and it was dead. Even so, we were “done” and headed back “home” after a couple of hours. We did the lakeship on the Wolfgangsee during our Christmas Market trip and it was the highlight of our trip.

Posted by
548 posts

Hallstatt is worth seeing once. But everyone gets the same photos from the same exact location up the road. Also every restaurant and even our hotel wanted everything in cash. So bring a wad. At night it’s dark and quiet. So best option is to drive in and drive out. You’ll save a bunch of money.

Posted by
902 posts

No. Unless the absolute dead of winter, it will be crowded. It is only not crowded from roughly 8pm to 8am. Take the advice of others and explore other great sites in the general area.

Posted by
97 posts

Thank you all. We have decided to pass on Halstatt, but are still looking at other places. How about St. Wolfgangsee or St. Gilgan? Would it be possible to do both in one day? Or should we spend one night in either town and get to see both? Thanks for all the replies!!!!
Dan

Posted by
2935 posts

Hey Dan,

Easy to see both in a day. Take the lake ship from St. Gilgen to St. Wolfgang. Then back to St. Gilgen. We did this trip easily in a day during December based in Berchtesgaden.

Posted by
1912 posts

If you decide to stay over in the Salzkammergut, you don't need to do one night in one and one in the other. Just stay in one and you can visit the other. They are both good looking atmospheric towns. St Wolfgang with larger scale tourism, bigger, but also a better location on the lake.

Ferries depart regularly.

You can also walk between the two. I've done this before, good walk, about 6 MI and 1,000 vertical feet of climbing. It's a wide path the whole way, and in fact a pilgrimage route.

https://crosbyman66.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/the-pilgrim-way-st-gilgen-to-st-wolfgang/

I would not choose this walk over going up higher into the alpine by cog railway or ski lift, but it's not at all bad if you are staying and the pilgrimage aspect is interesting to you.

Posted by
463 posts

No.
You're super close to Konigsee and lots of amazing scenery already. No need to go all the way up to Hallstatt.

Posted by
7465 posts

This is what I wrote about staying in St. Wolfgang two nights after being in Salzburg for several days:

“ I had found info about St. Wolfgang, Austria a few years ago and had it on our short list. We took a bus to St. Gilgen and then a boat to St. Wolfgang. Such a wonderful, relaxing location at Hotel Cortisen am See on the edge of the village - neither of us wanted to leave! The town experiences the day-trippers from Salzburg, but we were out hiking each day and were back for the quiet town in the evening. St. Wolfgang was #1 of our locations.”