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Hallstatt Salt Mines

If i decide to visit the salt mines in Hallstatt, how long should I set aside for the visit? I would like to take the funicular ride up, do the tour, then hike back down.

Also, if I arrive in Hallstatt on the last train of the evening (arrives at station 18:27), will I be able to find a place to stay? I'll only be staying one night before heading off to Vienna the following evening, and Rick's Hallstatt page says it's hard to get advance reservations for a one-night stay. Would it be better then to stay overnight near the Hallstatt station (assuming there is a place?) then just take the boat across the lake the following morning?

Any other suggestions about Hallstatt are more than welcome!!

Thanks!

Posted by
1079 posts

Hi Bethany,

My husband and I visited Hallstatt and went to the salt mines. We recommend the tour, it was very informative and it's so much fun sliding down the slides. :)

It's about a two minute ride in the funicular and the tour takes about an hour. Like many of the attractions in Europe, you are assigned a time for the tour when you buy your ticket, which you can buy at the bottom of the hill before you get on the funicular.

As far as accomodations, visit www.hallstatt.net and you can find all kinds of accomodations. When we went in early October there were many rooms available. I would say you are safe to go across the lake to the village and find a room there once you arrive. They are everywhere. The people are very nice and they love it when you try to speak German, but they all speak English very well.

Enjoy!

Posted by
31 posts

We visited the Salt Mines in Bree, Switzerland last week. Another very worthwhile and interesting visit. Their history goes back 400 years and we went 500 meters into the the earth on little trains.
Joe

Posted by
32110 posts

Bethany,

I was just in Hallstatt and I'd suggest setting aside at least 3-4 hours for the Salt Mine tour. That would include the ride on the Funicular (allow for "waiting time" as it seems to malfunction occasionally), the walk from the Funicular to the actual mine (about 15-20 minutes each way from what I recall) and then the actual tour. I found it quite interesting, especially since it's one of the oldest salt mines in Europe (Hallstatt is 7000 years old!). If you have time, visit the Museum in Hallstatt also.

You WON'T be able to stay near the Hallstatt station! There's only a small station building and the boat dock on that side of the lake (and an old mansion that appears to be abandoned). The view of Hallstatt from that side is fantastic!

You didn't say what time of year you would be travelling to Hallstatt? Although it could be difficult to get reservations for a one-night visit, you've got nothing to lose by trying. Two of the larger facilities are Gasthof Simony and Hotel Gruner Baum, but check ALL of the listings in Rick's book if you can't find a vacancy there. If you notify the Hotel that you'll be a "late arrival", they should have no trouble holding a room for you.

It's unfortunate that you won't have more time for Hallstatt, as it's a great place. I hope you're able to find a room for your visit.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks for the info!

I see on the Salinen Austria website that the tours begin @ 9:00 a.m. Does anyone know when the funicular starts operating? I want to get as early a start as possible to make the most of every minute!

My trip will be in either late June or early September of 2009... I am planning WAY in advance! :) Good to know there's so many accomodations though!

Posted by
1631 posts

Last year, at the end of the day, we decided to look for somewhere to stay in Halstatt. From the funicular, you can walk back towards the mountains into a more residential part of the town. We had no problem finding a "zimmer frei" house. There were several available on this street, but this older couple had a room that would accommodate 3 people. It was 22 euros each with breakfast for 1 night. You should have no problem in this tourist town. Have fun!

Posted by
216 posts

Bethany,

The funicular ride definitely is longer than 2 mins. (although it seems like it). Allocate at least 15 mins to the ride, a half hour hiking up the trail, and then the tour.
Hallstadt is no place for lodging, attractive as it seems. It's a small city squeezed between a mountain and the lake. Your better opportunity is to stay in St. Gilgen overnight, if you want to stay close. All these towns are resorts and tourist-oriented. Bad Ischl, of course, is famous for its spa and the accommodations, but you'll have to consider the popularity of the region.
See www.salzkammergut.at for directions.

I'd schedule this trip earlier in the day (see www.oebb.at for train schedules of the Salzkammergutbahn coming down from Bad Ischl). You'll have to take the train up to Attnang-Puchheim to catch one of the many Vienna-destined trains.

Posted by
3551 posts

The salt mine is nicely done but not my choice. The time would be better spent strolling this incredibly scenic area. Or on the lake gazing at the beauty. Best reserve a room as it is a very small village with limited lodging.

Posted by
408 posts

Bethany,
I agree with Ken. The salt mine takes at least two hours to see. Make sure you wear good shoes for walking because you have a short hike up to the salt mine from the funicular. (20 min.) The town is really cute, I wish I would of stayed over night but I just had a day trip to Hallstatt. I would book in advance for a room, but I am a planner. Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
65 posts

What time of year are you planning on Hallstatt? Sept/Oct should not be a problem with a room.

Posted by
32110 posts

Bethany, one other suggestion for your visit to the Salt Mine. If you have time when you finish the tour, stop at Rudolphsturm before you board the Funicular for the trip down. It's the large Castle near the Funicular station, and the view is incredible! If you have time, stop for lunch on the patio and enjoy the view.

Cheers!

Posted by
1449 posts

up at the top of the funicular (before you hike to the salt mine) is a restaurant/bar with outdoor seating and spectacular views over the lake. Stop their after your tour and have a beer or lunch. It was a highlight of my 1 nite stay in Hallstatt. The salt mine tour was also worth doing; total time was about 3 hours from starting up on the funicular.

However I must be the only RS-reading tourist who didn't like the place. If you want to walk down streets and see houses that probably have spectacular views of the water, its the place for you. On the other hand I found places where I could sit and enjoy the view few and far between (with the exception I mentioned above). Not a lot of shops, not a lot to do, but not all that relaxing either. I had envisioned relaxing with a book in a beer garden overlooking the peaceful lake; not in Hallstatt. And forget about swimming in June, unless you're a polar bear; water is cold!

Ironically on the Bob's Sound of Music tour out of Salzburg one of the places they take you is the town where the wedding scene was filmed in Mondsee which seems like a much nicer place for a tourist to stay (as opposed to photograph). More shops, restaurants and other places right on the water, and the same spectacular water views.

Posted by
34 posts

I am assuming you cannot drive to Hallstadt. Is there a secure parking lot by the Ferry station?
Any suggestions?

thanks,
Orrin

Posted by
6411 posts

Yes, you can drive to Halstatt, but you will have to park on the edge of the town. It's not far. The ferry across the lake to the train leaves from the opposite end of town -- about a 15 minute walk from the car park.

There's nothing (literally nothing) near the train station -- it's a tiny building (booth, really) in the woods.

Halstatt is a small town. You don't say when you will be there. I'm sure in the middle of the high season there's activity on the streets into the evening, then again, during high season things are often booked up. On the other hand, during low season, things get pretty quiet after dark.

I'd call ahead and try to arrange a room.

Posted by
850 posts

You should be able to find a place to stay. If you have a RS book there are locations you can check listed in it. If you check with a place and find it full just ask if they might know of another place that might have a room available. This worked for us in 2004.

The salt mine is a fun tour. If you slide down the bannisters just make sure things in your pockets are secure so that you don't lose your room keys, cell phone and car keys if you have any. :(

Posted by
32110 posts

Mike (LA),

"I had envisioned relaxing with a book in a beer garden overlooking the peaceful lake"

That activity was enjoyed by a number of travellers at both Gasthof Simony and Hotel Gruner Baum. There were lawn chairs near the edge of the lake and a Beer Garden/Restaurant right behind. I sat there in the afternoon on a couple of occasions and had a "cold one" while enjoying the lake view (I was enjoying the view too much so didn't bother with a book).

I believe the restaurant/bar you're referring to at the top of the Funicular is Rudolfsturm. YES, it does have an incredible view! It was a great place to sit in the sunshine, have lunch and enjoy the view!

Orrin,

"Is there a secure parking lot by the Ferry station?"

I didn't see ANY Car Ferry in Hallstatt. There's a small passenger boat that transports visitors from the railway station, which is across the lake from the town. No car access to the area of the railway station is possible (there's only the railway and hiking trails on that side of the lake from what I could see). The road to Hallstatt is on the same side of the lake as the town. There's a car park at the same end of town as the Funicular, near the large art gallery. I believe a local pass is required to actually drive into the town (there's a gate, but not sure whether it's coin operated - check Rick's book).

Cheers!

Posted by
6411 posts

Ken is correct. You (a tourist) can not drive your car through Halstatt. The car park is on one end of town (near the funicular up to the salt mine). The "ferry" dock is at the opposite end of town (a short walk). The "ferry" does NOT carry cars. The ferry goes across the lake to the little train "station" (really just a platform with a little booth). The reason there are no cars on the ferry is that there's no place for a car to drive off on the other side. There's a small dock for foot passengers, some steps up to the rail tracks, and the platform. All of this is in the woods -- surrounded by trees, and nothing else.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi everyone! I study tourism and my final exam will be about Tousism of Hallstat. I will come to Hallstatt in august so I can get some more informations about this vilage and get survey. For now, I just have some basic information that I could get at the inetnet, so if anyone can recomend me which usefully book I can use, I would be thankful. Sorry because of my bad english and thanks again :)