When I say we had a few hours to explore Hallstatt, we literally did. Visiting Hallstatt in a campervan isn’t the easiest thing – parking is a nightmare for anything higher than an SUV type car, so you can imagine the struggle we had visting in our 2.5m+ campervan! We actually tried to stop here last summer on our 2018 roadtrip on the way back from Slovenia, but we had the same problem with parking so decided to just skip it since we were in a hurry to get home.
This time though, we were determined to visit! We arrived nice and early to find a space in the car parks (there’s a few), and each one was height barriered, even though we followed the signs for the not height barriered one, which turned out it was a lie!
Hallstatt Old Town
The town is actually a lot smaller than I imagined it to be – well the older side of the town at least. There’s the other newer part of the town amongst all of the car parks and bus station, with the main older more picturesque side of the town nestled along the base of the mountain beside the river. It’s filled with colourful buildings, lined with pretty flower boxes (as always in Austria – it’s my goal next summer to cover my house somehow in flower boxes haha).
We walked down from the tunnel carpark, and as we only had 90 minutes to explore we got straight to it, wandering the streets filled with cute shops selling souvenirs, jewellery and handmade gifts, delicious smelling restaurants along with many, many salt shops. Hallstatt is known for its salt mines, one of which you can visit on a trip there. We obviously had to buy some as a souvenir, as it contains a lot of extra minerals rather than just normal salt.
The streets are cute, but very busy! It’s best to arrive first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon if you don’t like crowds.
The lake is such a lovely lake and I honestly wish we had a little more time to explore the area around the lake more. You can hire boats, or take a boat trip to the other side of the lake (the town of Obertraun), or if you have your own kayak/canoe then you can take a little paddle around to the town from further round the lake.
There’s a lovely little walk between the old town and new town which takes you along the road right by the water, with some seating areas too. The views are amazing across the lake – I could have sat there for hours just watching the paddle boarders and people who hired their little motorised boats slowly whizz around the lake – I’m sure they got some of the best views of the town.
If you want to get that famous picture of the town, if you’ve parked in the new town, then walk through the old town, past the main square (with the church on your right) and just keep going until you head up and around to the right and you’ll find it. Please, please be considerate though – people live there. They have SO many signs up telling you to be quiet and respectful, which honestly, the majority of people ignored and it was horrible to see, so just take that into consideration when you visit. We took a few photos then headed back to the old town.
It’s nice to visit for a few hours, but if the only thing you’re planning on doing is visiting the town, then a couple of hours will be plenty, maybe 2-3 if you want some lunch/dinner while you’re there too.
There’s loads of other things to do in the area though, like taking a boat trip to the other town, taking a tour of the salt mine, heading to the Heritage Skywalk for stunning views from above the town, visiting the bone house (Hallstatt Ossuary) or head up the mountains to the 5 fingers viewing platform at the southern end of the lake.
It’s well worth a visit if you’re nearby and makes a great day trip from Salzburg, though it can be a long day. Busses take just over 2hrs, or you can take the train to Bad Goisern and then a bus from there to Hallstatt which takes about 2.5hs in total.
Have you been to Hallstatt before? What did you think?