TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

HALLSTATT – THE CHOCOLATE-BOX VILLAGE

January 15, 2018

Hiding deep between the Dachstein mountains, approximately one hour far from Salzburg, with its lakeside views and charming old buildings make Hallstatt one of the most charming villages in Europe. There must have been fairytales born from this spot and so perfect, that China made an exact replica of the village to serve as high-end housing. When I heard about this fact I had to laugh, because they can really go too far doing replicas! *giggles*

The chocolate-box village of Hallstatt has lovely 16th century timber houses and its winding cobbled streets take you through the postcard-pretty town, by the sight of beautiful white swans floating on the lake. If you have spent some time on Instagram or Pinterest and looking for travel trips to Europe, Alps or winter-wonderland places, chances are you’ve come across Hallstatt panoramas. Even though I have been living in Austria since 2003, I discovered Hallstatt three years ago through Instagram and it was on my bucket-list since than. For the 2018’s first trip, my friend Yllka and I decided to spend a few days in Hallstatt to enter the new year’s first week.
We catch the train from Vienna’s main train station Hauptbahnhof via Attnang-Puchheim to Hallstatt. After three-and-half hours we finally arrived to panoramic view with the calm blue lake mirroring the sky and picture-perfect background. The Hallstatt train station (is actually Obertraun, across the lake from Hallstatt), we took a ferry into Hallstatt’s old town.

Here I want to share some travel tips where to stay, eat, drink, what to do and where to shop in Hallstatt:

WHERE TO STAY

Heritage Hotel Hallstat
We stayed at Heritage Hotel over the weekend and I can highly recommend it. It has an excellent location and it is also one of the most highly-rated hotels in Hallstatt. Located in the car-free historic centre of the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hallstatt, this hotel consists 3 renovated historic buildings. We stayed at their 3rd building and  had an amazing panoramic view from our room. The hotel features a bar and a sunny lakeside terrace. There is also a café with a winter garden right next to Hallstatt’s boat landing. The hotel’s restaurant Im Kainz offers traditional Austrian dishes and fine wines. Free internet access in the rooms and free WiFi in all areas.
Address: Landungsplatz 101, 4830 Hallstatt, Austria

Seehotel Grüner Baum
For the best experience in Hallstatt, stay at a hotel right by the lake. It offers panoramic views of Lake Hallstatt, as well as spacious rooms and wonderful staff. Build in 1700, the fully renovated 4-star superior hotel offers a historic ambience, which has already served as a backdrop to several movies. Empress Sisi, the Austrian author Adalbert Stifter, Agatha Christie and many other personalities have stayed at this hotel.
Address: Marktplatz 104, 4830 Hallstatt, Austria

Gasthof Pension Hirlatz
Also one of the best-rated locations in Hallstatt, Pension Hirlatz is just a 20-minute walk from the centre and Lake Hallstatt. With traditionally furnished rooms, as well as a small SPA area that includes a sauna, an infrared cabin, and a Kneipp pool.The Dachstein West ski area is 15 km away, and the Krippenstein ski area is 5 km away. Both can be reached with a free ski bus.
Malerweg 125, 4830 Hallstatt, Austria

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK

A village cannot offer too much, but Hallstatt has few perfect places where you can eat and have a great view too. If the weather is nice, you should eat outside and don’t forget to eat fish, as it comes fresh from the lake and it’s the town’s specialty.

Seewirt Zauner, best for fish dishes. Try their freshly caught fish from the Lake Hallstatt. The new Salzbar provides appetizers and refreshing pre-dinner or perfect after-dinner cocktails that make you wind down at the end of the day.

Brauhaus Lobisser, excellent traditional Austrian dishes. The food would always be served along with the beer to the Salt miners which was a tradition of the good things to come. Brauhaus Lobisser restaurant became popular to the summer guests and lead up to the great reputation it has today. 400 years after the rights had been granted the name was changed from the Market Brewery to the Bräugasthof or brewery and guest house. For the past 150 years the restaurant has remained in the hands of the Höplinger Lobisser family.

Die Gemischtwarenhandlung am See, go for the best homemade desserts and coffee. We had coffee and cake twice a day and became friends with the owner! 🙂

Cafe Bäckerei Konditorei Maislinger, for delicious Austrian desserts like apple strudels and other pastries, also a nice place to have breakfast.

WHAT TO DO IN HALLSTATT

Do not forget to bring your comfy shoes and a photo-worthy outfit while exploring Hallstatt. In winter you don’t need to wakeup very early because the sunset time is almost at 8:00 AM, so it’s perfect for those who love to sleep longer. But if you visit Hallstatt in summer, than you should wakeup a bit earlier and take nice pictures of the village. By noon, the village gets overrun by tourists, and you’re better off just exploring the other attractions.

Take Instagram-Worthy Pictures
Walk all the way to the north, past the ferry station. When the road bends, look back and you’ll see the absolutely breathtaking view of Hallstatt. Stroll around the village and you can spot many beautiful corners too.

Stroll Around The Village
Just walking along the boardwalk, looking up at the pastel colored houses  and stopping by the souvenir shops is a great way to spend the day. Remember that Hallstatt is really small, so there’s no need to rush through. Take your time and enjoy every miniute of your stay in Hallstatt. Time stands still here!

Catch The Best View From Skywalk
Once up on Salzberg, 360 meters above the rooftops of Hallstatt, time briefly seems to stand completely still. It extends over a sheer drop with the Hallstatt old town directly below. The “World Heritage View” lookout platform was officially dedicated in 2013 and has been a main point for the Hallstatt visitors.

Visit The Salt Mine
Unfortunately closed during this time, but the Salt Mine of Hallstatt opens again in February. Quote: “Deep into the Dürrnberg, where miners were hauling a treasure out into the daylight over 2500 years ago, one that took its rightful place right next to jewels and diamonds: known as “white gold”. For some 450 years, visitors from around the world have been entering the Hallein salt mine, deep inside the Dürrnberg. Which makes the Hallein salt mine the first in history to open its tunnels to the public. Visitors from near and far included many crowned heads, guests of the archbishops. All were fascinated by the mysterious subterranean world. And to this very day, the mines which the Ancient Celts clawed meter-by-meter out of the Earth over 2500 years ago have lost none of their magical appeal.” writes Salzwelten.

Kalvarienberg Church
The church was built in the year 1711 and was donated to the town by a childless married couple of court secretaries. It is located on the Kalvarienberg, which is a nearby mountain with an impressive view over Hallstatt. This church was built in order to offer a place for the inhabitants of the town to pray, and as the final resting place of the married couple. This church is a true masterpiece of baroque architecture.

Church of Christ
In 1782, Emperor Josef II adopted the Patent of Tolerance, which contributed to the free exercise of religion in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This church is beautiful and much-photographed Church of Christ we know today.

Museum Hallstatt
The Museum was opened in 1888 in order to showcase the special archaeological finds of Hallstatt, which were discovered in the preceding years. Visitors can learn everything about the history of this beautiful place in the museum, starting with the Stone Age and traveling through thousands of years of history right up to the present. Exhibited here are the discoveries from the local salt mines (the oldest in the world), and the Iron Age burial grounds and cemeteries nearby.

WHERE TO SHOP

Automata Museum & cabinet of curiosities (Automaten Museum & Kuriositäten Kabinett) 
One of the most interesting boutique of antiques, fine arts, including home decoration, jewellery, perfumes, scent candles, gifts, as well as a historical collection of self-moving humanoid-automata from the XVI. to the XX. century. These automata were made to ressemble the divine, magic, mysterious, exotic or seductive humans or animals. Worth to visit and shop!
Address: Obertraun am Hallstättersee, Winkl 77, Hallstatt

Spirit of Salt
The flagship store offers year-round a wide assortment of souvenirs and salt products such as the natural salt line of the Salinen Austria “Spirit of Salt”.
Address: Salzbergstraße 21, Hallstatt

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Hallstatt totally depends on your perception of a good time and what you personally prefer. I always wanted to visit Hallstatt with snow and in cold winter, so it was a perfect time because it’s off-peak season as well. If you enjoy the snow and winter wonderland landscape views than the period of January to beginning of March, is the best time to visit. But if you prefer doing activities like hiking, cave exploration and want to stroll around under a clear sky then try going in April – June.

Lovely souvenirs everywhere.

Handcrafted porcelain decorations, souvenirs and soaps.

Favorite coffee and cake at Die Gemischtwarenhandlung am See.

Cutness overload in every corner.

Charming old buildings of Hallstatt.

Everyone’s favorite photography spot.

The Church of Christ from above.


The view from our hotel room.

All photos (c) DisiCouture

Disclaimer: This post is NOT sponsored.