Despite its modest size, the charming Austrian village of Hallstatt isn’t short of wonderful attractions. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hallstatt is full of traditional architecture and museums, as well as a fascinating peek into salt mine history. As it’s situated on the banks of Lake Hallstatt in the mountainous region of Salzkammergut, this dream destination offers huge appeal to nature lovers and outdoorsy types as well.
It’s perfectly possible to see the best of Hallstatt in one day as part of a wider Austria itinerary. The alpine village is a popular day trip from Salzburg and slots nicely into any Austria road trip itinerary as well. You can book a tour to Hallstatt from Salzburg or visit independently, as this itinerary is about to demonstrate.
To help you plan all the logistics of your visit, I have curated the following one day Hallstatt itinerary which covers all the practical details you’ll need as well as the best things to see during your day trip. If you have longer than one day in Hallstatt then I’ve included some tips on how you can expand your itinerary.
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Useful Info for Visiting Hallstatt
How to get to Hallstatt
Salzburg is the most convenient springboard for your Hallstatt day trip and features the closest international airport. If you rent a car then the scenic drive from Salzburg to Hallstatt will take 1-1.5 hours to complete. Arrive as early as possible to secure parking in town at one of the two central parking lots, especially during summer, public holidays, and weekends. Hallstatt is very popular among tourists and it’s not rare that the parking lots fill up before 10am.
Taking the public bus or train from Salzburg takes longer so you will definitely need to book a hotel in town to make this Hallstatt itinerary worthwhile. Buses and trains both take around 3 hours each way and require a couple of changes.
Bus number 150 departs from Salzburg Hofwirt (C) and takes you as far as Bad Ischl Bahnhof. From here you will need to switch to the 542 bus and then again to the 543 at Gosaumühle. Trains depart from Salzburg Hbf with a change at Attnang-Puchheim before reaching the terminal in Obertraun on the eastern side of the lake. At this point, you will need to hop on a ferry across the lake to reach Hallstatt.
Best time to visit Hallstatt
Defined by four distinct seasons, the village is a year-round destination and the best time to plan your day trip to Hallstatt depends on your personal preferences. Peak season is during the summer months of July/August, this is when the town sees the most crowds and the hottest temperatures. In total contrast, the town is likely to experience snow during the winter months of November through February when the temperature can drop to 0°C (32°F). This makes it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts and the city bursts into a ski resort.
Overall, the late spring and autumn months are the most pleasant time to visit when the scenery is alive with summer flowers or leafy autumn foliage. Temperatures lingering around 15-19°C (59-62°F) make these times of year the perfect time to include some light hiking in your Hallstatt itinerary.
How to get around Hallstatt
Once you reach Hallstatt you can easily explore the village on foot as it’s so tiny. Most of the attractions on my itinerary are within walking distance so I recommend parking your car for the duration of your one day in Hallstatt. In fact, you’ll have to – the town center is a car-free zone!
All the places on this Hallstatt itinerary are accessible by foot, however, some of them are located higher up in the mountain. While it’s totally possible to hike up there, you might want to take advantage of the funicular that transports you to the top within minutes.
Where to stay in Hallstatt
Hallstatt is a small place and hotel options are quite limited (and expensive). The following three places are my recommendations of where to stay in the center of town. Make sure to book in advance to secure your accommodation, especially if you plan your Hallstatt itinerary during summer!
LUXURY – Hallstatt Hideaway
This adults-only resort is located right on the waterfront and comprises a deluxe portfolio of suites that offer lake views. Modern interiors feature a rustic twist and the most decadent options come with additional features ranging from private patios to private spa pools.
MID-RANGE – Heritage Hotel Hallstatt
All rooms and suites at this 4-star hotel provide lake views and are equipped with a private bathroom, coffee maker, and homely touches. The accommodation spans three buildings and there is also a restaurant and sauna on site.
BUDGET – Gasthof Bergfried
This centrally located guest house features compact rooms with en suite bathrooms with the option to upgrade to a balcony suite. The property offers a shared relaxation area with a spa and sauna.
Alternatively, if you have a car, you might want to stay a little further out of town in one of the surrounding hamlets. One of the best options is Obertraun, from where you can reach Hallstatt within 10 minutes by car or you can also take advantage of the ferry. We stayed at Haus Salzkammergut on our second visit to Hallstatt and absolutely loved everything about the hotel! Great location, amazing views from the balcony, lovely owners, cute doggie and delicious breakfast. I can only recommend this place! In case the hotel is full or you’re looking for something else, you can check all the accommodation options in Obertraun here.
Overview of Your One Day in Hallstatt Itinerary
Breakdown of your one day in Hallstatt
Morning: Hallstatt Zentrum, Marktplatz Hallstatt, Evangelisches Pfarramt, Michaelskapelle, Beinhaus & Ossuary, Classic Postcard Viewpoint, Hallstatt Waterfall, Small Island
Afternoon: Salzbergwerk, Hallstatt Skywalk, afternoon coffee at Restaurant Rudolfsturm
Evening: Hike to Waldbachstrub Waterfall or Glacier Garden, dinner at Restaurant am See
Map for your Hallstatt itinerary
Below you can find a customized map that includes all the locations you’re going to visit on this Hallstatt itinerary. I marked each time of the day with different colors – I used blue for the morning, red for the afternoon, and green for the evening so you can easily see which places you’re going to visit during your one day Hallstatt itinerary.
If you open up this post on your phone and you click on the bracket in the upper right corner of the map, it will open up in your Google Maps app so you can always have it with you. Super convenient, right?
Morning of Your Hallstatt Itinerary
I recommend spending the morning of your Hallstatt day trip by wandering around the town center, checking out the notable attractions and beautiful viewpoints and of course, taking tons of photos. You can see the highlights of Hallstatt Zentrum comfortably over the course of one morning because the town is tiny and walkable. Below is a quick overview of the places you can visit during your self-guided walk.
Dominated by a fountain and statue of the Holy Trinity, Marktplatz Hallstatt is the very center of the town and is adorned with picturesque alpine buildings that will make any photographer croon. Spend some time roaming the quaint area, dipping into the cafes to pick up Austrian pastries, and mooching through souvenir shops. Depending on what time you visit, the buildings may be awash with summer blooms or coated with a layer of thick snow. During the warmer months, there are often concerts and religious events held in the marketplace while come winter, it hosts the annual Christmas Market.
There are a couple of churches in town that you will spot while exploring on foot during your day trip to Hallstatt. A relic of the late 18th century, Evangelisches Pfarramt is an iconic element of the Hallstatt skyline and affords a lovely view of the lake from the tower.
Michaelskapelle, Beinhaus & Ossuary
The chapel and cemetery of Michaelskapelle sit just to the north of the village. Inside the church, you can see the Hallstatt ossuary, a collection of hundreds upon thousands of human skulls and bones. In a touching sentiment, the skulls are inscribed with the name of the deceased, their year of passing, and intricate floral paintings.
If you want to visit the ossuary then the admission cost is 1.50 EUR (1.80 USD). It’s open to tourists from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm.
Classic Postcard Viewpoint
You’ll agree that everywhere you look in Hallstatt is worth stopping to snap a photo, but it’s still worth visiting one or two of the official viewpoints. Walk less than two minutes north of the churchyard and you will find the point marked as ‘Aussichtspunkt Hallstatt’ on Google Maps, or ‘classic viewpoint.’ From here you will get a striking shot of the village within its mountain setting, the perfect memento from your day trip to Hallstatt.
It might surprise you to hear that there is a waterfall in the heart of Hallstatt! It might not quite rival the massive, tropical waterfalls of Bali and the Philippines, but it gets pretty close and offers up some fantastic photography opportunities. The trail starts not far from Marktplatz and it takes a pleasant 20 minutes to reach the attraction.
Head south of the village to Small Island, which floats a few meters off the lakeside. The teeny island is connected to the mainland by an equally teeny bridge and once you cross over you’ll have a clear view of the village. It takes 15 minutes to walk to Small Island from Marktplatz, so you might want to make this either your first stop or last stop of the morning on your Hallstatt itinerary.
Afternoon of Your Hallstatt Itinerary
For the afternoon of your one day in Hallstatt, you can head to one of the town’s most interesting attractions, the salt mine. With a 7,000 year history, the mine is one of the oldest of its kind in the world.
The mine is located higher up in the mountains and you basically have two options to get there. You can ride the Salzbergbahn funicular from the town center (near the P2 parking lot) which takes a few minutes and delivers you a 10-15 minute walk from the mine entrance. The cost is 20 EUR (24 USD) for a return or 11 EUR (13 USD) one way. You can also purchase a combo ticket for the funicular and the salt mine, it costs 36 EUR (43 USD per person).
Alternatively, you can opt to hike up for free. This takes around 1-1.5 hours which will definitely lengthen your Hallstatt itinerary. The route itself is well-marked and easy to follow, however, it’s pretty steep, so be prepared with proper shoes and lots of water. If you don’t use the funicular at all, then entrance to the salt mines only costs 25 EUR (30 USD) per person. In this case you’ll need to calculate with some extra time for hiking down as well (it takes around 45-60 minutes).
The mine is only accessible via a guided tour and comprises around 2 km (1.2 miles) of walking and the rest is via mine train. The tour itself takes around 70-80 minutes and they depart every 30 minutes between 9am – 4pm. You need to be there 30 minutes prior to the start time.
It’s important to wear sturdy shoes and warm clothing as the temperature below ground averages 8°C (46°F). You’ll get a protective jacket and trousers prior to the tour that you’ll need to put on top of your regular clothes. Therefore even if you’re visiting in the heat of the summer, it’s best to wear jeans and t-shirts rather than dresses or skirts (or at least have a change of clothes in your backpack for the tour).
Warm up after your mine tour at one of the most scenic stops of your one day Hallstatt itinerary. The Hallstatt Skywalk is an observation deck that juts out 350 meters (1,148 feet) above the town and grants an uninterrupted view of the lofty ranges. There is no entrance fee to visit the viewpoint so if you’re not fussed about the mine tour I’d still recommend popping up to take the sights in.
Either for lunch or as an afternoon treat, you can pay a visit to this scenic cafe which has a terrace that overlooks the lake and mountains. It’s located right next to the Hallstatt Skywalk so you can easily visit after taking in the scenic views. If you have a sweet tooth, try their apple strudel – it’s seriously one of the best I’ve ever eaten!
Evening of Your Hallstatt Itinerary
Hike to Waldbachstrub Waterfall or Glacier Garden
Conclude the perfect one day Hallstatt itinerary with a leisurely hike that gives you a final opportunity to experience the majestic nature. There are two suggestions that are located close to one another in the Echern Valley of Hallstatt: Waldbachstrub Waterfall or Glacier Garden.
If you don’t want to move your car or you arrived with a different kind of transport, you can start both hikes from Hallstatt Parking P2. From there, you have multiple options to start your hike: you can either take Echerntalweg, Kohlstattweg then Malerweg, or cross the river and walk along Malerweg until you reach Parkplatz Echerntal. Alternatively, if you’re running short on time or you don’t want to hike that much, you can drive your car to Parkplatz Echerntal as well.
Right after passing by the parking lot, you’ll be presented with a fork. You can take the paved road on the left which will lead you to the Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten). This is a cluster of unique rocks, landforms, fairy pools, and streams that formed during the last Ice Age as the glacier in the gorge receded. This natural wonder is accessible by following the signs for Simonyhütte and the Wiesberghaus.
If you take the gravel road on the right, you’ll be heading in the direction of Waldbachstrub Waterfall. Just a heads up: although the trail is signposted, none of the signs actually say the name of the waterfall so it’s quite easy to get lost. You will come across with some forks during the trail, when in doubt, always take the right one!
To be completely transparent, we didn’t manage to find the waterfall during our hike. At the third or fourth fork, we accidentally took the wrong turn and ended up going up to the Glacier Garden. If we would have taken the right turn and crossed the little stream, we would have found the waterfall within 15 minutes. But unfortunately we took the left and after climbing up lots of stairs, we found ourselves at the Glacier Garden. Not complaining though as it was really beautiful, but it would have been easier to just take the paved road from the parking lot if I would have wanted to come here.
Anyways, reaching the Glacier Garden from the Echerntal parking lot takes around 30 minutes while hiking to Waldbachstrub Waterfall takes around 40-45 minutes. Unless you skip some of the earlier activities on the itinerary, you will need to choose one hiking option. However, if you have longer than one day in Hallstatt then I highly recommend you tackle both of these hikes.
Restaurant am See
After an exhausting but (hopefully) wonderful day exploring Hallstatt, it’s finally time to sit down and satiate your hunger! You might have already scouted out a place to eat during your stroll around Hallstatt Zentrum but if not then I suggest heading to Restaurant am See. Tables spread out over the lakeside terrace providing enchanting panoramic views as you eat. The menu comprises typical Austrian fare, freshly caught fish, and a hearty mix of beers, wines, and spirits.
And now you know exactly how to see the best of Hallstatt in one day! I hope that my Hallstatt itinerary has motivated you to add this magical little place to your Austrian or European travel plans. You won’t regret it!
If you have any questions about visiting Hallstatt, then please feel free to reach out. Either send me an email, message me via social media, or drop a comment below. If you’ve already visited Hallstatt, then let me know what you thought and if there’s anything else you’d like to recommend.
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