Hallstatt, Austria – Fairytale Village – Visitors Guide (Salt Mines, Skywalk, Museum)

Hallstatt in Austria is one of the most photographed villages in the world. But ancient people were drawn here because of salt.

Map

The visit to Hallstatt was part of the Austria trip (to see the entire journey check out 11 Days in Austria). And more specifically, we drove to Hallstatt from Salzburg. We decided to visit Hallstatt, a small village in the Salzkammergut region since during my Austria research, this name kept popping. Hallstatt appeared almost in all top ten attractions/things to do in Austria lists.

Map of the area:

But besides being very picturesque, the main reason ancient people were drawn to this area is salt.

Salzwelten Salt Mines

Visiting Salt Mines in Austria is a common tourist attraction. And Salzwelten Salt Mines is one of the popular ones. Thus, to skip long lines, I pre-ordered tickets online. But, as it turned out, there was no need. The groups were full, but there were no queues. Maybe because it was not the peak season (our visit was in mid-April).

Funicular to Salzwelten Salt Mines
Funicular to Salzwelten Salt Mines

We had tickets for 11 am (the plan was to leave Salzburg by 9 am). We reached Hallstatt only at 10:50, but the salt mines are high in the mountains. First, we took the 11 am funicular. As far as I remember, it runs every 30 min, but maybe it is 15.

Then when you get up, you have another 10-15 min walk to the Salzwelten Salt Mines (without stopping at the POI on the way).

Map of the area with all POI
Map of the area with all POI

As you can see, the funicular station is #1 (at the bottom of the plan), and the tour starts at #9.

The panoramic elevator (#2) and the restaurant (#10)
The panoramic elevator (#2) and the restaurant (#10)

And here is the path that leads to the tour’s starting point.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

Tour At Salzwelten Salt Mines

The Salzwelten tour starts inside this building (#9).

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

In the end, we joined the 11:30 group (instead of 11:00). But nobody told us anything.

First, the group (probably around 40 people) entered the changing room. We were asked to deposit our bags, and then each got clothes. The clothes were a pair of big pants and a shirt. We put these clothes on top of our clothes. I guess that the primary purpose is to keep your clothes clean.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

After adding a clothing layer, we passed through several showrooms and then climbed the stairs towards the cave.

And since I mentioned clothing, the temperature in the caves is around 10 C all year round. Thus, come in suitable clothing.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

Entrance to Christina Cave has been active from 1719 until this day.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

You can also see our protective clothes (each color means a different size).

Inside The Cave

Inside The Cave
Inside The Cave

Our tour was both in English and German.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

Once inside, we got various explanations, starting with how salt got into the mountains.

Many years ago, this was a sea. But as mountains formed, this area rose. So today, you got sea salt trapped high in the mountains.

Our first slide
Our first slide

That is how miners used to go down.

You can slide by yourself or in pairs (handy when visiting with children).

The second slide was a little longer, and there was a camera in the middle. It took photos, and you can purchase your print on exit for 5 euro. There was also a TV showing pictures and sliding speed. Most people slid down at 20-25 km/h.

Then we saw a short show about ancient people.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

Mining Methods and Salt Usages

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

And here, our guide tells us about mining methods. There are two methods. Dry mining includes breaking stones and extracting salt blubs. Dry drilling is a tedious method, and it is no longer used.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

Instead, today they use wet mining. Wet mining reminds oil extraction. People dig a bore, insert a pipe, and pump water. On the other side, they receive brine (a solution of salt and water). And then they filter the salt.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

Several years ago, a ladder was found in the salt mines. It is believed to be Europe’s oldest wooden staircase.
Low humidity and salt helped preserve this ladder for centuries.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

And this is another presentation we saw about modern usages of salt.
In the end, we hopped on this train, kept our heads down, and it took us outside.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

At the end of the tour, we returned to the changing room. We took off the protective clothes, got our bags back, and bought the photo of us sliding. Also, each of us received a 10g salt jar.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

The tour was quite lovely and lasted for about two hours.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

After the tour, we started walking back to the funicular.

Visit to Salzwelten salt mines in Austria

We skipped this mirrored building on the left since we were going up in a hurry. It tells the story of an ancient graveyard found on this site. It is believed that ancient people who worked in the mines were buried here. And since there is a lot of salt, it helped preserve both the bodies and the relics.

Skywalk Of Hallstatt

The area of the panoramic elevator (#2), the restaurant (#10), and the lookout platform (#11) is called Skywalk of Hallstatt.

Skywalk presents beautiful views of this area. Here is a picture of the restaurant.

Skywalk Of Hallstatt
Skywalk Of Hallstatt
Hallstatt from above
Hallstatt from above
Lookout platform with the valley
Lookout platform with the valley
Skywalk Of Hallstatt
Skywalk Of Hallstatt

When we reached the funicular, I realized I had made a mistake. At the end of the tour, I threw away the tickets, but we needed them to go down. Luckily I had the file on my phone. And after several attempts at attaching my phone’s screen to the scanner, it worked. So please do not repeat my mistake and keep the tickets till you get down.

Parking

I have not mentioned before, but when we rushed to Salzwelten Salt Mines, we left our car at a paid parking lot at Hallstatt’s southern end. Its address is Salinenpl. 4. Also, Hallstatt itself is a small village with narrow roads. Thus I would not recommend driving inside. Moreover, since the car parking, funicular station, and the town itself are all within a 10-minute walking radius, there is no need to look for another place.

Thus, we did not return to the car and went towards the town center when we got down.

Getting a little ahead, but as long as we are on the topic of parking, I should mention that the parking cost was about 8 euros for almost the entire day.

In Hallstatt

Hallstatt is a tourist place, and many stores and services are aimed at tourists. But the nice thing is that you can also find handmade souvenirs.

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

An interesting thing we saw several times in the village is the trees that are attached to houses.

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria
Hallstatt Lutheran Church
Hallstatt Lutheran Church

After some climbing, we reached the graveyard next to the Catholic parish church (in the background):

Catholic parish church, Hallstatt
Catholic parish church
Interior of the Catholic parish church, Hallstatt
Interior of the Catholic parish church

And here is a panorama from nearby the church:

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

Another tree is attached to a house, and this time, a tree log serves as a ladder for a cat (with a small door in the window).

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria
Closeup of an Alpine house
Closeup of an Alpine house
Trees attached to houses
Trees attached to houses

And this is probably the classical view of Hallstatt:

Iconic view of Hallstatt
Iconic view of Hallstatt

Boat Ride in Hallstatt

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

By this point, we were pretty tired but still wanted to see more of this village. Thus when we saw boat rides, we decided to join.

There are several stations with small boats for rent. But since it was getting late, they were closed. What we saw was a boat bus. It goes to the train station on the other side of the lake and back. The roundtrip ride costs 5 euro per person, and it is about 10 minutes of sailing each way (with about 10 min break next to the train station).

Boat Ride in Hallstatt
Boat Ride in Hallstatt

Since it is a beautiful village, some couples decide to take pre-wedding photos here. And there was one couple on our boat:

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria
Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria
Sailing back
Alpine houses, Hallstatt village in Austria
Alpine houses
Catholic parish church, Hallstatt village in Austria
Catholic parish church

As I mentioned, it was getting late, and we started walking towards car parking. On our way, we passed the main square (Marktplatz):

Marktplatz, Hallstatt village in Austria
Marktplatz

And then we saw this woman as she was returning home after work. The unusual thing was that she did not need to cross to the other side of the lake but still preferred using the boat.

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

We returned to the parking lot. The tariff was about 8 euros for almost the whole day (11:00 – 19:00). And we headed to our Bed and Breakfast in Gosau.

Night Stay At Gosau

The B&B was in Gosau, which is about 10 min drive.

When we drove in the morning to Hallstatt, we used the same road (#166). And I saw a stream with three small bridges. Since our way back was during the golden hour, we decided to stop. And the following two photos are the result.

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria
Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

The following day, when the first rays of the sun started hitting the land, we saw this:

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

We left Gosau and returned to Hallstatt since there was one more place we wanted to visit there.

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

Hallstatt Museum

Hallstatt Museum
Hallstatt Museum
Ammonites
Ammonites

Ammonites are clear evidence for an ancient sea (see Ammonite Wall in Ramon Crater for more info).

Salt from the ancient sea
Salt from the ancient sea

This museum is not only about salt, but also about the life of people in this area.

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria
Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria
Historic Hallstatt

And this diagram shows the graveyard (each marking is a burial place), the remains of which we saw yesterday in the mountains.

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

The museum is not big but quite charming. Our visit took about two hours.

Throughout our visit to Austria, I noticed that explanations in museums and tours are shorter in English. If you have 100% of the information in German, then there is only 80% in English. The same was for this museum. But, if there were no English explanations, our museum tour would have been much shorter.

Last view of Hallstatt
Last view of Hallstatt

And we continue to our next destination.

Visit to Hallstatt village in Austria

Where? You will find out in the next post 😉

And I want to end this post with a Cinemagraph, a moving picture of Hallstatt.

Cinemagraph, Moving photo of Hallstatt
Cinemagraph, Moving photo of Hallstatt

To find out more, check out Cinemagraphs – Photos with Motion from Austria.

Summary

Hallstatt is a picturesque destination. And if you are in the area, it is a must-stop. The shortest visit would consist of a several-hour walk through the village. A more extended stay (1 – 1.5 days) can also include the salt mines and the museum. Moreover, you can make Hallstatt your trip base and visit surrounding attractions, like Dachstein Giant Ice Cave and 5 Fingers viewing platform. In any case, Hallstatt will probably be among the highlights of your trip.

Have you ever been to Hallstatt? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!

Stay Tuned!

   

Additional Resources

Here are several resources that I created to help travelers: And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.  
Did not find what you were looking for? Leave a comment below, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Lev Tsimbler

Lev from israel-in-photos.com. You can contact me at hi@israel-in-photos.com

2 thoughts on “Hallstatt, Austria – Fairytale Village – Visitors Guide (Salt Mines, Skywalk, Museum)

  1. I read about the Hallstatt salt mines. It's all understood I just wanted to know is open the whole year?
    Thank you I would love to get an answer. The pictures are beautiful very clear and makes you want to travel.
    Thank you Malka

    1. שלום מלכה,
      מכרות המלח סגורים בינואר. נכון להיום הם כבר פתוחים וניתן להזמין כרטיסים כאן:
      https://tickets.salzwelten.at/en/tours
      וזהו לינק שימושי עם מידע נוסף על שעות וחניה:
      https://www.im-salzkammergut.at/events/hallstatt/daily-tours-through-the-saltmine-in-hallstatt/?date=2022-02-21

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