Hello Hallstatt! Believe me or not – I absolutely, insanely, love to celebrate my birthdays! I really think that right after Christmas it’s the best day of the year. Every year for my birthday I have a special way of celebrating – I choose a place in the world where I’ve never been before, to pop up birthday bubbles there and enjoy the start of another amazing year of my life. And this year, as I’m newly married to the most amazing man on this planet :), we decided together to celebrate in this beautiful, small Austrian town located in the mountains. It’s also one of the oldest still inhabited settlements in Europe. A real Austrian treasure!
How to get to Hallstatt?
The nearest airport is Salzburg, which is only 1,5 h drive. Other easy options are: Vienna – 3,5 h drive, Munich – 3h drive, Stuttgart 4,5 h drive or Praha 5h drive. There are really good roads in Austria so driving is very convenient way of traveling.
Where to stay?
Hallstatt is a super small town located by the Hallstattersee (Hallstatt lake). There is less than one thousand people leaving there and it’s a UNESCO heritage, so if you want to stay right in the charming center you won’t find a spectacular list of locations to choose. Also, in the touristic season which is summer, winter and all the festives during the year, prices per night are significantly higher.
We were super lucky to find beautiful, private suites with spectacular lake view. Hallstatt Hideaway has everything you may need, some rooms have fireplace, fully equipped kitchen or small terrace with outdoor jacuzzi. The building is a historic one and has amazing interior. Can you imagine there is still wood on the ceiling that is 500 years old? The only disadvantage is the price, as according to the season it can be between 240-400 euro per night (breakfast not included). There is also no parking available, you need to leave your car at one of the city parkings and the nearest one is 3 minutes walk away. We went for a charming room with super comfy king size bed, full wall library and a nice fireplace. It couldn’t be more perfect to celebrate in the front of the fire, swinging in the cozy chair, with a bottle of good wine… Dreamy! For additional 11 euro they also offer breakfast that can be served to bed on your wish. Birthdays are only once a year, right?
Where to wine and dine?
The city is rather small and unfortunately there are lots of places that are open only seasonally. My recommendations, that are open all year long are:
Seewirt Zauner – perfect for a typical Austrian dinner.A schnitzel the size of your head served with potatoes couldn’t be more tasty! We had a chance to chat with the super nice owner and even had schnaps together (well, I was only pretending drinking as schnapps is not my pair of shoes…)
Die Gemischtwarenhandlung am See – this place is a shop combined with a nice cafe. Located right in the center, in the front of the church. Nice outdoor seating with cozy blankets and wine barrels looks super welcoming. I’m sure you won’t miss it!
Cafe Konditorei Maislinger – another cafe and I must be honest with you that it’s worth visiting because of the interior. Coffee is not the best there but you can always have a glass of wine :) This place is an old horse barn and all drinkers and even old tablets with horses’ names are still there!
What else can you do in Hallstatt?
This charming small town is perfect for a short, weekend stay, but if you will decide to stay there longer you won’t be bored eighter. What else can you do there?
Skywalk – It’s a platform that floats freely over the lake lever and have the most spectacular view of the town. There is also a restaurant located, where you can enjoy your lunch with this breathtaking view. Schnitzel is not that good like the one we had in Seewit Zauner, but the view is spectacular. You can get to the Skywalk with the funicular railway (cable car). Opening hours here.
5 Fingers – another, even more spectacular lookout platform. The name of the platform comes from the shape of the lookout as it’s actually 5 platforms what looks a bit like 5 fingers. You need to go to the Dachstein Visitor Center where you can buy tickets for the mountain lift, then, after a ride you need approximately 30 minutes of walk to get to the platform. Half way to the 5 Fingers you also have a real ice cave that is open for visitors. Unfortunately this attraction is closed during winter season.
Hallstatt Salt Minor – Hallstatt is known for its production of salt and you can still visit the historical salt minor. To get there you need to take the same funicular that goes to Skywalk and than walk about 15 minutes to the place of visiting.
Skiing – Hallstatt is a decent skiing location. For everyone, from beginners to pros, Gosau and Obertraun has the right conditions to enjoy skiing holiday in Dachstein Salzkammergut-region. All the skiing info here.
Hiking – hiking is a very good way of spending time here, no matter if it’s summer or winter season. You have several paths to choose, depends on your skills. Best paths recommendation you can find here.
Bikes – Yes, there are bike trails in Hallstatt and yes you can rent a bike there. But there is one condition – you have to be an experienced cyclist. The trails are rather difficult and more appropriate for professionals. There is even a famous bike race organized there every year. Bike trails info you can find here.
Boat trips – the lake is beautiful and so quiet, how can anyone possibly resist this? You have a few options to choose, more info here.
Have a nice time and enjoy your schnitzel!