The Ultimate One Day in Hallstatt Itinerary

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by Neota Langley

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One day in Hallstatt is the perfect amount of time to discover the rich heritage, embrace the surrounding nature and head out onto the lake. This alpine village is a popular day trip from Salzburg and makes the perfect stop on a longer tour of Austria. If you want to extend your stay, you will find some suggestions for expanding this Halstatt itinerary at the end. 

Situated on the banks of Lake Hallstatt in Austria’s stunning Salzkammergut region, the quaint village of Hallstatt may initially seem small, but this UNESCO Heritage site is packed full of charm.

With its pastel houses, cobblestone streets, and flower-filled balconies, Hallstatt feels like a village that has been plucked straight out of a fairytale. 

How Many Days in Hallstatt?

If you are planning a trip to Austria, you may be wondering how many days to spend in Hallstatt. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, when you are visiting and what you want to see and do during your visit. 

Seeing Hallstatt in one day is the perfect amount of time to visit the highlights. It will be a day jam-packed with activities, but you’ll have plenty of time to slow down to sample some apple strudel and take a leisurely stroll along the lake’s shores. 

If you have two days, there are several nearby attractions that you couldn’t quite fit into a Hallstatt day trip. Whilst you could easily spend 2 days exploring the village itself at a relaxed pace, there is so much to do in the surrounding Salzkammergut region that you won’t want to miss. 

During the winter months, Hallstatt transforms into a bustling ski resort. With 200km of pistes in the surrounding area and free ski buses, it is a popular spot for both beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. If you are visiting with snowsports in mind, you will want to book at least 7 days to make the most of this winter wonderland. 

Beautiful Hallstatt
Beautiful Hallstatt

Getting To & Around Hallstatt

The remote tranquillity of Hallstatt may sound ideal, but it comes with its own challenges. Reaching this picturesque village can be challenging; if you don’t have access to a vehicle, it can take a fair few hours. 

Salzburg is the most popular starting point when trying to get to Hallstatt. You can reach Salzburg by train, bus or flight to Salzburg Airport. From there, you have several options for reaching Hallstatt.

The most efficient way is to hire a car. The scenic drive to Hallstatt from Salzburg takes 1-1.5 hours and provides the most flexibility. You can browse car rental options here.

Hallstatt is a car-free village, with two car parks on the outskirts for visitors. During the summer months, these car parks fill up quickly, often before 10 am. Try to arrive in Hallstatt as early as possible to make sure you secure a space for the day. 

If you are relying on buses or trains, the journey from Salzburg to Hallstatt can take up to 3 hours, with several changes and even a ferry. It is doable, but to make the most out of this Hallstatt itinerary, booking accommodation and staying overnight in Hallstatt itself would give you more time to explore at your own pace.

The train departs from Salzburg Hbf and requires one change at Attnang-Puchheim before you reach Obertraun on the eastern side of Lake Hallstatt. Then, you will have to take a ferry across the lake to reach the village of Hallstatt.

If you are travelling by bus, there are some coaches you can take, however, they also require changes. Unusually, the bus is actually slightly faster than the train and can be cheaper, so if you are relying on public transport, this may be your best option. You can view train & bus schedules here.

As a car-free village, once you have arrived, you will spend the majority of your day exploring on foot. Hallstatt is a small village; you could walk from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes and all the attractions are easily reached from the centre. 

Hallstatt Lake
Hallstatt Lake

1 Day in Hallstatt Itinerary

Alongside the rich history, there is plenty to see and do in this beautiful lakeside village, from a tour of the salt mines to the Hallstatt Skywalk and the intricately painted skulls in St Michaels Chapel. Use this itinerary to make the most out of your visit to this fairytale village.  

Market Square

The central hive of activity, Market Square, is the ideal place to begin on your day trip to Hallstatt.

Walk along the shore of the lake from the car park or the bus stop until you reach the unmissable fountain and statue of the holy trinity. Surrounded by traditional alpine chalet-style buildings, take a moment to cast your eyes up to the wooden window shuts, colourful balconies and window boxes in full bloom.

This is the perfect place to pick up a traditional Austrian pastry for breakfast, meander through the souvenir shops and gather some picnic goodies to keep you going for the rest of the day. If you are visiting during the winter months, you’ll find a bustling Christmas market in Market Square from the 8th of December.

Hallstatt Square
Hallstatt Square

St Michaels Chapel & Hallstatt Ossuary

The Hallstatt ossuary, also known as the Bone House, is a hidden gem within the village. It is a small chapel that houses intricately thousands of decorated human skulls and bones, showcasing a longstanding tradition due to limited burial space in Hallstatt.

The ossuary offers a glimpse into the local customs and cultural practices surrounding death and remembrance. In a touching sentiment, the beautifully arranged skulls and bones are adorned with painted designs, flowers, and inscriptions. 

Postcard View / Aussichtspunkt Hallstatt

Less than 2 minutes from the churchyard, you’ll find one of the most iconic viewpoints of the village. Although you’ll most likely be snapping photos around every corner, it is worth walking up to this viewpoint, also called ‘Classic Viewpoint’ on Google Maps.

This is the perfect place to capture the village, with the church and colourful buildings in the foreground and the towering mountains behind. Snapping a photo here is one of the best things to do in Hallstatt.

Saltzwelten Museum 

After getting a feel for the village, it’s time to discover the ancient mining techniques and the importance of salt in Hallstatt’s development. The salt mines of Hallstatt hold a fascinating history and have played a vital role in shaping the region’s heritage.

The name Hallstatt literally translates to ‘Place of salt’. Dating back over 7,000 years, these mines are among the oldest in the world and are well worth visiting as part of your Hallstatt itinerary. 

To reach the salt mines, you have two options. You can take the Salzbergbahn funicular from beside the P2 parking area or hike up the hill. The funicular takes just a couple of minutes but costs €20 for a return, €10 one way. You will still have to walk 10-15 minutes to the entrance of the mines, but you won’t need to hike up any hills. 

If you are relatively fit and enjoy hiking, the walk up to the mines takes around 1hr. The walk is steep, so if you opt to take to the trail, make sure you have appropriate footwear and plenty of water.

For the best of both worlds, you could take the funicular up the hill, explore the mines, then hike back down in around 45 minutes. 

To visit the mines, you will need to book one of the guided tours. The tour is a mix of walking and riding on the mine train, it takes between 70-80 minutes, and they depart frequently throughout the day. The air temperature underground is much colder than above ground, so even during the summer months, make sure to pack warm clothes.

Jackets and protective trousers are provided. The tour is a fascinating look into the history of the region and the process of salt mining, well worth doing as part of your itinerary.  

Entrance to Hallstatt Salt Mine
Entrance to Hallstatt Salt Mine

Hallstatt Skywalk

Before heading back down into the village, the Skywalk is an unmissable viewpoint offering panoramic views of Lake Hallstatt and the surrounding Austrian Alps. The platform juts out from the rock, 350m above the village of Hallstatt, allowing visitors to take in the stunning Alpine scenery, including the tranquil Hallstätter See and the majestic Dachstein mountains. 

Entry to the viewing platform is free, so even if you don’t want to visit the ancient salt mines, it is worth climbing up the hill or taking the funicular to take in the incredible views. 

Beside the Skywalk, you will find Restaurant Rudolfsturm. If you are feeling peckish, this is a great spot to grab a bite to eat with the added bonus of the incredible views. 

View from Hallstatt Skywalk
View from Hallstatt Skywalk

Lake Cruise 

If you have time, the perfect way to round off your one day in Hallstatt is by taking a boat trip on the crystal clear alpine lake. Although the sun doesn’t set until much later during the summer months, the golden light of the late afternoon is beautiful, so this is the ideal time to head out onto the water. 

Boarding a vessel of your choice from the lakeside promenade, you can embark on a leisurely journey across crystal-clear waters, surrounded by majestic mountains and charming lakeside villages. You can either take a lake cruise or choose to captain your own swan pedalo, row boat or e-boat.


Hallstatt may be small, but there are plenty of options when it comes to dining out. 

For a traditional inn serving cosy homemade Austrian cuisines such as Wiener Schnitzel and hearty stews, try Gasthof Zauner in the heart of the village. 

If you want something a little more romantic, try the lakeside hotel – Seehotel Grüner Baum. They offer a diverse menu, including traditional Austrian dishes and fresh seafood. 

Have 2 Days in Hallstatt?

If one day in Hallstatt isn’t enough, you may want to extend your stay to explore more of the beautiful surroundings at your own pace. If you have accommodation in the area, there is plenty to see and do so if you can, why not spend 2 days in Hallstatt. 

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave

A short drive up into the belly of the mountains, and you will arrive at the Dachstein Ice Caves. This extraordinary cave system is sure to captivate you with its stunning ice formations and surreal beauty.

Inside the cave, witness gigantic ice sculptures, frozen waterfalls, and sparkling ice crystals that create a mesmerizing underground world. Guided tours whisk you through the icy corridors, revealing awe-inspiring sights and intriguing insights about the cave’s formation. 

The trip to the ice caves is often combined with the ‘5 fingers’ viewpoint. If you only want to visit one viewpoint and can’t decide between the Skywalk and the 5 Fingers, this one is definitely the most impressive of the two.

Perched on a cliff edge overlooking Lake Hallstatt, the platform consists of five protruding fingers, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the lake below. Each finger offers a unique perspective, allowing you to feel suspended in the air and marvel at the sheer beauty of the landscape. 

Day Hikes 

If you want to get out into nature and take in views only accessible on foot, then you’ll want to spend your second day in Hallstatt out exploring some of the endless hiking trails.

Depending on your fitness level and experience, there are hundreds of paths you can take directly from the village itself, but here are a few suggestions to get you started. 

For a moderate day hike leading to another breathtaking viewpoint, head out onto the Echern Valley (Echernwand) trail. The trail leads to the Echernwand viewpoint, offering panoramic views of the Hallstatt region. The hike is approximately 10 kilometres as a round trip and takes around 3-4 hours to complete.

Another hike of a similar length is the circular trail around Gosausee Lake. This smaller, picturesque alpine lake is renowned for its stunning beauty.

Surrounded by towering mountains and lush green meadows, the crystal-clear waters of Gosausee reflect the awe-inspiring scenery. The hike takes between 3-4 hours to complete and is around 10km.

If you want to take a hike after visiting the ice caves, there are several trails to discover around the Dachstein Glacier. The Dachstein Circular Path is a popular hiking trail that loops around the Dachstein Glacier plateau.

The trail offers mesmerizing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and the glacier itself. It’s a moderate hike with well-marked paths, covering a distance of approximately 7 kilometres. 

Dachstein Glacier
Dachstein Glacier

Where to Stay in Hallstatt

Fenix Hall Boutique Hotel – This little hotel is perfect for those who want a quaint and cosy place to stay in the centre of Hallstatt. They have delightful rooms to choose from with some featuring gorgeous mountain views.

Polreich Bed&Breakfast – This cute little bed and breakfast is another excellent option for a place to stay in Hallstatt. They have an array of clean, modern and comfortable rooms to choose from, a great location and breakfast in the mornings.

Appartement Emilia – If you’d like a self-catering option while in Hallstatt, then these apartments are a great choice. They have a few fully-furnished flats available, all completely equipped with everything you may need and in a great location.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Hallstatt hotels!

It’s not hard to see why Hallstatt is often referred to as the ‘Pearl of Austria’. Home to alpine lakes, mines, caves and glaciers, this modest village has plenty of incredible experiences just waiting to be discovered. Whether you are spending one day in Hallstatt or you have decided to extend your stay, you are bound to have an unforgettable adventure.

Are you planning to visit Hallstatt? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

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