The Picture Perfect Village of Hallstatt

The little town of Hallstatt in Austria seems to defy gravity perched on the edge of a mountain dipping into the lake below.  There is one main road and everything else is little back alleys with pretty pastel-coloured buildings. It is so pretty that photos of Hallstatt don’t actually do this town justice.

Hallstatt Austria is a picture perfect town

It was raining on the day we went to Hallstatt.  I’ve heard though that this town gets more than its fair share of rain due to its topography.

Hallstatt flower in the rain

Historically, Hallstatt was known for salt mining.  Salt brought a lot of wealth to the area.  This so-called white gold is probably the only reason anyone would try to build on the tiny stretch of land where the village is located.  There have been settlements here since prehistoric times thanks to the presence of salt.  The village of Hallstatt as we know it today is a little over 700 years old.

house in Hallstatt Austria

Hallstatt village in Austria

Hallstatt is a picture perfect little town in Austria

The church steeple rises above the village, a landmark even on a grey and misty day, like the day we visited.  The nearby boneyard (ossuary) is also famous for holding the bones of village residents who’ve passed away.  With limited space, the dead could only remain buried for a certain period before they were exhumed for the  next round of dead villagers. The relatives would keep the skulls though and decorate them. We thought it was pretty creepy actually.

Tourism in Hallstatt pretty much dominates the town. I saw lots of Chinese and Japanese visitors roaming the (one) street.  I also found the rent-a-drindle store very amusing.  My kids wouldn’t play along and take a family photo of all of us in traditional Austrian outfits.

rent a drindle in Hallstatt

Hallstatt museum steps
Steps up to the Hallstatt Museum

The Chinese have been so enamoured with Hallstatt they have recreated a wholesale version complete with artificial lake in Huizhou in the province of Guangdong.  Although we did not go during the peak summer season, the village felt a bit overrun with tourists.  I can’t imagine how busy it must be during the high season.

Despite the town being geared for tourism nowadays, Hallstatt is still incredibly beautiful.  I hope you enjoy these photos of Hallstatt.

Visiting Hallstatt

Hallstatt is located in the UNESCO world heritage area of Hallstatt-Dachstein-Salzkammergut.  There is plenty to do in the area – hiking, visiting salt mines, paddling around the lake etc.  It is easy to reach Hallstatt by train from Salzburg via Bad Ischl to Hallstatt Markt.  There is so little land in the village itself the train station is located across the lake and you reach Hallstatt by ferry.The ferry across the lake to the village itself is a separate ticket from the train price.

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I am an American expat based in London with my travel-loving family. I write at Just Go Places Blog about luxury, cultural and family travel.

11 thoughts on “The Picture Perfect Village of Hallstatt”

  1. I loved Hallstatt when I went there – but that was about 15 years ago. It sounds like it’s a little busier now, but I think I was there in November, so that probably cut down on the tourist a little. I’d love go back in the middle of winter when everything is covered in snow. Fabulous pictures!

  2. I haven’t been to that part of Austria but would love to go.. when there are fewer tourists. Who knows when that might be… the beauty of it is definitely a huge drawing card.

  3. I’ve been hearing a lot about Hallstatt lately, and with my parents living in the German Alps, not so far away, I do hope we’ll get the chance to make it there. As the owner of 3 Dirndls, I do find it especially amusing that they have a Rent-A-Dirndl service. 🙂

    1. you can bring your own dirndl! I find them amusing especially around the bust line. Can’t be comfortable to have your boobs squished out on top and your waist whittled down.

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