If elves actually exist, they must live in a town as serene as Hallstatt. Tucked between towering mountains and a mirror-like lake, with 16th-century Alpine houses dotting among trees and lovely gardens, this place is so surreal that when you first set foot on it, you feel like stepping into a fairy tale.
For centuries, the village of Hallstatt in the Salzkammergut region has been known for its production of a very sought-after commodity: salt. As early as the Middle Bronze Age, humans in this area began exploiting the salt deposits beneath the earth’s surface and traded them for valuable resources. It formed the basis of the region’s prosperity up to the middle of the 20th century. Today, the village’s wealthy past is still visible in the fine architecture of the market square, the Hallstatt Lahn, and the 16th-century Alpine houses on the edge of the Hallstatt Lake.
Apart from the salt production, Austria’s oldest town is also known for its picturesque setting. It is a feast for the eyes, with enormous Dachstein mountains rising abruptly from narrow valleys on one side and the crystal clear lake on the other side. Flanked between is the fairytale town of Hallstatt, where delightful houses nestled among nature. Against such beauty, no one can resist taking a photo. Hence it is no surprise that this mountainous village has become one of the most photographed places on Earth in recent years.
How to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg
- From Salzburg, it is possible to make a day trip to Hallstatt. Most of the trip will follow this route: Salzburg – Bad Ischl – Hallstatt. From Salzburg to Bad Isch you can take either the bus, the Railjet (RJ) or the Regional Express (REX). But from Bad Ischl to Hallstatt, there is only REX.
- There are two options to travel from Salzburg to Hallstatt train stations:
- Option A – The fastest way to reach this town is taking Railjet (RJ) to Bad Ischl. From there, take the Regional Express (REX) to Hallstatt. The whole trip lasts about two hours. But it comes with a big price tag: 28.20€ for a one-way ticket.
- Option B – Another option is buying the Einfach-Raus-Ticket. This ticket is a mind-blowing deal for a group because it grants unlimited travel for up to five persons throughout Austria in one day. It’s valid from 9:00 on weekdays and from 0:00 on weekend and holidays. The price starts at 33€ for two persons and goes up to 45€ for five persons. However, the ticket only works on Regional Express (REX) and Regional Train (R) and cannot be used on RJ (Railjet). But as I mentioned above, the entire trip is viable by REX and it takes only 20 to 25 minutes longer than Option A. Therefore, you might consider this option if you are travelling in a group.
- At Hallstatt train station, you will have to take the ferry to the village. The ferry is timed to coincide with the train to/from Bad Ischl. It lasts about 10 minutes and costs around 4€. The time table can be found here. Please note that the last ferry leaves Hallstatt at 18:15.
- The locals are still living in Hallstatt. For this reason, you shouldn’t do anything that might disturb their daily life, for example, making noise or photographing inside their houses.
44 thoughts on “Hallstatt: A Journey into the Fairy Tale”
Going to Salzburg after Munich as well, so very likely I will have the chance to discover Hallstatt! Excellent reportage and pictures, Len. Looking forward to going there!
Many thanks, Eleazar! Hope you could have a blue sky in Hallstatt 🙂
Looking like a dream. So surreal. Fantastically written with nicely chosen words. 👌
Have to include this in our future plan!
Thank you! 🙂
Beautiful photos! And Hallstatt looks so green this time of the year..
Thank you! Unfortunately it was not sunny. Some people said it looks even better in winter, but I am fine with this. Winter would be too cold for me 🙂
Yes, I’ve heard about Hallstatt and I regret not making the effort to go on my own… Love the mountains and the lakes, it would have been the perfect spot. I guess we should always leave something for next time 😛
What about you, where’s your next time?
I haven’t decided yet, but probably Scandinavian countries: Iceland, Sweden and Finland. But it all depends on the budget, I don’t want to ruin my bank account or max my credit limit 🙂
Iceland and Finland would be soooo awesome
This town really looks like it is straight out of the fairy tale. So beautiful!
Like in the fairy tale <3
Thank you! 🙂
You are absolutely right, elves must live there! What a gorgeous place! I put it on my must-see list! Thanks.
Wow, looks absolutely gorgeous! Seems like it wasn’t that cloudy as I have seen in some other photos of Hallstatt before. I am always worried about weather when visiting such mountainous places as the weather can change anytime..
Indeed. When I was on the road, it was sunny. A few hours later, the clouds came and it was like this. But I still had luck that it was not raining 🙂
Great pictures. It must have been a wonderful trip. Where’s your next destination?
Thank you 🙂
Stunning post, I would love to go to Hallstatt
Many thanks! 🙂
Dw i’n cytuno yn llawer. Mae Hallstatt un o llefydd mwya brydferth yn y byd
No doubt! It’s really interesting to read a comment in Welsh 🙂 Totally different from English and German. But thanks to Google Translate I can still understand 😉 Perhaps the language is more similar to those in Scandinavian countries?
More like Catalan, Irish, Gaelic and Basque. Google translate is a real help these interconnected days
It is 🙂
Beautiful and mesmerizing pictures of the Halstatt. I have been to Vienna, Austria but never been to the inner cities. I bet they are beautiful. Thanks for sharing the beautiful places.
You welcome! 🙂
Your life sounds like a dream! Beautiful post and descriptions once again! 🤗
Thank you! 🙂
Very nice place and shots!
Thank you! 🙂
Ist das nicht der Ort mit den unsäglichen 1 Mio. Touristen pro Jahr? Aber da wohnen nur 800 Leute, die davon zum Teil rein gar nichts haben ausser viel Lärm und Hektik. Derlei Info vermisse ich hier.
Thanks for sharing your opinion! Sadly, this issue occurred in all popular destinations, not just Hallstatt. The mass tourism is a double-edged sword. It can bring prosperity, but it also had a negative impact on society and the environment. Even now, there is still no universal solution to that, except restricting/banning visitors. The only thing I can do is to recommend my readers to keep the voice low and respect the villager’s privacy. But based on my experience, the noise comes mostly from the tour buses.
We made similar experiences now in Cesky Krumlov in Bohemia, occupied mainly by Chinese and Japanese bus tourists. And people in groups of whatever nation show quite often a not so nice behaviour. Normally, I avoid visiting such sites. We know Bohemia since the early 1990s when all was much, much different.
I can imagine how peaceful the town was. There was no selfie-makers, live-streamers and definitely no Instagrammers 🙂 I think these people don’t enjoy the scenery at all. The only thing they care is how other people react.
It really does look like a fairy tale. Wonderful photos Len. Friends of ours were recently there, as part of a bike tour, and loved this town. Another one to add to the list!
Thanks, Caroline! If possible, I would suggest visiting the town in winter. It will have a magical atmosphere when all those wooden houses are covered in a white blanket 🙂
This is amazing!!!!! thanks for sharing. Wish i live in Europe now…
Thanks, Trang 🙂 I’m glad that you like it.
Aptly described …… Right out of the fairy tales 💕
Thanks for the article. I will have to remember this town next time I travel to Europe.
My pleasure 🙂 Glad that you find the post helpful.