Hallstatt – A picturesque mountain village

Hallstatt: A Journey into the Fairy Tale

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.

Half-timbered houses in Hallstatt
Market Square
Hallstatt Lake
A fairytale-like landscape

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.

Practical Information

  • 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”

  1. 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!

  2. Pooja Thapliyal – A rich inner life, an urge to make the world a better place, and a desire to explore the unknown are all that I cherish. Often refrain from falling prey to being judgemental of what merely meets the eye, but constantly try to find deeper meaning through interpretation and conversation. I lose myself in scintillating rainbows, floating clouds, mellifluous waterfalls, innocent flowers and romantic sunsets. Feel strongly about the environment, climate change and conservation pursuits. Not a great writer, but keen on expressing myself and connecting with like-minded souls.
    Pooja Thapliyal says:

    Looking like a dream. So surreal. Fantastically written with nicely chosen words. 👌

  3. Mel & Suan – Singapore – Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!
    Mel & Suan says:

    Have to include this in our future plan!

  4. avoyageonearth – I'm the writer behind travel site avoyageonearth.com. I'm based in Melbourne, Australia and I divide my time between my two greatest passions; art and travel.
    avoyageonearth says:

    Beautiful pictures!

    1. 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 🙂

  5. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
    Jolene says:

    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?

    1. 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 🙂

      1. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
        Jolene says:

        Iceland and Finland would be soooo awesome

  6. Nano @ Travels With Nano – Tokyo, Japan – Hi, I'm Nano! Welcome to my site! Travels With Nano is filled with everything I am passionate about: uncovering the world one sight, bite and cultural experience at a time. I'm here to share savvy travel tips and inspire (not influence!) your future travel adventures. Needless to say, I am thrilled to have you here reading!
    Nano @ Travel With Nano B. says:

    This town really looks like it is straight out of the fairy tale. So beautiful!

  7. 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..

    1. 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 🙂

  8. Asheville Storks – Asheville, NC – Asheville Storks & More. We have signs for all occasions. Birthday yard signs, graduations signs, valentine signs. We service the Asheville, NC area.
    Living Soils says:

    Great pictures. It must have been a wonderful trip. Where’s your next destination?

    1. 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?

  9. Success Inspirers' World – Bamenda, Cameroon – We are a team of highly motivated, inspired, inspiring, positive-minded and passionate people who are out to inspire and encourage people to bring out the best in themselves and realize their fondest dreams. Our work is positively impacting millions of people around the world.a
    Success Inspirers' World says:

    Perfectly surreal.

  10. Megha's World – I’m a mother of a smart and energetic seven-year-old. I started expressing myself creatively since the last two years. Since then I have been continuously inspired by events in my life and around me which has helped me in penning my thoughts. I’m an avid reader, loves to sing, an ardent lover of poetry and sometimes can scribble few lines too. Loves to dance in the rain, have an undying love for nature, can watch the beautiful sunset for hours. Love to kiss and hug my loved ones. I have worked in the IT field for almost a decade as a manager, worked crazy hours and traveled around the world. In that busy schedule, I never got the time to creatively express my thoughts. Now every time I finish a poem, free verse anything it fills me with so much happiness and excitement and a feeling to have created something of my own. I’m planning to post at least one creation of mine weekly. Lastly, a million thanks to all who visit, like or follow my tiny bits of creation. Every time you do that, I get to know one more beautiful person in my life and get the chance to see their creation too.
    Megha's World says:

    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.

  11. sarishboo – Boston – First name: Sarish, Last name: Unimportant. Small town girl living in this big bad world. This is a digital carbon copy of some of the people, places, and things that bring me joy in life. I say the most "extra"ordinary things. I'm super extra and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you do not agree or like what I write then you don't have to read it. I'm not here to offend anyone.
    sarishboo says:

    Your life sounds like a dream! Beautiful post and descriptions once again! 🤗

  12. Tatiana – I am presently in Las Vegas, Nevada – I'm a Graphic/web designer and a passionate travel photographer. For many years I traveled with my husband and I love to share my travel stories and pictures. I'm not a good writer, but I hope that my pictures tell more than I can write :) Unfortunately, After I lost him in December (2021), the travel stopped. My photos however make me feel that I'm still with him. Hundreds of my pictures and digital work can be found in my Fine Art America gallery, available as art prints: travelwaysart.com/
    tatianatravelways28 says:

    Very nice place and shots!

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

  14. 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!

    1. 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 🙂

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