When I first decided to visit Austria, the obvious options were Vienna and Salzburg. Vienna mainly because it is the capital and Salzburg since it is the home of the world famous music legend Mozart. But then we discovered Hallstatt and if you are a fan of fairy tales and Game of Thrones and are in awe of its amazing locales you will be in for a treat. Hallstatt is also counted among st one of the World Heritage Sites in Austria. Its a pretty village preferably famous for the world first salt mine.
We stayed at Salzburg at a Hostel. Salzburg remains crowded throughout the year even during the winters for the winter sports. We reached Salzburg via Munich. To reach Hallstatt the best option is the Train journey which itself is breathtaking. We booked tickets in the OBB railjet (Austrian Railways). The train speeded along various hills and mountains and I felt a slice of The Sound of Music coming alive in front of me.
The Village of Hallstatt is cut from the mainland by the famous lake and after disembarking you have to take the Ferry to cross the other side. The pretty village is straight out of a postcard. You can pretty much explore the entire village on foot and shop around for memorabilia and souvenirs in the shops that are dotted alongside the market square. The highlights are a 19th century Evangelical Church and the elegant Holy Trinity Statue. There are lot of cafes and food joints jotted along the roads where you sip on hot chocolate and have savoring delicacies.
Moving ahead we decided to take the Sky walk a viewing platform extending over a sheer drop with Hallstatt 350 meters directly below where you can get the most amazing views. The star attraction, however, is the 7,000-year-old salt mine itself. To go up we took the Funicular a glass encased rope way which ascends and descends vertically and we literally panicked when we found out that we were only two girls going up! But the view which we found atop the sky walk was quite rewarding.
One must also not miss the Hallstatt Museum which carries lot of exhibits from the pre-historic salt mine days. So if you want to have a slice of a vivacious lakeside community of the world Hallstatt is the place where you should be!
Weather: Hallstatt is pretty cool even in summers so please take a shrug or stole to cover up even in summers. In the evening temparture may drip down.
Best time to Visit: Prefarbly from May to September, however Hallstatt is equally mesmerizing even in Winters. If you wish to experience a winter wonderland you can visit it in winter also plus…the minus temparture!
Experience to be Had: Rent a local costume the Dirndyl, the traditional Austrian costume. It was originally worn by the Alps peasants. Also you can enjoy a cruise on the lake during the summers!
Food and Cuisine to be Tried: Hot chocolate undoubtedly, plus since Hallstatt is also a fishing village you can try its trouts and other fish delicacies.
Accomodation: Lot of accomodation is available but it is on the higher side so you try staying in naerby villages will prove to be cheaper.