Nestled between high mountains and an alpine lake, Hallstatt is the most visited village in the Salzkammergut region, and rightfully so. It’s picturesque alpine landscape makes it to plenty of articles about “must see places”. It does indeed offer a postcard perfect scenery, with the row of wooden houses with balconies decked with colorful blooms, a church steeple in the middle of the village with a gorgeous lake and mountains that rises straight up in the backdrop. This also means though that it can and does get crowded.
Its a very small village and so it can fill up pretty quickly with people. We arrived mid afternoon and the main plaza as well as the narrow street leading to and from it are packed with people. However as soon as we got to our hotel (Hotel Gruner Baum) and into our room which faces the lake, it was like being transported into a magical bubble where no one exists except us. It felt so serene and peaceful you forget there’s a throng of tourists on the other side. Our room had a small balcony perfect for staring at the gorgeous scenery, and not wanting to leave this place we just ordered room service for dinner.
Staying overnight in Hallstat is the best decision ever and I would highly recommend it. You get the village to yourself later at night or early in the morning, so I would also recommend to wake up early before the day trippers arrive the village. The empty village in the morning is the fairy tale village we all see dream about. It’s you, the birds, the calm waters of the lake, and the colorful flowers all around. To get the postcard photo, if you are in the main plaza facing the lake, follow the street to your left and keep walking. You’ll know when its the spot because the street curves and eventually the row of houses stop and you’ll see the postcard perfect view of the church and the row of houses along the lake with the towering mountains in the background.
You will also pass by one of the paths to go up to the catholic church with a charnel houses which houses painted skulls (no photography allowed inside).
On the other side of the plaza you will find a path and sets of stairs that goes all the way up of the hill and provides a different view of the village.
If you can, I also strongly suggest having breakfast in one of the restaurants with tables right on the lake. Breakfast is the quietest time of the day and this is when Hallstat feels like a piece of heaven on earth. The village is pretty small though so one night and one day here would be enough.
Leave a Reply