Blessed by a beautiful mountain-view and lush greenery, the village of Hallstatt, Austria is any travellers dream. Overlooking the Hallstatt lake, it is a prime destination for hiking. Also, visitors enjoy the quiet and peaceful village life, while admiring Austrian hospitality, food and culture.
Much of the village’s architecture still retains the traditional 16th-century style. Charming scenery gives a feeling of wandering through a storybook town. Hallstatt is most notable for it’s UNESCO world heritage salt mines. Named Salzwelten, these are the world’s oldest salt mines that date back to prehistorical times.
Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the mines, manoeuvring through the narrow shafts just like how the old miners used to do. Besides the salt mines, there are also a few notable spots around the vicinity, where visitors will have access to gorgeous panoramic views of the entire village. This can be done from the Hallstatt Skywalk or the Five Fingers Viewing Platform.
For an even more breathtaking view of the village and the Austrian apps, Hallstatt is also acclaimed for their boat rental tours around Lake Hallstatt. Travellers have an option to choose: pedal boats, rowboats or electric-powered boats. Then, bask in the tranquillity of the lake with an amazing scenic view.
Hallstatt also offers amazing variety for wining and dining. There are many lakeside restaurants that offer the freshest fish caught from the lake and Austria’s best wine. Indulge in some of Austria’s local delights, as there are plenty of options for even the pickiest eaters.
Another unique attraction that Hallstatt has to offer is the Hallstatt Charnel House, a small house filled with over 600 skulls. It is rather dark tourist attraction, compared to the rest of the village’s whimsical appearance. the Charnel House was created to solve a severe overcrowding problem of graveyards in the 17th-century. In order to create a space where villagers can remember their departed loved ones, the house was built to store painted skulls. Villagers would dig up the skulls of the remains, sun-bleach them and then paint them with meaningful motifs in order to be displayed and remembered in the house.
Each skull has a symbolic story to tell and it’s fascinating to see this reflected on the painted motifs on each skull. The last addition to the Charnel House was in 1995. Now, cremation is used to mitigate the graveyard overcrowding issue. However, villagers still have the option to send a skull of a loved one to be immortalised and remembered inside the house.
Truly more than meets the eye in the village of Hallstatt. No wonder that the Austrian village is one of the most visited spots for an area of its size. Hallstatt can be accessed from nearby Salzburg or Vienna by train or by bus towards Lake Hallstatt. Don’t forget that if you are from another country and taking a drive to Austria then you need to get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Popular with tourists in the Summer and Winter, October is a great off-peak time to indulge in the scenery without worrying about crowds.