Vienna to Hallstatt Day Trip: Top Things to Do

Hallstatt is a small lakeside town in the Austrian Alps that is well-known for its picturesque setting, on the edge of a lake, surrounded by mountains and charming architecture. It’s also rumored to be the inspiration behind Frozen’s Arendelle.

Personally, I visited it twice until now (in October and November) and I’d return anytime.

If you are spending some time in Vienna (by the way, I also wrote a Vienna itinerary that you can check out for inspiration) and would like to visit Hallstatt as a day trip, this blog post will provide you with all of the information you need to make the most of your visit!

So read on for tips on how to get there, as well as what to see and do.

Hallstatt Austria at the end of november
Hallstatt at the end of November (my 2nd visit)

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The best time to visit Hallstatt

Hallstatt is an all-around-the-year destination, with each season having something to offer to visitors.

Winter is magic here, you can experience the Christmas market and the coziness of the village, but it can also get pretty cold. Spring is warmer allowing for more comfortable sightseeing, while summer is great in terms of weather and nature is also at its peak. Lastly, fall has the most beautiful colors.

Having said that some of the best months to visit are May, June and October when the crowds are slightly smaller, yet the weather is still pretty nice.

How to get to Hallstatt from Vienna

By public transportation: train + ferry/bus

You need to take an Austrian National OBB train from Vienna to Attnang-Puchheim (the journey takes a little more than 2 hours). Then you’ll transfer to the local REX train towards Hallstatt.

There will be around a 10-minute layover between the trains, while the final leg of the journey takes about an hour and 10 minutes.

Lastly, you should know that the train actually drops you off across the lake from Hallstatt and you will need to either take a short ferry ride or a bus to arrive at the village.

All in all, expect the travel time to be around three and a half hours.

hallstatt - day trip from vienna
Hallstatt at the beginning of October (my first visit)

By car

Arriving by car at Hallstatt is by far more comfortable, though the journey time is almost the same as when traveling by train. The road distance between Vienna and Hallstatt is around 290 km.

You can rent a car directly from the Vienna airport when you arrive or you can pick one in the city for just a day, which is probably the better choice as you don’t really need a vehicle to explore Vienna. Check out Discover cars for prices.

Parking lot in Hallstatt
The 2nd parking lot in Hallstatt around 10:30 AM on a Saturday

There are 3 big parking lots in Hallstatt (P1, P2, P3). However, they get full pretty fast, so make sure you arrive as early as possible.

We got there at around 10.30 AM and the first lot was almost full, 2nd was half full, while the last one was mainly empty. By the time we left (around 2 PM), there were only a few free spots at the 3rd parking lot.

Besides, if you start your visit early in the morning, you’ll have enough time to also squeeze in a short visit to Salzburg, as we chose to do.

By tour

If you don’t want the hassle of taking the train, but you also don’t want to rent a car, then you have the option of visiting Hallstatt by tour from Vienna. Here are a few options that you can choose from:

  • Hallstatt and Alpine Peaks with Skywalk Lift: With this guided tour you’ll get about 3 hours in Hallstatt and it includes pickup from centrally located hotels in Vienna and the lift fee to the Skywalk.
  • Panoramic Austrian Alps Tour to Hallstatt: This tour includes optional hotel pickup (from central Vienna only), a guided Hallstatt walking tour, and the entrance fee to Admont Abbey, where you’ll find the largest monastic library in the world.
  • Full Day Trip to Hallstatt and Salzkammergut: This tour includes pickup on request, a guide and a boat trip on the lake (but only during summer). You will also get some free time in Hallstatt to do some sightseeing on your own, something I always look for when doing tours.

Best things to do in Hallstatt on a day trip

Explore the village

Exploring Hallstatt is undeniably the best thing to do on a day trip there. While it may not look like it, the town is considered to be one of the oldest still inhabited settlements in Europe.

Wandering through its streets, you’ll encounter gingerbread-like houses that overlook the lake, creating a scene straight out of a fairy tale (maybe the rumors are true and Hallstatt really is the inspiration behind Fronzen’s Arendelle).

Two notable photo spots provide spectacular views of this picturesque town as well as the surrounding mountains. The first one can be found as “Hallstättersee Schifffahrt” on Google Maps, offering a unique perspective of Hallstatt and the lake from further away.

The second, marked as “Aussichtspunkt Hallstatt” on Maps, is the classic postcard view of the town, a vantage point that has drawn tourists and photographers alike for years.

View Hallstatt from above

There is a viewing platform (called Hallstatt Skywalk – The “World Heritage View”) that sits 350 meters above the UNESCO World Heritage village of Hallstatt, offering panoramic views of the entire Dachstein Salzkammergut region.

To get there you can take the funicular from the village or if you are feeling adventurous, hike up the mountain. However, be warned that the climb is steep and it will take quite a bit of time. (around 1 hour).

If you want to do the trail as well, I’d recommend you to go up by funicular and go down on foot.

Hallstatt postcard view
Hallstatt postcard view

Visit the salt mine

Hallstatt is home to the oldest salt mine in the world and you can visit it by joining a guided tour, which lasts for about 90 minutes and starts near the Skywalk.

Since they’re located close to each other, the options to get to the salt mine are the same as for the Hallstatt Skywalk viewing platform: funicular or a strenuous climb up the mountain.

The salt mine tour as well as the round-trip ride on the funicular will take you about 2.5 hours in total.

You can leave any luggage in the baggage storage boxes located inside the visitor’s center and once you get to the entrance of the salt mine itself, you’ll be offered protective clothing.

This is required for safety reasons on the slides and also to protect your own clothing during your visit.

Riding the two wooden slides is one of the highlights of the mine tour, but do know that the second one goes quite fast and there’s also the option to go down the stairs.

You should also know that the mine is not accessible to wheelchairs and strollers and only children over 4 years old can visit it.

For up-to-date prices and the current schedule, you can check the mine’s website here.

Hallstatt salt mine schedule and prices
Salt mine and funicular: schedule + prices

View Hallstatt from the lake

If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the beauty of the village and its surroundings, consider renting a paddle boat or a small motorboat.

This will allow you to leisurely explore the area from the water, taking in the stunning scenery from a totally different perspective.

5 Fingers Viewing Platform

If you are not interested in visiting the Hallstatt salt mine, I’d suggest going to the 5 Fingers Viewing Platform instead (though with careful planning and an early start, you might also be able to do both in a single day).

Its name comes from the fact that it’s shaped like a human hand: one finger has a picture frame at the end (you’ve probably seen photos of it on Instagram), one has a binocular and one has a glass floor (though it’s not very transparent). The other two fingers are just for viewing.

view from 5 Fingers platform, Austria
View from 5 Fingers

You should know that the platform is not actually in Hallstatt, but in Obertraun, so you’ll need to take bus 543 to Winkl b.Obertraun Dachsteinseilbahn bus stop.

If you have a rental with you, it takes around 10 minutes to drive there from Hallstatt and there’s a big parking lot where you can leave the car.

To get to the viewing platform you need to take 2 cable cars (sections 1 and 2), followed by an easy hike for about 20 minutes.

While the platform itself is free, the cable cars will cost you quite a bit of money. You can check this website for the cable cars’ current prices and schedules.

Etiquette when visiting Hallstatt

When visiting Hallstatt, you should try to keep in mind that this picturesque town is more than just a tourist attraction; it’s a living community where people still reside.

As you wander through the narrow alleys, you might easily be swept away by your surroundings, but it’s important to be mindful of your voice and behavior.

So try to keep your noise level down, especially as you pass by the homes of the locals and respect any signs you might encounter.

Imagine how it feels to them, to go about their daily routines and be inconvenienced by visitors blocking the entry or exit of their own homes. A little consideration goes a long way in creating a respectful and harmonious coexistence between tourists and residents.

Especially since things have kinda strained in this regard for some time now, as demonstrated by the peculiar protest against over-tourism by the local authorities in 2023, when they installed a temporary wooden fence, partially blocking the most famous viewpoint of the town.

And while I understand the over-tourism concerns, I don’t think this is the right solution at all.

Hallstatt in November
Me in Hallstatt, end of November

Is it worth staying in Hallstatt?

Although I tend to travel at a rather fast pace, I also like to get the feel of a destination, so I’m always a big advocate of staying in a location overnight if possible.

Spending one or several nights in Hallstatt will allow you to experience a different face of the town after the crowds have dispersed. Here are a few accommodation options:

  • Seewirt Zauner Family-run Hotel – Comfortable rooms in the center of Hallstatt; some have a balcony toward the Marktplatz. 8.9 “Fabulous” rating on
  • Pension Cafe zum Mühlbach Hotel – Rustic decorated rooms with great views; bathrooms are shared, however. 9.1 “Superb” rating on
  • Living History Apartment – Incredible accommodation near the main plaza with a fireplace (adults only). 9.2 “Superb” rating on

Final thoughts

I hope that the information I shared in this blog post helped you plan your Hallstatt day trip from Vienna. But if you have any more questions, just leave them in a comment below and I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

Happy travels~


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