Salzburg to Hallstatt day trip – a complete guide

All your questions answered in one place

A day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt is one of the most popular excursions in Austria. But trying to figure out how to get from Salzburg to Hallstatt turns out to be harder than anticipated. This detailed guide provides you with all the information to take the frustration out of planning your day trip to Hallstatt. It also tells you what to do and see once you get there.

How to get from Salzburg to Hallstatt by train and bus

The distance from Salzburg to Hallstatt is only 71,7 km but this doesn’t mean you can travel there in under an hour. Public transport mostly requires at least one change and often a combination of bus and train travel. If you prefer to drive, the scenic road route via the Wolfgangsee and Bad Ischl also takes well over an hour.

Salzburg to Hallstatt by train

I searched many different options to find the quickest, cheapest and best-timed train from Salzburg to Hallstatt when I visited recently with a good friend from South Africa. We were looking to depart around 09:00 and coming back in the late afternoon, leaving enough time to see all the Hallstatt attractions.

Although not the fastest way to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg, the train turns out to be the easiest if you’re dependent on public transport. Besides, the journey is so scenic you won’t mind it taking a bit longer. But while the ÖBB (Austrian Railway) trains are very clean and punctual, their website is surprisingly hard to navigate when you land on it for the first time.

Bad Ischl train station of day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt
Waiting for the Hallstatt train on the Bad Ischl station.

To search for connections I suggest you go to the ÖBB website and click on the search for route link. It will take you to this route planner where you can enter your departure and destination details. Click on the tickets and prices link on the right next to your preferred connection to get to the booking site. It will spit out a few options with prices. Follow the steps from there. (If you’re unlucky like me, it will take you to the German version. If this happens, go back to the English tickets page and enter the details manually.)

Tip: If you’re struggling with the official Austrian railway booking system, it may be a helluva lot easier to simply book your tickets through Trainline here.

PROPOSED CONNECTION
First leg – Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim
Departure 09:12 on Railjet 549 (end destination Vienna) from platform 6 on Salzburg main train station
Arrival 09:58 on platform 2 at Attnang-Puchheim
Second leg – Attnang-Puchheim to Hallstatt
Departure 10:11 on Regional Express 3412 (end destination Stainach-Irdning) from platform 2

 

Arrival 11:24 at Hallstatt train station
TOTAL JOURNEY TIME 2 h 12 min
TICKET PRICES €28,70 for a standard ticket or from under €20 if you book a Sparschiene ticket early

Salzburg to Hallstatt by bus AND train

This turned out to be the option we took. Our main motivation was that the first part of the journey, by Bus 150, takes you on the scenic lake route. And it was a full 3 minutes quicker than the above train only connection! (And did I mention cheaper?) Find the Salzburg Bus 150 timetable here.

Okay, so there are 54 possible calling points on the 1,5-hour bus journey from Salzburg to Bad Ischl but if you’re a curious traveller like me you’ll find it interesting to watch people get on and off the bus. Try and get to the bus early to increase your chance of getting the front right seats from where you have panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. We weren’t early enough but we were fortunate that the occupants got off quite quickly and we jumped to take their place.

PROPOSED CONNECTION
First leg – Salzburg to Bad Ischl
Departure 09:15 on Bus 150 from bus stop F on Südtiroler Platz in front of the Salzburg main train station
Arrival 10:47 at Bad Ischl train station
Second leg – Bad Ischl to Hallstatt
Departure 11:03 on Regional Express 3412 (end destination Stainach-Irdning) from platform 1
Arrival 11:24 at Hallstatt train station
TOTAL JOURNEY TIME 2 h 9 min
TICKET PRICES €14,50 for a standard ticket and even cheaper with the Sparschiene saver ticket

Taking the Hallstatt ferry from the train station

If you think the Hallstatt train stops in the centre of the village (like I did before I started doing research), you are wrong. Instead, it drops you on the other side of the lake from the village. However, this turns out to be a huge advantage.

I don’t know what I expected of the Hallstatt train station, but it wasn’t the small unmanned building in an idyllic setting in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, it is easy to make your way to Hallstatt from here. In my opinion, it’s also the best way to approach the town. Most of the pretty pictures you see of the town were probably taken from the Hallstatt ferry.

View from the Hallstatt ferry.
Get your camera ready to take lots of photos on the Hallstatt ferry crossing.

Once you step off the train, just follow the footpath leading to a small lakeside building where the Hallstatt ferry awaits. Someone will sell you a ticket just before you get on board. The cost is €2,50 one way or €5 return. You might as well buy the return ticket right away if you plan to return to Salzburg by train.

The Hallstatt ferry goes 365 days a year. The timetable is conveniently set up to coincide with the arrival and departure of trains. The crossing takes about 15 minutes. The Hallstatt Market docking station, where you disembark, is a 5-minute walk from the Market Square with its colourful houses against a green mountain backdrop.

Hallstatt as seen from the ferry from the Hallstatt train station.
View from the Hallstatt ferry just before docking near the Market Square.

Tip: Don’t waste time to get to the ferry after leaving the train. Get on the boat as quickly as you can to secure a spot on the open front deck for the best position to take pictures of the idyllic setting.

Note: The Hallstatt ferry is operated by Hallstättersee Schifffahrt who owns four boats cruising Lake Hallstatt. The bigger boats do sightseeing round trips in summer. For €19, you can buy a combi ticket which gives you access to all the boats for one day.

Read more: Find out what the Sparschiene ticket is and other tips for cheaper and better train travel in Austria

Bus only to Hallstatt from Salzburg

Of course, it’s also possible to travel all the way from Salzburg to Hallstatt by bus. In this case you have the follow options:

Salzburg to Bad Ischl on Bus 150, as mentioned above.

Bad Ischl to Hallstatt Lahn on Bus 543. This leg of the journey takes about 40 to 45 minutes.

To go back to Salzburg from Hallstatt by bus, you will take Bus 542 from Hallstatt Lahn to Bad Ischl.

My personal opinion: While the bus is somewhat cheaper, take the train or the bus and train combination I describe above. Why? If I’m struggling to figure out the busses, you may find it even harder. However, you are welcome to try your luck here. Just remember to enter Hallstatt Lahn (at the edge of Hallstatt) as your destination.

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Getting back to Salzburg from Hallstatt

The Hallstatt to Salzburg train

The best connection for the return journey to Salzburg after a rewarding day in Hallstatt is the 16:32 train. This means you must take the 16:15 ferry back to the Hallstatt train station.

Catching the train at the Hallstatt train station.
The Hallstatt train station consists of a platform and a small, unmanned building.
PROPOSED CONNECTION
First leg – Hallstatt to Attnang Puchheim
Departure 16:32 on Regional Express 3427 (end destination Vienna)
Arrival 17:47 in Attnang-Puchheim on platform 5
Second leg – Attnang-Puchheim to Salzburg
Departure 18:00 on Railjet 740 from platform 4
Arrival 18:48 in Salzburg main station on platform 2
TOTAL JOURNEY TIME 2 h 16 min
TICKET PRICES €28,70 for the standard ticket or from under €20 with the Sparschiene

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Salzburg to Hallstatt by car

Getting to Hallstatt by car from Salzburg is possible via 2 main routes.

Route Distance Time
B158 via Fuschl, St Wolfgang, Bad Ischl and Bad Goisern 72,9 km 1 hr 15 min
A10 and B166 via Golling and Gosau 87,6 km 1 hr 20 min

As you can see there’s not much difference in distance and driving time. The first route is probably the more scenic one, passing through the beautiful Salzkammergut lake district.

The second one takes the A10 highway for which you need the Austrian vignette (toll sticker) before turning off onto the B166 where you will soon travel over the Gschütt mountain pass. Get the full directions with maps for both routes here.

Hallstatt Parking

The Hallstatt historic centre and waterfront is traffic free during normal daytime hours. However, there are three big parking areas on the outskirts of town to accommodate visitors arriving by car. They are well marked and even have big electronic information boards indicating the number of free spots available. Car Park P2 is the most convenient for day visitors. Find more information here.

Hallstatt Parking Prices

Up to 20 mins Free
20 mins to 1 hour €3,50
1 to 2 hours €6,00
2 to 3 hours €8,00
3 to 12 hours €9,00
12 to 24 hours €0,50 per additional hour

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Salzburg to Hallstatt Tours or Shuttle Bus

A shuttle service or tour is a good option for a Hallstatt day trip if your time is very limited, you are travelling in a group or you just don’t want to be bothered with public transport or renting a car.

Fact or fiction?

The Chinese like Hallstatt so much they built an exact replica in China.

FACT

Fortunately, the original version of Hallstatt is still very much intact. The name Hallstatt means salt settlement. Salt has been mined here since the 2nd millennium BC. Today, visitors are simply in awe of the beautiful lakeside and mountain setting of the village where, for some part, time stood still. The remarkable Hallstatt-Dachstein Alpine landscape of which it is part has a well-deserved spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

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Top things to do on a day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt

1. The Hallstatt Skywalk

To visit Hallstatt and not enjoy the UNESCO World Heritage view from the skywalk 360 m above the historic centre would be a travesty. The panorama of Lake Hallstatt, its lakeside villages, and the surrounding Alps will be forever etched in your memory.

The World Heritage View from the Hallstatt skywalk.
The sign says it all.

The Hallstatt skywalk is in front of the Rudolfsturm (Rudolf’s Tower) on the Salzberg (Salt Mountain), home to the oldest salt mine in the world. The tower dates to the late 13th century and was used as living quarters of the mine manager until 1954. Today it is a restaurant.

The Rudolfsturm Restaurant behind the Hallstatt skywalk.
The Rudolfsturm Restaurant.

There are two ways to get to the top of the mountain – walking or taking a cable car. On a day trip, I will suggest taking the Salzberg cable car. The bottom station is not even a 10-minute walk from the Hallstatt tourist information office.

Hallstatt Cable Car Prices — Roundtrip

Adults €16
Children 4-15 years €8
Families  
2 adults + 1 child €34
Each additional child €7

When you exit the cable car, you can walk the remaining (short, but steep) distance to the Hallstatt skywalk or take the Panorama Lift to the top. Use of the lift is included in the cable car price. Have your camera ready when exiting the lift, because you will cross a little bridge spanning a deep gorge from where you will get a taste of the views awaiting you on the skywalk.

Standing on the Hallstatt skywalk is not for the fainthearted. It helps to look into the distance instead of straight down. Plus, if you’ve made it this far, you might as well go right to the front to take the compulsory picture.

View from the Hallstatt skywalk on a daytrip from Salzburg to Hallstatt.
Dare to stand on the furthest point of the Hallstatt skywalk.

Tip: Consider visiting the salt mine if you have an extra 2 hours to spare on your Hallstatt day trip. This is where it all started 7,000 years ago. The tour through the mine is fun, interactive and informative. The oldest wooden staircase in Europe, one of the more recent discoveries in the prehistoric section of the mine, has been incorporated into a Bronze Age Cinema 400 metres below ground.

2. The Hallstatt Market Square

From salt miners, fishermen and food merchants to 500,000 tourists per year – the market square is the heart of Hallstatt and witness to an unfathomable era of ancient and modern history.

The Hallstatt market square is a must stop on a day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt.
Houses bordering the Hallstatt market square.

Most of the colourful houses surrounding the Holy Trinity statue on the market square were built after a devastating fire in 1750. This is where the residents celebrate age-old traditions such as the annual Corpus Christi procession. If you are lucky, you will hear the Saline band perform.

Even if nothing officially is happening, there is something happening on the Hallstatt market square. Find lunch or something to drink in one of the cafés or restaurants, buy a souvenir to remind you of your visit, or watch your fellow tourists from a quiet spot on one of the benches while licking on an ice-cream.

3. Explore the Hallstatt waterfront

A highlight of a day trip to Hallstatt is a walk along the waterfront. The walk is compulsory if you want to get from the market square to the Salzberg cable car or vice versa. However, this is one compulsory walk you will even take voluntarily. Simply follow the signs to the tourist information centre (where you will turn away to the cable car station). Or you can continue a little bit further to Hallstatt Lahn, another ship docking station, from where you have another beautiful photo angle.

View of Hallstatt from near the tourist information office.
View of Hallstatt from the water’s edge near the tourist information office.

Keep your eyes open for the tightly stacked timber houses on the water’s edge. The architectural masterpieces were built for the former residents to have direct access to the lake.

Boat rental on Lake Hallstatt.
The unique Hallstatt timber houses are best seen from a boat on the lake.

The photo opportunities are endless, especially if you are lucky enough to find some swan close to the water’s edge. If you don’t see a real, live swan you may see some bigger ones with people in. These are popular pedal boats that are for rent together with a few other options.

Swan on Lake Hallstatt.
As if the village isn’t pretty enough, the swans on the lake give you something else to admire.

4. The Hallstatt Bone House and Catholic Church

You simply must make time to walk to the Catholic church and adjacent St Michael’s chapel on your day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt. It’s easy to find to the right of the market square (facing the mountain). The short five to ten-minute walk weaves between the homes of the locals and is well sign-posted.

Hallstatt cemetery view in front of the bone house.
The views from the cemetery make the walk to the Hallstatt Catholic church worthwhile.

Many people skip the parish church (dating to 1505) and head straight to the Gothic chapel. Why? Because of its unique, if somewhat gory, contents – the exhumed bones of more than 1,200 people, including over 600 painted skulls.

The reason for all the human bones isn’t a mass murder or some kind of plague but rather a lack of space in the cemetery around the church. To make room for the “new dead” the “old dead” were dug up and their bones moved to St Micheal’s from as early as the 1100s.

Hallstatt Bone House.
The St Michael’s Chapel (left) in Hallstatt is also known as the Bone House.

Flowers were originally painted on the exhumed skulls to symbolize wreaths. The paintings later became more elaborate when the names and dates of birth and death of the deceased were added. Check out this link for a 360° view of the bones inside the chapel.

An entrance fee of €1,50 to the bone house is charged. The opening hours are daily from 10:00 to 18:00 from May to October and 11:30 to 15:30 (closed Mondays and Thursdays) from November to April.

Read more: How we made the most of our Salzburg Card to explore the city of Mozart and the Sound of Music.

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Where to eat and drink in Hallstatt

Rudolfsturm

The Rudolfsturm Restaurant is an excellent spot for lunch after you’ve plucked up the courage to stand on the Hallstatt skywalk. And for a restaurant with a World Heritage view its prices compare well to that of the average Austrian restaurant.

Luch view from Rudolfsturm Restaurant in Hallstatt.

We shared a typical Austrian Jausenplatte (snack plate) consisting of bread, cheeses, cold meats, hardboiled eggs, and bread spreads. It was more than enough for two. Other traditional Austrian dishes on the menu include schnitzel, knödel (dumplings) and Apfelstrudel (apple strudel).

Braügasthof

The Braügasthof has been brewing and serving beer since 1504 when it first got its license from Emperor Maximilian I. Today, it is a small hotel with a guest garden/restaurant on the water’s edge opposite the road. You can’t miss it on the way between the market square and the tourist information centre. Try the fresh fish from the lake!

Braügasthof Hallstatt
The Braügasthof in Hallstatt is more than 500 years old.

Café Derbl

You can’t miss Café Derbl in the big yellow building on one corner of the market square. They literally serve everything – from cakes and pizza to schnitzel and salads. They also brew and serve their own craft beer called Hallstatt. Das Bier.

Hallstatt Market Square.
Café Derbl on the market square.

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Read more: Visit the Eisriesenwelt in Werfen on another day trip from Salzburg

Practical Tips and Information for your Salzburg to Hallstatt day trip

  • Keep your €0,50 coins for the public toilets in the historic centre. They are on your right on a little side street off the main pedestrian road just after the market square (direction tourist information office).
  • There is a wi-fi hotspot on the market square.
  • Make sure you have enough cash on you because many restaurants and shops don’t accept credit or debit cards. Alternatively, ask about card facilities before you order or buy.
  • If you visit Hallstatt in June you may have the chance to witness one of the age-old traditions when the locals celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi or Fronleichnam on the Market Square and beautifully decorated boats on the lake.

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Map to get around Hallstatt

 

Read more: If you liked Hallstatt and Salzburg, you will love Innsbruck



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Lois Alter Mark

Thank you for detailing the travel arrangements; I always find that to be the most stressful part of a trip! Hallstatt looks stunning- what a warm and inviting village!

Koen
Koen

I did not know they build a copy in China haha. It’s really a great guide of Hallstat, looks like there are a lot of things to see and do. We made it to Innsbruck and the Alps last summer, maybe next year we can go to the Salzburg area.

Brooke Herron
Brooke Herron

I’ve never been to Austria but villages like these make me remember I really want to go! I always look out for places with both water and mountains and that have plenty of greenery as well as picturesque buildings. These spots with their flower covered buildings, glassy water in and mountain ranges in the distance look just perfect for an alps active getaway.

Holly

This is a really great guide! Hallstatt is that fairy tale town that I can’t wait to visit one day. Thanks for detailing exactly how to get there because I’ve found pretty vague instructions on that previously!

Meagan

A) Your photography is beautiful B) Thank you for so thoroughly laying out the transportation pieces. That’s always the most stressful part for me, and I really enjoyed seeing the comparison between driving routes and bus/train routes. Wonderful, in-depth writeup! I had never really heard of Hallstatt before, but that scenery and all those lovely things to do mean I won’t forget it 🙂

Nick Wheatley

I had no idea there was a replica of Hallstatt in China. That’s amazing! I was actually in Hallstatt earlier this summer and there were bus loads of Chinese tourist. I was wondering why there were so many there but now it all makes sense! We drove from Salzburg to Hallstatt and the drive was lovely, but unfortunately it started raining when we arrived so we didn’t wind up taking the ferry or the cable car. Based on your pictures they both look like they provide great vantage points of Hallstatt and the surroundings. One word of warning – if… Read more »

himanshu

I love UNESCO world heritage sites and Hallstatt must be the most beautiful site among all. Mere fact Salt mining started here 2 millennium BC, makes this place special for me. Being a road tripper I would love to reach here via road enjoying the alpine landscapes of Wolfgangsee and Bad Ischl. Would plan to reach early morning to enjoy the sunrise from skywalk.

Suruchi

That is such a well written, a detailed post on how to reach, what to see and the tips to take care of in Hallstatt. The streets with those flower decorated houses are just amazing and so instagrammable. Skywalk is simply breathtaking. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post. I am adding Hallstatt to my bucket list.

Claudia

I love this detailed ‘how to’ article on how to best visit Hallstatt. It looks like a stunning place for a day trip! I’d totally be up for a visit to the salt mines – I love those types of tours and history of a place.

Paige

I’ve always wanted to go to Hallstatt, but I had absolutely no idea that it was so close to Salzburg or I would’ve gone when I was there for a quick day trip instead! Also, that’s too funny that there’s a replica of the city in China! That’s insane! The bone chapel sounds really unique!

Ursula (myVideoMedia)

Thanks for this great guide. I love the picturesque town of Hallstatt and I think I have to go back and experience the skywalk once.

Agness of a Tuk Tuk

Hallstatt seems so picturesque and I fell in love with is from your pictures! That Hallstatt skywalk seems like an ultimate experience!

Anthony & Bernadette
Anthony & Bernadette

Thank you so much for your EXTREMELY well detailed information about how to get from Salzburg to Hallstatt. Not only did you give such important detail, but gave us so much more confidence in tackling this trip. We are planning on coming to Salzburg in August and so looking forward to it.

Sayanti Aditya
Sayanti Aditya

Great article …I got to know all that I needed to know after browsing for hours …all information in one place . Loved it thanks a ton !!!

Ketki
Ketki

This is such an amazing guide! I am totally in love with your gorgeous photos. So much so i am looking at buying a plane ticket just now 🙂

Nisha

Loved this complete guide! Made me nostalgic also. Have recently returned from Austria and Salzburg too. 🙂 Kept reading it.

Carly Heyward

That water is so clear!! And I always appreciate specifics like prices. Thanks!

Smita
Smita

Thank you for this detailed and very clear post. I figured out more about Hallstatt from your post than by reading many others!

dr rahul chaudhary
dr rahul chaudhary

wow… am planning my trip in may 2019 n this will really help… so can i travel from salzburg to hallstat n do local sight seeing plus salt mine plus ice cave n return back to salzburg the same day?

Qee
Qee

Hi, i am visiting Hallstatt this winter. Are the ferry available during the winter? And also it is worth it for me to stay a night in Hallstatt or just have a one day trip to Hallstatt from Salzburg?

Renu R
Renu R

This article was extremely helpful in planning for our recent day trip to Hallstatt – one of the best pages with enough details and excellent pictures that I came across! Thank you for sharing this.
I would suggest people to check for platform numbers while traveling by train as it may be different than mentioned in article (as it turned out to be the case with us) though train numbers and timings are still same. We took trains both ways – Salzburg to Hallstatt and back.
It is indeed a very beautiful town!