Salzburg to Hallstatt day trip – a complete guide

All your questions answered in one place

Fact or fiction?

The Chinese like the Alpine village of Hallstatt in Austria so much they built an exact replica in China.

FACT

Fortunately, the original version of Hallstatt is still very much intact after almost 1,000 years. The remarkable Hallstatt-Dachstein Alpine landscape of which it is part has a well-deserved spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

A stroll along the Hallstatt Waterfront is a must on a Hallstatt to Salzburg day trip.
The real Hallstatt.

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.

Salzburg is the closest Austrian city and a popular starting point for a day trip to Hallstatt. But planning a Salzburg to Hallstatt day trip when you’ve never been to this region of Austria can be quite daunting. What are the best transport options, what can you see and do in one day? This detailed guide will answer all your questions.

How to get from Salzburg to Hallstatt

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

Salzburg to Hallstatt with public transport

I searched many different options to find the quickest, cheapest and best-timed public transport connections from Salzburg to Hallstatt. I was looking to depart around 09:00 and coming back in the late afternoon, leaving enough time to explore Hallstatt. Honestly, I don’t think you will get better connections than these.

Option 1 – Combination of Bus and Train

Salzburg to Bad Ischl on Bus 150

Departure: 09:15 from bus stop F on Südtiroler Platz in front of the Salzburg main train station (hauptbahnhof).

Arrival: 10:47 at Bad Ischl train station.

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

Okay, so there are 54 possible calling points on the 1,5-hour trip 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.

Bad Ischl to Hallstatt Train

Departure: 11:03 on Regional Express 3412 from platform 1 (right in front of the station building).

Arrival: 11:24 at Hallstatt train station.

The bus drops you in front of the Bad Ischl train station where you wait around 16 minutes for the train. It’s a charming little station with clean bathrooms.

Total cost of journey: From €13,50 per person. A bargain, I would say.

Click here to check connections.

Option 2 — Salzburg to Hallstatt Train Only

First leg — Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim

Departure: 09:12 on Railjet 549 (end destination Vienna) from Salzburg main train station.

Arrival: 09:58 at Attnang-Puchheim train station.

Second leg — Attnang-Puchheim to Hallstatt

Departure: 10:11 on Regional Express 3412 (final destination Stainach-Irdning).

Arrival: 11:24 at Hallstatt train station.

This is the same train you will catch in Bad Ischl if you take the 09:15 bus.

Total cost of journey: From under €20 if you book a Sparschiene ticket early.

Click here to search connections.

Return Journey — Hallstatt to Salzburg

The best connection for the return journey, leaving enough time to explore Hallstatt but not arriving back in Salzburg too late, is the 16:32 train from Hallstatt. This means you must take the 16:15 ferry back to the station.

Catching the train at the Hallstatt train station.
The Hallstatt train station consists of a platform and a small, unmanned building.

First leg — Hallstatt to Attnang-Puchheim

Departure: 16:32 on Regional Express 3427 (final destination Vienna)

Arrival: 17:47 in Attnang-Puchheim.

Second leg — Attnang-Puchheim to Salzburg

Departure: 18:00 on Railjet 740

Arrival: 18:48 in Salzburg

Total cost of journey: From under €20 if you book a Sparschiene ticket in advance.

Click here to search connections.

Hallstatt Ferry to and 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 to and from the train station 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 Schiffahrt 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.  

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

Salzburg to Hallstatt Shuttle Bus or Tours

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.

Click here to book a private tour from Salzburg to Hallstatt for as little as €58.

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 into 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.

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.

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.

Want to see more of Hallstatt and Dachstein? Click here to find a place to stay to continue your exploration the next day. 

Map to get around Hallstatt

 

Read more: If you liked Hallstatt, you will also like Hall in Tirol, another beautiful Austrian town with a connection to salt.

Disclosure: I write useful content and don’t want your reading experience to be interrupted by pop-ups and advertisements. Where appropriate, I include affiliate links in blog posts or pages to help you access relevant services and attractions. I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, to help me maintain the blog and bring you more content if you click through and make a purchase.

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Salzburg to Hallstatt Day Trip Guide

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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

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

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!