A day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt is a highlight in any Austrian itinerary. Knowing how to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg is the first step toward a successful excursion. This detailed guide provides you with all the information to take the frustration out of planning a day trip to Hallstatt.
Salzburg to Hallstatt by Train and Bus
The distance from Salzburg to Hallstatt is only 71,7 km. This doesn’t mean you can travel there in under and hour. Public transport mostly requires at least one change and sometimes 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.
Although not the fastest way to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg, the train is the easiest if you depend on public transport. However, the beautiful scenery passing by the train window makes it more than worthwhile.
The ÖBB (Austrian Railway) trains are clean and punctual, making it easy to plan your time in Hallstatt. To find the best connection from Salzburg to Hallstatt on the day and time you are planning to travel, you have the following options:
- Go to tickets.oebb.at
- Use an international ticket shop like Rail Europe or Trainline
- Download the ÖBB app which also allows you to buy the tickets at the same time.
|Attnang-Puchheim||Every hour at 11 minutes past the hour||From 2 hours 12 minutes||From €9,90 to €29|
If your dates are set and you book in advance, you can secure the special saver price (called Sparschiene). You are then bound to the specific train and time on your ticket. If you want more flexibility, the standard ticket at €29 is a better option.
A group discount, starting at 5% for two people, is also available. And if you stick to the local trains, there is a special ticket called Einfach Raus for 2 to 5 people. Starting at €36 for 2 people, plus €4 for every additional person, you can travel on as many local trains as you like on a specific calendar day (starting from 09:00 on weekdays).
By Bus AND Train
Taking Bus 150 from Salzburg to Bad Ischl and the train to Hallstatt from there, is actually a little quicker than taking the train via Attnang-Puchheim.
Get the complete Bus 150 timetable here.
The 1,5-hour bus journey takes a scenic route via Lake Wolfgang. 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.
Once you arrive in Bad Ischl by bus, there is a connecting local train to Hallstatt. The total journey time from Salzburg to Hallstatt is just over two hours.
|Bad Ischl||Every hour at 15 minutes past the hour.||€15|
The Hallstatt Ferry
If you think the Hallstatt train stops in the centre of the village, you are wrong. Instead, it drops you on the other side of the lake from the village. This turns out to be a huge advantage.
Why? Because it forces you to take the boat or ferry from the station to the town. And this gives you the opportunity to take in all the pretty views of the town that you saw in the pictures that inspired you to visit in the first place.
When 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 at €3,50 before you get on board.
The Hallstatt ferry 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.
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.
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 (timetable above)|
|Bad Ischl to Hallstatt Gosaumühle on Bus 542|
|Hallstatt Gosaumühle to Hallstatt Lahn on Bus 543|
Salzburg to Hallstatt by Car
Getting to Hallstatt by car from Salzburg is possible via 2 main routes.
|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.
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.
|Up to 20 mins||Free|
|20 mins to 1 hour||€4|
|1 to 2 hours||€7|
|3 to 4 hours||€9,50|
|5 to 6 hours||€10|
|7 to 12 hours||€11|
|12 to 24 hours||€16|
Salzburg to Hallstatt 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.
Did you know?
The Chinese like Hallstatt so much that they built an exact replica in China.
Top Things to Do on a Hallstatt Day Trip
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.
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 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.
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
|Children 4-15 years||€8|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where to Eat and Drink in Hallstatt
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.
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).
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!
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.
Practical Tips for Your 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.
Having fun in Austria and then writing about it is hard work . That’s why some links in this article are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use any of them to make a purchase for your upcoming trip. It’s totally cool if you don’t use them. I love to help anyway . But if you do, we’ll probably blow it on another family excursion in Austria. Which really isn’t such a bad thing, because it will only result in another blog post for you to read.