One of the most magical destinations in Austria is without doubt Hallstatt, as you’ve probably already seen from the many wonderful pictures of this place that can be found on the internet!
Going to Hallstatt from Vienna on a day trip might be a bit on the long side. Nevertheless, if you’re prepared to wake up early, you’ll still have a very nice day to explore this quaint little city!
In this post, I’m going to give you the best ways to travel from Vienna to Hallstatt and the best tips to have the most amazing day! Because just like you, I recently decided to visit Hallstatt on a day trip, and I must say that it’s definitely worth taking the time to get there.
So let’s dive into it!
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How to get from Vienna to Hallstatt
There are several options if you want to get from Vienna to Hallstatt. You can drive, go by train, by bus or just take a guided tour that starts in Vienna. The last option is definitely the most hassle-free if you’d like a stress-free day trip.
I personally visited Hallstatt by car as this gives you the most freedom in terms of where you go. Just don’t get discouraged by all the mountain roads you’ll have to pass, because they can make the tour a bit heavier than expected, at least, if you’re getting car sick as I do.
Driving from Vienna to Hallstatt
Driving to Hallstatt from Vienna will take you a bit over 3 hours one way. So preferably, you plan ahead and make sure to leave early enough in the morning!
In the center of Hallstatt, no cars are allowed. Luckily, there are several parking lots outside the city center specially made for tourists coming by car. These are numbered from 1 to 4 (if I’m not mistaken) with parking 1 and 2 being closest to the city and 3 and 4 further away.
If you arrive early, you might be able to park at one of the closest parking lots, at just 5 minutes walking distance. I wasn’t so lucky on my trip and had to park at parking number 3, which is originally meant for buses (but it was a busy day), and walk for about 30 minutes on the side of the road to the city center.
If you don’t like walking, they do provide shuttle buses from parking 3 for €2 single trip. For car parking, you’ll likely pay something between €10 (7-13 hours) and €15 (day ticket), depending on how long you’re planning to stay.
If you’re not sure which parking to take, you’ll definitely come across 1 and 2 first each of them clearly indicating how many free spots there are still left.
Vienna to Hallstatt by train
Taking the train from Vienna to Hallstatt will definitely not be faster than by car. The shortest train ride goes directly from Station Wien Hauptbahnhof to Hallstatt and takes a bit more than 3 hours.
However, the catch here is that the train station of Hallstatt is actually on the opposite side of the lake, which means you’ll still need to take a bus or ferry to go to the city itself. Therefore, you might be faster by car.
In case you won’t be able to catch a direct train, you’ll likely need to switch trains in Attnang-Puchheim, making the total route at least 4 hours. It might even be better to stop at Steeg – Gosau and take a bus from there to Hallstatt instead of going all the way to the opposite side of the lake.
All of this is of course up to you to decide!
Vienna to Hallstatt by bus
The only way to get to Hallstatt from Vienna by bus is by going with an organized tour group. Luckily, several of these organized tours are offered so you have some alternatives to choose from!
These tours will take care of everything related to transportation, plus, some also have excursions included so that you immediately know what to do on your day trip!
I always find good options through GetYourGuide, of which you can find some tour options from Vienna to Hallstatt below!
What to do on your day trip to Hallstatt
Take a boat tour on the lake
During my day trip to Hallstatt, I was really doubting taking a boat tour on the lake, as I was on a budget. Now, I definitely don’t regret it!
A round trip will cost you €14 and will take you around the lake, stopping at 3 other places. If you’re coming by train, this is also the ferry you want to take for a one-way trip to the city center (of course, for a cheaper price).
Enjoy your 30 minutes around the lake and don’t forget to take some pictures of those stunning views! As the boat is open on top, you’ll definitely get the chance to do this. If you want, you can also buy additional drinks on the boat.
Enjoy the view from the Skywalk
One of the top attractions, besides the boat tour, is definitely the Skywalk. Using the Salzbergbahn you can get from the village below up to the top more than 300 metres higher.
One ride back and forth to the top will cost an adult about €20. This might seem a lot, but I must say is very comparable to other cable cars in the region. Of course, the fact that Hallstatt is such a popular destination and that the view from above is just amazing, adds to the price!
Alternatively, you can hike your way up to the top, but this won’t be for the faint of heart! Besides the Skywalk, you’ll also find a restaurant on top where you can eat and drink something.
Visit Hallstatt’s Beinhaus
Hallstatt’s Beinhaus is probably the most peculiar place you’ll find here. This little place, located next to the Pfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt at the graveyard, is a tiny museum full of bones from the ancestors of Hallstatt’s inhabitants.
They used to have a tradition where the skull of the skeleton got painted with symbols that had meaning for that family and of course, the date of death. This lead to a peculiar collection of skulls and bones which you can visit for a small fee of a few euros.
Upon entering, you can take a look at their collection and you’ll receive a sheet of paper with information about this tradition of the people of Hallstatt.
As taking pictures is forbidden inside, I don’t have any to show you so you should go take a look yourself!
Learn about the salt mines
Salzwelten Hallstatt, which is claimed to be the oldest salt mine in the world, can be visited with a guided tour by taking up the same funicular as for the Skywalk.
For a ticket price of €36 (funicular included), you get to visit the mines by going down the same halls the miners used to go up to 7000 years ago! A tour takes about 90 minutes and you better wear proper, warm clothing because it’s barely 8 degrees Celsius underground!
It’s a fun thing to do if you want to see something else than views of the lake and learn a little bit about the history of Hallstatt. It’s especially recommended if you stay more than one day!
Visit Hallstatt’s churches
Hallstatt is home to two wonderful churches. The first one is located in the heart of the city center while the second church is located a bit higher up next to the Beinhaus.
You might be wondering why such a small city like Hallstatt would need 2 churches, but the answer is simple. One of them is a catholic church, the other one is a protestant church.
The Catholic church, Pfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt, is without doubt the most spectacular, not only the inside of the church but also the graveyard around it and the view you’ll get.
This does not mean you should not visit the Protestant Evangelische Pfarrkirche downstairs. As you’ll see, both churches are quite different from each other!
Hike up to Goaßer Bankerl
When my boyfriend and I were on our way from parking number 3 to the city center, we came along random stairs that went up the hill. As the road we followed was quite monotonous, we decided to go up the stairs and after a steep climb, we came out at the viewpoint Goaßer Bankerl.
This place gives you a view of the city of Hallstatt from a not so traditional angle as you might be used to from seeing pictures. Going up will take you about 15 minutes, and the view was not at all bad, I must say!
Hike to the Waldbachstrub waterfall
But Hallstatt has a lot more lovely places to go hiking, one of them leading to the Waldbachstrub waterfall. From the center of Hallstatt, it will take you between 1 hour and 1 hour and a half to reach the waterfall.
Along the way, you may also want to make a stop at the Schleierfall, another waterfall close by. During your hike up, you will walk along the Waldbuch river, which will definitely give you some beautiful sights!
For a more detailed guide about hiking to the waterfalls, you might want to take a look at this guide!
Shop some local crafts
Something super fun when wandering around Hallstatt is going into some of the local shops! We passed shops with all kinds of crafts, especially soap. Of course, you’ll likely come across some typical touristic stands, but luckily there are still some real gems to be found in Hallstatt!
Just wander around some of the streets (Hallstatt is only a few streets large so that should be no problem), and you’ll encounter them anyway!
Besides the above tips on what to do during your day trip to Hallstatt, I also wanted to give you some extra tips entirely from my experience of exploring Hallstatt. I’m sure that these tips will help you to have a fabulous day!
First of all, come early! This is something I already mentioned when driving from Vienna to Hallstatt, but parking fills up quickly so you better arrive early!
Second, I found public toilets up at the Pfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt (just behind it), which are very clean! Make sure to have some coins on hand to pay for it.
Lastly, when it comes to eating in Hallstatt, be aware of the scams. There are a lot of restaurants at the water, but most of them are so touristy that the food is too expensive and the quality is absolutely shitty.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend any places to eat as we fell into the food scam, but just make sure to do your research on where to eat beforehand so that you know exactly whether the place you’re eating at is of decent quality or not!
Of course, bringing your own lunch will save you a lot of money and will guarantee that you’ll have something nice to eat!
Is Hallstatt worth a day trip?
In my opinion, yes!
Hallstatt is a wonderful place to visit, although it might be a bit touristy. Therefore, I would recommend visiting outside of the peak season somewhere in spring or fall.
Definitely either buy your ticket for a boat tour on the lake or for the funicular up the Skywalk, as these will give you the best breathtaking views of Hallstatt and the lake!
If you’re really keen on doing all the activities mentioned in this guide, then you might want to stay the night to explore for more than one day.
I truly hope that you’ve got the information you needed now to make your day trip from Vienna to Hallstatt a true success!