Last Updated on August 19, 2023
Hallstatt, Austria is an easy day trip from Salzburg. It’s also a fascinating one.
After all, Hallstatt is the only town in Austria whose name is a period in history – the Hallstatt period (800 – 400 BC). Ironically, though, that’s not its claim to fame.
Today many people know Hallstatt as the prettiest lakeside village in Austria…but even that’s selling it short.
Giving Its Name to a Period in History
Hallstatt is a tiny charming, colorful lakeside village surrounded by towering mountains. Clinging to the shoreline of the five-mile long Hallstättersee, it’s stuck in time. And that makes it a wonderful day trip from Salzburg.
If you’re in Austria, there are several ways to reach Hallstatt, the easiest via car and driver from Salzburg. The 1½-hour drive took me through the Salzkammergut, the stunning Lake District in western Austria. I could also have made a day trip there by train from Salzburg, but the car was shorter.
The area is best known to Americans because of the “Sound of Music.” In the movie its meadows and mountains appear in the opening scenes
Moreover, adding to its charm is how quiet it all is since there are so few cars here. Even at 9 o’clock in the morning the only things you hear are the swish of shopkeeper’s brooms. Or people chatting over coffee as they sit on their hotel balconies.
Whenever you arrive in Austria’s Hallstatt by car on a day trip from Salzburg or anywhere, you have to park outside of town and walk in. It’s at that same little parking lot where the buses drop most tourists off, and late in the morning lines of them wandering into town.
Many take a leisurely walk around town before descending upon the little waterside cafés for lunch.