It’s almost difficult to tear yourself away from Austria’s magnificent cities. You can spend days roaming around Vienna’s architectural wonders, marveling at Schonbrunn and the Gloriette, getting lost in mazes of manicured gardens and abundant artwork. There’s much to see and do in Vienna and Salzburg, and indeed, visiting these cities is a great way to discover Austria’s glorious history and culture.
But to get to the heart of Austria’s rustic charm, you must venture to its small countryside villages. You’ll find that there’s more to Austria than operas and schnitzels and all-out opulence. There are also stunning natural landscapes, breathtaking vistas, picture-perfect storybook towns, and plenty of outdoor adventures to be had.
If you only make it to one town, make it Hallstatt. Nestled in Salzkammergut’s mountainous region, Hallstatt is a narrow town sandwiched between a mountain and a lake, lined with pastel houses decked with flowerboxes, and with swans gracefully plying the coastline, making it the perfect storybook town to take a break from the cities. It’s a great stopover on a drive from Vienna to Salzburg, and a great base for exploring the rest of the gorgeous Salzkammergut.
If you’re thinking of venturing to Salzkammergut soon, here are our best recommendations on where to stay in Hallstatt.
Where to stay in Hallstatt – 5 best hotels
For the best experience in Hallstatt, stay at Seehotel Grüner Baum, by far the best lakeside option in Hallstatt. It offers panoramic views of Lake Hallstatt, a historic ambience, spacious rooms and wonderful staff. If you’re driving, don’t worry that it’s right in the middle of car-free Hallstatt – you can park at the P1 parking area outside town and ride the free shuttle to the hotel. If you’re coming in by ferry, this hotel is even more ideal – it’s the closest one to the ferry port so you’ll be comfy and cozy in your beautiful room in no time.
For couples planning a romantic trip, this is the place for you. Waking up to stunning views of the lake, sleeping in luxurious suites, and having a private beach area to lounge in will transform your already amazing Hallstatt holiday into an even more special treat. Take note, though, that this hotel is adults only, so if you’re traveling with kids, check out the other options on this list.
The last lakeside hotel in this list, Heritage Hotel makes it to our top 5 for its great location, gorgeous views, and comfortable views. The hotel also has an in-house café and restaurant, where you can enjoy traditional Austrian dishes and fine wines.
This one is for couples and families who want a quieter stay outside Hallstatt’s main tourist center. Gasthof Pension Hirlatz is a family-run hotel a scenic 15-20-minute walk from Hallstatt’s center. This is an especially good area to stay if you’re driving to Hallstatt and plan to explore other neighboring areas like Dachstein and Obertraun. Hiking and biking trails start right outside the pension. You’ll get to enjoy a cozy accommodation in a quiet area, with friendly staff and a delicious breakfast.
For a more personal stay, check out these beautiful apartments that are just outside the busy tourist center. You’ll be treated to spacious suites that can sleep up to five, a fully equipped kitchen, and a furnished balcony that looks out onto a fantastic view. This is perfect for families and big groups, as well as couples who want a local experience.
Map – Landmarks and hotels in Hallstatt
Here are the sights to see in and beyond Hallstatt.
Quick tips for your holiday in Hallstatt
- Getting there – You can reach Hallstatt from Vienna or Salzburg. The best way is to drive there (about 3 hours from Vienna, 1 hour from Salzburg). You can also take the train or bus.
- Public transportation from Vienna – From Vienna, you can catch a train that goes to Hallstatt via Attnang-Puchheim. Get your train tickets from the main train station (Wien-Hauptbanhof) or the west train station (Wien-Westbahnhof). The fastest train would take about 3.5 hours. Once at Hallstatt station (which is actually in Obertraun, across the lake from Hallstatt), ride a ferry (Stefanie) into Hallstatt’s old town. You can get your tickets from the ferry station that’s just beside the train station.
- Public transportation from Salzburg – From the Salzburg-Hauptbanhof, ride the train to Attnang-Puchheim, then switch to a train to Hallstatt. Once in Hallstatt station, ride the ferry to the old town.
- Getting around – Hallstatt is extremely walkable and its main areas are car-free. Day trips to neighboring areas are recommended, though, and you can reach these by private car.
- Booking your stay – Hallstatt is becoming busier, so it’s best to book your stay early. I’d recommend at least a 2-night stay, especially if you’re driving from Vienna (in which case you would be arriving almost evening if you plan to visit the other sights along the way) or plan to visit Dachstein and Obertraun. If all the hotels in this list are already booked for your dates, you could check here for other hotels in Hallstatt. If the whole town is booked, stay across the lake at Obertraun instead.
Read next – planning your trip to Hallstatt
Now that you’ve booked your hotel in Hallstatt, it’s time to plan your trip. Here are our best guides for holidays in Hallstatt and the rest of Austria.
You can walk from one end of the town to the other in half an hour, but don’t think you can blitz through Hallstatt. There’s so much to see and do in this historic little town, that you’ll probably wish you stayed a bit longer. Here are all the best things to do in Hallstatt, plus suggestions for day trips around Salzkammergut.
Hallstatt is the perfect stopover on a road trip from Vienna to Salzburg, but it’s not the only worthy stop. Check out this driving itinerary for all the best sights along the way.
You can’t miss Austria’s glorious capital when you head to Central Europe. Stay for at least 2-3 days and enjoy the city’s abundant art collections, edgy indie culture, and relaxing natural landscapes.
* * *
If you’re still wondering if it’s worth staying overnight in Hallstatt, the answer is: YES! While there are certainly plenty of tour companies organizing day trips to Hallstatt, the town deserves more than a few rushed and ushered hours. By staying at least a night, you’ll also get to enjoy Hallstatt without the crowds – that is, by waking up early and walking around before the day trippers arrive, usually at around 9 AM.
I hope this quick list helps you find your holiday home in Hallstatt! Happy travels to Austria!