Day 5 of 18… We set off early that Friday morning, eager to begin our road trip from Salzburg to Salzkammergut, Austria’s lake district. The region has over seventy lakes and boasts of some of the most beautiful lake towns, the most visited being Hallstatt, a charming village on the shores of Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt).
At daybreak, our rented Jeep was already passing through silhouettes of small villages and snow-covered meadows. We spotted our first lake, Fuschlsee, a mere 20km southeast of Salzburg. Soon after, our second lake appeared, Wolfgangsee, surrounded by the Salzkammergut mountain range. We initially planned on making a stop to have breakfast at any of the cafes along the road but there was nothing, the towns seemed to be sleeping still, and so we made do with the cold bread that we brought with us.After an hour and a half of driving, we finally had a glimpse of Lake Hallstatt. Instead of rushing to the town centre, we first stopped at viewing spot on the roadside. There we took a few photos, stretched our legs and enjoyed the rest of the sunrise.
Google Hallstatt and you’ll read that it’s one of the most beautiful lake-towns in Europe. In 1997, it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site not only for its outstanding natural landscape but also for being able to preserve its salt mining history which began as early as 7000 years ago.
The town is a magnet for tourists especially at spring- and summertime. With imposing mountains that form narrow valleys, a swan-ruled lake and with colourful houses glued onto its steep hillside, it wouldn’t be hard to understand why.
Despite winter being a slack season for the town, I’d say there was still a good number of fellow tourists, and the alleys and viewing decks got a bit crowded towards the late morning. We were saved though by Joaquin who found an empty, and most likely private, jetty, a spot by the lake that was away from the crowd.
Although beautiful, we wanted to get away, find another place, another lake (that we – and just a few others, could call ours), and so we decided to cut our visit to Hallstatt short. I knew from my research that in another lake, the Wolfgangsee, advent is celebrated by the three towns that sit on its banks – St Gilgen, Strobl and St Wolfgang, and so that was where we drove to next, hoping to get that peaceful, Christmassy lake experience…
Stay tuned, our visit to St Wolfgang im Salzkammergut is next. Meanwhile, let me share with you a short video of our visit to Hallstatt. Enjoy watching!
I’ve also added a video of us driving to Hallstatt in case you’re interested to see the road condition. 🙂
— xoxo —
Some Tips from our family:
- We took the scenic lake route to Hallstatt: Salzburg — Fuschl — Wolfgangsee — Strobl — Bad Ischl — Bad Goisern — Hallstatt. Going back to Salzburg was almost the same except that we went into the town of St Wolfgang im Salzkammergut.
- There are other attractions in Hallstatt like the Salt Mine tour, Hallstatt Skywalk and Charnel House of Bones. We planned on doing the last two but we decided to drive to Lake Wolfgang to visit the Christmas market at St Wolfgang instead.
- Parking 2 was closed during our visit but we found another parking lot near Salinenmusik Hallstatt and Kalvarienbergkirche (church).
- We rented our Jeep Cherokee from Sixt. We had a good experience with this company – quick to process and the office was just at Salzburg city centre. We booked our choice of car a few weeks in advance.
- Go to Hallstatt early. It started getting a bit crowded (for us) towards lunchtime.
- If we were to go during summer, we could spend 2 or 3 nights in the lake district without getting bored – hiking, swimming, boating! Endless adventure for the family.
- We were in Salzburg for 3 days. Our road trip was on the 3rd day. We could easily spend a week in Salzburg and do a series of road trips if we had more time.
Here are the other posts on our Munich and Austrian holiday:
- Munich: Start of our family’s tales from last winter
- Munich: Viktualienmarkt Biergarten
- Munich: BMW Museum and BMW Welt
- Munich: Theatine Church and Odeonplatz
- Munich: Christmas Markets
- Munich: Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall
- Munich: City Aparthotel München
- Salzburg: Birthplace of Mozart and Silent Night
- Salzburg: Hohensalzburg Fortress
- Salzburg: Residenzplatz Christmas Market
- Salzburg: Salzburg Cathedral
- Salzburg: Silent Night 200 at Salzburg Museum
- Salzburg: Silent Night Tour by Bob’s Special Tour
- Salzburg: Silent Night at Oberndorf and Laufen