Salzkammergut: Road Trip to Hallstatt

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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).

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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.DSC_0025DSC_0035DSC_0059After 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.

DSC_0090DSC_0077Google 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.

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That winter morning when we arrived, the village was dusted in sweet snow – it was effortlessly beautiful.
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Eternally grateful for the gift of family and being able to experience our world’s beauty together

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DSC_0106IMG_8271Despite 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…

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We had our brunch here at Maislinger.  They served good coffee and food but it was quite cramped inside so we did not stay long.

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The wooden nativity scene was at centre of the town square.  Do you see a bride in the picture?
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It’s impossible to pass by and not take a picture of this house.

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This is the Lutheran Protestant Church of Christ.  Beside it was a less crowded spot to enjoy the lake.
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We had time to go inside the Lutheran church
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Joaquin walked ahead of us and we found him on this spot, sitting just like that.
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These two have always been fascinated by swans, ducks and other birds.
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Swans rule in this side of town. They said that Empress Sisi of Austria (1837-1898) loved swans and since she came to Hallstatt yearly, the residents made sure that there were swans whenever she was in town. 

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Parking 2 was closed during our visit but we found another parking lot near Salinenmusik Hallstatt and Kalvarienbergkirche (church).
  4. 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.
  5. Go to Hallstatt early.  It started getting a bit crowded (for us) towards lunchtime.
  6. 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.
  7. 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:

  1. Munich: Start of our family’s tales from last winter
  2. Munich: Viktualienmarkt Biergarten
  3. Munich: BMW Museum and BMW Welt
  4. Munich: Theatine Church and Odeonplatz
  5. Munich: Christmas Markets
  6. Munich: Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall
  7. Munich: City Aparthotel München
  8. Salzburg: Birthplace of Mozart and Silent Night
  9. Salzburg: Hohensalzburg Fortress 
  10. Salzburg: Residenzplatz Christmas Market
  11. Salzburg: Salzburg Cathedral
  12. Salzburg: Silent Night 200 at Salzburg Museum
  13. Salzburg: Silent Night Tour by Bob’s Special Tour
  14. Salzburg: Silent Night at Oberndorf and Laufen
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21 comments

    1. Thank you, Aiva. Yes I do think it is worth a visit. The drive there from Salzburg was easy. I’m really glad we did it. It’s probably even more beautiful in the summer although it could get a bit crowded, they say. 🙂 -amor

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha Snow, that fact we have established already. 🙂 And I’m the opposite 🙂 But yeah it was quite a beautiful village although I might get claustrophobic if we were there in the summer when the town is packed with tourists.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lorelle. Yeah January is probably even lovelier – even less people and even more snow. Actually there were not really many people during our visit, only those that you see in my pictures but my hubby is ‘allergic’ to crowds at locations where he feels should be serene hehehe… Oh perhaps you’d like to visit the Hallstatt Skywalk? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Beautiful pictures really capturing the winter Wonderland feel. Brings back many happy memories of our journey from St Wolfgang to Hallstatt, only we did it by bus, train and boat. Because Hallstatt Station is on the opposite side of the lake, a boat meets each train to take passengers across to the village. A lovely way to arrive. Btw, the world heritage view from the platform at the top of the Funicular railway is stunning. I don’t think the picture on my blog did it justice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tim. Oh it must be nice to take the ferry! How was the train ride? We really wanted to do the Hallstatt Skyway but my hubby was itching to go to St Wolfgang already. We loved our time at St Wolfgang! Let me go check your Hallstatt pics now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece. This is why I got involved with wordpress and why I enjoy reading other people’s blogs. I am not sure if I will ever in life visit Austria but I feel like I have gotten a glimpse of what it will be like through reading your blog posts and watching at the amazing pictures. It is so picturesque! Enjoy the trip 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I also enjoy reading blogs especially from the other side of the world. We only have summer all through out the year here so I really like reading about the other seasons. I also like to read about blogs on home, and self-improvement (like yours 🙂 ) Thanks for dropping by, Celly. 🙂

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  3. wow! This place is really beautiful. It’s like magical specially with the snow-covered rooftops and the mirror-lake. I’ll definitely add this to our family travel bucket list. Thanks for sharing yet another wonderful family adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

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