Hallstatt in Winter: How to visit the Winter Wonderland in Austria

Hallstatt in winter

Hallstatt is a magical town in Austria sitting between powerful mountains and an expansive lake. This picturesque little town is studded with wonderful attractions and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Walking the streets of Hallstatt in winter, is akin to taking a walk through a fairytale. 

Hallstatt in winter is a very welcoming destination, and you’ll be greeted by amazing snow-coated mountain vistas and parcel-colored traditional architecture perched by the lakeside.

Despite being a small lakeside town, Hallstatt in winter has plenty to offer; an ancient salt mine, a fascinating museum, an eerie bone-house, and trails that snake through mountains with spectacular landscapes are just a few. It’s a mix of fascinating history and lovely landscapes.

If you’re planning a vacation trip to Austria, a stop at Hallstatt should certainly be on your itinerary, and don’t worry about logistics and all because I’ve put together a complete guide for your Hallstatt winter tour. I also recommend checking Salzburg in winter, since both towns are very close, and magic at this time of the year.

Here you can find how to get to Hallstatt, the best restaurants, places to stay, weather in Hallstatt, or what to pack, and the top 10 best things to do in Hallstatt in winter.

Enjoy this guide for Hallstatt in Winter and safe travels!

Hallstatt Austria winter
Hallstatt in winter is the fairytale village

READ NEXT: Best Christmas Market in Austria

 

HOW TO GET AROUND HALLSTATT IN WINTER

Hallstatt is a very small town, and it’s easy to explore on foot, and the city center is actually a car-free zone. Also, all the major attractions can be easily accessed by foot, you can hike up the mountains or take the funicular and there are ferry rides to take you across the lake. If you wish to visit the Ice Caves, there are taxis and local bus services that can take you there.

  • FLY: You can choose to fly direct to Salzburg  W.A. Mozard Airport (SZG), which is only 4km from the city center.
  • TRAIN: A trip by train is also very popular, and you will arrive at the Hauptbahnhof Station.
  • CAR: Driving is easy and the best way explore the area, here are the location from the major cities:

Road trips are a great option, and actually, my favorite way to explore Europe. You get the chance to see and do a lot in a short period of time. Request a quote from a reliable source and compare the prices from different car rentals available. 

You don’t need a car or public transportation to explore Hallstatt, as the city is very compact and you can explore on foot. But if your hotel is outside the town center, there is a trolley and bus system that serves the city. Parking in Hallstatt is easy, as the town has parking garages located just outside the old town.

Hallstatt Austria winter

HALLSTATT WINTER WEATHER

Hallstatt is very cold in winter! The days are usually snowy, rainy, and cold, with very little sunlight.

The average high temperature in Hallstatt winter is 3°C  (37.4 °F) and the average lowest temperature is -3 °C (26.6 °F). Despite being very cold, Hallstatt in winter is surprisingly busy with tourists and winter-lovers swarming the city.

It’s a beautiful white city, with plenty of fun activities, although some attractions may be closed. Also, make sure you pack the right kind of clothing. No matter what the Hallstatt, Austria weather  – dress accordingly and enjoy this fairytale.

HOW LONG SHOULD I VISIT HALLSTATT IN WINTER?

You can visit Hallstatt as a day trip from Viena or Salzburg, but it may be hard to hit all the main attractions in a single day. I recommend an overnight stay if you want to experience all the very best things to do in Hallstatt in winter before you leave.

Hallstatt in winter is magic at night, and you may want to enjoy the night and if you love photography, you can take amazing pictures of the lights of the city casting a beautiful glow on the streets. Plus, the town normally has empty streets, and walking around can give you the feeling you have Hallstatt for yourself.

Waking up in the morning with the Hallstatt views from the balcony of your hotel is another thing to add to your bucket list. If you decide to stay overnight, I recommend staying at the city center, as Hallstatt is very compact and easy to explore on foot. 

The place I choose to stay in is the Seehotel Grüner Baum as it is located in the best spot in town – right in the center of everything. The traditional interior of the hotel is unique, and the rooms are sure to satisfy all the needs for comfort and warmth. There is also a restaurant with stunning lake views where I loved to just have some steamy hot chocolate or coffee with the best view of Hallstatt. If you are staying overnight, I have selected the best accommodation options in Hallstatt:

Salzberg Hallstatt

MY HOTEL CHOICE: Seehotel Grüner Baum

Guests Rating

Located in the car-free center, the 4-star superior Seehotel Grüner Baum offers spacious rooms with panoramic views of Lake Hallstatt, restaurant as also offers an amazing steam room and sauna.


Hallstatt Austria winter

GREAT VALUE: Fenix Hall Boutique Hotel Hallstatt

Guests Rating

This is the best option if you are looking for great accommodation with great value. Rated as a SUPERB by the guests, with excellent location. The rooms are furnished in a modern country style and feature mountain views, wooden floors, a flat-screen satellite TV, a coffee machine, and a spacious bathroom.


Salzberg Hallstatt

BEST RATED: Boutiquehotel Strand Hallstatt – Adults only

Guests Rating

If you are looking for the best in a house (aka Hallstatt lake and mountains) this hotel is for you! The accommodation is very comfortable, with free private parking, a private beach area, and a terrace. The accommodation offers room service and free WiFi throughout the property.


WHERE TO EAT IN HALLSTATT IN WINTER

Some restaurants in Hallstatt close during wintertime, but you still can find some open restaurants and cafes that are open.

Zum Salzbaron Restaurant: Located inside Seehotel Grüner Baum, with the lake view.

Seewirt Zauner Hotel Restaurant: Situated very conveniently in the square, a great option for dinner

Cafe Polreich: This is a great place to have lunch in Hallstatt

Braugasthof am Hallstattersee.: Is a great option for dinner.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HALLSTATT IN WINTER

1) EXPLORE THE SCENIC STREETS OF HALLSTATT

The first impressive thing about this little town is its beautiful lakeside view. A stroll through the scenic streets is a perfect way to start your Hallstatt winter exploration. The streets are flanked by traditional pastel houses, with beautiful balconies. Continue your stroll to the amazing Lake street for a picturesque view of the lake and the beautiful snow-covered mountains.

If you prefer a more structured itinerary then taking a private Hallstatt tour might be a great option for your Hallstatt winter visit.

2) VISIT THE CENTRAL SQUARE MARKTPLATZ

Hallstatt is a small town, and you can’t miss Central Market Square while exploring the streets. The historic market square was once a medieval center of trade and commerce, and still quite full of activity. At the very center of the Square is the beautiful statue of the Holy Trinity, which is surrounded by very colorful 18th-century buildings with steep roofs and balconies decorated with flowers.

During Hallstatt winter, the buildings may be covered with a layer of snow, but the Market Square remains just as lively, it actually becomes a bustling Christmas market with stunning decorations, festive music, and cheery events. Don’t forget to take as many pictures as you can, and browse the surrounding cafés and souvenir shops.

Salzberg Hallstatt

3) EXPERIENCE THE WORLD HERITAGE MUSEUM OF HALLSTATT

As part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Hallstatt museum is one of the most visited places and for good reasons. This museum houses historic treasures from 7 millennia; from the Stone Age to recent history.

You will find interesting collections from local salt mines, cemeteries, archeological excavations, swords, weapons, Roman remains, etc. And the best part is that they use 3D displays and video animations to keep your experience as exciting as possible. No dusty shelves and boring lectures, it’s certainly one of the most amazing winter experiences in Hallstatt.

4) MARVEL AT THE HISTORIC CHURCHES

Hallstatt is a town rooted in religious beliefs, and there are a number of magnificent church buildings to admire. One is the 15th century Catholic Church of Hallstatt, with a gorgeous Gothic-style altar, Gothic frescoes, invaluable paintings, and artworks.

Also, marvel at the spectacular vistas of the town and lake from the church balcony. Another incredible church to visit is the towering, picture-perfect 18th-century Evangelical church. The magnificent Evangelical Church sits just at the city center, by the lakeside, you can stroll down to it from the Market Square.

5) VISIT THE BONE HOUSE

Your visit to the Catholic Church of Hallstatt isn’t complete without stopping by at the incredible Bone House at St Michael’s Chapel. As the name implies, this 12th-century chapel is akin to a bone museum with a spooky collection of over 1200  human skulls, of which 600 have hand-painted artistic inscriptions of the name of the deceased, year of death, and floral markings.

According to the locals, the bone house was built to act as an extension of the graveyard. To create spaces in the cemetery, bones were removed from graves, cleaned up, painted with special inscriptions, and stored in the bone house. This way, graves can be reused. The Charnel house is both a fascinating and eerie place.

Hallstatt Austria winter
Salzberg Hallstatt

6) DISCOVER THE WORLD’S OLDEST SALT MINE

Dating back to the 12th century, the Altaussee Salt Mine is the oldest and biggest active salt mine in Austria. The salt mine was established in 1147 and has been producing 10,000 tons of ‘white gold’ annually since 1906.

A guided tour of the salt mine will take you on a 2.5 km walk through underground tunnels, guided by lamps, with walls of pure orange-red rock salt that glisten in the dark. Deep into the mountain is the Barbara Chapel, which was built only from rock salt in 1935 by miners. Plus all the exciting stories connected to the mine.

7) SEE HALLSTATT FROM ABOVE

The only thing better than exploring Hallstatt on your feet is seeing the enchanting little town from above. To see Hallstatt from above, take the zigzag hike that travels through waterfalls and beautiful vistas up to the top. Note that the trail can be slippery during winter, especially when there’s ice on the path. Be extra careful, and don’t go with kids.

Once at the top, you can walk to the Hallstatt Skywalk viewing point; a free-floating observation deck that’s suspended 350 meters (1,148 feet) above the city. From up there, you will enjoy a bird’s eye view of the town below, soak in the panoramic views of the lake, take in the impressive mountain vistas and breathtaking Alpine peaks.

Hallstatt Austria winter

8) EXPERIENCE THE SMALL ISLAND

A 15-minute walk from Central Market Square takes you to the small island via two small bridges. The small island is a World heritage landscape uniquely developed for recreational fun, it’s an ideal place to spend some refreshing time in the water. This artificial bathing island was built in the 60s with rocks from the Hallstatt tunnel, and it’s still an amazing place to visit. It’s family-friendly, with shallow water sections suitable for kids to use during summertime.

Salzberg Hallstatt

9) ENJOY THE HALLSTATT CHRISTMAS MARKETS

Another amazing reason to visit Hallstatt in winter is to visit the incredible collection of Christmas traditions that you’ll explore during this time. You also have the option to join this Christmas tour. where you can see the traditional Christmas market in the town square and absorb the festive atmosphere in the historic center.

You’ll also be led to some of the town’s most decorated sites to see how the twinkling lights. After which you can taste some of Hallstatt’s most famed Christmas delicacies. Sip zirbenschnaps, also known as pine cone schnapps, and take photos of the nativity scene and eat icing sugar-sprinkled pastries while you admire the Christmas tree. 

The best christmas market in Austria

10) ENJOY SOME COOL WINTER SPORTS

The snow-coated mountains of Hallstatt are perfect for a variety of winter sports, and you can try out a few during your visit; skiing, sleigh rides, snowboarding, etc.

Just 5km from Hallstatt lies Obertraun, and the very popular Free Ride Arena – Krippenstein. This is one of the longest free ski spots in Austria and it is a great option for adventure seekers, whether on skis or boards. The various slopes on offer are sure to get your blood racing.

winter in Salzburg

HOW TO GET TO HALLSTATT

If you’re a first-time visitor to Austria, there are a couple of ways to get to Hallstatt. The easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to locate Hallstatt is from Salzburg.

Salzburg to Hallstatt is a 2.5 hr ride by bus or train, and only 1.5 hrs if you choose to drive. This is exactly what I did, and the driving is short and even better, scenic as you will have many opportunities to stop on the side of the road for pictures.

Alternatively, you can make your first stop at Vienna, and connect to Hallstatt from there. Vienna to Hallstatt is a 4 hr train ride, approx. 3 hrs by bus, and

Salzberg Hallstatt
The driving from Salzburg to Hallstatt is absolutely beautiful

Salzburg to Hallstatt

The road distance between Salzburg and Hallstatt is 72.9 km, and on average, it takes about 2hrs to complete the trip. If you choose to visit Hallstatt from Salzburg, there are a number of options available; you can either make the trip by bus, train, or rental car. You can also find organized day trip tours to Hallstatt from Salzburg.

By Bus: a bus ride from Salzburg to Hallstatt is about 2 hrs 40 mins, and buses leave Salzburg to Hallstatt daily, but there are usually no direct rides. You will take the first bus (Bus 150) from Salzburg Hofwirt which terminates at Bad Ischl Bahnhof, from where you get the second bus (Bus 542) to Hallstatt.

By Train: a train ride from Salzburg to Hallstatt takes about 2hr 50 mins, and it’s also not a direct journey. A train from Salzburg Hbf will take you all the way to Attnang-Puchheim, from there another train will take you to Hallstatt Bahnhof. Finally, a ferry boat will take you across the lake.

By Car: Driving from Salzburg to Hallstatt takes just about 1 hr 20 mins

Vienna to Hallstatt

From Vienna, you can reach Hallstatt either by bus, train, or by driving. On average, the trip takes about 3 hours and covers a distance of 304 km.

By Bus: you can get a direct Flixbus from Wien Westbahnhof to Hallstatt Lahn. The driving distance is 215 km and takes a little above 4 hrs to complete.

By Train: the first train departs from Vienna Wien Westbahnhof Station and terminates at Attnang-Puchheim. Another train from Attnang-Puchheim to Hallstatt Bahnhof, and finally a Stefanie ferry takes you across the lake. And the total journey time is about 3 hr 55 mins.

By Car: driving from Vienna to Hallstatt takes approximately 3.5 hours

Munich to Hallstatt

Munich to Hallstatt is about 224 km long and the average journey time is 3.5 hours, and it’s usually not a direct trip.

By Bus: it takes about 5 hrs to reach Hallstatt from Munich by bus. The first bus departs from Munich Hbf and terminates at Salzburg Hbf. From there, another bus takes you to Bad Ischl Bahnhof, where you get a final bus to Hallstatt.

By Train: a train ride from Munich to Hallstatt takes about 4.5 hrs. The first train takes you from Munich Hbf to Salzburg Hbf. From there you switch to a different train and continue your journey to Attnang-Puchheim. Another change is made here, the final train takes you to the Hallstatt Station and you ride a ferry to cross the lake.

By Car: Munich to Hallstatt is about 2.5 hours

READ NEXT: Top 10 Things to do in Innsbruck

WHAT TO WEAR IN HALLSTATT IN WINTER

Hallstatt in winter is cold, so make sure to pack accordingly and keep warm, so you can enjoy walking around while the temperatures are below freezing conditions for hours on end, especially with a windchill. I visited Hallstatt in December and it was so cold that even with gloves, my hands got so cold that they hurt – so make sure you pack the warmest gear you have if you are planning to visit Hallstatt in winter.

You can click on any of the following item’s pictures to be taken to their pages and see prices and details. 

  • Warm Coat – Pack a warm coat with a hood and is long enough to cover your legs partially. I didn’t pack one on my trip to Hallstatt and I regreat it.
  • Warm Boots – Pack a comfortable, but still a wamr pair of boots, that you can wear with thick socks
  • Fleece-lined leggings – These are perfect as they are warm and confortable, and great to wear as a layer too.
  • Merino layers: This is a must if you are going to travel to Hallstatt during wintertime.
  • Beanie and Gloves – A beanie is essential for your trip as it keeps your head warm, and gloves to keep your fingers warm is essential. Touchscreen gloves are the perfect solution to keep your hands cozy and still give you access to your phone and camera

Check here the top 12 BEST HIKING LEGGINGS available on the market today + expert review

TRAVEL INSURANCE: SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE

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World Nomads Travel Insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover their trip essentials. Especially if you are like me, travel insurance is ideal for adventurous travelers.

Travel smarter and safer – You can do your quick quote below and find out how little you can pay for the essential benefit of Travel Insurance for your next trip!

HALLSTATT IN WINTER FINAL THOUGHTS

With landscapes that look like they popped right out of a fairytale, Hallstatt in winter is an idyllic destination. It’s a great place to visit at any time of the year, however, the blanket of snow that envelops the town in winter makes it even more charming. This alpine village is truly an Austrian treasure waiting to be discovered.

Whether for a day’s trip or more, let yourself marvel at the historic treasures and natural beauty of Hallstatt. And if you want extra excitement, ski resorts offer a series of thrilling winter sports that keep you warmer.

I think you would also love to check other amazing destinations in Austria:

Hallstatt Austria winter
Hallstatt in winter Pinterest

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13 thoughts on “Hallstatt in Winter: How to visit the Winter Wonderland in Austria

  1. Brittany says:

    Hallstatt looks absolutely magical in the winter! Your photos are awesome. Hallstatt is definitely a location that’s on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing this great guide.

  2. LindaJane says:

    Hallstatt look like an absolutely charming town and so pretty in winter. Your pics are gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Maria says:

    Love your post, so detailed and well explained!! I’m from Austria and I only live 1 hour from Hallstatt. You were really lucky to see it covered in snow, it doesn’t happen that often anymore. Also love your photos!

  4. Lina says:

    Even though I’m from Austria and been to Hallstatt 3 times already, I have NEVER seen it in winter. I can only imagine how magical must look covered in white with all the Christmas decor. 🙂

  5. Elena Pappalardo says:

    I absolutely adore this guide and your beautiful winter wonderland photos! Hallstatt has been on my list for a long time and winter looks like the perfect time to go!

  6. Erin says:

    This is one of my top bucket list destinations! It looks so beautiful, especially with all the snow. It’s kind of a dream location for a photographer. 🙂 The bone house is intriguing…I’d definitely stop in there. Great post!

    • Paula Martinelli says:

      I think you would love Hallstatt, and you are right. It is really a dream destination for photographers, I even forgot that it was so cold while I was having fun taking pictures around.

  7. Jen Ambrose says:

    This looks like such a magical place to be in the winter – I looove the architecture! (not sure I’m sold on the bone house though lol)

    • Paula Martinelli says:

      I know…haha…the bone house was very interesting to visit. But you are right, the architecture is so unique and stunning.

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