Visiting Hallstatt In The Winter:
The tiny Alpine village of Hallstatt has such a great collection of unique sights making it hard to prioritize them on a short visit. Knowing the top ten things to do in Hallstatt will help to make your trip a lot more fun. The unbelievable activity options range from gliding across the fjord-like lake, strolling the streets along timber homes, exploring an expansive ice cave, sliding down a salt miner’s slide, or taking in unmatched mountaintop views while hiking.
Most visitors to Hallstatt only stop through for one day as a side trip from either Salzburg or Vienna which doesn’t give you much time to take it all in. With a little bit of planning and an early start to your day, you can really cover a lot of top ten things to do in Hallstatt.
- walk stroll – swans
- xmax market 1 – December 8th, second one is Bad Goisern on December 7th
Christmas Vespers, music, and service on xmas eve
- Krampus 2 – december 5th
- snowshoeing 2
- skiing 4 – cross-country in gosau betty
- finding stillness 5
- local food 6
- salt mine 7
- 5 fingers 8
- lookout 9
- boat ride – Stephanie’s only one in Austria done all winter (7am-7pm)
- roman 10
- early mornings
- ornament run/new years 10
- schaferbahn limited
- bad ischl, salzburg, bercht
1. The Lake Hallstatt Stroll:
About The Lake Hallstatt Stroll: Taking a stroll on Hallstatt’s main lakefront street is beautiful, relaxing, and straight out of an Alpine storybook. Although the entire stroll from South to North through the sleepy town is only a little more than 1 kilometer long, it will be ingrained in your memory forever. From classic village viewpoints to dozens of elegant swans on the water’s edge, and centuries-old half-timber homes tightly packed along the lakefront, you won’t want the walk to end. Take your time, take it all in, fall in love with Hallstatt! Even if it’s only a one night stand, you’ll remember strolling through Hallstatt forever.
Read More: Old Town Hallstatt Walking Tour
2. Dachstein Ice Cave (Dachsteinhöhlen):
3. Hallstatt Salt Mine (Salzwelten):
4. The Bone House & Cemetery (Beinhaus):
5. Boating On Lake Hallstatt:
6. Market Square (Marktplatz):
7. 5 Fingers Lookout Point:
About The 5 Fingers Lookout: Jutting out of Dachstein Mountain like metal hand over a 1,300-foot sheer drop off, the 5 Fingers Viewpoint offers one of the most spectacular views in the Alps. From the inspiring viewing platform, you’ll be eye to eye with majestic birds, daring hang gliders, year-round snow-capped peaks, and all the Austrian fresh air you can handle.
Beyond the immediate drop off you’ll be able to see Lake Hallstatt’s dark blue water and the tiny village looking almost fake 5,000 feet below you! Adding to the effect one of the playful fingers of the platform had been made with a glass floor to give you an unobstructed view straight down. Our favorite platform has a large empty picture frame which perfectly outlines the beautiful valley below. You’ll have a ton of fun taking photos at the 5 Fingers Lookout as you relax like you’re the King of Dachstein Mountain. The lookout may be in the lower half of the top 10 things to do in Hallstatt, but it is definitely a must see if you are going up to visit the Ice Cave.
Getting Here: Bus 543 from Hallstatt Lahn for 15 minutes to the Dachstein Visitor Center; ride up the cable car gondola to the 2nd station and hike the easy trail for 0.65 miles to the lookout. Conditions In The Winter: The 5 Fingers and hiking trail to it are open in the Winter, however, in heavy snow you will have to cross-country ski or snowshoe to the lookout area from the cable car station and it will require proper cold weather clothing.
Read More: 5 Fingers Lookout Viewpoint
8. Nature & Alpine Hiking:
9. Rudolph’s Tower & Skywalk (Welterbeblick):
About Rudolph’s Tower & Skywalk: Overlooking the village from 1200 feet up Salt Mountain (Salzberg), Rudolph’s Tower was built in 1282by Duke Albrecht I of Austria for protection of the local salt miners. The Duke names the defensive tower after his father Afder Rudolf I, the first leader of the Hapsburg empire. The manager of the salt mine lived in the tower over generations for centuries and was eventually renovated into the current structure when a fire claimed the hilltop in the 1800s. A restaurant was opened in the tower in 1960 and today it offers amazing views of Lake Hallstatt and the village below.
Getting to the tower riding the glass salt mine funicular lift is breathtaking as it turns a 1-hour hike up the mountain into a stunning 3-minute journey. Crossing the footbridge to the tower leads you to one of our favorite spots in Hallstatt, the Skywalk. Dangling 1148 feet over the edge of the cliff, the Skywalk will have you literally hovering over the rooftops of the village. Prepare to be impressed as this is truly one of the top 10 things to do in Hallstatt.
Read More: Visiting Rudolph’s Tower & Skywalk
10. Lakeside Dining:
11. Downhill Sports & Snowshoeing:
About Snow Sports In Hallstatt: While the Ice Cave and Salt Mine close down in the Winter months, the village of Hallstatt comes alive with a broad offering of snow sports. The hilltop of Dachstein Mountain has great downhill runs for Alpine skiing and snowboarding 5,000 feet above the valley below. We prefer to even take in the amazing mountain scenery while trekking around on a pair of rental snowshoes. There are local guides offering snowshoe tours or you can freestyle between mountain huts. If you want to take in the stunning views from the base of the mountains there are excellent cross country skiing opportunities on the frozen Lake Gosau.
12. Attend A Festival:
About Hallstatt’s Festivals: Hallstatt may not have as many famous festivals as Salzburg or Vienna, but if you are lucky to be here during one of the local celebrations you’ll see the unmatched passion. In the Summer months, the biggest festival is the Corpus Christi Boat Procession on Lake Hallstatt. Since 1623, the religiously based procession is led from across the lake to the Catholic church by saluting gunners firing shots from various points of town to bless them starting at 6am. With a lack of space, the procession was extended out onto the lake in 1628 with lavishly decorated salt boats going between four floating blessing stations. You can get up close and personal with the beautiful procession as tour boats weave throughout the lake.
If you miss the Corpus Christi event there are numerous afternoons where the local Salt Mine Band and thigh slapping dancers perform in Old Town Square in the festival-like atmosphere. One of our favorite experiences are the few days around each of the Summertime full moons when there are excellent boat tours after dark.
Some of our favorite Winter festivals in town are the Krampus run and the Hallstatt Christmas Market. Usually held on December 5th (Saint Nicolas Day), Krampus has Medieval roots. During the festival, locals dressed in scary hand-crafted masks are led around by Saint Nicolas as they work hard to scare away evil spirits and the darkness of the upcoming Winter Solstice. Any of these festivals could easily be in the top 10 things to do in Hallstatt, however, because the celebrations are short at only 1-3 days, they can be difficult to time your visit to line up correctly.
13. Archaeological Excavations:
About Hallstatt’s Archaeological Excavations: There was a Hallstatt before there was a Rome, and the best place to get a peek at how old Hallstatt really is are the impressive archaeological excavations below Juno Sports Shop. Discovered in 1990, excavations have uncovered structures and artifacts from the Middle Ages all the way back to the Stone Age.
There are excellent paving stones from early Hallstatt, Roman building foundation sections, and the outer walls of the Habsburg residence from early Medieval Times. We love the salt mine forges which have numerous metal tools and a hammer mill. There is also a wide range of ceramics from the Stone Age, pre-historic era, Roman times, and the Middle Ages.
Cost: Free Hours: Daily in summer 9am-6pm; closed on Sundays in Winter. Read More: HERE.