top 10 best day trips from Hallstatt side excursions
top 10 best day trips from Hallstatt side excursions

Best Side Trips From Hallstatt:

Being located right in the middle of Austria there are plenty of great day trips to make an extended stay in Hallstatt an amazing experience…

 The Side trips below are organized by the distance and not by rank.

Helpful Transportation Info:

To help with planning your Hallstatt day trip transportation, the National Austrian Railway (website) has all of the regional Train/Bus route and timetable information.  If you are traveling with a group, consider the Einfach-Raus Day Pass (info) for your trains.  It covers a group up to 5 people for unlimited train travel inside of Austria for the day just 35€.  On Monday-Friday you can’t start your travel with these special passes until 9am, but Saturday & Sunday you can start anytime.  For most schedules, you’ll want to buy regular train tickets early while they are cheap or pay full fare at the train station instead of messing around with this pass.

If you are taking the bus from Salzburg you just show up and pay the driver which adds some flexibility, but still check the schedules.

Western Side Trips Toward Salzburg:

1. Saint Gilgen (30 minute bus ride or ferry/train combo): Cozy authentic Austria village which is mainly free of the tourist crowds.  It is a great place to stop for food if you are taking the 150 Bus from Salzburg to Hallstatt.  The highlights are extremely cute City Hall (Rathaus), romantic lake front on Wolfgang Sea (Wolfgangsee), and 15 minute Alpine Lift (Zwölferhorn Gondola) bringing you to the 5250-foot summit of the neighboring Zwölferhorn Mountain.  The mountain provides great views over the lake, Hang Gliding, and skiing in the winter.  Classical music lovers will love St Gilgen’s tie to Mozart as it’s the town where Amadeus’ sister Nannerl lived after leaving Salzburg.  Getting Here: From Hallstatt take the REX train or bus #2570/542 North to Bad Ischl and then transfer Bus 150 West to St Gilgen.

Rating as a Day Trip From Hallstatt: 6 out of 10.

2. Salzburg, Austria (85 minute train or bus ride):
Home of Mozart, the beautiful Mirabell Gardens & Palace, and the location for The Sound of Music.  Located in the heart of the Alps, Salzburg is a great spot for a day trip from Vienna.  While it does make a great day trip, we recommend 2-3 full days in Salzburg to be able to see not only the old town sites but also the outlying Sound of Music Sites, and the surrounding towns of Berchtesgarden & Werfen.  Top Things to do: Old Town Walking Tour, Sound of Music Movie Locations Tour.  Getting To Salzburg By Bus (2 1/2 Hours): We prefer the bus to Salzburg as it leaves right from Central Hallstatt, and also from the Ice Caves.  You’ll take Bus 542 (Timetable) from Hallstatt 30 minutes to Bad Ischl which sometimes requires a transfer at Hallstatt Gosaumühle.  Once in Bad Ischl you hop on Bus 150 (Timetable) after a 10-20 minute layover all the way to the Salzburg Main Station which takes 90 minutes.  Bus 150 Timetable: (here).  Bus 542 Timetable: (here).  Getting To Hallstatt By Train (2 1/2 Hours): You have to take a short ferry across the lake to get to Hallstatt’s train station (15 Minutes) where you hop on the local REX train to Attnang-Puchheim (90 minutes), and transfer to the OBB line to Salzburg (50 minutes).

Rating as a Day Trip From Hallstatt: 10 out of 10 (We suggest staying 2-3 days).

3. Munich, Germany (3 hour train ride):
Bavaria former capital, known for its beer halls and inviting residents can actually be seen in 1-2 days, but it has so many amazing surrounding sites you’ll want to stay longer.  Outside of its Oktoberfest feel, Munich’s surrounding sites include the Hofbräuhaus, English Garden, and further away Dachau & Mad King Ludwig’s Castles.

The top things to do: 1. Free Munich Walking Tour  2. Dachau & Palaces  3. Mad King Ludwig’s Fairytale Castles

Rating as a Day Trip From Hallstatt: 8 out of 10 (We suggest staying 3-4 days).

4. Werfen, Austria (2 hour train ride):
Werfen is most famous to tourists for being home to the World’s largest ice cave.  The village is also the site of the mighty Hohenwerfen Fortress which was in the opening scenes of the movie The Sound of Music.  This sister of Old Town Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Castle, is actually even more famous from the classic movie “Where Eagles Dare” than from its Sound of Music connection.  With a rise of 508 feet from the entrance, you can see why this castle has stood the test of time.

5. Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria (2 hour train ride):
The small Alpine village of Ramsau am Dachstein offers pretty much the best skiing in Austria outside of Innsbruck.  In 2013 the neighboring mountain became a year-round attraction with the addition of some thrilling additions.  The first was a large skywalk overlooking the Alps from the top of the main cable car station.  Upping the stakes, even more, they added a daring Bridge to Nothingness, website.  The death-defying bridge is the highest suspension bridge in Austria at 8858 feet above sea level.  This intense footbridge free hangs 1312 above the mountainside below, making it an instant tourist hit.  The mountain also boasts an Ice Palace and the pleasant Panorama Restaurant.
Getting Here From Hallstatt: Train service to the village of Schladming takes 2 hours from Hallstatt.  From the local transportation and the cable car will get you up the mountain.

Eastern Side Trips Toward Vienna:

1. Mauthausen Concentration Camp  (65 minute train ride): Memorial site of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp is a great taste of dark Nazi history for anyone traveling between Vienna and Salzburg who may not have the time to visit Dachau near Munich.  This site was selected due to its onsite granite quarry so the imprisoned people could serve as slave labor.  The stairs of death are known as a spot of torture where prisoners were forced to carry stones heavier than their own body weight all the way up, only to be pushed off the adjacent cliff by SS Guards to their death.  They would also line prisoners up on the top of the quarry cliff and then force them to push each other off.  Even worse than the slave labor, cliffs antics, and even gas chambers, was the SS Guard who would cut off prisoners tattoos to use the skin as lamp shades.  During its time of operation, over 100,000 prisoners were killed at this death camp.  

Getting There: Take the to Attnang-Puchheim then switch toward Mauthausen.  You’ll have transfer trains either at St. Valentin or Linz depending on your departure time, so check the train schedule.  Either way you’ll get right to Mauthausen train station, just make sure to take departure that has 2 hours in total travel time as certain departures have a long layover.  From the Mauthausen train station, the Camp is either a long 5km walk or 3km cheap taxi.   Entrance Cost: Free, not recommended for kids under 14 years old.  Visiting Hours: May-June Daily from 9am-5:30pm. July-October Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5:30pm, Closed Mondays.  November-April  Tuesday-Sunday 9am-3:30pm, Closed Mondays.  Guided Tours: Guided tours are available but pricey at 40€ per person. Alternative you can get the 75-minute audio tour for Free after a refundable 40€ per headset deposit.  It is easy enough to share a headset between a couple people.  Mauthausen Website: (HERE).

Rating as a Day Trip From Hallstatt: 5 out of 10.

2. Melk Abbey (85 minute train ride):
In the city of Melk lines one of Austria’s true gems, the Melk Abbey.  Completed in 1732 this towering red-roofed monastery is quite intimidating sitting on the bluff above Melk.  Although elegant looking with its gold paint, the monastery was not painted this color to look fancy.  The Abbey was actually painted this color for the same reason Schönbrunn Palace was, gold was just the cheapest paint available at the time.

The photo to the left is taken from the road below the abbey and is the best vantage point for a photo outside of a helicopter.  Notice the opening at the front of the abbey, it is an awesome balcony from which you can overlook the river and countryside. The inside of the Abbey is just as impressive as the outside with its marble floors, golden accents, and lavishly painted ceilings. Getting There: Melk 55 miles straight west of Vienna making it fast and cheap by train, train scheduleEntrance Cost: Adults 10€; Students 5.50€; Family 20€.  Add 2€ for guided tours.  Gardens only are 4€.  Visiting Hours: May-October 9am-6pm; Rest of the year you may only enter as part of a tour.  Guided Tours: April-Oct 10am & 255pm in English; November-March 11am & 2pm in English; you can reserve ahead of time by emailing  Tours last 1 hour and the average visit is 2 hours.  Abbey Website: (HERE).

Rating as a Day Trip From Hallstatt: 7 out of 10.

3. Vienna, Austria (2 hour and 40 minute train ride):
  Trains leave for this historic Austrian capital often and it is well worth the trip.  A great day in Vienna will consist of the free City Center Walking Tour, a trip around the Ringstrasse, and a stops at Schönbrunn Palace.

Top Things to do: Vienna Walking Tour, Schönbrunn Palace, & Free Tram Tour. For details on these three great activities and the rest of the city check out our Vienna page.

Rating as a Day Tip From Hallstatt: 8 out of 10 (We suggest staying 2 days)