I visited Hallstatt - quite probably the most magical, quaintest place in all of Austria - for the first time in early January when the snow was still falling thickly, covering the entire town in a blanket of beautiful white.
I spent my day crunching through snow-covered streets, shivering my fingers off, and knew right then and there that I'd want to come back in mid-summer to enjoy the picture-perfect postcard views in the bright sunshine.
So, when my mum was in town to visit me for a few weeks, a sunny Saturday in July was the perfect opportunity to get on the train and visit this stunning town once again.
HOW TO GET TO HALLSTATT
I live in Salzburg, and so arrived by train from there. However, arriving from Vienna is very similar, as in both cases you need to switch trains at Attnang-Puchheim and then take a 45-minute train the rest of the way to Hallstatt. The train station is across the lake from the town, but a convenient little ferry (€7 per person round-trip, cash only) aligns with the train schedule and ferries passengers back and forth on the 15-minute crossing between the train station and the main harbour in Hallstatt.
Things to Do in Hallstatt in Summer
I put together a guide to things to do in Hallstatt in winter from when I visited in January, so here are my tips for a summer visit:
1. Ride the ferry across the Hallstätter See
For those of you arriving by train, you'll board the little ferry from the station across the lake to the town of Hallstatt from where you can get the most wonderful lakeside views of the surrounding mountains.
2. Wander the old town streets
Tucked full of little restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and ice cream parlours, these old streets are home to buildings that truly look like they've come out of a fairytale.
3. Spot the iconic postcard view of town
Probably one of the most famous spots in Austria, let alone all of Europe!, is this fairytale-like view of town stretching around the side of the lake. It's just a five-minute walk around the walk from the ferry terminal.
4. Hike up to the Hallstatt Skywalk Welterbeblick
Aside from wandering the streets and finding the famous view of the little town across the lake, one of the best things to do here is to make your way up the mountain above the town of Hallstatt to the Hallstatt Skywalk "Welterbeblick" Aussichtsplattform, a UNESCO world heritage sight that offers exceptional panoramic views across the Hallstätter See.
Sure, it's touristy, with everyone vying for a photo from the pinnacle of the skywalk, but it sure is worth it! You can ride the funicular up from town for 10 euros per person per way (for just a three-minute ride!) which I don't think is worth it, as the walk up from town only takes about 45-60 minutes up and 30 minutes back down and is a lovely switchback route through a cool forest.
Hallstatt Skywalk Welterbeblick HIKE DETAILS
When: can be done year-round if you have good snow boots, but recommended on a warm, sunny day
Length: from town, it's a 2km switchback trail up the mountain
Directions: so the trail isn't actually on Google Maps, but is perfectly mapped out on Maps.Me which I highly recommend - it's basically an offline version of Google Maps! You need to find the small stairs that head up into the trail, across from Appartemement Fallnhauser.
Bathrooms: yes, in town and at the restaurant at the top
Public Transit: yes, take the train to Hallstatt and the ferry across the lake to reach the town which is where this hike begins