Location: Upper Austria


Hallstatt is a market town in the Inner Salzkammergut on the west bank of Lake Hallstatt. Since around 1 200 BC Salt is mined here. The area (Hallstatt-Dachstein / Salzkammergut) was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

The oldest traces that so far indicate human activity in Hallstatt are several stone axes and a deer antler ax, which date back to around 5,000 BC. were dated. These tools indicate that salt was already being extracted back then. Around 1 400 BC. (Bronze Age) there was then already an industrial-looking mining. An absolute climax of this degradation can be seen between 800 and 400 BC. classify. This Iron Age epoch is internationally known as the Hallstatt Period. Responsible for this, among other things, is the burial ground on the Salzberg, discovered by Johann Georg Ramsauer. The roughly 1,500 graves uncovered so far show rich grave goods. The place was later shaped by the Celts, only to come under Roman rule at the turn of the century.

Later this place formed an important economic pillar for the Habsburg empire through the salt production (together with the neighboring communities such as Gosau am Dachstein, Obertraun or Bad Goisern am Hallstättersee).


Travel Destinations in Hallstatt

Today Hallstatt draws numerous tourists with its beautiful views and picturesque mountains. But in the ancient times it was salt that was most praised by the ancient. Salt extraction began in the area as early as 8th century BC. Archeological digs in the area of the Hallstatt Lake yielded thousands of ancient burials along with precious artifacts from the Iron Age. Below is the map of the archeological sites identified by historians and archeologists around the area of Hallstatt.


Prahistorisches Museum

Tel. 06134 828 015
Open: Apr- Oct: daily
Nov- March: Wed- Sun
Pre- Historic Museum of Hallstatt houses a small collection of artifacts found during archeological digs in the area of Hallstatt. Many of the items that started the museum were brought here by Johann Georg Ramsauer (1795- 1874). He discovered a massive prehistoric cemetery of ancient people who lived in the vicinity of Hallstatt. In total there were at least 1300 burials. Interestingly enough the actual settlement where people lived eluded the scientists. It might be possible that the ancient people were nomadic people who didn't live in one location permanently. Instead they came to the area of Hallstatt to bury their dead a the shores of Hallstatt Lake.



Tel. 06132 200 2400
Open: late Apr- Oct: daily
You can take a cable car up to Salzbergwerk. It is an active salt extraction mine where you can see century old practice in action. The first salt extraction operations started in Hallstatt as early as the 8th century BC.



Rudolfsturm is a medieval tower that date back to 1284. It was erected to take a look over Salzburg mountains and keep salt extraction safe for the local workers.



Pfarrkirche is the main church in Hallstatt that stands on the shores of the Hallstatt Lake. It was completed in late- Gothic architectural style and it became a sort of a symbol of local pride and an iconic image of a quiet Austrian town.



Beinhaus or Charnel House is situated behind Pfarrkirche. It was used by citizens of Hallstatt to store their dead relatives since the 17th century.


The region and the romantic place were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. They are one of only 20 world heritage sites in the world that have been given the titles of natural and cultural heritage at the same time.

Attractions for tourism are the landscape, Lake Hallstatt, the mountains with the Dachstein, caves (the giant ice and mammoth caves) in the neighboring town of Obertraun and, last but not least, the town with its art monuments, the museum and the mine.

Rudolf Tower
Dachstein Chapel
Catholic Parish Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary or Maria am Berg: The late Gothic parish church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, completed in 1505, is enthroned on a rock above the town's roofs. The mighty tower is the only surviving part of a previous church from the year 1320. The two-nave hall church houses – in the right nave – the Hallstatt Marienaltar, a late-Gothic convertible altar from Upper Austria, which is the most important cultural and historical sight. This miner's altar with two pairs of wings was made around 1515 in the workshop of the Gmunden carver Leonhard Astl. – The somewhat older left altar from the 15th century was robbed of its 4 painted wing panels in 1987. The wings were then fitted with black and white replicas. The stolen pictures were found in Italy 30 years later, returned to Austria in 2017 and restored in 2018. Karner: On the north side of the church in the cemetery is the charnel house with the small ossuary, which dates back to the 16th century. A total of 610 skulls are stacked on top of each other on the bones of the deceased. After about 20 to 30 years, the bones are exhumed, bleached and then decorated: On the forehead above the date of birth and death is usually the name of the person, painted with dark wreaths of oak leaves, ivy or flowers. The ossuary is unique in the world as the bones of whole generations are kept there in their entirety.
Evangelical parish church in Hallstatt
Hallstatt Museum: In addition to the Natural History Museum in Vienna, the museum has the second extensive collection of finds from the Hallstatt period in Austria.
Hallstatt period burial ground and salt tunnel: A footpath and the Salzbergbahn lead up to the Hallstatt period burial ground and the salt tunnel – the oldest in the world. From 1282 to 1284, Duke Albrecht I of Austria had the Rudolfsturm built here, which was named after his father, Rudolf I. It served as a defensive structure in the Salt War against Archbishop Konrad IV of Salzburg and was the home of the miner from 1313 until the middle of the 20th century. Today the tower houses a restaurant that is popular because of its view. The salt mine can be visited in the course of a 70-minute guided tour. In 1734 the man was found in the salt, preserved by the salt's dehydrating properties, after being killed in a mining accident in the 4th century BC. had died. From March 2016, rehabilitation measures will be carried out in the salt tunnels, which have not been used for a long time, in order to be able to dig archaeologically again.

Regular events
Lake procession on Lake Hallstatt: On Corpus Christi Day, a well-known lake procession has taken place on Lake Hallstatt every year since 1623. The traditional plates, called "Fuhr" or the "Mutzen" are used as altar nave.
Hallstättersee Rundlauf: the Hallstättersee Rundlauf, a half marathon, has been taking place on the first weekend in May since 1987
Hallstatt Kulturell: is a series of events in summer; every Tuesday there is a concert with free admission
Salzkammergut Mozart Festival: annual festival in July and August
Momentum: Hallstatt is the venue for the Momentum conference series, which has been attracting around 200 scientists, politicians and those interested in politics from the German-speaking social democratic environment every autumn since 2008
Hallstatt swimming marathon: for the first time in 2011, athletes swim along the west bank from Bad Goisern via Hallstatt to Obertraun.


Getting there

By plane
The nearest airport is the W.A. Mozart Airport in Salzburg. This is located about 75 km from Hallstatt. Vienna Airport can be reached within 3.5 hours.

By train
With the Salzkammergutbahn from the Attnang-Puchheim junction station on the western line or Stainach-Irdning from the southern line. 1 Hallstatt train station is on the opposite bank of the lake, the connection to the 2 place is made by ships.

By bus
Bus connection - from Salzburg - change in Bad Ischl - towards Hallstatt / Obertraun. Regional bus connections with the following locations: Bad Goisern am Hallstättersee, Bad Ischl, Gosau am Dachstein, Obertraun.

By street
Coming from Salzburg on the B 158 to Bad Ischl and continue on the B 145 to Bad Goisern. From there on the road along the west bank of Lake Hallstatt. Coming from Vienna on the A1 to the Regau junction, then continue on the B 145 via Gmunden, Ebensee, Bad Ischl. From Graz via the A 9 to Selzthal, B 320 via Liezen and B 145 via Bad Aussee.

By bicycle
The Salzkammergut cycle path R2 leads from Bad Goisern on Lake Hallstatt along the eastern shores of Lake Hallstatt via Obertraun to Hallstatt. The route on the western shore of the lake is partly on a busy road.


Around the city

The center of Hallstatt is traffic-calmed and can therefore only be visited on foot. Parking spaces are available outside the center on P1, P2 and P4. All parking spaces are chargeable (2019: € 13 / per day) Parking lot P3 is the bus parking lot, which is located just outside Hallstatt in the direction of Obertraun. The bus fee per day per bus is € 40.00. (As of 2019)



The inhospitable mountain area, hostile to settlement, was possibly already visited in the Neolithic. The reason for this is the rich natural salt deposits that have been mined for thousands of years. The oldest finds (e.g. an old Neolithic shoe last wedge) date from around 5000 BC. However, such stone implements were also widely discussed as thunderbolts in the Middle Ages and modern times. In 1846, Johann Georg Ramsauer discovered a burial ground high up on the Salzberg. One of the first iron forges was also excavated here. Brisk trade and the associated prosperity enabled the development of a high culture, which was named Hallstatt culture after the finds in the Salzberg high valley, from around 800 to 400 BC. and made the name of the place known all over the world.

There is no documentary evidence from the early Middle Ages, and there is no archaeological evidence of settlement continuity. In 1311 Hallstatt was granted market rights, a sign that the town was of economic importance. The place name is a typical Hall name of salt production.

Since 1607, the brine line has been in operation northwards to the brewhouse in Ebensee am Traunsee, where there was more firewood. This industrial pipeline, the oldest still active in the world, was originally constructed from drilled conifer trunks but is now made of iron and plastic. It bridges the mouth of the Gosaubach and is accompanied by the 40 km long brine hiking trail. In addition to salt production, tourism has been of central importance since the 20th century.

On June 18, 2013, the flood-carrying Mühlbach made its way through the center of the village after Verklausungen. In addition to the water masses of the Mühlbach, the lake level rose in some houses, since there is no bypass for the 500-year-old listed outlet weir at the end of the lake, the Seeklause in Steeg.

On August 21, 2018, a discarded cigarette started a forest fire in the Echernwand. As a precautionary measure, the via ferrata, the operation of the funicular to the Rudolfsturm and the salt mine had to be closed. The fire was extinguished with the help of several helicopters, including a Blackhawk from the Austrian army.

On Saturday, November 30, 2019, a relatively large fire broke out on the western edge of the town center, which started in a wooden hut on the bank, grew in the dark of the morning and was also fought. Three huts standing next to each other, including a car, burned out. Three houses, partly made of wood, on the other side of the street were badly damaged on the facade and roof structure. The mayor called for people not to visit the market town this weekend because of ongoing clean-up work. As of August 2020, the houses have been renovated, only one of the huts is in ruins. According to the mayor, a development plan required after the fire can only be drawn up once the property owners have agreed on the basic boundary. Then again similar huts are to be erected.

According to the 2001 census, 63% of the population are Catholic and 26% Protestant. This is reflected in the townscape by the two churches that are close together, with the significantly younger, lower-lying Protestant church being “just as close” to heaven due to its high spire as the Catholic parish church, which is in an elevated, flood-proof position.

As in many mining communities in Austria, the Lutheran teachings had fallen on fertile ground in Hallstatt. Only the troops of the Salzburg Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau helped the Counter-Reformation to victory at the beginning of the 17th century. In the middle of the 18th century, hundreds of Protestants were expelled from Hallstatt and deported to Transylvania.

It was only through Joseph II's patent of tolerance in 1781 that the Protestants around the Dachstein were partially able to practice their religion again. Franz Joseph's Protestant patent put them largely on an equal footing with the Catholics, and the neo-Gothic church was built near the lake in 1863.



Hallstatt is located in the inner Salzkammergut on the western shore of Lake Hallstatt. On the narrow strip of shore between the lake and the steep mountain slope, the houses are crowded together, some are even built with piles into the lake. Essentially, the old main town consists of a street parallel to the lake shore and a few alleys around the market square. The extent of the municipal area is 13 km from north to south and 9.1 km from west to east. The total area is 59.8 km², 34.8% of the area is forested.



The cramped geographic location on the lake is reflected in the special features of the transport connection:

Until the end of the 19th century, Hallstatt could only be reached by boat (from Obertraun or Untersee) or on foot along narrow mule tracks. In the village itself, the small space between the mountain and the lake had been used to the full. The only connections between the houses by the lake were by boat or via the "upper path", a narrow corridor through attics.

It was not until 1875 that Gosaumühle (Gosauzwang, in the northwest) opened up Hallstatt with a road that was partially blasted into the rock. Citizens' protests against the further construction of the road along the lake shore to the south led to Austria's first referendum in 1958, in which the population rejected a lake shore road through the village. In 1966, the double tunnel running west of the town in the mountain was opened for the only road accompanying the lake, since then the west bank has been passable throughout. A parking lot terrace in the Mühlbach Gorge between the tunnel sections offers a view and a footpath into town.

In 1877 the Hallstatt train station of the Salzkammergut Railway was opened. It is located on the opposite east bank of the lake, about 1 km away. A route on the extremely steep west bank was rejected for geological and orographic reasons. A ship line, which was listed on the Austrian postal traffic map around 1990 as the only Austrian postal line by ship, provides the connection from the train station to the market. In particularly cold winters, a snowmobile drove over the ice as a backup. Since around 1995, the Post has mainly been using trucks and thus by road to Hallstatt. Since December 2020, the station has been served by an InterCity connection from Vienna on weekends and public holidays.


Economy and Infrastructure

After tourism with around 140,000 overnight stays per year (as of 2017/18) and the focus on day tourism, salt mining is still the most important economic factor in the village.

The annual visit of 600,000 to 700,000 (according to other estimates from 2018 up to 900,000) mainly from Asia, especially China, arriving day visitors in the few streets of the small town is a typical case of overtourism, meanwhile causing controversy about the tolerable level of tourism and a limitation of access for tour groups arriving by excursion buses. This problem has already been discussed in the ORF documentaries "Hallstatt sweet and sour" (2015) and "Am Schauplatz: Die Chineseenkommen" (2018) as well as in an article in Der Spiegel. From autumn 2020, coaches will only be allowed to drive in and let their groups get off in time slots that have been previously allocated by the local tourist office and are only available to a limited extent. The regulation includes, among other things, that each bus must remain in Hallstatt for at least 2.5 hours and that a fee of €80 must be paid. The number of bus arrivals distributed evenly over the period from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by the slot rule is to be limited to 54 per day, which corresponds to about half the number of buses on peak days in 2018.

Power plant
Since August 2013, the Austrian Federal Forests have been operating a small power station in the Echerntal. The system takes 1.6 m³/s, which is about a third of the normal discharge, from the forest stream and uses a head of 330 m. With an output of 4.7 MW, it feeds an annual generation of 22,000 MWh into the public grid. The power house with a shop window was designed in consultation with the municipality, the historic painter's path was preserved, and a straightened tributary was renatured. In the course of the construction work for the power plant, the drinking water line for Hallstatt was renewed. In 2018, a drinking water power plant with an output of 68 kW was also installed in the power house.

HTBLA Hallstatt: The school with a dormitory includes two branches of training with Matura, various technical schools and master schools and the professional maturity examination.