Hallstat was the perfect place to visit after covering the miles we walked in Vienna.
Being a small village in the Salzkammergut region of Austria it was easy to navigate, and we rarely took the pram out with us because everything was within walking distance.
It meant we could enjoy mornings out, come back for nap time and chill out at our hotel room before heading back out after nap time to explore some more.
Everything we did there was done at a leisurely pace with Little London in mind and it was just nice and relaxing.
The three and a half hour train journey to Hallstat was worth it for the views you get as you come in to the train station. The view of Hallstat across the water is breath-taking.
You have to take a boat across the lake if you do arrive by train, but there’s no better way to appreciate the whole of Hallstatt than watching it from the water get closer and closer.
If you’re looking for quaint and picturesque, Hallstat is your place.
This was the only bit of our entire trip where we splurged on accommodation. Because the village is so small, there’s not a huge amount of choice when it comes to places to stay, especially if you want to guarantee a lakeside view.
So we made a booking through booking.com to stay at Seehotel Gruener Baum.
The reason I mention booking.com, is because a few days before arriving, we were offered the chance to upgrade our room choice via email to a junior suite for a small extra fee. So obviously we snapped it up.
Our room was huge and beautiful. It’s one of the reasons we decided to come back to the room daily for nap time, because the view was something else.
We had our own balcony and outdoor area to enjoy and every amenity had been thought of. While Little London snoozed, we drunk coffee using our Nespresso machine, ate lunch, wrapped ourselves up and sat on the terrace chair swing while reading our books or just taking in the scenery. Perfection.
Things to do
It’s hard to say what you should do in Hallstat, because really you just need to walk and discover things yourself.
It’s part of the charm and beauty of the place. Here are a few pictures of our time in Hallstat.
Because of the fact we went in winter there were a few things we weren’t able to do, so I thought I would mention them in case it influences when you decide to visit Hallstat if it’s on your agenda.
The salt mine wasn’t a possibility because it closes over the winter months due to heavy snow fall, which also means the funicular going up the mountain is also closed- however even if the mine had been open we wouldn’t have be able to have visited because children have to be over the age of 4. There’s a ride on a 60m slide to get to the salt mines- which certainly appeals to me but the timing and child age just wasn’t going to work at all in our favour.
We also weren’t able to get up to the Hallstat viewing platform. The walk would have been too much for Little London, and it really wasn’t pram appropriate- the funicular will take you up there in the warmer months however. The path going up to the viewing platform was snow-covered and icy, so although we could have walked up there we decided against it on safety grounds as well. It wouldn’t have been safe for us to attempt the hour journey by foot with our child (without him we definitely would have walked it). Not to worry though, there were other walks we went on that took in the village of Hallstat at a height and gave us great views. We didn’t feel like we were missing out, because there’s not really any part of Hallstat that isn’t beautiful.
Finally the only other “attraction” we missed was the Bone House, again because it closes during the winter months.
It sounds really macabre, but it’s an important way of life for those living in Hallstat. The cemeteries they have are very well maintained, but small. This means they have problems with finding space to bury their dead. To resolve this issue they remove the bodies of those that have been buried after so many years, or who no longer have family members able to take care of the graves to free up the burial plot. Only the skulls of those exhumed are kept, and local artists or family members often paint flowers or pretty images onto the skulls along with the name of the deceased and their date of death. Like I said it is macabre but it’s a clever way to deal with lack of space and it tells the story of life and death in Hallstat. We stumbled upon the church and graveyard on one of our walks, and I don’t think there is a place more beautiful in this world as a final resting place.
Hallstat is doable in a few days. It’s a beautiful place to walk around, take in some magical scenery and feel calmed and relaxed. They have some brilliant places to eat as well including the restaurant at the hotel. I’d recommend Hallstat as a stop off point when visiting some of the other big cities or towns nearby or for a relaxing weekend break.