Hallstatt – Where History Meets Nature

A town famous for its salt mines is not usually a hub for tourists, especially if it can be toured on foot in ten minutes. However, the charming Austrian town of Hallstatt is a Mecca for history buffs and those who revel in all the wonders nature has to offer.

With its distinct Austrian flavor, tranquil lakes, quaint architecture and sublime salt mines, Hallstatt promises a pleasant travel experience and is one destination on the Austrian map that deserves a visit. It also has a 1:1 replica in China, which definitely confirms Halstatt as a globally recognized landmark.

The original is located in the Salzkammergut region and one can visit the town via boat, bus or train. The Hallstatt train station is across the lake and the ferry service coincides with the train arrival, making the entire process very convenient. Since many tourists prefer a day tour in Hallstatt, the town has very limited accommodation options. But if you have made up your mind to spend a night in this lovely town, then try getting a room at the Gasthof Zauner Guesthouse.

Halstatt, Austria
Paul Skorupskas Halstatt, Austria

Located near the lake, the place also has an in-house restaurant that serves extremely high-proteic mixed meat plateaus (veal, pork, beef and liver). The major attraction at Hallstatt are no doubt the salt mines, which are located at the Salzbergwerk mountain. Those who want a brush with history should take a tour in an underground railway passing through the Subterranean Salt Lake and the “Edlersberg” salt chamber. A two-way ride on the funicular is available from EUR 8.50 per adult and one can also opt for special tours, where you get to see the location where the  ”Man Preserved in Salt” was found in 1734. This UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site should definitely fit in your itinerary.

The history trail for could continue for the stout-hearted to Beinhaus (bone house), which has around 1200 skulls, some of them dating back to nine centuries ago. If the cemetery is too macabre for your taste, then make a stopover at the World Heritage Museum in Hallstatt and travel through time. This fairly new museum has artifacts from the Iron Age and is the perfect place to explore the area’s intriguing past. Timings vary according to the month and admission fee per adult is EUR 7.50.

Our next pick may confuse some, as a sports shop doesn’t usually translate into a place of historical significance. But the cellar of the Sports Shop Janu in the town center shouldn’t be missed. In the nineties, an emergency excavation was made and as a result unearthed goods were found (dating back 7,000 years) from the Celtic and Roman times, as well as the middle ages. The Sports shop Dachstein Janu is open during summers (8.00 – 18.00 hrs) and from Monday till Saturday in winter.

Once you are over with your sightseeing, explore the village area and make a beeline for any of the local eating joints. Our pick is the Zum Salzbaron, which is known for its exquisite cuisine and promises pan-European cuisine, with its own special twist. Located next to the lake, a 2 course meal for one can cost around EUR 15.

Hallstatt as a town has endured and flourished for centuries. Its distinct combination of history and unspoiled scenery make it special and hence it’s a must see for the history buff in you.