We were looking forward to our day trip to the Village of Hallstatt.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage region, surrounded by towering alpine mountains and nestled next to a lake. The town is not very big and you will have no problem seeing everything in a day.
If driving to Hallstatt, parking is limited as there are only three areas to park. We arrived early in order to park in P2, the parking area closest to the salt mine entrance.
One of the main attractions that is offered in Hallstatt, is the visit to the salt mine. The Salzwelten salt mine dates back over 7000 years and is the oldest in the world.
We were one of the first groups to take the tour of the salt mine that day. Included in our ticket was the ride up the funicular. It takes about three minutes to reach the top.
As you make your way up the mountain we saw some gorgeous views of the town and surrounding valley. If you don’t want to tour the salt mines, you can pay for the funicular ride and go up for the stunning views.
There is a hiking trail if you do not want to pay to take the funicular, but I think I would rather ride than climb this hill.
Hallstatt Viewing Platform
We got out of the car, and proceeded to the elevator that took us up to the next level. From there you can walk to the platform that allows you to see the breathtaking views of the valley below or make your way up the mountain side to the salt mine. Either way I would recommend going up to the top of the mountain.
After taking pictures from the platform, an additional ½ hour walk is needed to get up to the starting point of the salt mine. As you can see from the picture below it is quite a hike up the hill.
To help distract us from our long hike, a historical presentation was displayed on cubed bill boards on the conditions back in the day. It was interesting to read about the area as we made our way up the hill.
We finally made it to the starting point which included a gift shop and restaurant.
We presented our tickets and was led to a changing room in which we dressed in overalls over our clothes. This was needed before we entered the mine. Once properly dressed, we were lead on a mini tour of the house, going from room to room which again presented the history and events. Huge pictures were on display depicting what it look like back in its time.
It appeared that we were at a dead end of the house, but it was the starting gate of the tour. Our guide met us and started into the history of the salt mine. You will have to bear with them as they tell the tale several times over in at least 4 different languages.
We left the house and walked about 10 mins to the entrance of the salt mine. Again the guide gave some history of the mine which in itself was very interesting and again in several languages. Then we started walking into the mine. The mine was well-lit and ventilated. If you have a fear of being in confined areas, I would not recommend this tour.
Along the way, presentations of the equipment and conditions that prevailed in that time period were demonstrated. A movie of how the salt mine was developed back in time was displayed. A major presentation was presented to us as we came close to the end of the tour. It was set up like a theater with seats to sit on while viewing the presentation.
When we entered the mine we entered at the highest elevation of the mine. We had to drop two levels during our tour and the way we did it was very unusual. Two wooden beams placed apart going down to the next level like a train track. You would straddle the beams with your legs and slide down to the next level. The first drop was a small one to get you use to it. The second drop was quite lengthy and resembled an amusement ride at a theme park as they took a picture of you to be purchased at the end of the tour at the gift shop.
The final treat was to take a train ride out of the mine. The ride through the tunnel is very low and narrow, which required keeping your head down and your hands and legs close to your body. At the end of the ride we returned our overalls and started walking back to the funicular.
After our tour, we started making our way to the town. The view of the funicular going up the mountain.
This quiet town nestled by the Hallstatt lake is like a postcard setting. The picturesque houses are adorned with colorful flowers. We spent several hours walking the narrow streets taking pictures. We could not get over how beautiful this place was.
Evidentially we came to the town square and grabbed some lunch. We were able to sit outside and people watched.
The village of Hallstatt is in an idyllic setting, one that we will never forget. If you are ever in the area, take time to visit this quaint town that sets along the lake.