Hallstatt is a small town in the Austrian Alps that puts The Sound of Music to shame! The best way to enjoy a full-day trip from Salzburg to visit Hallstatt is to start your journey by rail. The train goes straight up into the Austrian Alps and drops you off by the edge of the mountain.
Once there, you sit in a little hut and wait for the Halstatt ferry to turn up and carry you across the lake to the Alpine town of Hallstatt. There, you don’t see any cars, and it’s just like a trip into the past. The locals are nice and the prices are reasonable. Swans swim around the outdoor cafes, and, all in all, it’s a very romantic destination.
Deciding to go on a day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt
I had been in Salzburg for four days and I was growing restless. The city was beautiful, with lovely parks, buildings, and plenty of interesting things to see. But at the end of the day, it was still a city. And a pretty expensive one, too!
After flipping through my guidebook and talking to the staff at the hostel reception, I decided to go on a day trip from Salzburg to visit Hallstatt. So the next morning I went directly to the train station.
Getting from Salzburg to Hallstatt, Austria
On the train, I met a fellow traveler who was also traveling to Hallstatt. And, as the train passed by some of the most spectacular mountain scenery I’ve ever seen, the two of us chatted about our travels in Austria.
On our day trip from Salzburg, we raced between the side of a mountain on one side and a dark blue lake on the other. The train slowed down and he told me that was our stop. There was a tiny cabin near the train station, but there were no other houses, much less a small town. I started to believe that my new friend was pulling my leg.
Exploring Hallstatt, Austria
However, out of nowhere, a small ferry appeared and pulled up to our shack. We both got on it and off we went across the lake, continuing our day trip from Salzburg. When the ferry approached the other shore, a small town started to take shape. Swiss chalets, swans, cobblestone paths, outdoor cafés, and no cars. No cars at all! It’s crazy how peaceful things are when there are no motorcycles, no mopeds, no buses, or other vehicles. Frankly, this was unreal.
Because Hallstatt was so peaceful, I immediately decided to prolong my day trip from Salzburg into an overnight stay. Therefore, I rented a room in a chalet right on the shore of the lake. My room’s window was looking out over the water. As night fell, it was hard to picture a more peaceful place in the world.
As Halstatt is located at a very high altitude in the Austrian Alps, the place was even more impressive in the morning. Lying in bed, I gazed out my window into what looked like the screen of a television that went grey. Opening the windows to get a better view, I was shocked to find that we were so high that the clouds were only 20 feet above the water of the lake. This was one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever come across and words can’t possibly do it justice.
Hallstatt in the morning was perfectly still and silent. I admired the slowly swirling clouds reflected into the lake and the swans swimming about the entire morning.
To be honest, going on a day trip from Salzburg to visit Hallstatt is pretty challenging. The challenge lies in going back. I ended up staying in Hallstatt for a week!
Sarah Grossman was born in Austria but moved to Canada after college. She is an avid and savvy planner and organizer of worldwide travel and enjoys sharing her personal stories to encourage, inspire, and help other travelers.
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