We took about a 2 hour bus ride from Salzburg to Hallstatt on a really lovely afternoon. We passed several lakes and wound around MANY steep and windy hills before reaching this MAGNIFICENT and completely breathtaking little slice of heaven. Hallstatt is a small city in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. It's full of 16th century alpine houses and alleyways brimming with flower boxes. I fell immediately in love with the quaint little market square and cheerfully painted buildings and shops and Lake Hallstatt visible from nearly every part of town. One of my favorite local shops was full of hand carved wood toys you'll see below.
Once we'd tried to soak in as much of the bustling little town during the busy hours as we could, we headed up to the Church of Saint Micahel to visit the beautiful cemetery and the famous Bone Chapel. There are more than 1300 skulls inside this little stone room- something you certainly don't see everyday! The skulls are grouped by family and represent the entire community through the ages. Hallstatt is incredibly proud of their little town and the people who live here and they treasure them just as much after death. I loved visiting this sacred and meaningful part of Hallstatt.
From here we hiked 40 minutes and the equivalent of 120 flights of stairs in height up to the Hallstatt Skywalk Welterbeblick that overlooks Hallstatt Lake! The hike up is pretty intense, but the vies make it all worth it. We even found the entrance to an old mine! This fantastic skywalk platform at the top protrudes out over the side of the mountain and gives you the most spectacular view of the entire lake and city below. Also, there's beer up there- very worth it :) Hallstatt is known for it's salt mines and this is also where you would go to find that tour, although this isn't something we chose to do.
After refueling on beer and sausage we hiked down and hopped a boat out on Lake Hallstatt to get a view of the town from a new angle. PLUS there was a really cool castle across the lake I wanted to check out ;) We brought some local beer and snacks, hopped aboard and cruised the lake!
As the night wound down we walked down to the local "bathing island" to watch the swans and baby ducks play in the water. We found some cool old buildings and a church that doesn't appear to be in use anymore and just enjoyed the details of this charming little town. In the wide shot below you'll see a funicular that goes all the way from the bottom of the mountain nearly to the top. That is the alternative to the very steep hike we did earlier that day, but I promise it's really worth it to get out in that fresh mountain air!