Google pictures of Austria and no doubt a few shots of pretty lakeside Hallstatt will come up in the feed.
And with good reason.
The word picturesque was invented for places like this.
Of course, when we visit charming tourist towns, we aren’t content to just wander the adorable cobbled lanes. We wanted to hike. So we set off on a rather short jaunt up the hill Hallstatt is built into, overlooking its pretty lake. At the top, a salt mine and a skywalk awaited.
This is that hike (scroll down for directions and details).
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Want to experience the hike for yourself? Here are some relevant details:
The trail begins behind the big catholic church (walk quietly through the graveyard and you’ll find the stairs that begin the trail. If you’re having trouble locating it, the tourist office has a free map. Once on the trail, it’s easy to follow. Follow signs for Salzberg (the salt mine).
Hiking times and local transportation
The info center told us the hike would take about an hour, but I think it took us a bit longer (though I wasn’t tracking our time). I’d expect 1.5 hours if you’re moderately fit and not stopping too often to take photos. Longer if you’re a slow hiker or want to stop frequently to snack, take photos, and read all the plaques along the route. One hour if you’re fit and going straight up without stops.
Getting to Hallstatt from the largest town in the region (Bad Ischl) takes two bus rides and maybe 30 minutes (Google says it’s longer, but we got there much faster than their estimate). The bus tickets are rather pricey, though, at about 6 euros per person per way.
At the top of this trail, a gondola sits to take you down (or up, or both). It’s rather pricey, at 10 euros per person one way, so we opted to hike back down.
Dogs on trails
We saw multiple dogs on the trails, many off leash (though people take care to leash their dogs if they see another dog coming).
Is the trail crowded?
Yes. Hallstatt is probably the most popular town in the region, which means it’s busy. We weren’t shoulder-to-shoulder with other hikers, but we could see other hikers ahead or behind of us at all times. And that was on a Tuesday in September while Europe is closed to Americans because of the virus that shall not be named. I imagine July and August or a normal international tourist season are even more crowded.
What to bring
As always with hiking, wear good shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. Parts of the trail are in the sun, so good sunscreen is a smart packing choice. And there are no water fill-up stations along the way, so make sure you’re carrying enough water.
For the dog, I always carry a small carrier backpack just in case. And because I love taking photos, you won’t find me on a trail without my camera (All the photos above were taken with my Sony a6000.)