How to Craft the Perfect Hallstatt Summer Vacation
Hot off the press: A Hallstatt Summer Vacation
Wilkommen zu Hallstatt! Set in the Austrian mountains, the village of Hallstatt is reminiscent of a fairytale. This small city sits along the shore of a pristine lake surrounded by towering mountains. Pastel colored houses create the village’s quaint charm. Here in the mountainous terrain, the warmer summer months encourage visitors to test their athleticism through a variety of activities. For all you adventure seekers, let me show you how you craft the perfect Hallstatt summer vacation. Take an afternoon and venture out on the glistening lake by boat, or peek below the lake’s surface with a morning scuba dive. Better yet, go chasing waterfalls or hiking through the trails. Then afterwards, don’t forget to sample your way through the village’s tasty bakeries and restaurants!
Here are some helpful tips in crafting your perfect Hallstatt Summer Weekend:
Activities and Adventures
Boating on Lake Hallstatt
Why not thoroughly enjoy a day on the water? Summer is the perfect season to indulge in this activity. What better way to absorb all this summer beauty than by boat? You can slice through the tranquil waters of Lake Hallstatt in an old-fashioned motorboat, fit for a James Bond character. Plus, the majestic power of the mountains that tower overhead will astound you. Rowboats are also an option. Row your way around the shore for a scenic cruise showcasing the landscape. To summarize, a combination of the Hallstatt summer lake waters and the majesty of the mountainside will amaze even the most seasoned traveler.
When I think of a great dive site, turquoise waters and colorful coral come to mind. While tropical reefs make for great underwater photos, Hallstatt holds it own allure. Generally, June to October are the best months to dive. So, why not add it to the Hallstatt summer weekend itinerary? Not only is it the perfect time to take the plunge, but also, the clarity is excellent. It grants numerous opportunities to see fresh water fish or the sunken Kronprinz Rudolph.
The sheer rock faces of Hallstatt’s mountains provide excellent rock climbing opportunities for beginners and expert mountaineers alike. Hallstatt’s summer months thaw the icy ridges and offer softer conditions for your climb. These peaks soar nearly 3000 meters above the lake. Imagine the view as you climb towards the clouds! Your climb will reveal alpine pastures reminiscent of the Sound of Music, and you will immediately understand Richard Roger’s inspiration. Demonstrate your bravery as you mountaineer along rocky gorges toward the summit.
As you might imagine, this mountainous terrain can also provide for some excellent hiking opportunities. There are numerous paths and trails that vary in difficulty. For example, there’s an uphill hike to one of the many summits in the area. It provides incredible views of the lake and mountains. If you’re not up for the climb, there is a gondola that will transport you to the mountaintop and you can hike down. At one peak, you can dine at Restaurant Rudolfsturne (see below) with a sweeping view of the valley below.
I’d recommend the hike to Wasserfallwand. It’s one of the most scenic viewpoints according to UNESCO (and me)! The Wasserfall hike will take you past a Catholic Church, a cemetery, and then lead you to your ultimate destination. Although the actual waterfall dried up many years ago, you will be treated to an incredible panoramic view of Obertraun and Lake Hallstatt.
Let’s hike for cheese!
During the Hallstatt Summer months, you can easily walk up to the Rottenhofhütte, a mountain Inn and restaurant that makes fresh alpine cheeses and yogurts! Throughout the summer they have cheese-themed events. Their cheesy creations will tantalize your taste buds, and have you booking a winter stay as well!
Salt Mine Tours
For those hot Hallstatt summer days, consider escaping the heat in the historic salt mines. Ride the funicular train to the mouth of the mine. Here, you can spend your day twisting through the ominous tunnels that ancient generations dug by hand. Daily tours are available to educate you on the mine’s 7,000 year old history. Additionally, you will find the rich narration provided by your guide quite interesting.
Fortunately, for us luxury travelers, we will appreciate the fact that there are not a plethora of chain brands in Hallstatt. Instead, opt in for the charm of a classic hotel such as Hallstatt Hideaway. The simplistic, modern country design of the inn encourages you to put away your electronics and enjoy the glorious view of the lake. Private suites are minimally decorated yet adorned with luxury touches. For the ultimate luxury experience, select the Penthouse Suite SALZ. Here, you will enjoy a balcony whirlpool and a fabulous marble bathroom with a gorgeous soaking tub.
Seehotel Grüner Baum
This idyllic, lakefront hotel dates back to the 1700s, and maintains all its historic charm. Its central location is set in a village marketplace, and grants easy access to many historical sites. Stateroom balconies proudly overlook the tranquility of the lake. Sit and sip your morning coffee as the sun rises over the mountain range. Later, dine in the hotel’s restaurant, Zum Salzbaron, serving fresh fish caught each day from the lake. Or you can relax lakeside at the Lake Lounge as you sip an evening aperitif.
Hallstatt is home to many little restaurants and delicious bakeries. Most of the places are casual joints where you can enjoy an Austrian beer and a pizza, or some Austrian comfort food. However, you’ll find my suggestions below great for a more formal option. Lastly, don’t forget to stop into Cafe Backerei Konditorei Maislinger for the most scrumptious pink tea cake!
Gastof Zauner serves the regions finest, locally sourced ingredients. This delicious menu includes wild game and fish caught in Lake Hallstatt. The restaurant sits in the main village square, and is part of the small Inn called Seewirt Zauner. A bar off the Inn’s lobby is a perfect spot for you to have a pre-dinner cocktail or glass of wine. Their extensive wine list presents many Austrian and international wines.
Sitting high above the village is the Rudolfsturne Restaurant. It’s a short climb or lift ride, which gives you an amazing view of the lake. From the lift, you’ll cross a short footbridge that brings you to the restaurant. This structure was once a medieval watchtower, but later converted to the main residence for the mine’s Operations Manager. After 1954, the house transitioned to a restaurant, and draws numerous patrons. The restaurant’s patio seating looks out over the sheer cliffs. Creating regional delicacies, this kitchen is sure to please. After a sumptuous meal, continue your Hallstatt summer itinerary and head to the restaurant’s second floor to walk through the history museum. It illustrates the story of Johann Georg Ramsauer, discoverer of the Hallstatt burial fields.
If you’re craving something outside of traditional Austrian cuisine, try Bacht’s Polreich. This restaurant has a variety of Italian and vegetarian dishes. It also has a lake vista. You won’t want to miss this moment to stare in awe of the village’s natural beauty. This former house is simply furnished, but serves delicious desserts!
Although beautiful year round, the Hallstatt summer months deserve your attention! Trade your parka for a tank top, and seize the opportunity to sit lakeside in your swimsuit. You will create the best of memories once you embark on a Hallstatt summer vacation.
INSIDER TIP: You cannot park inside of the village. Be prepared to park in a parking lot outside of the village, and then take the shuttle to your hotel. Don’t pack too heavy because you’ll need to walk and roll your suitcase for a bit.