The Perfect Day in A Fairytale Village

The Perfect Day in A Fairytale Village

With social media climbing to the forefront, it comes as no surprise that we utilize these platforms when planning our next getaway.  One Google search and it won’t be long before you’re pining over the small village of Hallstatt, Austria.  In true millennial fashion, we have deemed this fairytale village the most “instagrammed city in Austria.”  It’s a destination that cannot be missed; even if you only have a day to visit.

Getting There

Getting there is the only battle.  There are multiple ways in getting to the village.  After my ride failed to pick me up (that’s a long story), a missed train (semi-sad story), and a non-refundable/non-transferrable ticket (at this point just anger), I finally made it! Heed my tips below for your trip.  One can only take so many issues when traveling to a place!

  • Book tickets day of trip.
    • Many of the blogs I read suggested I purchase my train and bus tickets in advance.  And while that is a great piece of advice in most cases, for Hallstatt it is not necessary.
    • Many of the tickets online are overpriced and often non-refundable/non-transferrable should something go wrong.
    • For those of you that prefer the ticket in hand upon arrival, I get it.  Book your ticket in advance here.
  • Route–Salzburg Hauptbahnhof Train Station to Hallstatt Route
    • Bus 150 to Bad Ischl > Train Bad Ischl to Hallstatt railway station > Ferry across the lake to the village
    • Bus Tips
      • Purchase your ticket directly from the bus driver.  I paid 10€.
      • This is a beautiful, scenic route making stops in surrounding villages.  Don’t take your eyes off the window.  You won’t want to miss it.
    • Train Tips:
      • Bad Ischl has only one platform.
      • Purchase your ticket at Bad Ischl Train station. I paid 4€.
      • Check the timetables as to the last train out of Hallstatt so you can manage your time properly.
    • Ferry Tips:
      • Stefanie is the ferry you’ll be taking.
      • The walk to the ferry is a 2 minute walk.
      • Purchase a round trip Ferry ticket upon boarding. I paid 2.50€.
      • Ferry times match up perfectly with the train times.  That means you can guarantee there will be a ferry ready to take you across the lake in order to make your train.
    • Total travel time: ≈2.5 hours

Exploring Hallstatt

As soon as you dock and depart the ferry you’ll understand why Hallstatt is so photogenic. Beyond that, Hallstatt is considered one of the oldest still-inhabited European villages.  I can’t imagine why you would ever leave, so I understand the lure.  The town is extremely compact so take your time and discover every inch of beauty.

What to Do

  • North to South End: Since the city is compact and entirely walkable, make your way towards one end of town to start your own personal walking tour.  I recommend the North End as a great starting point.  As you near the end of the village, look back and allow Hallstatt to welcome you with a breathtaking view.


  • Take the Stairs:  You’re not going to regret the workout, I assure you.  There are so many paths leading you higher up the mountain; each with a unique vantage point of the lake and village below.


  • Visit the cemetery:   Here lies a moment of peace, serenity, in the middle of the village, overlooking the lake.  Each grave is beautifully tended to with its very own garden covering the resting place of loved ones who have passed.

  • Window Shop:  Be sure to pop your head into the many shops in market square.  I personally found the Christmas tent with hand-carved ornaments to be my favorite.  Take your time and don’t rush! Remember you will have more than enough time to see everything. As you make your way through the square, pop out to the lake to watch the swans float gracefully by.

  • Ride the Funicular: Unfortunately, the rain joined me on my trip to Hallstatt.  The clouds were low hanging and it made no sense for me to ride to the top of Salzberg (Salt Mountain) for a view of the clouds.  The funicular is at the south end of the village, and I highly suggest taking the time to do this small excursion if it is a nice day. There is also a skywalk at the top you won’t want to miss.


  • Salt Mine: Learn about the history of Hallein salt mine and get your very own tour here.


Where to Eat & Drink

  • Cafe Bäckerei Konditorei Maislinger:  If you’re in the mood for pastries and coffee, you’ll want to go here.  A small boutique packing a delicious punch.  Apple strudel and Melange, please!

  • Schnaps & Holz: Warm the insides with a taste of homemade schnapps.

  • Marktbeisl Zur Ruth: I poked my head inside this tiny pub to hideaway from the rain.  It was just the spot to cozy up to the window with an Austrian glass of wine and soak in the views outside as the rain came down.  I’m not sure if I walked in when the locals crowd the bar.  When I stepped inside it went from laughing and yelling to silence in 2.5 seconds.  All heads turned to me, and we experienced a slightly embarrassing silence while I tried to ask for a table.  Thankfully, Austrians are amazing people, and they welcomed me with open arms.


Friends, we can spend our whole life reading of and dreaming of faraway places.  The magic is in the moment we witness the fairytale in person.  I can tell you, there is just nothing quite like it.

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.”



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Haley Milan

Consumed by wanderlust, fueled by coffee, determined to live a minimalist lifestyle and collect moments, not things. Join me on my travels and an every day life of simplicity!

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