Salzkammergut is an area that lays East of the city of Salzburg. The name refers to the salt winning from that area (Salz is German for Salt) and is an addition on the UNESCO world heritage list for Austria. If you are visiting Austria this summer, be sure to drive through this nature filled roadtrip with a lot of lakes, ending all the way to Hallstat! These are our 7 favorite things to do while going on this route!
1. Visit Fuschlsee
Our first stop on the route was the Fuschlsee. This humongous lake is 2,7 km² big in surface. There are a lot of hiking opportunities around the lake and the nearby nature. Know that a lot of the lake sided venues own the ‘beachside’. We only walked for half an hour and found a stop at a restaurant with a nice view over the lake. We were not intrigued to stay longer than that. There is a big parking at the entrance of the town with free parking for 30 minutes.
2. Visit Wolfgangsee
With a surface of 13 km² the Wolfgangsee is a big touristic spot. You will see a lot of canoes, kites and other water sports being done at the lake. We parked at one of the few parking spots directly at the water and enjoyed our lunch on a bench. The views were amazing!
3. See Hallstatt from far
After that we went to the main place of this trip, Hallstatt! We tried to go for a parking in the town but since Hallstatt only has 3 parking spots and all where full, we first decided to drive a bit further to the following spot:
Pretty nice view from far!
4. Visit the Salt mines of Hallstatt
After we found a parking in the town centre, we decided to do a tours in the salt mines of Hallstatt (Salzwelten Hallstatt). For € 34,- per adult (€ 17,- per child) you get the tour plus cable car up and down. Between 09:00 AM and 18:00 PM the cable car goes every 15 minutes (schedule from June 2020 until end of September 2020).
Once up you should visit the restaurant, not only does it have a good Wienerschnitzel, it also has a viewing point over hallstattsee: the best view there is over the lake from Hallstatt! The Goulash was not so good by the way ;-).
After a 15 minutes hike up, we reached the entrance of the Salt Mines, worth a visit! We got a nice outfit, got to use the longest underground slide in Europe, saw an ancient stairway and got to learn a lot about the mine and its history through the ages. At the end a short train ride back to the entrance.
5. Visit Hallstatt town centre
The town centre is a beautiful old town right situated right at the lake. With some amazing views over the water and mountains on your right, and these buildings with character on your left.
One of my favorite views was over the town square, really unique set up and a feast for your eyes.
But the most special part is the reason this town gets flooded with tourist: this instagram famous spot with the city next to the lake.
6. Stay in Obertraun for the best view
Just 9 minutes by car from Hallstatt, there is a nice village called Obertraun. We stayed at Hotel Haus Am See there, and let me tell you that this is the best view you can get for a reasonable price as well.
7. Visit the caves in Dachstein
Dachstein is famous for the Dachstein mountains, with the highest peak being Hoher Dachstein at 2,995 meters. It also houses two maginificant caves to visit: the Mammoth cave which is huge in size and the Ice cave which contains ice that is 500 to 600 years old. Below you will see the price list for 2020. We decided to do both caves, which is one cable station away from the ground floor.
For both caves you will get a group number to join a guided tour, always go with your ticket to the main entrance for that. The Mammoth cave is around 15 minutes of walk, the ice cave is a bit steeper and took us 20 to 25 minutes to walk.
The Mammoth cave is nice, but honestly afterwards we thought we should’ve only done the ice caves. Why? The hike to the Mammoth cave took a lot of energy, and for the ice cave one you will climb a total of almost 500 stairs plus the steep hike to get there. Because of it’s big size, it is called the Mammoth cave. No actual Mammoths have been found here.
The hike up to the ice caves was tough as mentioned before, but a very nice view.
We start off with seeing a lot of small ice formations, but also the skeleton of an extinct cave bear which used the caves for their winter sleep.
But main event, walking past huge blocks of ice!
With this big block of ice being the main attraction (yes be aware of the weird shape) and some other mayor ice formations as well.