Weekend in Upper Austria -Hallstatt, Salzburg and Dachstein
I love traveling and discovering new places: distant (as I did in Dubai – read more here) but also nearby ones. That is why I wanted for a long time to visit Upper Austria, home to many beautiful places. A week ago, we have spent two wonderful days in this part of Austria and it’s all that a traveler can ask for: amazing nature, picturesque architecture and delicious Wiener Schnitzel. Located in the heart of Europe with a population of almost 9 million citizens, Austria is globally known by its wonderful capital Vienna. But there is so much more to see in every part of this country.
Although they speak the same language as their first neighbor, Austria is 4 times smaller than Germany. And no, Austrian people and German don’t like to be put in the same basket! Just something to know before you go there 😊
If you’re still interested to get to know more about what to see in Upper Austria continue to read below.
Day one – the most famous village in Austria and Dachstein area
Visit most picturesque village ever – Hallstatt
The first day we started fairly early from Prague (when I say early, I mean 5 am). We planned to explore Hallstatt and Dachstein on the first day. How we managed it, read below.
Can you believe that Hallstatt is so popular among Chinese tourists that they built the same replica in Chinese city Luoyang? Indeed, even when we were there, most of the tourists were Asians. And not only that: a lot of signs and public information are translated also to Chinese.
It was late fall when we visited it and because of all of the autumn colors, the village was even prettier. It’s a quite small place so, in 2 hours at not even a fast pace, you can explore the whole area. Just dive in and walk around, every single point gives some nice view.
What impressed me is that Hallstatt looks as pretty in person as in pictures. I honestly think that hashtag #instagramfriendly was born here. You can enjoy the 1-kilometer long stroll with the magnificent view on the surrounding mountain, feed some of many swans that are cruising down the lake or go to the top of the village for some nice view. For 10 euros per person, you can even jump on a boat ride on a lake. I didn’t go for it so can’t share my opinion on it, but it seems quite nice.
We decided to have lunch on the other side of the lake because we wanted to skip the rush hour in the center of Hallstatt. And we didn’t regret it: I swear to God, Uferwirt Seeraunzn has the best Wiener Schnitzel ever. For 16 euro you will get a huge portion of meat and potato together with a big portion of side salad. I recommend this place because the staff was also very polite – one thing I appreciate a lot. Try for yourself and let me know if you like it.
Hallstatt is something to visit but don’t plan to spend more than a day or even a few hours here since it’s very small.
FUN FACT: In Hallstatt, you can even find a bone-house! A long time ago, when cemetery space was very limited and cremation was not allowed, Hallstatt citizens were exhuming people’s bodies after 10-12 years. Then they would clean the bones and place them in the Bone-house. After some time, they started to decorate the skulls and today this is quite a tourist attraction. Pretty weird if you ask me but also very interesting.
Visit Dachstein area
My personal favorite! Located very near Hallstatt, the Dachstein area offers a lot. We decided to go for a cable car ride up in the mountains in Dachstein Krippenstein. From Hallstatt, you can be there in 16 minutes by car or 35 minutes by bus.
When I say mountains, I mean so since you go up to 2100 meters altitude. Up there you can do a lot of things: exploring salt caves, stepping on popular 5 fingers or skiing in the wintertime.
The price for this thing can differ based on what you want to see and the price list you can find here. We opted for Panorama option that was including cable car rides and 5 fingers, but not salt caves. The cost was 32 Euros per person.
I loved this! The cable car ride was so cool and a little bit scary. Imagine you are going up in the air and at some point, you are so high that you have a feeling like you’re just hanging in the air. And the altitude is who knows how high.
Another possibility is to go and visit Dachstein Skywalk that is 1 and a half hours away from Hallstatt. This possibility offers a bit more adventures things:
- Walk on the highest Suspension bridge in Austria and visit Ice Palace. If you are real adrenalin junkie head also to Stairway to Nothingness. I guarantee that you will love these 14 narrow steps that are leading, well, to nowhere. The price for all of this is 10 euros altogether.
- Skywalk – they say it’s one of the prettiest panorama views over the Alps? I haven’t been but if you go, tell me is it true! 😊
- Panorama Gondola ride with the cable car. Find the price list here.
- Sunrise and Sunset – you can even go up there for a sunrise breakfast or sunrise dinner. This will cost you a bit more – 69 or 78 euros (price list here).
I felt a little bit sad that we didn’t go also here but due to limited time and budget we had to opt for only one thing. Well, Dachstein Krippenstein was a closer and cheaper option. As you can see, it’s not so cheap to do all of these activities. If you’re two or with the family, the amount that you need to pay goes easily over 200 euros. But you know what? I think it’s worth it. It’s such an amazing experience to ride up to 2100 m altitude, drink coffee almost with the clouds or hang over the mountains at 5 fingers.
Day two – Lakes in Upper Austria and Mozart’s birth town
Visit some of the prettiest lakes in this part of Europe
Upper Austria is home to many, many beautiful lakes. We have decided during our weekend to visit some of them. Because of their good location between Hallstatt and Salzburg, we went to see Mondsee and Wolfgangsee.
Our Sunday morning started in St.Gilgen, a small city that lies on the shore of Wolfgangsee. If you know anything about me, you will know how much I love to start my day with coffee or breakfast. When there is a good view included, I’m all in the clouds. 😊 That’s why I loved so much our morning coffee at one of the piers of Wolfgansee. Pictures can’t describe how magical this place is but we gave our best. I have read that Wolfgangsee is one of the prettiest lakes and I can’t disagree.
Mondsee, on the other hand, has a reputation to be the warmest lake. This was our next stop that day. We were walking along the shore and we saw many people doing the same. The best thing is that they were locals who decided to spend their Sunday out. One can only imagine how nice it gets in the summer. Swimming, riding a boat or just chilling on the shore -I can’t wait to come there in the summer and see it for myself.
However, in upper Austria, you can also find the deepest lake in the whole country – Traunsee. Or one of the largest – Attersee. And of course, there is Hallstater Lake that for sure can take the title of the most photographed one. 😊
Spend the afternoon exploring Mozart hometown – Salzburg
Salzburg is, even without this famous guy, a great place to explore. But indeed, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the most popular resident of this city. Today you will find that many things in Salzburg are dedicated or named by him. I believe we all heard for “Mozartkugeln”, candy-filled with pistachio marzipan and nougat, covered with dark chocolate. Since pistachio is a big NO for me, I can’t tell you is it good but boy, you can find them everywhere in this city. You can also visit Mozart’s birth house to see where the famous artist lived.
The prettiest part of the city for me was Mirabel Gardens. It’s is free to enter inside and it attracts a lot of visitors so it’s a bit crowded but still nice. From here you have a nice view of the Salzburg Fortress (Hohensalzburg) that can be reached with a funicular and with the price of 13 euros.
Like I said, even without Mozart, Salzburg has a lot to offer. The old town of the city is the UNESCO World Heritage site. There you can find Salzburger Dom which is one of the prettiest cathedral interiors I have ever seen in my life.
We wandered through the streets for a while, went over the bridge to explore a bit more and sat down to eat another Wiener Schnitzel (because why not). Salzburg is not a big city and it can be an easy day trip from Munich or Vienna. Just start early.
After this trip, I saw again how beautiful continent Europe is. There is something for everyone so if you have the opportunity do not miss to explore this part also. Austria is not only Vienna or skiing in the winter. I can only imagine (or maybe see it by myself next year) how good is swimming in some of these lakes.
I hope you liked this post. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at any time!
Till next reading,
Your Traveler To Be