Hallstatt Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
Hallstatt is a very picturesque and quaint town about 20 miles east east of Salzburg in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. This town was built around the Hallstatt Lake and surrounded by steep mountains, making the building a bit cramped. The only way to reach Hallstatt is via a train that will arrive on the opposite side of the lake and to take a boat across.
Despite the gloomy and lousy weather during our weeklong stay there, we had great fun exploring the trails and sights in the wind and rain which ultimately made it such a memorable trip.
The town seemed to give a very cramped feeling as most of the houses were built just next to the lake and upwards on the steep mountains.
The most bizarre attraction in the Hallstatt town was the Beinhaus (Bone House). Dating back to the 12th Century AC, there were over 1200 skulls of which 610 skulls had been painted in flowery designs with the date of deceased written on them and stacked in neat rows along with the next of kins. Even though the skulls were all nicely painted, it was still an eerie feeling to be inside the bone house with all the skulls and bones!
Echern Valley, lying to the back of Hallstatt town, provides many easy trails up the beautiful landscape of the Glacier Garden. We had great fun hiking on the trails and taking in all the beauty of the nature, waterfall and forests despite being most of the time out in the rain.
Hallstatt has around 7,000 years of salt mining history and it is really worthwhile to make a trip to the Salzwelten mines. We went on the guided tour through the salt mines and saw the well preserved corpse that was found in the mines in 1734 which had been pressed flat and had tightly grown into the rock. We were told that it was about 3,000 years old. Another attraction in this place was the Mega Slide – Europe’s longest wooden slide (64 meters). The speed of the visitors down the slide was measured by radar and printed on the pictures as a souvenir for the visitors. That was a great way to speed without being fined!
Although October was not the skiing season yet, the cable cars up the mountains were already operating and we decided to go up the mountains to have some fun. Indeed, we did have fun as there was a snow storm and we could barely walk more than 15 meters away from the cable car station in the strong gale and snow. We had to retreat and return to the cable car station to get ourselves warmed up again.
The lousy weather continued and Hallstatt was still shrouded in the mist by the time we left the town after all the fun we had.