I had never heard the Austrian Village of Hallstatt, until recently when I was watching a documentary on the copied village. Yes, the village has been replicated by Chinese 1-to-1. This alone was reason enough for me to put Hallstatt on the top of my bucket list. Some research on the web revealed a fairytale place in a mountainous lakeside setting.

Austrian Village of Hallstatt
Hallstatt, Salzkammergut, Austria

Due to the proximity of Hallstatt to Munich, it didn’t take me long to realize a short trip here. Soon after we returned from our trip to the Caribbean in May 2013, we found ourselves in the so tiny but so much touristy village of Hallstatt. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed at first, as I was somewhat not expecting to see busloads of tourists. The rainy weather on top of this did not contribute to my pleasure at all. However, looking back at the pictures, I now find this place so lovely, even the clouds so mystical.

Village Center

In Hallstatt, there is only one single street along the lake. Since there are also houses built upwards on the hill, the connection is via such kind of staircase paths:

A “Street” in Hallstatt

One of the interesting attractions here -the most interesting one for me- is the Beinhaus (bone house). Due to the lack of possibility to expand the small cemetery and due to the fact that cremation was prohibited in the former days, there was simply not enough space for further burials. The graves had been opened 10-15 years after the burial; the skulls and other bones were removed. After cleaning, sunbathing, and painting the skulls, they were brought into the Beinhaus along with the other bones, and decorated nicely. Today, this ceremony is no longer performed, unless someone requested to be stored in the Beinhaus by will.

Skulls in Beinhaus
Hallstatt Cemetery

Although I did not enjoy my visit as much as expected, I’ll certainly visit Hallstatt and the surrounding region again in the near future. If you are in the area, I’d recommend coming late in the afternoon and spending a night here. Despite the fact that one hour would be enough to see everything in this microscopic village, it is a magical place where you should simply sit down and daydream without the crowds.

Last but not least, here are some tips from my short visit and lessons learned for my future trip(s):

  • Most day trippers arrive around lunchtime and leave within a couple of hours. Astonishingly, you can meet people from all over the world, even local tourists, Asians, Europeans, etc.
  • If you want to stay overnight, book ahead of time. The options are limited.
  • Dachstein Ice Caves are close to here and quite famous. I was not impressed at all, and given the high entrance fee, I’d recommend skipping the ice caves.
  • Hiking must be beautiful in this area. Due to bad weather I couldn’t, but a must-do if the circumstances are appropriate.
  • I didn’t visit the salt mine here, as I did visit the day before the “Salzheilstollen” in Berchtesgaden, Germany.
  • Enjoy!
Exterior of a house
View from the Cemetery