Public transportation to UNESCO World Heritage listed Hallstatt on the Hallstätter See Lake in Austria is easy by train or bus from Vienna or a day trip from Salzburg. Frequent trains from Salzburg makes Hallstatt a popular day-trip excursion from the Mozart city while half-day tours by minibus are also popular. Trains from Vienna (Wien Hauptbahnhof) take around four hours. Train travel to Hallstatt mostly require at least one transfer – usually at Attnang-Puchheim. From Salzburg, couples and groups of up to five can usually save by using local trains and the cheap Einfach Raus bargain savings ticket.
Getting to Hallstatt in Austria
Hallstatt is a picture-perfect small village clinging to the rocks and a narrow strip of land between the crystal-clear water of the Hallstätter See Lake and the impressive Dachstein Mountains in the Salzburger Land region of Austria. Hallstatt is inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list for the prehistoric Hallstatt civilization that originated in the region and for the salt mines of the Salzkammergut. However, the natural beauty of the area is as much an attraction for the visitors that flock here on vacation as well as day trips from Salzburg.
Driving to Hallstatt is the easiest way to reach this small town. It is a very pleasurable drive along safe and well-maintained country roads and at times it feels like driving inside a postcard. Public transportation is somewhat slow but not particularly cumbersome with traveling times from Salzburg around two hours while Vienna (Wien) is around four hours away.
Many day-trip tours and excursions to Hallstatt are offered from Salzburg and well worth considering for the ease of transportation, e.g. Get Your Guide. Hiring a car with driver by the hour or for a transfer is also an option. My Driver gives online quotations for private transfers without first requiring personal details or flight numbers.
Train Station and Bus Stops in Hallstatt, Salzburger Land, Austria
Hallstatt is located on the west bank of the Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt) while trains run on the east bank only. Hallstatt train station (Bahnhof) is thus on the “wrong” side of the lake but ferries take only six minutes from the train station to the center of Hallstatt village – a great way to arrive in Hallstatt.
- Austrian Railways Einfach Raus Ticket is a great bargain for groups of two to five traveling together using regional trains only. The Einfach Raus Ticket is particularly useful for traveling from / to Hallstatt as most travel is on slower, regional trains.
Buses to Hallstatt usually stop at the Parkterrasse – the parking lot inside the tunnel through the mountains above Hallstatt village. Staircases and steep roads with marvelous views of the lake and village lead from here down to the center of Hallstatt and the lake shore. Continuing to the next bus stop allow for more even roads but a longer walk.
Traveling to Hallstatt by Bus or Train from Salzburg
Hallstatt is a very popular day trip from Salzburg and several bus tours and excursions are on offer from the Mozart town. The Salzburger Land is beautiful and many visitors will not only enjoy the countryside but those who stay longer will enjoy the hospitality and often cheaper hotels and restaurants compared to those available in Salzburg itself.
Around twenty possible daily public transportation connections are available from Salzburg to Hallstatt. However, it is best to avoid the more complex options and stick to single transfer public transportation options. The last connection from Hallstatt back to Salzburg leaves from Hallstatt just after 6 pm.
Travel by Train to Hallstatt from Salzburg
Although not the fastest way, trains are generally the simplest and less stressful way to travel from Salzburg to Hallstatt. A transfer is always requires at Attnang-Puchheim – as only slow, regional trains are available from here to Hallstatt, it is often sensible to use regional trains from Salzburg too to qualify for some discounts including the Einfach Raus Ticket.
Total traveling time by train from Salzburg to Hallstatt can be as fast as 2h12 or as slow as three hours depending on train connection times. The regional trains often add only a few minutes to traveling time making it worth using a REX rather than IC train from Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim.
Travel by Bus and Train from Salzburg to Hallstatt
Using buses and trains are the fastest way to travel by public transportation from Salzburg to Hallstatt. The fastest connection is 1h46 but require four bus transfers and a short train ride.
Far more sensible is bus 150 from Salzburg to Bad Ischl and from here by train to Hallstatt. This routing takes from 2h08 to 2h40. Return travel is best done by train only via Attnang-Puchheim, as the train arrival and bus departure times are not well timed.
On the whole, trains are a better option for traveling to Hallstatt.
Travel to Hallstatt by Train from Vienna (Wien)
Around 15 train connections per day are available between the Austrian capital Vienna (Wien) and Hallstatt in Salzburger Land. Trains from Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna Central Train Station) and Hallstatt takes around 3h30 to four hours. From mid-December 2015, the trains to Hallstatt no longer calls at Wien Westbahnhof.
On weekends only, one direct train links Wien Hauptbahnhof and Hallstatt in just over three hours. Unfortunately, direct trains are not available during the week.
Apart from this direct train, two main options are available for traveling between Vienna and Hallstatt (avoid other more complex and time-consuming routings):
- The easier and faster option is to travel from Wien Hauptbahnhof (or Bahnhof Wien Meidling) on RailJet or intercity trains and transfer at Attnang-Puchheim to the local train. This option is generally available hourly and takes either 3:30 or just less than four hours.
- The second option is to take the RailJet train from Wien Hauptbahnhof and change trains in Leoben and again in Stainach-Irdning. This option is also available mostly hourly and takes just over four hours.
To avoid complex or slow connections, leave Vienna for Hallstatt at the latest on the 14:55 from Wien Hauptbahnhof. From Hallstatt, the last easy connection via Attnang-Puchheim departs from Hallstatt just after 6 pm.
Driving in the Hallstatt region and Salzburger Land is a very pleasurable way to travel to Hallstatt making Hallstatt an easy day trip from Salzburg or a rushed stop when traveling between Salzburg and Vienna. Salzburg Mozart Airport (SZG) is the closest Flughafen to Hallstatt and often offers cheap flights to many European cities. The Karner (bone house) is a somewhat bizarre but popular sight in Hallstatt.
Hallstatt is a very popular tourist destination so excursion tours are often available from Salzburg or Vienna, e.g. Get Your Guide.