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alfred Jul 22nd, 2003 06:12 PM

Halstatt
 
Hi fellow travelers,
I will be going to Austria for about 10 days in November. I am very interested in seeing Halstatt. Could someone please tell me if it's really all that special?
Thanks.

BillJ Jul 22nd, 2003 06:23 PM

Well, Alfred, it was for us in June of '02. A postcard little village with a most charming little town square. The Hotel Gruener Baun (sp?) has seen better days, but was ok, with a balcony looking over the lake. The square fills up with day trippers, so you should plan to see it early and late in the day. If you are staying in nearby Salzburg, there are many excursions into the Salzgammergut, or drive to Halstatt and stay one night. The salt mine tour is awesome, and the scenery . . . indescribably serence and beautiful. Do a search here on Halstatt, you should find plenty of info.

indytravel Jul 22nd, 2003 06:26 PM

I was in Hallstatt April 23 & 24 of 2000. It really is a lovely village, had so much fun looking around the town I stayed a second, peaceful night. If I did it again I'd take the train there then dash down to the dock to catch the boat and ferry across the lake to Hallstatt. It would be a beautiful approach because I rented one of the electric boats and went out on the lake to enjoy the view. If you fit it as a rest between two bigger, more tiring venues it can be a calming one or two night stay. Though don't expect a big night life scene.

The town is very up & down. You can walk along the water and get to the town square, church, a couple of hotels and restaurants. If you want to get up closer by the falls it's quite a steep walk with stairs to get up the side of the mountain. You can drive to a parking garage near the falls. I found the parking next to the falls to be a bit incongruous.

Ate dinner at a wonderful restaurant/hotel in the southwest corner of the Hallstatt town square, Gasthof Zauner. I remember eating at a little pizza place in the upper part of town too that was good.

At that time the Hallstatt salt mine was not open yet for the season. Found out that the one in Altaussee was the only one in the area running. I enjoyed the tour. It was fun to put on the baggy white suits over your clothes. The tour group looked like a bunch of convicts or workers in a sterile room. The short video before the tour was interesting and broadcast through headphones in multiple languages. I liked the slide too.

I'm a little worried though, I've heard it's been "Rick Steves-ed." Meaning he has promoted it as a lovely spot and his hordes of followers have been inundating it. Don't know how true that is.

indytravel Jul 22nd, 2003 06:28 PM

Hey BillJ I was typing while you were posting. It really sounds like the town has been Rick Steves-ed. :-(

Or maybe I was lucky and April is off season enough.

BillJ Jul 22nd, 2003 07:47 PM

Ricky boy day tripped out to Halstatt from Salzburg in one of his 30 minute travel videos. If that's the only way to see the Salzgammergut, well, ok, do it. But that little square in Halstatt was inundated with the Gray Line Tour crowd. I got some great pictures of the Halstatt square early in the morning. But by 10am, forget it. The evening before we rank as one of the most peaceful, quietest, most serene evenings we have had. The lake was glass smooth, as no outboards are allowed. It was simply beautiful.
We drove, but the train idea seems very enticing. We watched the train come and go from our balcony perch across the lake. We think of Halstatt often with very fond memories.

jmw Jul 23rd, 2003 05:56 AM

I enjoyed Halstatt while staying in St. Gilgen some years ago, and at that time I suppose it had not made it to big time travel television. It was beautiful. Here's my question: If someone wants to stay there and day-trip out during the crowded days, what are boat/train connections like? We had a car, but I'm a devoted train traveller and would like to stick to that if I return to Halstatt. J.

elberko Jul 23rd, 2003 06:10 AM

jmw,

The boat is timed to the train, so it's very easy.

Hallstatt was beautiful in early June when we were there. It's best from about 4pm to 9am, quiet and peaceful.

I have a feeling November is not good, though. I seem to remember reading a report from someone who found it dreary and mostly closed in the off-season.

eurotraveller Jul 23rd, 2003 07:01 AM

I was just there in June and had only planned on passing by and we ended up staying two nights. It is magical! I did not find it overrun by tourists. As a matter of fact we saw very few during our 2 1/2 day stay. Go there!

BarbaraF Jul 23rd, 2003 09:58 AM

We were staying in St. Wolfgang and made a day trip to Halstatt and nearby ice caves and salt mine (it was a dreary rainy day). Halstatt was a much more picturesque village than St. Wolfgang, and we had a great lunch at the Gruner Baum on the lake. Also visited the "interesting" charnel house there, where they stack the bones of their dead, instead of keeping them buried, as they are running out of space.

The lake at Halstatt is not quite as pretty as was the Wolfgangsee, but St. Wolfgang was much more touristy and a bit tacky.

cparris Jul 23rd, 2003 01:53 PM

We just stayed there for 2 nights (about 2 weeks ago) at the Seehotel Gruener Baum. It is the most beautiful town I think I have ever seen. We reserved a room with a balcony...I think it was on the 2nd floor. I loved just sitting on the balcony and watching the lake. That said you can also rent bikes, canoes, kayaks, small motor boats. We rented a canoe and kayak. The salt mine tour was fun...even my teenagers enjoyed it. It is quiet at night...there might be one or two bars open. The hotel had good food and we went to a pizza place up the hill that was very good. They limit cars going through...but in November it will be quiet. It wasn't that crazy when we were there. there are also some good hikes if you ride the funicular up the hill. I would highly recommend going.


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