After doing some research, Hallstatt looked like the perfect place to see the leaves changing in autumn! So here’s everything you need to know to visit Hallstatt in the fall.
When to Go
The best time to visit Hallstatt and Hallstätter See (the lake that Hallstatt is on) for the fall is usually from October 21st to the end of October.
We went from October 24th to the 26th and it was a fall dreamland.
I wanted to get the timing perfectly so I wouldn’t miss the best colors by just a few days, so if you have some flexibility, here are some tips that could help you time your trip a little better:
- Go on Google Maps and Look at Most Recent Reviews with Photos
- Download Snapchat & Check the Location Maps
- Look Up #Hallstatt on Instagram and Choose “Most Recent” Posts
Where to Stay
I highly recommend staying in Obertraun to save a bit of money and still be really close to Hallstatt. Plus, some of my favorite things we did were outside of Hallstatt, which you’ll see in the itinerary!
The town is super tiny and in the fall there is only one restaurant that is open for dinner and that’s a pizzeria. It was actually super good pizza though!
There’s a supermarket but it closes super early and the food will be a bit more expensive, so it would be smart to grab some snacks from whatever city you’re coming in from (we came from Vienna).
Another place to stay that isn’t quite as close is Bad Goisern.
Fun fact: this city has the biggest Krampus run in all of Austria. How do I know? I went in 2018! Anyway, that’s not until December 7th so that’s for a different trip…
What to Do While in Hallstatt
The pictures I took while in Hallstatt are absolutely stunning, but the feeling of being there in the fall really can’t be beat. It truly felt magical and we got there right on time for some of the best autumn colors.
If you’re staying in Obertraun like I did, this is gonna be an easy one! But even if you’re not planning to stay there, it is DEFINITELY still worth a trip.
The mountains behind the houses in Obertraun had some amazing fall colors clustered together, so if you’re looking for a bunch of different colored trees all cozied together, Obertraun is perfect.
The town is adorable, but the main reason to visit is that it’s the start of one of the most gorgeous fall walks I’ve ever been on! I just put on “Red” by Taylor Swift and walked around the lake and wandered.
Walk from Obertraun to Hallstatt Train/ Ferry Stop
I took so many pictures on this short walk that it was difficult to choose which ones to show on this post!
The lake is usually still and glassy, so it makes for perfect reflection shots of little cottages surrounded by fall trees, fallen leaves covering the pathway, and then floating on the lake.
One of the highlights was this little red bench a few minutes before you arrive at the ferry stop where you can get some shots of Hallstatt from across the Hallstatter-see. We did this walk two times and the first time was a bit too hazy and dark for a good shot.
While we were there in late October, before noon had great lighting.
If you have a half-day before or after you do Hallstatt, I would recommend doing this hike then so you can take an early morning ferry into Hallstatt and the last ferry back. That way you can spend the most amount of time in Hallstatt.
Take the Ferry to Hallstatt
The ferry schedule is most likely going to change depending on the season, so if you have the chance, go to the ferry stop to double-check the current schedule.
What I’ve noticed from visiting this part of Austria multiple times is that this is the kind of place that updates the locals on bulletin boards. It’s super hard to find up-to-date information. But instead of getting frustrated by this, I think it adds to the charm of the area!
They only accept cash, and you should have exact change. At the moment, the ferry is super cheap, just 7 euros roundtrip per person. You just buy the ticket as you get on the ferry.
Here’s a picture I took at the ferry stop:
Even in late October, the ferry was full both ways, so if you want a good spot on the boat, make sure to get there 15-30 minutes early.
Since we had been to Hallstatt before (and I hate getting up early), we took a late morning ferry and then took the last ferry back at 6:50 pm.
This worked out since the best lighting is usually from 10 am to noon, so the views were incredible. Earlier in the morning, the city would still be in the shadow and the lighting would be more blue.
Visit the Town Center
If you’re arriving at Hallstatt by ferry, you’ll be thrown right into the middle of town, versus if you drive or take a bus and you have to walk quite a bit to make it to the town.
I always recommend putting the phone away and just wandering for a bit to take in the beauty of a new place.
This is super easy to do in Hallstatt of course! If you go left when getting off the ferry, you’ll walk straight to the center of town.
Take Pictures at the Viewpoint
If you’re itching to get to that famous Instagram viewpoint, go right instead when you get off the ferry. Just remember to be respectful of the locals and stay quiet while in this area.
There’s not really a bad time to go to this viewpoint, but the best lighting seemed to be in the early morning and afternoon.
Get a Cheap & Delicious Lunch
If you’re looking to save a bit of money and still have a super good lunch, I recommend Karmez Kebap Cart, which you should have seen right when you get off the ferry.
I got a Bosna, which I had never tried before and thought it was really good! Plus it was only around 6 euros.
Since I had a lot planned for the day, we grabbed lunch here and two espressos.
Hike or Take the Funicular Up to the Welterbeblick Viewing Platform
If you like hiking and want to save some money, the views on this hike up to the Welterbeblick Viewpoint are definitely worth it!
Plus, I was dressed cute for the town in a skirt and some boots and had no problems doing this hike. So no need to wear hiking clothes, just make sure your shoes are broken in!
The hike should take about 45 minutes to an hour.
There were plenty of kids and families on this hike, with benches to rest on the way up.
The Viewing Platform is also free so if you hike, this whole experience will be free and you’ll have more money for treats later!
If you plan to take the funicular roundtrip, it costs about 10 euros for children and 22 euros for adults (steep price!)
Make sure to check the website for updated prices and to see the hours of the funicular and if it’s currently open (sometimes it’s closed for repairs).
There are free clean bathrooms at the top as well.
Visit the Salt Mines
While you’re up at the Welterbeblick Viewing Platform, you can also visit the Salt Mines. You can buy a combined ticket to do the funicular and the Salt Mines for a discounted price.
We decided to skip the Salt Mines, but the reviews make it sound like it would be worth a trip! I just didn’t want to pay 28 euros per person.
However, if you are interested, this salt mine is apparently one of the oldest salt mines in the world!
Grab Some Sweet Treats
After the Welterbeblick, whether you hiked or not, I’m sure a sweet treat sounds like a good idea.
We stopped at Ofenfrische Schaumrollen and tried almost everything on the menu! The best was the custard tart with fruit on top and the second best was the schaumrollen cream roll. Lots of the reviews said the chocolate croissant was great, too!
I’m on a strict schedule of two coffees per day, so I also grabbed a cappuccino as well!
With afternoon treats and coffee in hand, we wandered the town a bit more and got our last photos before taking the ferry back across the lake.
Since we were pretty tired from all the walking, we chose to take the train to Obertraun instead of walking back.
Dayna Brockbank is a travel and language-learning blogger who has lived around the world but has now settled in Nice, France. She speaks 3 languages at varying levels of fluency: Spanish, Italian, and French, and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Spanish Education. She and her husband focus on making travel part of life by living cheaply and traveling on a budget.