The Play Harder Tours “BeerQuest 2018 Munich to Prague” trip is just a few months away. Dates are set, air and accommodations have been booked, all that’s left is a bit of fine tuning. Within 2 months of our trip we will book tours with local guides, buy train tickets and make reservations for special things we might want to do. The trip runs 16 days including our 2 departure days. We bookended the trip with 5 nights in both Munich and Prague, sandwiched in between are 2 nights each in Hallstatt Austria and Cesky Krumlov. Beer centric travelers will love this trip with both Munich and Prague being 5 star beer centric travel destinations, and Hallstatt and Cesky Krumlov both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The next leg of our journey begins with a 9:30am train from Munchen HBF with changes in Salzburg and Attnang-Puchheim. Travel time is just under 4 hours and should have us in Hallstatt Austria before 2pm. The segment of the trip between Attnang-Puchheim and Hallstatt is quite scenic as the route meanders through valleys, along pristine alpine rivers and lakes that are nestled between mountains. Hallstatt station is no more than a boat dock next to train tracks, from the dock we will ferry across Hallstatter See (Lake Hallstatt) to the tiny village of Hallstatt.
Hallstatt, a village of only 800 residents clings to a small sliver of land at the base of mountain on the western shore of the 400 ft deep lake. Located in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region, has been inhabited for 7000 years! The region is known for its stunning beauty, surrounded by mountains and crystal clear lakes. For thousands of years salt has been the draw to the area, today it is a tourist Mecca.
Hotels: Hotel rates in Hallstatt tend to be high due to the limited supply, usually in the $200 – $300 per night range for double occupancy with upper floor lake view rooms being the most desirable. Be sure to book your hotel well in advance because space is limited. Heritage Hotel Hallstatt and Seehotel Gruner Baum are my favorites.
Restaurants: There is no shortage of fine dining in Hallstatt. Most offering deliciously fresh seafood from Lake Hallstatt. You’ll find many traditional Austrian delicacies made from local ingredients including regional specialties.
Das Kainz located in the Heritage Hotel offers a formal dining room as well as a beautiful terrace that overlooks the lake for more relaxed dining.
Restaurant Rudolfsturm, originally a medieval defense tower high above Hallstatt dates back to the 13th century. The restaurant and terrace provide an incredible view from above of Hallstatt, the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Brau-Gasthof translates to Brewery Guesthouse and is the closest connection to beer that I could find in Hallstatt! After brewing beer for 400 years the huge copper brew kettles were confiscated by the government during WWI and melted down to make munitions.
Today, its a restaurant and hotel with one of the prettiest lakeside terraces in all of Hallstatt.
Cafe Derbl is the place to go for coffee, tea and tasty Austrian dessert specialties. The strudel is a must with everything including the ice cream, home made.
For a change of pace try Bacht’s Polreich for Italian and vegetarian specialties with cozy surroundings and a beautiful lake view.
Activities: The top tourism sites in Hallstatt are divided into three areas, the village of Hallstatt, above Hallstatt, and across the lake in Obertraun. Each could easily fill a day to explore. With a 2 nights stay in Hallstatt it’s important not try to squeeze to many activities into a such a short time frame. Realistically, we have one full day to explore Hallstatt. The Heritage Hotel Hallstatt will be our home during our stay with check-in listed as 3pm. We will stow our bags, relax a bit then take a leisurely stroll through this beautiful lakeside village before dinner.
The Village of Hallstatt is quite compact and very walkable with the Market Square being the city center and main congregation point. Just off of Market Square you will find the Welterbermuseum Hallstatt the World Heritage Museum displaying 7,000 years of history taking you on a journey through time from the Stone Age to the present. Just a short walk south to Seestrasse 50, is Sport 2000 Janu a sporting goods store with something special inside. Taking a wooden staircase below the store you will find a major archeological excavation of Roman ruins as well as other artifacts dating back to pre historic times. Admission to the site is free during store hours. Located behind the Heritage Hotel is the Catholic parish church of Hallstatt, on the church grounds you will find the Hallstatt Charnell House (Bone House) and The cemetery of Hallstatt. Due to the limited space in the cemetery, the older bones were removed, painted and decorated, for display.
Above Hallstatt a funicular railway carries visitors up the mountain from Hallstatt to Salzwelten, an ancient salt mine with a subterranean salt lake. During an excavation in 1734, a prehistoric miner was found preserved in salt. The miner was believed to have perished in a natural disaster about 350 BC, with his remains later buried in the cemetery of Hallstatt. At the top of the funicular you’ll find the Restaurant Rudolsturm, and the Skywalk Hallstatt viewing platform which provides a spine tingling view of Hallstatt, the lake and surrounding mountains.
Across the lake in Obertraun head to the Dachstein Krippenstein cable cars for a trip up the mountain to the Dachstein Ice Caves, Mammoth Caves and Five Fingers Lookout with it’s 1,300 foot vertical drop. From the Hallstatt Lahn bus station take #543 to Obertraun Dachsteinseilbahn Talstation. You can plan on 4 to 6 hours to see the attractions, with the first cable car starting its ascent at 8:40am. Five Fingers is a true adrenalin rush, perched high on the mountain is said to be the most spectacular viewing platform in the Alps! A clear sky with good weather is needed to fully enjoy the platform, so plan accordingly.
The Beer-Centric Traveler writes for Play Harder Tours… Please email Bill@playhardertours.com and start your travel planning today! For a complete list of recommendations please email with “Hallstatt” on the subject line. I’d love to hear your suggestions too.