If you have Pinterest there’s a 99% chance you have seen Hallstatt. If you haven’t, you clearly don’t waste enough time on Pinterest! I can’t lie, it was pretty much the one reason I wanted to go to Austria in the first place and it fuelled my research into the country.
Hallstatt is the quintessential Austria village. It’s TINY but it’s also one of the prettiest villages you will ever see, hence thanks to Pinterest, it’s become the place to visit. In fact, the Chinese loved it so much, they built a replica in China! Crazy!
A short drive through some beautiful countryside and we were almost there. I couldn’t even tell you how excited I was to be going. True be told, I was actually a little anxious, what happens if I was expecting too much out of this tiny little village?
I was also nervous about the weather, we woke up to a very cloudy sky and given how warm it had been on previous days a thunderstorm wasn’t out of the question. This would really put a damper on the one thing I really wanted to do in Hallstatt – hire a boat in the lake. All credit goes to Margo at The Overseas Escape for this idea!
So we parked (the actual village is pedestrianised but car parks are clearly signed posted as you enter, make sure you get there early as they are not big, you also need to pay) and I practically shoved CB out of the car so we could get down there before the rain started.
I spotted a tour bus dropping off tourists for the day and hurriedly dragged CB behind me, fearful they would get to the boats first. It was so hard to walk past all this beautiful little buildings without taking pictures but the skies were getting darker.
Ok, so I took a few pictures.
Yes that is a crane you can see, I told you there was construction everywhere!
Then I saw a sign for boats, so we headed down a little alley to the water but nothing no boats and no one around. On to the next one, but it was the same. Worried that everyone was packed up for the weather I took my chance at the third stop, they very last one. Thankfully there were some people around and so I asked a young guy if he had boats to take out of the lake, he looked at his dad and nodded. Off they went to get us a boat out of their storage shed.
I’m not sure if it was off season or if they were just cautious of the weather but all their boats were away in storage. I’m just so thankful they were kind enough to get us one out. So off we went.
Our first glimpse back was pretty spectacular.
When you hire the boats you get the choice of fast or slow. Go for fast. It’s still pretty slow. Helpfully you also pay when you return for either half an hour (13 euros) or an hour (16 euros) so you don’t have to decide at the start. Although, clearly you will want an hour.
The lake is pretty large, Hallstatt is towards the bottom on one side and Obertraun on the other side (this is where you get the train to then can cross to Hallstatt by boat). We decided to explore the other side of the lake first.
There was a couple of beautiful buildings on the other side that looked like someone’s home. We were also fortunate enough to spot a dear also exploring.
We were desperately trying to get away from those dark clouds.
So after making a loop of the bottom of the lake, we headed back over to Hallstatt.
You really got a feel for the structure of the village from the water, with buildings on top of one another all the way up the hillside. This was the little place we got the boat from:
Also, the quietness of the lake is nothing to do with skillful photography. Apart from the ferry going from Hallstatt to Obertraun we were the only ones out on the water.
We turned the engine off and just sat for a minute, enjoying the peace and calm of the lake.
Before we headed closer to shore to return our little boat.
We headed up to the top of the village to capture the sterotypical shot.
Then the rain started. We took shelter under a balcony and we could hear people chatting above our heads. We realised it was the balcony to a restaurant so thought we would try our hand at getting a table outside. Not a bad little view. Can you see that rain?! Crazy!
I tucked into some of the fish from the lake, which was delicious, while CB opted for another schnitzel, he insists they are all different!
The little square in Hallstatt is probably the prettiest I have ever seen.
So, with the rain still on we headed back to the car. Even with the rain, Hallstatt was definitely one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen.