A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
So, as I went to Munich to celebrate the Oktoberfest anyways, and because it took 8 long hours to get there from Leiden I decided to make the most out of it by hopping over to nearby cities in Austria with a friend of mine.. The main destination I had in mind was Hallstatt, the so-called prettiest lakeside village in the world, and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage so I had always dreamed about going there. You will too if you see those gorgeous pictures of this tiny little town. I always have a thing for lovely European towns just like Leiden 🙂
Because my friends had warned me that accommodation in Hallstatt is super expensive, I chose Salzburg as our “base.” Turned out it is also expensive there, only a bit less than Hallstatt, but luckily we managed to track down this Vietnamese student who lives in Salzburg and rents out her room for student travelers. Salzburg is famous for being the city of Mozart’s birth, so we felt glad that we could kill 2 birds with one stone.
BUT, if you want my advice, either combine Salzburg and Hallstatt into one day (it may be a bit of a hustle but feasible) or just simply skip Salzburg. Because, it is kind of boring… We arrived in Salzburg at 10 am and covered every main attraction by 3 pm. That is to say we already tried to expand time by roaming very slowly and even stayed in a cafe for a while. So if you still want to do both, spend the morning in Salzburg and leave for Hallstatt before lunch.
Which brings us back to Hallstatt! We really regretted not spending more time there, because after the Salzburg experience we thought there would also be not many things to do in Hallstatt, but we were wrong! Hallstatt is absolutely beautiful, and time passed by really fast just as we enjoyed the sceneries and took pictures.
The highlight of the trip is definitely the saltmine tour, during which you get to dress like miners and learn about the rich history of salt mining in Hallstatt. I have to say it is a very well-crafted tour, with a nice tourguide and many pleasant surprises(hint: be ready to slide down like true miners!). The tour itself took around 90 minutes, so if you want to go around the village you should check the time of the ferry and the train very carefully.
It takes about 2,5 hours from Salzburg to Hallstatt, so we already lost some time with transportation. The best deal is to buy the OBB Combination ticket which gives you roundtrip train from Salzburg to Hallstatt, roundtrip ferry from the train station to the village and the saltmine tour including the furnicular to get up there for a total of 59 EUR, which according to my calculation is the cheapest option and plus you can be flexible with the train. You can buy this ticket online here or at Salzburg station.