Hallstatt is a beautiful village in Austria, almost surreal! This small paradise on earth is very popular with tourists around the world. There is a good reason why – just see some gallery with Hallstatt images and you’ll want to visit right away! My family and I visited Hallstatt at the end of 2018 and we loved the place.
Is Hallstatt a good destination to visit with children?
Hallstatt has stunning nature, fresh mountain air and interesting history, but it is not an easy place to visit with a baby or a toddler. I explain my reasons below. Traveling with older children or teenagers – 5, 6 years old and up – you will love the place and have a lot of family fun!
Most tourists visit Hallstatt for a day. Big part of them don’t sleep here. When we went to Hallstatt, we slept there for a night, after spending three days in Salzburg. You can totally see all of Hallstatt in a day, since it is a small village. However, the place is so beautiful that you will want to stay at least for a night, trust me!
Moving around Hallstatt with children
Hallstatt is a car-free zone and you will feel safe with your little ones running around. Moving around, you will need to climb lots of either hills or stairs. It is not a flat territory. On the contrary, you will be constantly going up or down. Pushing a baby stroller around is not that easy, but the positive side is that Hallstatt is a relatively small place. There are many stairs in Hallstatt, which lead you to upper parts and houses in the village. Being with Anna, we had to skip exploring these. On the positive side, you will be probably staying here a day or two, as most tourists do. Thus, it won’t be that difficult to manage Hallstatt with a baby.
Hallstatt is very crowded in the summer and might not be that comfortable for babies or small children. When we visited in the low season, there weren’t any crowds and we were able to walk around freely. Still, Hallstatt attracts around 2200 people on average a day! Most of them come in the summer.
Entertainment for children in Hallstatt
The oldest salt mine in Europe is located here. It is an absolute must see, but they do not allow visitors below 4 years of age. Traveling with Anna, who was one at the time, we had to skip visiting this cool attraction. Sure, you can visit one parent at a time, which we decided not to, because we weren’t feeling like it.
If you travel with older children, go to the salt mine, because it seems awesome! According to the pictures promoting the place, they give you mine helmets, overalls and other equipment before entering. This would be a great experience for any child old enough. Teenagers would love it, too.
Another cool thing about the mine is that visitors need to get up the hill on a very cool looking and modern funicular. Once you get up, the view must be stunning as you’ll see the whole lake and the mountains surrounding it from above. Once again, being with a one-year old in the winter, we decided to skip this one, too. We already knew that we cannot enter the mine with Anna.
Get on a boat on the Hallstatt lake
Depending on the season, there are different boat options in Hallstatt. We visited in the winter and there was just a small boat, which brings passengers to the train station on the opposite side of the lake. It was a 10-minute ride on the lake one way, then we had to wait for about 10 minutes for the passengers to get off and the new ones to get on. Still, it was a lot of fun and at a good price (EUR 2,5 per person). Anna loves getting on boats and she liked it a lot. I am sure any child would appreciate and enjoy a ride on the Hallstatt lake. So will the parents 😉
Finally, the Hallstatt lake is full of swans and ducks that randomly swim around. You’ll see them many times and your kids will probably be interested in the birds.
Places not suitable for children in Hallstatt
I can think of only one place that is not suitable for children in Hallstatt. Namely, Beinhaus or the Bone house at the yard of St. Michael’s Chapel. It is a small chamber that contains the decorated skulls of 1200 former residents of Hallstatt. The place is not horrifying and maybe some teenagers would be curious to see it. Still, it is not at all suitable for bringing children in, considering it is a dark room full or real skulls. I got in out of curiosity and was not scared, but I am a grown up after all.
The yard of St. Michael’s Chapel has a small cemetery with interestingly decorated little houses above the graves. This one is neither morbid, nor scary. Still, if your kid is impressionable or you have a reason to believe this would upset him or here – be sure to skip this part of the chapel.
What to have in mind when traveling with children in Hallstatt
First and most importantly, Hallstatt is a vehicle-free zone. There are some private parking sites and a few belonging to hotels. If you must have your car right where you are, be sure to book a place that provides parking. Have in mind that parking at the entrance of Hallstatt is not that bad. The place is really small, so you will get to the city center in several minutes.
We parked at the entrance of the city, planned what we are taking in advance and had so issues with getting to our hotel. If you are traveling around Austria, just prepare a small suitcase of the things you will need in Hallstatt and leave the rest in your vehicle. This worked great for us!
In the off season the life in the village of Hallstatt starts early in the morning and finishes in the late afternoon. This means that the streets are empty, the stores close early and there are one or two restaurants opened. Thus, you’ll need to entertain yourselves and the kids at your accommodation if sleeping here.
For the second half of the day Hallstatt is in the shadows of the mountains surrounding it. The sun is nowhere to be seen after lunch time. This is not necessarily bad, but it is still better to plan your activities on the lake or taking pictures around in the morning hours.
Ready to pack your bags for Hallstatt in Austria? Let me know if I can help with further advice! I am sure you will enjoy Hallstatt a lot!