I’ve seen so many pictures of Hallstatt, Austria and I knew I wanted to visit it. It was only about an hour drive from our place in Weyregg am Attersee, Austria. The trick was – our place was up in the clouds so every day we kept thinking it was too overcast to visit Hallstatt. One day I said to Chris – we should just go. And if the weather isn’t perfect for photos that is okay. I am glad we decided to go because once down our mountain the weather cleared right up and it was a beautiful day in Hallstatt!
A little bit about Hallstatt: It is a World Heritage Site. Human activity in the Salzkammergut region began in prehistoric times and Hallstatt is known for its production of salt. Salt formed the basis of the area’s prosperity up to the middle of the 20th century, a prosperity that is reflected in the architecture. Some of the earliest archaeological evidence for the Celts was found in Hallstatt as well!
The town of Hallstatt from a distance in the left middle of this photo:
James enjoyed the swans (and secretly hoped he could eat them):
When you see photos of Hallstatt this is the angle you usually see. It is SO picturesque:
It is much more picturesque with James in the photo of course:
Do you know how long it took to get that photo? A good 10-15 minutes. I was starting to worry about the lighting in my photo changing! The reason why it took so long – all of the tourists kept wanting to take a photo with James. Over and over and over – crowds kept asking if they could take their photo with him. I said to Chris “we need a bucket and a sign that says â‚¬5 for a photo!”
James with some of his fans:
So, being honest. Hallstatt is a weird tourist town. It is definitely a tourist town. But the locals don’t want you to think that. There are signs EVERYWHERE that say “No Photos” or “No Drones” or “No Selfie Sticks” and “Quiet Please” and “No talking – people live here” and so on. It is so uncomfortable – the amount of signs that make you feel like you shouldn’t be there. We saw a bunch of these really neat trees growing up the sides of houses but the houses were always covered in “NO PHOTOS!” signs. Strange, huh? This was the only one we saw that didn’t have a “No Photos” sign so I quickly took a photo of James just in case the sign fell down.
There is a main road that goes through the heart of Hallstatt but it is gated and only residents can drive on this road. That is good because there are a LOT of tourists. There are no sidewalks and a lot of pedestrians/tourists are walking along this road. But the problem is the residents will RUN YOUR ASS over. They do not drive with any caution at all on this little road. It was quite scary and a few times we cheated death.
My friend Jennifer had been to Hallstatt before and I sent her a text telling her we finally made it! She then said we had to find this cute little cemetery on the side of the mountain. I had seen a few little cemeteries up on hills and I wondered – how on Earth are we going to find the one she is telling us about? So we picked one on a map and started the walk up the little steep pathway. How lucky is this – it was the one Jennifer wanted us to see! It was SO beautiful – each grave site had its own little garden:
I read online that China is building a replica city of Hallstatt in China. I told Chris this and his reaction was funny: “Good! They can have their own Hallstatt and not have to put up with all the NO SELFIE STICKS and NO PHOTOS and all of the other BS that is thrown at you!”
If you are in the area the town is definitely worth a visit. But it was also a “been there, done that, check!” place for us and we won’t go back.