Hello my Blog readers,
I am here with another trip to a historic and mind blowing village, Hallstatt. It is a beautiful village lying on the banks of the lake called Hallstätter See in upper Austria. It can be reached only by boat if we travel by train.
It is a very small village populated with less than 1000 people. Also, Hallstatt is famous is for its salt production. It has rich history of more than 7000 years of salt extraction from the salt mines .The serene water and tall mountains are the major attractions. Tourism is the main income in Hallstatt.
So, I planned a day trip to Hallstatt. I got up early in the morning, got ready and packed few food items and started towards the station. As Hallstatt is in Austria, I had to take two passes. One pass for Bavaria till the Germany border and another pass Einfach raus
(Austrian pass) for two persons which totally costed 31€+34€.
Route goes this way
Traunstein -> Salzburg -> Attnang-Puchheim -> Hallstatt
I boarded the train from Traunstein at 7:15am and reached Salzburg by 7:45am. But I had to wait for an hour for another train connection. There was a bus connection to Hallstatt but it will cost 30€ which is totally waste as I already bought train pass. So I just went out of Salzburg train station and walked around the place.
Later I took a train to Attnang-Puchheim at 8:55am and reached Hallstatt station by 11:30am. From train station I took few steps and saw a mesmerizing view, tall mountains, sun trying to look out from the hill, the calm lake and houses constructed on the hills. I took few click and started towards the boat station (follow the crowd).
I bought tickets to Hallstatt, to and fro 10€ for two persons. Boat reached Hallstatt in 10 min. I got down and was awestruck by the view of mankind’s creativity in nature’s magnanimity.
I strolled around the Hallstatter’s lake and through the historic market for some time, every view is beautiful and lively. For a moment I felt like I come alive in my own fantasy dream.
Later I went to a museum of skulls called Beinhaus. Here during 17th century, people used to keep the dead people’s skull with their names written on their skull but after 1960 they stopped this practice due to space constraints.
Then I planned to visit salt mines. For that I need to go to top of the mountain by cable car, so I bought tickets for whole trip which costed 60€ for two persons which included to and fro by cable car and salt mine visit. It is close to 2 hours round trip.
I took cable car and reached top of the mountain, from there I still need to reach up by walk. It was little steep but enjoyable. When I reached the entrance of the Salt mine, there I was asked to deposit all my belongings and I was given a costume to wear which is necessary to enter the salt mines.
All set and I entered the salt mine with group of people and a guide. We all walked through the tunnel for 5 min and reached big cave, here the guide started explaining the history of salt production in Hallstatt and the process of extraction.
From here to reach next level below the mountain we need to take a slide which passes through the tunnel. The slide is made of wood and now I understood why we were given a special costume, mainly for the slide. It was not new for me as I already visited salt mines in Salzburg, 2 years ago. For old people there is an option to go by stairs.
Soon, people started sliding and it was my turn I was little scared but I made it. Until you reach down you don’t believe that one can reach safely, it was a very smooth, free and safe slide. I enjoyed it. Later guide took us to next level 200m below.
Here there was a small auditorium kind of setup, guide told us to take a seat and there was a small video documentary for about 15mins about the salt mines. It was very surprising to know these mountains were part of sea before millions of year. Later the sea water dried up and the remaining salt gets deposited inside these mountains due to shift in the earth’s crest. The video animations were really good.
Next we reached another slide which is longer and steeper than the earlier. I am much more excited and happy. This time they have a camera on the slide and all sliders were captured. Then we reached still deeper into the mountains and there was a small lake which the salt miners use to pump inside the mountain to dissolve the salt. There was a light show here about the mankind’s evolution starting from Stone Age to discovery of metals. It was really awesome.
And then in the next level deeper there is another video session followed by discovery of world’s oldest staircase in this salt mine. It was almost 7000 years old, which shows, how the salt is being extracted from here since then. And finally they will display the world’s oldest staircase inside the cave. It’s really unimaginable to think how they managed to explore this salt mine and extracted salt from it even before the discovery of metals.
Still that salt mine is working.
With so much of surprises and history we reached the final stage of the salt mine where we need to board a small train. It is interesting and exciting. We all sat on the toy train and it went through the small cave. It is a 5 minutes ride and I enjoyed it totally.
After that, I collected a photograph taken during the slide, which costed 5€. While leaving the place, guide gave us a sample salt in a small container as a souvenir. We thanked the guide and we started walking towards down hill. Now the view from the top is amazing and fantastic. There was a bridge called Skywalk where all tourist were taking pictures covering the top view of Hallstatt.
After 30 min or so I reached Hallstatt and sat for some time, took the return boat and reached Hallstatt train station. I took train to Salzburg at 6:30pm reached by 8:30pm.
Overall it was a great trip and it’s an eyeopener for me to know about the history behind the world’s oldest salt mines.
Trip Duration – 1 day
Places visited in Hallstatt – Beinhause, Saltcaves, Townhall, Skywalk
Trip Cost for 2 persons – 150€ (from Bavaria, Germany)