A nice Spritz in the sun by the calm lakeside, that’s what my wife had in mind for her birthday. And I had in mind that Hallstatt in Austria should provide this: A calm little village by the lake, beautifully surrounded by mountains, so we decided to give it a try. What we didn’t know at the time: Hallstatt is one of the most famous destinations for Asian people, since there’s a Hallstatt replica in China. So, up to a million tourists visit Hallstatt every year, most of them from Asia. It’s now become so much that Hallstatt decided to limit the access: From 2020 on, there will be an online booking system for vacation coaches. Drones are already forbidden, and many locals have put up signs asking the tourists to act quiet around their home town.
We visited Hallstatt at around 7 pm, and it was still quite packed with tourists. Another day, we drove through Hallstatt at 11 am, and there wasn’t a single parking spot available on the already quite spacious parking lots for visitors. So tourists parked up to half an hour walk away from the village and went there by foot.
Admittedly, Hallstatt is a really beautiful place and its status as UNESCO World Heritage is certainly well deserved. But it’s definitely not justified to have up to one million visitors per year in this tiny village. Anyway, I was happy to get some moody shots of the most famous Hallstatt view this year, before things get crazy in the future.
In general, we weren’t very lucky with the weather: Rainy and cloudy conditions throughout the trip. Still, on the last day, we visited the Gosau lakes, at least one of them – to hike to to Hinterer Gosausee, it was just too rainy. But Gosauseen is definitely a beautiful place, with its layered mountains building up alongside the water – a place to return to when the weather is nicer some day for sure.
So all in all, the Salzkammergut region is definitely worth a visit, although one should carefully pick which places to visit and which ones to maybe better leave out. There are not that many hiking options in the area, and it’s all a little touristy in general. Anyway, we had a great time and regardless of the weather some nice impressions – thanks Austria!