IS HALLSTATT OVERRATED?
I’ve been to Hallstatt for the first time a few weeks ago – despite being a 3 hours drive from Vienna, I was able to withstand the hype so far. After seeing photographs of this picturesque city all over Instagram once again (thanks especially to dear Teru Menclová), I decided that I have to go there too. After a quite surprising journey to Upper Austria (I thought Hallstatt is located in the state of Salzburg, ooops) we arrived there at around 10:30 am. As winter seems to be a little bit off season, two of the three parking lots were closed – or, lets face it – just not ploughed and full of snow. So we lost another 20 minutes finding the right parking lot.. Later I found out that there is in fact another parking option: When arriving in Hallstatt there is a turn lane that says “Buses only” inside the tunnel – if you take that turn you’ll end up on a small parking lot with direct access to the famous old town of Hallstatt. Coming back to the starting question, yes, in my opinion Hallstatt is overhyped and overrated. It’s a cute and picturesque town, yes. Especially if it’s snowing and you are lucky enough to catch a perfect winter day I guess it’s wonderful to stroll through the tiny alleys. For an hour or two. But not for more than one day, that’s for sure. Hallstatt has no more than 800 inhabitants and in my opinion you’ve seen it all very quickly.
I know, I know.. It really is beautiful and yes, I photographed this view in exactly that classic composition a hundred times. Still, I think that it’s not worth staying more than a few hours in Hallstatt and rather explore the surrounding area too! We went to Gosau after staying in Hallstatt for around 2 hours and there is a lot to explore. Gosau is another small town (in terms of inhabitants) but lies in a valley and all the houses are quite far from each other. Perfect for a long winter wonderland walk! There are still many interesting places around like Gosausee, Altausseersee and many more! That’s why I’d rather stay in Gosau or another town near Hallstatt and explore the whole area! Plus, it’s way cheaper than staying in Hallstatt!
All in all I can only recommend taking a day or two and explore the beautiful Salzkammergut region. Hallstatt is a wonderful sight and you can get some great shots despite it’s being packed with tourists. Remember, Winter is more or less off-season, so I guess there are way more tourists in summer! That’s why I’d totally recommend going there in Winter – plus it’s even more beautiful in my opinion! Still, I think it’s not only Hallstatt but the whole area that is really worth visiting! I definitely have to come again to explore Altausseer See and Gosausee – maybe next time for some autumn colors!