In midst the mystical Salzkammergut Lake Region lies Hallstatt, Austria’s oldest village, whose culture dates back to the 8th century B.C. Quite possibly the most photographed Austrian village, Hallstatt is visually framed by the Hallstättersee and the massive Dachstein mountain range.
Arriving in Hallstatt is quite the experience in itself. With the train station on one side of lake and the village on the other, you need to take a ferry across the lake to get there and are thus awarded with a spectacular first impression of this famous Alpine village.
Once there, the local museum shows artifacts found in burial grounds around the area spanning the last 7000 years. A short walk to St. Michael’s chapel reveals one of the more unique objects on display in Hallstatt: hand-painted skulls – neatly arranged in the bone house/ossuary – and yes, you read that correctly. Due to its limited available space Hallstatt is the only village in Austria where long buried skulls and bones are often eventually hand painted, stacked neatly, and put on display.
Another local treasure: Salt, over centuries the source of Hallstatt’s wealth. We urge you to visit and to literally slide down deep into the world’s oldest salt mines. Once inside at “Hörnerwerk” cavern you will discover a subterranean salt lake and become acquainted with the tragic fate of the prehistoric miner who became world-famous as the ‘Man preserved in the salt’.