Ever since returning from Salzburg I’ve been bombarded via blog posts and Instagram with day trips from the city that make me regret not doing any actual research before we went. (Not that we would have had time to do much more with a little one, but still…) Oh, well. Just more reasons to go back, right?

The one day trip we did take was to one of those “can’t miss” places listed everywhere. A town so pretty that the Chinese actually built a replica of it. And although my husband tells me that we drove through a few equally pretty towns on our way (I was napping, apparently) I think it was pretty spectacular.

Nestled in a valley in the Salzkammergut, the small town consists primarily of a small square on the lake with a large church steeple reflecting on the water. I think the view of that church (which is incredibly simple inside, especially compared to the ornate Catholic churches in Salzburg) is the reason why Hallstatt is so popular with tourists today.

The town is rather sleepy and you can see most of it in under an hour if you don’t need to get lunch. Drive in, wander around the main square, step inside the Protestant Church, walk up to the Catholic Church and check out the ossuary (which is cool, but not nearly as cool as the one in Kutna Hora), and wander down Dr.-Morton-Weg so you can see the traditional architecture.

Traveling with a toddler, of course, means that there is no such thing as touring a town in only an hour. Plus, they have to eat All. The. Time. So the first thing we did when we arrived (or second—little opens before noon, so L played in the square while we waited for the doors to open) was grab something to eat at Seehotel Grüner Baum. Because it was cold and threatening to rain, we sat inside, but we did take turns wandering on the deck and taking photos while we waited for our lunch, which was delicious. (We tried the different fish preparations, since I’d read that lake fish was the thing to eat in Hallstatt and we were tired of schnitzel.)  The biggest downside is that this is a very popular restaurant for tour groups—two of them came and went during our meal—which means that if you can get a space, the service is slow.

After lunch we wandered around and took the funicular (so many funiculars lately!) up the mountain to the salt mine. (It wasn’t for us, especially with a little one, but you can tour the salt mine and/or hike down the mountain for beautiful views of the valley.) After checking out the view from the top, we went back down and headed back to Salzburg

If it had been a little warmer, I would have added a boat trip on the lake.  If nothing else, you can take the little boat that runs from town to the train station.  Apparently the view from the water is even better than that from the salt mine.

Can you recommend any other places around Salzburg?  I LOVED Hallstatt, but I can’t wait to go back to the region and explore some more!

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