Lake Hallstatt

Hallstatt Austria - salt mine

The Hallstatt lake, a majestic Austrian lake, located in the Salzkammergut region in Austria, is one of the most beautiful and iconic lakes in the entire world. It is popularly known as Hallstatter See or Hallstatt Lake, and it is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here, the glacial valleys are filled with lakes with clear water and are surrounded by romantic hills. Hallstatt lake area attracts sports minded people, romantics or history lovers.

Immerse yourself in the world of Lake Hallstatt and explore its secrets. It tells many stories and legends from times long past. Numerous sights will make your holiday around lake a cultural and historical experience.

Is it worth to go to Hallstatt lake?

The main reasons for going on holiday to Lake Hallstatt are the following: the idyllic clear lake in the Salzkammergut region, where the clarity of the water and the depth of 125 meters attract diving fans, and the town of Hallstatt with its old salt mines, which are among the most photogenic and accessible the most photographed Austrian lakes and the most pleasant places in the whole of Austria, then the Bad Goisern spa, literally destined to spend a quality holiday, another reason could be the cable car trip to the Krippenstein mountain with a height difference of 1,500 m, maybe even the nearby Bad Ischl spa, a favorite place of Emperor Franz Joseph I.

How to get to Lake Hallstatt?

You can reach Hallstatt lake by bus 150 from Salzburg to Bad Ischl, where you switch to train to Steeg-Gosau or better to Obertraun. In Obertraun you either walk around lake to Hallstatt village to take a boat crossing the lake.

If you are coming by car to lake Hallstatt area, you can travel to Bad Goisern, Gosau, Hallstatt or Obertraun: see the map

What are the historical circumstances of the area?

The area is widely known from history classes. Local archaeological findings in the area are dated back to the Neolithic, around 5000-3800 BC. The first salt mine was in operation at least since the Celtic culture of Hallstatt, centered in the mining town of Hallstatt, whose name it bears.

Mining continued under the Romans and later under the rule of the Bavarian dukes. In 1180, the area fell to the Austrian Babenberg family, and so in 1252, thanks to the marriage of the Czech king Přemysl Otakar II. with the heiress Markéta Babenberská, it became part of the Přemysl possessions until the Battle of the Moravian Field in 1278.

Today, the Salzkammergut area is mainly a tourist and spa area, and has been for more than a century. Emperor Francis Joseph I spent his holidays in the nearby Bad Ischl spa, from where he ran his empire in the warmer months of the year. Here, too, in 1914, he signed the declaration of war on Serbia, which started the First World War. The salt mines then became the domain of the Habsburgs until 1918.

lake Hallstatt - night picture

How Big and deep is Hallstatt Lake?

The lake, which stretches from south to north, has a length of 7.5 km and a maximum width of 1.4 km. The area is about 8.55 km², the average depth is 65 m. The volume of water is 558.1 million cubic meters. Lake Hallstatt is cut into the Dachstein mountains like fjords. The river Traun, a right-bank tributary of the Danube, flows through the lake. The area of the lake is approximately 13.5 km². It is 5.9 km long and 2.3 km wide. Its maximum depth is 125 m. The volume of water is 1.69 km³. It lies at an altitude of 508 m.

Its surroundings are a popular destination for thousands of tourists, and the water itself attracts mainly diving fans. It is not as deep, wide, and famous as Lochness, but its surroundings are very carefully adapted to the tourism. It makes Hallstatt Lake an ideal spot for outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing and boating.

Is It Possible to Swim in Lake Hallstatt?

If you’re planning a trip to Hallstatt Lake, you might be wondering if it’s possible to swim in the lake. The answer is yes – swimming in Hallstatt Lake is allowed and encouraged, but there are a few things you should know before taking a dip.

In addition to the town of Hallstatt, the villages of Obertraun and Bad Goisern (Untersee) are located right next to the lake, which is fed by mountain water. In all three places it is possible to go into the water from the swimming pool or the bathing island. All facilities are for free and in Obertraun and Untersee there are also children’s playgrounds, kiosks and changing rooms. The island in Hallstatt can be reached by footbridge. It is located about max 10 minute walk from the center and offers a large lawn and a small kids playground.

But beware, the water reaches a maximum temperature of 23 degrees even in the middle of summer.

On the road between Obertraun and Hallstatt, near the so called Landbettler, a separate area is reserved forbathing of dogs, with a dog toilet and, of course, a public toilet.

lake hallstatt swimming

What is the temperature in the Lake?

The water temperature in Lake Hallstatt can range from 16-23C (61-77F) during the summer months, making it comfortable enough to take a dip. However, it’s important to note that water temperature can drop to a chilly 8C (46F) during winter months, so it’s best to check temperature before swimming.

Can you fish in Hallstatt?

There is also an extensive fishing area on Lake Halstatt as well. Fishing regulations allow fishing techniques called spinning and fly fishing with a limit of a maximum of 3 salmon-like fish (including 2 whitefish) and 5 eel rods per day.

lake Hallsfatt fishing
foto: Viorel Munteanu

What fish are in lake Hallstatt?

You can find all different fish in lake Hallstatt, like Coregonus (whitefish), brown trout, Salmo trutta fario (river trout), Thymallus (fresh water fish), char, grayling, burbot, pike, perch, rainbow trout.

Do you need a license to fish in Austria?

If you have a license, you can get a fishing license directly at the filling station in Hallstatt. Others can get more information from the tourist office, there as well. The license issue can be resolved here (in following companies): Monika Wallner gas station in Hallstatt. Fishing Struger (Bad Goisern). Fishing tackle Sams (Bad Ischl).

Can you bike and hike around Lake Hallstatt?

Hiking and cycling options are also very popular on the east bank. You can go (set off) from Bad Goisern to Obertraun in two hours. The path runs directly along the lake and has no slopes.

The bike trail is largely identical to the hiking trail. Going around Lake Halstatt is a “must” for many mountain bikers on vacation in the Salt Chamber. No wonder, because the eastern shore of the fjord-like mountain lake invites you to “rest”. Here and there benches and shady places for a short stop. Just great!

kolo 23km 2:29 h 534m up and 534m down

The fjord-like lake landscape, shaped by the glacial ice of the Ice Age, is impressive. About 10,000 years ago, the lake acquired its current form with a maximum width of 2.1 km and a maximum length of 8.2 kilometers. Between the lake shore and the railway, a gravel road leads through meadows, past individual houses, up and down, even in the forest.

You can get to Hallstatt by car, but you have to explore the beautiful corners on foot. No cars pass through the narrow streets. Even for renovations and supplies, residents cannot go to houses that seem to have grown out of a fairy tales. So much has to be transported on foot, just like in earlier times of the history.

In addition to the site itself, you can drive the entire west bank by car. The east bank is wilder and closer to nature. If you want to discover the east bank, you can only do so by hiking or cycling.

Tip for extremely sporty visitors: On the eastern shore of Lake Hallstatt, the famous 345-kilometer Salzkammergut cycle path leads north to Bad Ischl, which the total elevation gain is 1,850 meters.

Activities around lake Hallstatt

The activities offered by the Lake Hallstatt area are as follows: hiking, cycling and high-altitude tourism, secured routes (klettersteigs), mountain climbing; swimming in the lake, water sports, paragliding, caves, salt mines, boat trips on the lake, boat rentals, bike rentals, 18 holes golf course, tennis, fishing, Nordic walking, kayaks, canyoning, rafting. And many more.

Mountains around lake Hallstatt

The ascent or exit by cable car to the Krippenstein mountain with a height difference of 1,500 meters from Obertraun at Lake Hallstatt is very attractive. There ia a possibility to visit 2 giant caves (Ice and Mammoth), or the 5 Fingers lookout or the vast plateau at an altitude of 2,100 meters, which is worth a trip for many beautiful mountain hikes lovers.

Best views of Hallstatt Lake

Hallstatt, Obertraun and Bad Goisern are the three places on Lake Hallstatt. They are dominated by the more than 2000 meter high mountains around. Between them lies a crystal clear mountain lake like a fjord. At this lake in the Salt Chamber you will also find one of the most photographed places in Austria – the motif shows the historic Hallstatt with the lake and mountains.

Boat Rental and Boat Trips on Lake

If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Hallstatt Lake, you can rent a boat or take one of the boat trips offered by local tour operators. Several boat rental companies around the lake offer boats for rent, ranging from motorboats to kayaks and canoes.

The boat trips are a great way to explore the lake and its surroundings. Popular boat trips include the Hallstatt Lake Tour, the Hallstatt Boat Cruise, and the Hallstatt Lake Sightseeing Cruise.

More over, return trips on the lake are offered with a large passenger boat. The ship docks in Obertraun, Hallstatt, Lahn Hallstatt station, Steeg, Untersee and Obersee. Hallstättersee Schifffahrt GmbH is also used by many tourists to transport from Hallstatt train station on one side of the lake to Hallstatt on the opposite side of the lake.

How much is the ferry in Hallstatt?

For example, a 50 minute round trip with a cruise ship from Hallstatt costs 12 euro. Information about the lake and the surrounding area can be obtained through the crew thanks to the loudspeaker. There is also no better view of Hallstatt than from a boat. For this reason alone, the trip is worth it. The boat is spacious and clean. Drinks are available on board.

Electric boat trip on lake

The electric boat trip is a great way to explore Hallstatt Lake in a more eco-friendly way. The trips are offered by local tour operators and they are a great way to see the lake up close.

The electric boat trips are usually around 1-2 hours long and they take you around the lake to explore the majestic mountains and stunning views. The boat trips are also a great way to get a closer look at the wildlife that inhabits the lake, such as ducks, swans, and even otters.

How much does it cost to rent a boat in Hallstatt?

Electric boat 300 W 1 hour: 18.- Euro 1/2 hour: 14.- Euro
Electric boat 500 W 1 hour: 22.- Euro 1/2 hour: 17.- Euro
Swan (pedal) 1 hour: 15.- Euro 1/2 hour: 10.- Euro
Rowing boat 1 hour: 15.- Euro

Does Hallstatt lake freeze?

Due to the strong current of the river Traun, the water temperature is relatively low and rarely reaches more than 20 °C even in the summer. The river Traun also ensures that the lake rarely freezes completely in winter, usually only the northern area has a closed ice cover.

In the summer months, don’t hesitate to swim in lake, you will find a number of larger and smaller beaches along the shores. You can enjoy a beautiful view of Hallstatt during a trip on a steamer on the lake, or you can rent a boat or paddle boat yourself. The rental office is in Hallstatt and in Obertraun.

Want a tip for a great and less touristy place with awesome views? On the other side of lake from Hallstatt village, there is Obertraun beach/Strandband Obertraun. Beautiful place. The beaches are natural and accessible for free. Changing rooms are available on the beach. Toilets in a nearby restaurant are also free. Definitely worth a visit if a hot summer day hits you on your way past. Access to the water is gradual.

Villages around Hallstatt lake

In addition to Hallstatt, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Obertraun and Bad Goisern (Untersee) are located right next to the lake, which is fed by mountain water. All three places are popular holiday destinations with activities such as skiing and snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking, swimming and kayaking in the summer.

Train ride with views of Hallstatt lake

The most beautiful route to the Dachstein Salzkammergut region is the Salzkammergut Railway. The villages of Bad Goisern, Hallstatt and Obertraun are directly connected to the Salzkammergut railway and have their own railway station. In Hallstatt, it is located on the upper side of the lake. The Salzbergbahn cable car takes you comfortably to the Hallstatt Valley.

The panoramic elevator and bridge continue to the restaurant and observation deck. The free-floating Skywalk is located 360 meters above Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering a unique view of the historic city center, the lake and the Dachstein Salzkammergut region. Walking time approximately one hour. Good physical condition is required!


  • Lake Hallstatt
  • Beaches
  • Swimming
  • Water Temperature
  • Views