NileGuide Expert tip:
A great way to see the lake is by renting an electric boat near the dock.
About two hours' drive from Salzburg, Hallstatt is a charming village. Perched on the edge of Lake Hallstättersee, a large glacial lake, and built up the side of an Alp, it offers spectacular scenery, both natural and manmade. The settlement dates to pre-historic times, and successive populations made their fortune through salt, mined in the nearby mountains. Today, from an easily accessible dock, you can board boat tours of the lake. Or hire a small craft and pilot yourself along its shores. The 16th century parish church, Maria Himmelfahrt, houses a magnificent gilded Gothic winged altarpiece and life-size polychrome statues of the crucified Christ flanked by Mary and St John by Leonhard Gmundner Aist. Behind its postage-stamp sized cemetery is a Beinhaus, built to contain exhumed remains during the time when the graves were reused – a practice that ended with only with the widespread acceptance of cremation. Hotels, pensions and cafes surround a beautiful central platz, and colorful flowers seem to burst from every window.