For your bucket list: Boating in Hallstatt, Austria
So here’s the truth, I have to thank Pinterest for putting me inside a postcard. Almost 2 years ago I came across a picture of the idyllic lake village of Hallstatt and had been longing for a visit since. The opportunity finally came during my vacation in Salzburg over the long 4th of July weekend. About an hour drive from the city, there aren’t enough adjectives to describe Hallstatt’s charm and stunning beauty.
After touring the town and salt mines (more to come) for 16E my girlfriends and I rented a small motorboat and puttered around on the lake for an hour. Later we agreed that this spent on the water was bar none our favorite experience of the trip. In fact, hand’s down, it’s the most scenic boat ride I’ve ever been on, ever. (I sound so dramatic but it’s true!)
With archaeological finds dating by to 5500 BC, it was one of the first places of human settlement due to rich salt deposits in the Alps nearby. Nowadays, tourism accounts for the majority of the town’s industry, while salt mining continues as it has for thousands of years. Fortunately strict regulations to preserve the historic village have aided in maintaining the town’s overwhelming charm, giving it the UNESCO stamp of approval. Despite visiting at the peak-of-peak season, I felt as though I were stepping into a genuine community.
Not surprisingly, over recent years there has been a growth in international attention to this little village, not just to visit, but recreate. Two years ago, China unveiled a complete copy of Hallstatt, a 940 MILLION to rebuild, it was accidentally slipped by a Chinese visitor in 2012 that Chinese architects had surveyed then duplicated the town in the Chinese province of Guangdong. (Read about it here)
Stuart and Tara at the helm, we made our way to the far side of the lake. We sat quietly while snapping pictures with frequent “wow!”‘s but in a complete state of awe. The Alps are dramatic as they rise high above the lake, below us the water was crystal clear, reflecting the bright sky.
On the far side of the lake we stopped and bobbed for awhile enjoying the scene. The ladies posed while I made puppy noises (you know the ones..) in hopes of getting Stuart’s attention.
The clock ticking on our one hour rental, we scooted back across the lake slowly passing a beautiful white castle. I later learned that this was Schloss Grub, built in 1522 and privately owned. I found an old article (here) listing it for sale in 2001 for a 7.82M mark, equivalent to 5.4M USD. Sure.
As Captain Tara safely guided us back to port (the tiny dock just outside the town) I knew this had to be one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had in Europe. Yes, I know I’ve raved about Paris, Positano, and Burano, but please, for the love of puppies, add this to your bucket list. 😉