For your bucket list: Boating in Hallstatt, Austria

For your bucket list: Boating in Hallstatt, Austria



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. 😉

  • Oh my stars, this place is GORGEOUS. Definitely on the bucket list. I’ll be pinning some of these pictures!

  • Margo. This is so so so amazing! What an amazing opportunity. Ok….adding another one of your destinations to my wish list!!

  • I am DYING to visit Austria! It looks absolutely gorgeous.

  • Hallstatt has always been my dream visit! And I mean, as if these pictures aren’t convincing enough, I GUESS I’ll visit for the puppies 🙂

  • So gorgeous. And ps, your photography is so amazing!

  • Your photos are so beautiful! I was just in Austria recently and it’s such a beautiful country.

  • Gorgeous, so stunning. The boat looks like the perfect way to enjoy the scenery there. I’m really amazed by these pictures…I want to go there now too 🙂

  • WOW these photos are stunning!! I can’t help myself, I’m gonna have to continue the Pinterest circle and add Hallstatt, Austria to my wanderlist too!

  • …Gosh–why are your photos always so SPECTACULAR???…I don’t know about puppies, but I’ll definitely go here for the kittens!!…

  • Omg. This is literally a postcard moment. HOW BEAUTIFUL! Ps, what camera do you use?

  • who let Tara drive the boat?!?!

  • That pup, that lake! This looks like perfection… I have only stopped in Salzburg, but all of Austria seems to be a dream!

  • This looks like the perfect Village! SOO gorgeous – this is the kind of place I wish I could live!

  • pinterest also put this place on my bucket list! A boat ride sounds amazing and relaxing!

  • I’m not sure what’s more beautiful – the perky dog or the lake. Unbelievable!

  • I’ve always wanted to go to this village! It’s so beautiful and I am even more inspired to go after your post. I mean, you can rent a boat?!? It sounds almost TOO perfect 😉

  • Is there anywhere in Austria that’s NOT gorgeous??? I love this and will definitely go the next time I’m in Europe. Thanks!

  • Wow! These pictures are beautiful this place doesn’t even look real!

  • This place looks unreal!!! I’ve never even heard about it, now it’s on my bucket list 🙂

  • Wooohw! Stunning photos! breathtaking

  • WOW! Your photos are stunning and this place is officially on my bucket list!

  • I’ll admit it, it does seem a little ridiculous doesn’t it? A little too picture-perfect, right? I think you should definitely go and investigate to make sure there isn’t any funny business going on. 🙂

  • Aww, I told Stuart and he blushed. 😀

  • Ha, funny how Pinterest does that to all of us? The boat ride was picture perfect, you’re right. 🙂

  • There wasn’t even a decision, she just assumed the role of captain. For the first half of the ride Jen and I rode in the back like celebrities while her and Stuart manned the helm.

  • You’re right, Austria really is a little dream. The Alps/lake combos are hard not to absolutely love. I’d use the word ‘enchanting’ but that seems a little excessive (…though I think it might be appropriate). 🙂

  • Oh, oh, yes! I feel like if I lived there I’d have birds and squirrels help with the chores (a la Cinderella) and whistle nonstop. In other words, it’d be a fairytale. 🙂

  • Postcard moment, absolutely, I completely agree! I have a Canon 70d. It’s great!

  • Haha, well that works too! A boatload of kittens!

    Thanks for the sweet compliment on my photos, it means a lot. 🙂

  • Yay, oneee day we’ll have to switch places so I can explore NZ. 🙂

  • Yay! Good, I think you guys would really love it! From Salzburg it’s an easy day trip. 🙂

  • You’re right, it IS absolutely gorgeous. It’s took close not to go sometime soon! 🙂

  • Ha, well whatever it takes, I just need you to go and let me know how much you loved it! 🙂

  • Thanks so much dear, it means a lot coming from you!

  • Yay, you have to. Emphasis on the ‘have’, because it’s really not an option not to. 😉

  • Oh wonderful, where did you go? I agree, Austria is incredibly beautiful.

  • Yay, well I certainly can’t blame you! Hope your Pinterest bucket list comes to fruition soon! 😀

  • oh my word! I would love to do this!

  • Please do! I only had 2 days in Austria last time, so I have missed a lot of the country and would love to know exactly where to go and stay next time. 🙂

  • argh, the fact that i never went to Hallstatt while living in Salzburg is going to haunt me forever isn’t it? I planned to go so many times but something always got in the way. i’m still determined to go one day, these photos are gorgeous! x

  • Wow, the photos are amazing! Looks like such a gorgeous place. Some of the photos even look a little like the old fashion movies where you pretend to drive the boat and the lake is just on the screen in front of you 😀

  • I only got to see Baden and Vienna, next time I would definitely like to venture out and explore other areas 🙂

  • Haha your dog is the best! So cute! Heard of Hallstatt before but never visited. Really need to add it to my bucket list!

  • Sure! Here is a link to my google document with our long weekend plans:

    Once you book your trip let me know and pass along any other Austria advice I might have heard about. 😀

  • Stuart in the boat – can’t even handle it – so adorable! Hallstatt is definitely on my list when I move to Munich!

  • I am still cooing over Stuart! The third picture is definitely the best! I first found Hallstatt on Pinterest, too, and can’t wait to see it someday.

  • This is by far one of my absolute favorite places in Europe! It’s so quaint and idyllic 🙂 I always recommend it to anyone traveling between Munich/Salzburg/Vienna. When we rented our boats they told us that after the war a lot of Nazi’s tried to drown their WWII paraphernalia in the lake and sometimes old helmets and other things with swastikas pop up. I am not sure if it’s true or just to spook visitors, ha!

  • I am sooooo doing this when we go to Hallstatt! Is the boat rental place far from town?

    • No ma’am, it’s right in town – you’ll pass it as you walk in! ;D

  • Evan Perkins

    Stumbled across this article while researching activities to do while in Hallstatt. Do you happen to remember the boat rental company you used? Thanks in advance!