How to Get from Salzburg to Hallstatt by Train, Explained
Leave the frustration at home with this step-by-step guide to traveling from Salzburg to Hallstatt by train.
Just a few hours away from Salzburg, Hallstatt is a beautiful and worthwhile day trip to take during your time in Austria. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has breathtaking views.
Here’s how to get there: Even though Austria’s national railway, the ÖBB, is clean and punctual, sometimes it can be a headache to figure out how to get from point A to point B. From my experiences rummaging through Google Maps and Trip Advisor to no avail, take this advice from me now above all else: take the train.
Though it may be slightly more expensive to take a train to Hallstatt from Salzburg instead of a combination of bus and train, the train is simpler, faster, cleaner, more comfortable, and has a better view – that is, if you know how to navigate the system. Below, I outline a step-by-step guide for how to travel by train from Salzburg to Hallstatt round-trip. Learn from my mistakes so you can save money and frustration and better enjoy your time in the beautiful country of Austria.
Step 1: Arrive at the Salzburg train station (Hopfbahnhof) and find an ÖBB ticket kiosk.
Find the station on Google maps if you’re unsure of where it is. The ticket kiosks are red and are located on the main train station floor underneath the train platforms.
Step 2: Buy a ticket to Attnang-Pucheim on the IC train traveling to Wien Flughafen (Vienna Airport).
You can type in the destination to which you would like to travel on the kiosk. The ticket will cost about €12.50 for second class (see next step).
Step 3: Get on the IC train for about 45 minutes.
Attnang-Pucheim will be the 2nd stop after Salzburg on this route. Even second class is very nice:
Try to grab one of these cabins on this leg of your trip.
Step 4: Get off at Attnang-Pucheim and find an ÖBB ticket kiosk.
This can be found down the stairs underneath the train platform.
Step 5: Buy a ticket.
If you’re in a group: buy an “Einfach-Raus-Ticket” (ERT). This is a national ticket that’s valid for your REX train from Attnang-Pucheim to Hallstatt Bahnhst and back to this station. It costs from €33 for 2 people to €45 for 5 people.
If you’re by yourself: buy a ticket to Hallstatt Bahnhst on the REX train. Again, you can type in the location to which you would like to travel on the kiosk in order to buy a ticket valid to that destination. In this case, that destination would be Hallstatt Bahnhst. The ticket typically costs €10-15.
Step 6: Get on the REX train to Hallstatt Bahnhst for a little over an hour.
Sitting on the right side of the train will guarantee you the best views for most of the ride, though there are some beautiful views on the left side as well.
Step 7: Get off at the Hallstatt Bahnhst and go down the pavement walkway to the lakeside.
The attendant on the train will announce you’re arriving at Hallstatt, and there is also a very clear sign marked “Hallstatt” on the train station building. The location of the walkway down to the lake is very clear, and there will likely be other people going there, too.
Step 8: Buy a roundtrip ticket at the ticket window of the ferry building to get to Hallstatt.
Round-trip will cost €5 per person. Try to ride on the uncovered part of the ferry; the pictures you’ll get will be jaw-dropping to say the least, and are well worth any chilly breezes you’ll endure on the ride over.
Step 9: Get off the ferry on the other side of the lake and enjoy Hallstatt.
NOTE: When you get off the ferry, take note of the ferry schedule for departures back across the lake. The last ferry usually leaves at 6:15 PM; the last train back to Attnang-Pucheim usually leaves at 6:32 PM. Do not miss these or you will be stranded in Hallstatt for the night. The last bus out of Hallstatt to Bad Ischl leaves somewhere around 4:15 PM, so buses are not an option for leaving Hallstatt if you miss the last ferry.
Step 10: Get back to the ferry in time for the last departure at 6:15 PM.
Again, try to sit outside to get some beautiful pictures leaving Hallstatt across the lake.
Step 11: Buy/use your ticket to get on the REX train back to Attnang-Pucheim for a little over an hour.
If you’re in a group: use your ERT to get on the REX train to Attnang-Pucheim.
If you’re by yourself: buy an individual ticket back to Attnang-Pucheim. Find the same red ÖBB kiosk inside the tiny Hallstatt train station, though it’s more like a tiny waiting room that can fit no more than 15 people. If you’re going to be buying an individual ticket back to Attnang-Pucheim, make sure you’re one of the first people off the ferry. Otherwise, you may not have enough time to buy a ticket before the train arrives.
Step 12: Get off at Attnang-Pucheim and buy a ticket to Salzburg Hbf.
Again, you can find the ÖBB kiosks underneath the train platform, and a second class ticket on the IC train will cost about €12.50 per person.
Step 13: Get on the IC train to Salzburg for about 45 minutes.
Step 14: Get off at Salzburg Hbf.
You made it!
Q1: How long does it take to get to Hallstatt?
A1: Total travel time one-way including the ferry takes about 2.5 hours. For me, it seemed that getting there took longer than coming back.
Q2: How much does it cost round-trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt?
A2: If you’re in a group, it will cost anywhere from about €83 for 2 people (€41.50/person) to €170 for 5 people (€34/person). If you’re alone, it will cost about €35-45.
Q3: Why can’t I just get the Einfach-Raus-Ticket for the entire trip there and back? Wouldn’t that save money?
A3: Unfortunately, the ERT is only valid on regional trains like the REX between Attnang-Pucheim and Hallstatt; for this reason, you can’t use it on the IC train from Salzburg to Attnang-Pucheim. I know, this is confusing and frustrating. Don’t make the mistake I did and buy the ERT thinking it will get you all the way back to Salzburg; it will really only end up costing you money in the end.
Q4: Why shouldn’t I take the bus?
A4: I didn’t take the bus to Hallstatt, so I can’t speak personally on doing this. However, I do know that if figuring out trains to Hallstatt was a headache, figuring out buses would be even more so. Additionally, the buses in Austria are generally clean and punctual, but they are certainly far less comfortable and relaxing than a train. Additionally, they have many more stops, meaning it will take a lot more time to get from point A to point B. The upside of taking the bus is that it will cost about half that of the train. Even as a college student and budget traveler, I think taking the train is worth it, especially now that you have the step-by-step guide above for getting between Salzburg and Hallstatt. If you’re really tight on money, you might want to consider the bus; just make sure to plan for longer travel time, as well as the time to figure out how to navigate the bus system.