Hallein lies to the south of Salzburg and is located on the river Salzach in the Salzburg region of western Austria. The town has a rich history concerning the once booming salt mine industry and has deep roots steeped in Celtic history spanning back over 400 years.
Today Hallein is a pleasant historical town and provides a wide variety of sights and attractions – The immense Alpine landscape that surround Hallein are truly jaw-dropping and offer some of the finest hiking opportunities in the region. With its close proximity to both Salzburg and the German Alps, the possibilities Hallein provides are endless.
Lets explore the best things to do in Hallein:
1. Hallein Salt Mine
The White Gold is rife in the area of Hallein and there are many deposits that have been extensively mined in the area.
The Hallein Salt Mine is a fantastic and interesting place to visit and one of the oldest in the world.
The salt mine is located to the south of Hallein in Bad Durrnberg and provides fun entertainment for all the family.
See how a salt mine operated, learn about the history of mining in the area and explore the network of mining tunnels that still remain in good quality today.
Guided tours last around 70 minutes and children can visit the mine from the age of four upwards.
2. Keltenblitz Sommerrodelbahn
The Keltenblitz is a range located to the south of Hallein near Bad Durrnberg and offers some amazing scenery and attractions only 10 minutes away.
The mountain range is accessible by a chair lift that is just off of Durrnberg-Landes Strabe and provides a fun way to travel to the top and enjoy the scenery.
Once you are at the top of the Keltenblitz, you can take in the awe inspiring views of the surrounding countryside and see across into neighbouring Germany.
There is also a restaurant and café if you fancy a snack, and of course the fantastic Toboggan slide.
3. Durnberg Toboggan Slide
This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things to do during your visit to Hallein and should not be missed.
The toboggan slide is on top of the Keltenblitz Mountain and can be accessed by the chair lift that takes around 10 minutes.
The slide takes the form of a rollercoaster and snakes down the side of the Keltenblitz in a hair rising ride – You can control the speed of the rollercoaster by using the hand brake.
To ensure you get the most out of this ride, it is advised to avoid long queues and try not to get behind someone who is nervous – You will get the best experience at full speed and the adrenaline will really kick in!
4. Kelten Museum
The Kelten Museum is dedicated to the Celtic history of the area and looks at how Celts lived in years past; it is one of the most extensive Celtic collections in Europe.
The exhibits include ice-age burial grounds, displays of beautiful jewellery and magnificent Celtic art, and displays on how the Celts buried their dead and honoured them.
A truly fascinating place to visit, the Kelten museum is located right on the banks of the river Salzach in the centre of Hallein and is easily located.
5. Gruber Museum
This museum is extremely niche and you will not find one like it anywhere else in the world – The Gruber Museum is dedicated to the composer Franz Xaver Gruber and the famous Christmas Carol “Silent Night”. The museum is actually the former home of the celebrated composer and inside you can gain great insight into the man and his life.
You can see the original manuscripts detailing the greatly cherished song, and also the instruments Gruber first used to play the haunting tune.
For a unique museum this really does provide a fantastic look at how the song was created and its history.
6. Berchtesgaden National Park
This amazing national park is actually located in Germany, but spreads right onto the border of Austria near Hallein and is easily accessible.
Throughout the park there are stunning sights and wonderful landscapes and the park are famous for such things as the Eagles Nest, and being the area where some of the sound of music was filmed.
The hiking opportunities here are out of this world and you can easily spend a half day or a full day wandering along the many trails and traversing the challenging terrain.
7. Hochkonig mountain range
This immense mountain is part of the Northern Limestone Alps and lies to the south of Hallein near the Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany.
The mountain stands at 2941, at its highest point and is surrounded by a chain of equally impressive mountains.
The whole mountain region has a host of skiing and hiking opportunities for all the family and it is a great place to experience the fresh alpine air and immerse yourself in nature.
Ski areas such as Muhlbach and Dienten offer a myriad of ski slopes and runs and are true winter gems, while the legendary 73km of the Konigsweg hiking trail provide a challenge for the intrepid outdoorsman.
8. Church of Saint Anthony
The Church of Saint Anthony is located close to the Gruber museum and is tucked away on the western banks of the river Salzach.
While the exterior of this church is quite minimalist and unassuming, the interior is quite beautiful.
The church was originally constructed in the 1300’s and has stood in various forms ever since – In modern times it has been renovated and restored to its original quality.
The interior has a rather striking white washed design and looks extremely pure, but the main altar provides a great contrast with its dark colours, gold trimmings and marble statues.
9. Lake Konigssee
This enchanting lake is often cited as one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the world and when you reach its shores it is clear to see why.
The Konigssee is located in the middle of the Berchtesgaden National Park and draws many visitors each year.
The lake features wonderful clear waters, and is surrounded by the dramatic backdrop of the Berchtesgaden mountain range.
You will really appreciate the quiet here and the tranquillity.
Enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the waters or sit on one of the many benches and be at one with nature and your thoughts.
10. Day trip to Salzburg
The famous town of Salzburg is just a short distance to the north of Hallein and can be reached by the regular bus service that runs between the two places.
Salzburg is rich in history and culture and has a plethora of worthwhile sights and attractions.
The town features some fantastic architecture such as Salzburg Cathedral and Hohensalzburg Castle, together with modern attractions like the Hangar 7 air museum.
11. Cross the border into Berchtesgaden
This charming alpine town resides across the border in Germany approximately 30 minutes’ drive to the west of Hallein.
Berchtesgaden is tucked away in the Bavarian Alps and is within the grounds of the Berchtesgaden National Park.
The domineering Watzmann mountain towers over the town and is one of the main focal points in the area.
The town is a quaint place to visit with some wonderful architecture and the splendid royal castle and square being two main sights, there are also some world class winter sports facilities.
12. Church of the Assumption of Mary
The church of the Assumption of Mary is located next to the Hallein Salt mine a short (but steep) walk near the entrance.
The exterior features light pink brickwork with an imposing arched gateway at the entrance.
There is also a connecting bell tower with a large pointed roof.
The view from the entrance of the church is quite breath-taking and you can see across the valleys and down into Hallein.
Inside the church is a typical baroque altar that features a staggering amount of detail and artwork, and the domed ceiling has an intricate pattern and painted frescos.
13. Have a hearty meal in the Hohlwegwirt restaurant
The Hohlwegwirt is possible the most charming and beautiful restaurant you will ever see.
The building is covered in greenery and plants and looks like it has come straight from a fairy-tale.
The restaurant has been owned for 140 years by the Kronreif family and prides itself on its regional produce and quality menu.
Enjoy regional fish dishes and other Austrian specialities all served in the brilliant atmosphere of the company of Ernst Kronreif and family.
14. Enjoy breakfast in the Cafe Salitri
This delightful Café is tucked away in the western part of Hallein in the old town centre and only a short walk from the Silent Night museum and the Church of Saint Anthon.
This café is one of the few that has English speaking staff and also serve breakfast together with coffee and traditional cakes.
The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, and the produce is excellent – Why not try a delicious piece of torte? The Salitri Café also sells a range of salt products that are famous in the area and are perfect as a souvenir.
15. St Bartholomew’s Church
This church lies on the shores of Lake Konigssee and provides a wonderful piece of architecture in the middle of this magical location.
The bright red domes of the church stand out against the greens and greys of the mountain landscape and it really is a stunning design.
Named after Saint Bartholomew, the church has stood in some form since 1134 but was majorly rebuilt in the late 1600’s in its current design.
There is an annual pilgrimage to the church and it is easy to see why it is such an important religious building.