We purchased our tickets ahead of time (not necessary, but helpful). The tickets did not assign us to one specific train time like some trains do, but instead just were tickets for the route we were taking and they were valid for a few day time period. There are a few different ways to get there from Salzburg:
Train from Salzburg to Hallstatt (with connection in Attnang-Puchheim and ferry from train station to small town of Hallstatt)
This is what we did and I would highly recommend it. It was scenic, easy and comfortable
Arrival: We caught the first train from Salburg (6:12 the day we traveled) to Attnang-Puccheim. This took 45 minutes to 1 hour as we got a bit delayed. Then we caught the 7:15 train to Hallstatt from Attnang-Puccheim. We almost missed it since our first train was delayed BUT it seemed like the second train was waiting for our train to arrive (must be a common connection). This train was 1 hour 30 minutes, allowing us to arrive at the Hallstatt train station shortly before 9:00 am. The station is very small and after arriving you can follow the signs pointing to “ship departure” towards the lake (1 minute walk). The ferry is timed to arrive shortly after trains arrive (and take you back to trains shortly before trains leave). Simply purchase tickets directly on the boat (one way = around 2 euros, round trip = around 4 euros).
Alternatively: We were debating getting off at Hallstatt (which we ended up doing) and taking the ferry to get to the town and then exploring the town and going to the Salt Mine first OR taking the train one stop further to the last stop at Obertraun and then catching the bus to the Dachstein Mountain Cable Car where we were going to immediately go up to the first level and do the ice caves followed by going to the second level to a few lookouts before heading to the actual town of Hallstatt. If you are trying to fit both the Salt Mine and the Ice caves in on one day, this is what you should do to save time, but you need to make sure you time the bus appropriately, or else you could be sitting around for an hour. We wanted to do both the Ice Caves and the salt mine but we weren’t confident in the bus schedule so we opted to get out at Hallstatt and I am so glad we did that. Hallstatt and the area around it looked absolutely beautiful in the morning and riding over on the ferry to the town was a fantastic way to arrive.
Departure: we took the same route back (ferry à train to Attnang – Puchheim à train to Salzburg). This worked very well. The last train out was at 6:32 pm the day we traveled, allowing us to get back to Salzburg around 9:00 pm. The LAST ferry departed at 6:15 pm from the dock.
Train from Salzbrug to Hallstatt/Obertraun with connection in Bad Ischl
Just another route option; can do this if timing is better
Bus from Salzburg to Hallstatt
Train from Salzburg to Bad Ischl and transfer to bus
Use this website for help on booking:
We unfortunately did not stay here. Hallstatt can be very expensive and booked frequently especially in the summer
Obertraun is the town over, and a good deal cheaper to stay in. You can stay here and take the 542 or 543 bus over to Hallstatt
Absolutely beautiful – you will want to just wander around the town and look at the cute houses
5 fingers lookout is cool because there are 5 different things (one has a glass floor, one has a telescope, one has a picture frame, one has a weird hole, and one has a diving board looking piece off of it but you cannot obviously go on this).
Getting there: take the 542 or 543 bus to the Dachstein cable car stop (you can ask the tourist office near the bus stop for the timetable. The tourist office is also near the salt mine funicular. If you take the ferry over from the train station, head left for about 5-10 minutes and walk along a “larger” street that partially goes along the lake to get to this part of town) – south part of town. Once you arrive at the cable car starting point, purchase your tickets. To get to 5 fingers lookout, you need a round trip for the first 2 cable cars. Getting up will take about 20-30 minutes (counting waiting time). Once you get off the second cable car, you will then follow signs that direct you to the lookout. It is about a 20-25 minute walk. Stop at the other lookout points as well while you’re up there.
There are 3 different levels/cable cars. They run every 15 minutes (so if you want to go up 2 levels, you will take the first one and then you will have to wait about 15 minutes until you can catch the next one since they all leave on the :00, :15, :30, and :45.
The first cable car brings you to the caves (ice cave and normal cave).
The second cable car brings you to the 5 fingers lookout location (20-25 minute walk from cable car), another lookout, and some hiking starting points. We did not get to go hiking around here but I wish we could’ve!
Make sure to dress warm enough or bring warmer clothes. We did not have time to go and did not have warm enough clothes with us. Tour is supposed to be about an hour.
Another cave at the first cable car level. We did not do this one either (can do this if you have more time).
Near Salt Mine – take funicular up
The funicular runs frequently and only takes a few minutes to get to the top. Then walk a few minutes to the Welterbeblick lookout for a nice view
Take funicular up in south part of town. You can also hike up, but funicular saves time
Tour lasts 1.5-2 hours. PLAN for this because we found the tour to be far too long and boring. There are two slides inside which is cool and they give you some clothes to put on over your clothes so you are warm enough in the salt mine. The tour is given in both German and English, but our groups was very large. I would recommend doing this if you are here more than one day and if it is rainy or bad weather outside. Otherwise, I do not know if it’s worth your time. I would’ve preferred to do the ice cave over this; just was too painfully long. All the vidoes are given in German too, with very minimal English subtitles.
Lots of areas to hike around this region
Eat along the water. We did not like where we ate lunch, but there are a lot of options
Absolutely beautiful! GO. It’s one of my favorite places
I would’ve loved to spend at least 2 nights here, maybe even 3 so I could’ve done more of the outdoorsy activities in the area.