Raise your hand if you’ve seen this shot before!
Yep me too. And that’s why I had to go and see this fairytale village for myself. It took a fair amount of research (and a couple of mistakes along the way) but I eventually made it to Hallstatt and since so many people asked me how I did it (on a 3-day weekend break) I’d like to share how I personally got to Hallstatt.
I went to Salzburg in Austria for a long weekend to see the Christmas markets in December 2018. My trip was Friday - Sunday and I went to Hallstatt for a day trip on the Saturday. I decided on a day trip only because I was so short on time and accommodation to stay in Hallstatt is expensive and limited. If i had more time at my disposal my preferred way to travel would have been to rent a car and stay at one of the nearby lakes near to Hallstatt.
I chose to take the bus to Hallstatt using Lines 150 and 542/543. You can catch the 150 from Salzburg main station or from any stop on the 150 line but make sure you check with the your reception at the place you’re staying as the timetable says Salzburg Sterneckstraße which was right by my hostel and it never stopped there so I missed the first bus of the day!! I caught the bus from Salzburg Gnigl S-Bahn.
Taking the bus to Hallstatt
1. Take Bus 150 from your chosen stop in Salzburg to Bad Ischl Bahnhof. This is the end of the line.
The earliest bus is 5.55am except for Sundays when it’s 8.15am. This leg of the journey will take approximately 1hr25mins.
2. From Bad Ischl Bahnhof take Bus 542.
This bus will either say 542 or 542/543 on the front and it will pull into Bay C.
Generally this is a well-known route for travellers to get to Hallstatt and the bus timetables to roughly match up with each other which is something I discovered and was very comforted by. There is usually a 20 minute wait between the 150 arriving and the 542 departing.
3. Swap from the 542 to the 543
After about half an hour on the 542 you need to get off at Gosaumühle an. DO NOT PANIC when you pull into a layby on the side of the road and the driver tells you this is where you get off. This is where the 542 goes in a different direction and you must swap to the 543 bus which goes directly to Hallstatt.
Again I was pleasantly surprised to realise that these buses overlap and the 543 will wait in this layby for the 542 to arrive and take it's Hallstatt passengers. The same happened in the evening on my return. The 542 was already waiting in the layby for my 543 bus to arrive.
4. Take the 543 to Hallstatt Lahn or onto the Ice Caves.
The 543 will take you directly into Hallstatt to Hallstatt Lahn. You’ll know when you get there because it’s a coach park full of tour buses!! Or stay on the bus to go straight to the Ice Caves where you get off at Obertraun Dachsteinseilbahn. This stop is also the turnaround point and the bus goes back the way it came to Hallstatt Lahn so you can take this on the way down again.
I would recommend you taking a picture of the timetable on the bus stop at Hallstatt Lahn so you can remember what time the last 543 departure is and plan your day accordingly.
I read lots of forums that told me I would need to buy three separate tickets for each leg of this journey. But when I got on in Salzburg I told the driver I was going to Hallstatt and he gave me a round trip ticket to Hallstatt. This cost me approximately 25 euros and I believe it was a day pass ticket for the bus transit system.
Other transport options (and why I didn’t use them)
As I said, had I been in Austria and exploring the area for longer then I would have rented a car and the journey is very straightforward.
There is the option of taking two trains and a ferry to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg. The reason I didn’t take this option is because the train journey is longer than the bus journey, Hallstatt train station is the opposite side of the lake so you have to take the ferry whereas the bus takes you right to the town. Also the last departure ferry time is earlier than the last bus departure time and I wanted to maximise my day trip.
You can take the bus to Bad Ischl as I did then take the train and ferry. Bad Ischl is a bus and train station so the transfer form bus to train is just as easy as going bus to bus but I also didn’t choose this option for the same reason as above.
I’ve also been told that there are good transport options if you’re coming from the direction of Vienna but I unfortunately don’t have any experience of that.
For more on Hallstatt you can find my photo diary here
I hope this helps you map your route to Hallstatt whether you’re going for a day or a few days, if you have an questions or have something to add, please do let me know in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook!