A couple of weeks ago I’ve decided to go on a road trip and visit Austria’s one of the most photogenic villages, nestled between the edge of Hallstätter See and the towering Dachstein mountains in the Salzkammergut Lake District.
I have to admit that Austria wasn’t really a place on my bucket list to visit and I was a bit skeptical regarding this place.
Once arrived there, I’ve found not only a picturesque village surrounded by mountains that we all know from the world-famous postcard view; I’ve discovered a place where history and traditions have been preserved by its population of less than 1000 residents and with so many things to do in the area.
Hallstatt was established on the back of the Salt mining industry and I’ve had the chance to see the world’s first salt mine along with the oldest wooden staircase in Europe and the mummy of a prehistoric miner who became preserved in salt.
By far one of the weirdest things I've probably seen in my travels was located in the Hallstatt Charnel House, near the Catholic Church. There are 1200 skulls, around 600 of these are painted and arranged according to family names and are marked with the date of death. The last skull being placed inside in 1995. It is the skull of a woman who died in 1983 and it was her personal wish to be placed in the Charnel House. Her gold tooth is still visible today. I’ve decided not to take any photos there.
This Alpine village also offers many hiking options and despite being small, there is beauty everywhere you look. One of the hiking trails takes up to a triangle-shape platform that extends twelve meters from the mountainside offering a great view over the village and the Hallstatt Lake at 360 meters above the ground.
Seeing the boat approaching to the village on the glass-like lake or the swans floating in the early morning sunlight was magical.
I don't remember to have seen before a place like this being crowded and calm at the same time. A calm that reminded me of the Northern region of Norway I've visited last year.
If you’ll ever visit this charming village don’t forget to take a ferry ride across the lake. It’s a great way to discover the beauty of this place with its delightful collection of houses built into the mountain.
All the images below were taken with the Hasselblad 503CW and the Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2.8/80 using Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Pro 400H films. Scanned and processed by Richard Photo Lab in California.