Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Truth About Hallstatt...

Hallstatt, Austria.

Beautiful Hallstatt, Austria

It is beautiful isn't?  I wanted to do a blog posting on what Hallstatt is really like.

While I was planning our vacation, I searched and searched to find out if we should go to Hallstatt or not.  It looked beautiful, but I was hesitant.  I knew that there would be a lot of tourists there (I am fully aware we are tourists too), but we do not like places that are overrun with tourists.  Remember our day in Rothenburg ob der tauber?  Anyway, I had read it could possibly be busy but that we should visit anyway.  We like to do things that a most traditional tourists do not do, so I figured we would be safe.  I mean, how bad can some tourists be?

Boy was I in for a surprise.  I have never seen so many Asians in one spot in my entire life.  I had no idea that instead of seeing any Austrians, we would see so many Asians.  Now, I would like to point out that I am in no way racist against Asians.  One of my closets friends from high school is Asian.  I have no issue with Asian tourists other than the fact that they have zero self awareness, run and push, and are so concerned about rushing to get their picture that they could care less about anyone or anything else in the process.

The moment we checked into our beautiful hotel, Gruner Baum, I had wondered if I had made a bad decision in coming to Hallstatt.  There was an instance where we were trying to enter our hotel's front door and we simply could not because so many Asians were blocking the door and had zero regard for us saying excuse me.  It was bad.  It was so bad that our hotel had Asian music playing during breakfast and even had egg rolls and noodles for breakfast.  It was bad.  It was very clear that Asians make up the majority of the tourists that come to Hallstatt, so it is hard to blame the hotel for catering towards them, but it was still frustrating to us since we wanted local cuisine.

There is so much catering to the Asians that the advertisements for drindl rentals are shown with an Asian girl on the billboards.  It seems as though the entire village has accepted that the Asians are their target audience, which does not bode well for us non-Asians.

You might be wondering why the Asians are so obsessed with Hallstatt.  We learned that a Chinese business man built a replica of the village because he found it to be so beautiful.  I guess it is a status symbol in certain Asian countries to say you have visited the real thing, even if it is for a few hours to take a picture.

My advice to you if you want to visit this beautiful area, is to stay in Obertraun, which is across the lake from Hallstatt.  There area a few Airbnb options in this area and also a few hotels and restaurants.  Our afternoon in Obertraun was delightful.

Our bikes just outside of Obertraun with Hallstatt across the lake.

The view of Hallstatt from Obertraun


If you stay in Obertraun, it will be a lot less busy and possibly a little more enjoyable.  You can take the train to Obertraun or ride the ferry over from Hallstatt.  If you get off the train at Hallstatt, do not worry, it is a short 20 minute walk to Obertraun which is no big deal if you are wearing backpacks.  Wheelie bags might be a different story!

If you do choose to stay in Hallstatt, I would suggest to plan activities that take you out of town during the day.  If not, be prepared to be pushed, shoved, and not to get any pictures of anything you want that does not have a hundred Asians with their Nikons. 

We enjoyed our time in Hallstatt, but it was an area that we will not visit again, which is too bad since it is so beautiful.

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