Traditional headdress for festive and holidays - the golden bonnet in Hallstatt. - © Kraft

UNESCO World Heritage region

The region around Lake Hallstatt – World Cultural Heritage

Located between the Wolfgangsee, Traunsee, Ebensee and Hallstättersee lakes, the Dachstein-Salzkammergut area (or: Inner Salzkammergut) comprises the villages of Bad Goisern, Hallstatt, Gosau and Obertraun. In 1997 most of the historic, cultural landscape was listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site – characterized by breathtaking views, mighty peaks and spectacular caves. The UNESCO World Heritage region of Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut has always attracted both active and relaxation-minded travelers thanks to charming bathing lakes and unspoiled mountain scenery. With its bizarre ice caves, varied hiking routes and the Five Fingers viewing platform Dachstein Mountain is the most popular excursion site in the area. The Schönbergalm conservation area is not only home to the Cave Museum, but also the starting point for excursions to the Dachstein Ice Cave and the Mammut Cave, and therefore a highlight for families.

A visit to the ice cave will definitely change your perspective! The fascinating, subterranean world of ice and rock developed in the depths of Dachstein Mountain in the course of time. High above the Traun Valley qualified and experienced guides introduce adults and children to the highlights of the Dachstein Eishöhle ice cave, including ‘Eispalast’ and ‘König Artus Dom’. However, a holiday in the Dachstein-Salzkammergut region offers unparalleled nature experience above ground as well: Visit the Five Fingers platform for spectacular views of the mountains; explore the Schönbergalm nature reserve; or walk along the Heilbronner Rundwanderweg loop trail and leave dull everyday routine behind.

Your gateway to the mountains: One lift pass covers the Krippenstein Seilbahn in Obertraun and many other uphill facilities throughout the Salzkammergut. With the free Schladming-Dachstein Summer Card many local attractions are accessible for free or at discounted rates. Bad Goisern’s public beach at Lake Hallstatt lends itself to a refreshing soak on a hot summer’s day. Do not miss out on a visit to the picturesque village of Hallstatt an , but has also greatly increased their prosperity and brought with it certain priviliges. As a result, this little community has become world famous, and local people take pride in the fact that a whole period in history was named after them.

History of the World Heritage region around Hallstatt

A historical cultural landscape since thousands of years: The region around Lake Hallstatt appealed very early to humans looking for the vital salt. There are traces of salt mining on the Hallstatt Salzberg going back as early as 2000 B.C. Great prosperity was gained through the salt trade, the burial objects document extensive and wide spread trade relations. The climax of ancient mining was definitely from 800 until 400 B.C (older Iron Age), which is also referred as the Hallstatt-Period due to the numerous findings in Hallstatt.

The mine was affected by a part collapse later on. Around the time of Christ’s birth the area was ruled by the Romans who started to settle in the valley, while the local people continued their trade. During the 5th century with the end of the Roman dominance a cultural collapse took place. There is no sure evidence if there was any salt mining during the medieval times, except a few traces of possible salt production on the west side of the Sandling.

Around the turn of the 14th century we have reliable sources since the Habsburgs took over this area as their private property. Hallstatt regained its status as an important production site. The alliance between Austria and Bohemia in the 16th century resulted in a real boom era, and at the same time the region became dominated by Lutherans. Soon the mining capacity of Hallstatt became exhausted; the forests looked like karst formations, therefore the production had to be increased in Ischl and later on in Ebensee.

The Catholic counter-reformation was a disastrous era for the Inner Salzkammergut, resulting in the displacement of more than 700 Lutherans to Transylvania at its peak. Only in 1781 the long awaited religious toleration became a reality. Around 1800 tourism slowly developed in this region, and the first travellers wrote in their guidebooks about travelling through the “Austrian Switzerland”. Tourism really took off with the construction of the railway, making the area more accessible. Since then the Inner Salzkammergut is a most popular tourist destination, which also was internationally appreciated with the World Cultural Heritage nomination by the UNESCO. © Dr. Michael Kurz, Dez. 2002

Offers in the World Heritage Region

Excursion planner

© Kraft | Ausflugsplaner für die Ferienregion Dachstein Salzkammergut

The World Heritage museum of Hallstatt

All 4 one

© Dachstein AG Hörmandinger | Wanderwelt Dachstein West Zwieselalm bei einem Ulraub in Gosau

The region around Lake Hallstatt

The World Heritage speaks many languages

School Project Week in the World Heritage region

Videos from the World Heritage

UNESCO Convention

Themed trails & Audio Guide Tour

Wi-Fi hotspots within the World Heritage

Guided Tours in the Salzkammergut

Customs and traditions

© Menschhorn @ Bräuche und Traditionen im Salzkammergut

Tour from Nativity Scene to Nativity Scene

Book tips and Games to the Salzkammergut

Buchtipps zum Salzkammergut

Reformation in the Salzkammergut

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Salzkammergut booking - Are you still looking for accommodation?

Hotels and accommodation providers in Hallstatt, Bad Goisern, Gosau and Obertraun offer the ideal room or apartment for your holidays, no matter what your tastes. Aside from establishments rated according to the international "star" scale, you will also find around Lake Hallstatt in Austria businesses that have been awarded two to four "edelweiss". The more flowers, the greater comforts you can expect. Whether you eventually find your cozy nest in an elegant 5-star luxury hotel, at comfortable guesthouse, a family-friendly apartment, or on a traditional farm, the choice is always entirely up to you.