Thanks to its alpine beauty, lakeside location in the heart of the Austrian Alps and the fact that it has been almost continually inhabited since Neolithic times, the picture-perfect Salzkammergut (Lake District) village of Hallstatt was UNESCO World Heritage site-listed in 1997. Blessed with wooden chalets, a flower-festooned central square and an 18th-century ossuary where skulls are decorated with floral motifs, the village owes its growth and wealth to the salt mines that were first worked over 7,000 years ago, making them the oldest known mines in the world. Perched high above the village and accessible by funicular, the mines can only be visited in summer, but the Hallstatt Museum is open all year around to showcase their history as well as the religious and cultural development of the region. The collection includes a mixed bag of prehistoric tombs, Celtic animals statues, crockery from Roman times and skulls of the brown bears once indigenous to the Austrian Alps but the undoubted highlight is the priceless Iron Age grave treasure – including vast urns and pitchers – excavated near the mines and previously exhibited in Vienna.
Seestrasse 56 A, 4830 Hallstatt. Opening hours Jan–Mar, Nov–Dec Wed–Sun 11am–3pm; Apr, Oct daily 10am–4pm; May–Sept daily 10am–6pm. Admission adults €8; seniors, students & children €7; family ticket €14. Hallstatt is around 75 minutes’ scenic drive from Salzburg.