Hallstatt

Picture of lakes The Salzkammergut is an area of Alpine peaks and lakes in central Austria. There are a lot of stunning scenic views and it's a good place to just start picking roads at random on the map and driving them. Most of the towns here are lakeside and relatively small but tourism-oriented. The area is rich in salt mines (hence the name) and has been a salt mining center since prehistoric times.
Picture of see Some of the salt mines and caves in the area can be toured, although those tours generally have a minimum age greater than 1 so we had to find our entertainment elsewhere. As one might expect there is a lot of hiking / alpine trekking as well, much of it serviced by chair lifts and trams.
Picture of hallstatt This is Hallstatt, one of the iconic Austrian postcard towns. There are swans, mountains, a nice reflecting lake, waterfalls and of course all the Alpine architecture you'd ever want. The town is crammed in between the lake and the cliffs so parking is actually south of town and you can walk back into the narrow streets from there.
Picture of waterfall The town is mostly linear and it's a pleasant place to wander around. There are trails up the mountainside from here and a boat ferry across the lake (the train station is over there in a field by itself). Waterfalls like this one crash into town and are funneled between buildings and out into the lake.
Picture of church Hallstatt has given its name to a Bronze Age culture that stretched across central Europe due to a large burial site that was found nearby. Local museums have a bit of that history but it seems like the best collection is actually back in Vienna.
Picture of main_square The main attraction here (and nearby towns) is really just to wander about and soak in the atmosphere. There is no beach in town but there is a particularly scenic one just south of town along the lakefront road.

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