Seniors Enjoy Tiny Hallstatt

CNN Travel selects what they call “Photos of the Day” and tiny Hallstatt caught this senior’s eye. I’ve been to Austria but had never heard of Hallstatt. Upon investigating further, I find a scenic beauty unmatched in all of the country.

The village has been occupied since the iron age; 7000 years ago people founded the salt mines, which gave them an opportunity to settle an area which they would make into a trade center. This rich cultural history is the basis for Hallstatt’s inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its heritage.

An old cemetery was found that dated back to the Iron Age (between 700-450 BC). The city has several museums that includes the principal archaeological museum in Hallstatt center.  The salt mines, “Salzwelten” or “Salt Worlds”, are the top attractions in Hallstatt.

Archaeological tours are offered of the renown salt mine and senior visitors will learn how salt is mined, see ancient tools and the “Man in Salt”. Archeological evidence shows that this isolated village gained its wealth through the salt trade.

With pastel-colored houses casting shimmering reflections onto the glassy waters of the lake, and towering mountains on all sides, the beauty of the village alone would be enough to guarantee it fame. The old houses are clustered together so tightly that many are accessible only from the lakeside, while the old street runs above the rooftops.

A small town of less than 1000, with a rich culture, Hallstatt is called the World’s Most Lovely Lakeside Town, a Small Paradise on Earth and it’s on the list of World Beautiful Places.

 How Do Senior Travelers Get To Hallstatt?

Hallstatt is located in the Salzkammergut Region of Upper Austria, southeast of Salzburg and directly on the shores of Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt). Rick Steves, my travel hero notes the Salzkammergut’s pride and joy is the town of Hallstatt. He calls it A Toy Town.

The village Hallstatt is such a spectacular setting that the Chinese have created a copy of the ancient salt mine village. But only in the original will you discover this truly unique culture with such a history all in a breath-taking mountain setting. Known as Austria’s oldest and possibly most photographed village, it looked to me something like a mirage.

Seniors can enjoy hiking, mountaineering, cycling, mountain biking, Nordic walking, swimming and rock climbing.  So just how many shots can one take of a village with only a thousand people? The answer is endless as senior visitors will discover with their camera.

The little tourist office will recommend a hike — the 9,000-foot Mount Dachstein looms overhead — or a peaceful cruise in a rented canoe. Most people go to Hallstatt simply to relax, eat, shop, and stroll. It will prove to be a memorable visit and it’s on the Becker’s travel bucket list. jeb

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