It did not include on my itinerary when I was planning a trip to Europe, I also had no thoughts of this snowy Dachstein mountain range. But just through a brief conversation with two Chinese international students on a bus to Hallstatt, I decided to sit on the bus and stopped at the foot of this Dachstein mountains to start a day filled with sunshine, snow and … high altitude. So, what to do in Dachstein Austria – a majestic mountain in Austria? Let’s joining my journey to explore Dachstein Salzkammergut region and experience of climbing Dachstein mountains as well as how to visit, how to get to Dachstein Ice Caves from Hallstatt, things to do in Dachstein to clear out the answer!
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Dachstein Salzkammergut – a cultural and natural heritage
The ancient village of Hallstatt and the Dachstein mountains belong the Salzkammergut region of Austria, is a special UNESCO heritage site when it is recognized both the titles of Cultural Heritage and Natural Heritage. If you have come here, you will realize it’s a obvious thing because Salzkammergut region has all the harmonious beauties of culture and nature. Just imagine you are in a beautiful fairy-tale village and then climbing to the top of Dachstein, overwhelmed by snowy mountains, glaciers and ice caves.
The Dachstein mountain range is a part of the famous Alps stretching in western Austria. So if you are looking for an Alpine climbing experience, then Dachstein will give you a feeling of the majestic Alps. I also did not know in advance the Dachstein mountains belong the Alps until I read the instructions at a stop.
To explore Dachstein, you must buy a ticket to this sanctuary http://www.dachstein-salzkammergut.com/en/dachstein/service/tickets-and-prices/. I recommend you buying a 40 euros package to visit station 1, 2 with Ice Cave and 5fingers are the most worth visiting spots.
What is the best season to go to Dachstein?
Dachstein Salzkammergut has 3 cable stations. In winter or early spring when snow is covered, the 3rd station will not be able to reach. I went in early spring, so I couldn’t get to station 3 or access Mammoth cave.
But for me, the best time to climb Dachstein is in the spring, when station 2 is covered with white snow and is magical without being too cold. Although I could not visit Mammoth Cave, but I could still enter Ice Cave and go up to 5 fingers observation deck which is beautiful and fanciful with a panorama view.
Mysterious Ice Cave
This 300-year-old Ice Cave is strange in that in winter the ice will melt and in spring and summer the ice will grow. So, the best time to explore is from April to August every year to see the beautiful ice sheets inside the cave. You cannot freely enter the Ice Cave because the path inside last nearly 1 km of stairs is quite dangerous. You have to wait every hour to join a guided group.
5fingers – a perfect spot to viewing the whole Salzkammergut region from above
This “5-finger” observation deck will give you a howling experience when the steps are glass looking down the mountain. I am very afraid of heights, so the feeling of standing in the middle of the mountain and looking down at the whole Salzkammergut region is completely overwhelming.
Panoramic meal in Dachstein Krippenstein
If you are tired and need to stop, try the only restaurant at station 2 called Dachstein Krippenstein to immerse yourself in a spectacular lunch view with snowy mountains and clouds. Don’t forget to order a savory Hallstatt beer for lunch.
How to get to Dachstein ice caves from Hallstatt?
Salzburg – Bad Ischl
From Salzburg city, you go to the Central Station, take the bus no. 150 to Bad Ischl. Waiting for 20 minutes, there will be the next bus no. 542 to Hallstatt.
Bad Ischl – Hallstatt Lahn/Ice Cave
Take the bus no 542 and then Post Bus, when you get on 542, sit until to the last stop and the driver will ask you to transfer to the waiting Post Bus to Hallstatt Lahn, if you want to climb Dachstein mountains, tell them to take you to Ice Cave (this place is a must visit).
How to buy tickets?
It’s very simple, just get on the bus and say the last stop you need to stop.
The last bus trip from Ice Cave to Hallstatt and Bad Ischl is at 5:25pm, so you should watch time carefully.
And from Bad Ischl back to Salzburg, it can be more leisurely because the bus runs until 9pm. Be prepared, you have to wait a long time for each bus.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Hallstatt you can refer to
- Hallstatt Day Tour from Salzburg
- Hallstatt Day Tour from Vienna
- Hallstatt Alpine Panoramic Day Tour from Vienna
- Melk, Hallstatt, and Salzburg Private Day Tour from Vienna