This is the first of a few upcoming films from places that I probably would not have visited without the pandemic. Hallstatt is a small town in Upper Austria and with all the social media frenzy and overtourism I never had a great desire to go there. However, last summer I spend two weeks vacation in Austria approx. one hour away from Hallstatt and with travel restrictions at the time it seemed that this would be only possible time were a place like this could actually be bearable for a day trip.
While locals there assured me that the town was literally empty, it still had this tourist trap feeling to it all over the place. However, it is objectively really pretty and picturesque and all that, but it still is not really my cup of tea I guess. But check it out for yourself in less than 3 minutes – in miniature of course.
Below are a few interesting facts about Hallstatt from Wikipedia:
Hallstatt’s tourism began in the 19th century but greatly increased after it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. It became popular among Asian tourists in 2006 when it was featured on a South Korean television show. Social media images of it, captioned “the most Instagrammable town in the world,” went viral in Southeast Asia. A replica was planned and then built in China in 2011 in Huizhou, Guangdong province, Hallstatt’s twin town. In 2013 it was rumored in China to be the model for the movie Frozen’s Arendelle village. In 2020 the town had a population of 780, and estimates of 10,000 to nearly 30,000 tourists per day, primarily via bus tours which bring tourists briefly into the town for photo opportunities, then quickly move on.
Until the late 19th century, it was only possible to reach Hallstatt by boat or via narrow trails. The land between the lake and mountains was sparse, and the town itself exhausted every free patch of it. Access between houses on the river bank was by boat or over the upper path, a small corridor passing through attics. The first road to Hallstatt was only built in 1890, along the west shore, partially by rock blasting. Nevertheless, this secluded and inhospitable landscape counts as one of the first places of human settlement due to the rich sources of natural salt, which have been mined for thousands of years.