10 Things to do in Dachstein, Austria: Best places to visit (+ map)

Dachstein Rakousko

Dachstein is a majestic mountain massif in the northern limestone Alps in Austria. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique karst landscape, rich biodiversity and historical significance. Its glaciated peaks offer spectacular views of the surrounding Alpine landscape and it is known for its extensive network of hiking trails. Here is a list of the best things to do in Dachstein, Austria.

Dachstein, Austria

The Dachstein is a dramatic mountain range in the northern limestone Alps of Austria. This is the area of the Alps where you won’t enjoy peace and quiet. The places are very popular with tourists, but you can also find hiking trails where you will be almost alone.

The highest peak of the Dachstein is the Hoher Dachstein with a height of 2995 m, below which the Halstatt Glacier extends. The mountain is also known for its ice and limestone caves, of which there are more than 240.

The salt chamber (Salzkammergut) around Hallstatt in the northern part of the Dachstein is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its salt deposits and the associated salt mining that has been going on here since the Bronze Age.

Things to do in Dachstein, Austria: Best places to visit

1. Hallstatt

Where to stay in Hallstatt: Dormio Hotel Obertraun (resort with full facilities), Seehotel am Hallstättersee (2* lakeside guesthouse), Pension Bergfried (3* guesthouse in the centre of Hallstatt)

Hallstatt is an iconic Alpine town with less than one thousand inhabitants. It lies in the Salzkammergut on Lake Hallstätter See and is surrounded by the peaks of the Dachstein mountains. The entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Especially in the season, it’s head to head in Hallstatt. If you want to enjoy it more for yourself, head here in the off-season or at least early in the morning or in the evening, when the largest mass of tourists leave. The car parks can be fully booked in the morning in high season.

In this case, you can park in Obertraun and take the boat to Hallstatt, which is an experience in itself (the journey takes about 25 minutes).

If you walk around the town along the lake, you will come across some beautiful views – the best photo of Hallstatt can be taken here.

The cable car (you can also walk) takes you to the “Welterbeblick” Skywalk with a bridge, from where you have a wonderful view of Hallstatt and the surrounding area.

A short distance from the viewpoint is the Hallstatt Salt Mine. It will take you about an hour and a half to see it. It’s a great museum for children and adults alike, which will take you through the history of the local salt mine – take a train ride, ride on the wooden slides or watch various projections and videos.

All information about opening times and prices for the cable car and salt mine can be found here.

2. Dachstein-Krippenstein – 5 Fingers viewpoint

Kde se ubytovat poblíž Dachstein-Krippenstein: Lodge am Krippenstein (stylový hotel na vrcholu Krippenstein), Dormio Hotel Obertraun (resort s kompletním zázemím), Seehotel am Hallstättersee (2* penzion u břehu jezera)

Krippenstein is a popular resort just outside Hallstatt. There’s so much to see that you can take a whole day or spread it out over several days if you plan to hike around the area.

Krippenstein / things to do in Dachstein / Dachstein hiking
View from Dachstein-Krippenstein

You can get here from Obertraun, where you will see signs along the way. There is a large free parking lot on the left side of the lower cable car station. You can also take a bus from Obertraun and nearby Hallstatt – you get off right at the cable car. In the summer season the cable car is open from 8:40.

The Dachstein-Krippenstein cable car is divided into 3 parts:

  1. part of the Dachstein-Krippenstein I cable car goes to the Giant Ice Cave and the Mammoth Cave.
  2. The Dachstein-Krippenstein II part of the cable car takes you to the highest point of the plateau just below the Krippenstein peak, where the 5 Fingers viewpoint is also located.
  3. part of the Dachstein-Krippenstein III cable car descends to the Gjaidalm mountain hut.

Dachstein Ice Cave and Mammoth Cave

The Dachstein Ice Cave (sometimes also called the Giant Ice Cave) and the Mammoth Cave can be found in the first intermediate station of the cable car.

You can choose just one of them or visit both – the final price will vary accordingly. Both are beautiful, but the Dachstein Ice Cave is by far the better and more visited. It is one of the most extensive ice caves in Europe.

There are impressive ice shapes, which are supplemented in several places with lighting and music effects. Towards the end of the tour there is a rope bridge over a 30 m deep abyss.

Giant Ice Cave Dachstein

There is a 15-minute climb from the cable car to the ice cave. The Mammoth Cave takes you through the cave passages inside Krippenstein. It is one of the largest karst caves in the world and has still not been fully explored.

Tours to both caves are guided. Even if you bought your ticket at the lower cable car station, you must register for a tour before entering the cave. After registration you will receive a number for a specific tour with a time. The waiting time varies according to the number of visitors.

There is a relaxation area in front of the caves where you can sit on a bench, a playground for children and a restaurant for refreshments. The temperature in both caves is just above freezing, so don’t forget to pack extra warm layers.

The 5 Fingers viewpoint

The 5 Fingers viewpoint is located about half an hour from the second station of the cable car, which stops a short distance from the Krippenstein peak (2108 m). Turn right to the viewpoint (with the cable car station at your back) along a wide and comfortable path. With sheep and goats grazing around you, it’s a pleasant walk for families with children.

Along the route you can make a detour to the chapel and another viewpoint called the World Heritage Spiral (Welterbespirale), which we think is even more interesting than the 5 Fingers viewpoint itself. Since it’s made of aluminum and shaped like a boat, you have no chance of missing it.

The viewpoint offers a great view of Hallstatt and Hallstatt Lake (as well as the whole plateau) and there are several information stations showing how far away Prague, Machu Picchu or the volcano in Kamchatka are. Here you can relax on a huge wooden sun lounger.

5 Fingers Dachstein Krippenstein / World Heritage Spiral
The World Heritage Spiral

The 5 Fingers lookout itself consists of 5 spurs, each about 4 metres long. In high season it is usually crowded and it is best to take the first cable car here, on weekdays or in low season. All viewpoints are free of charge. The only paid attractions on Krippenstein are the Giant Ice Cave and the Mammoth Cave.

If you’re not pressed for time, I recommend going back to the cable car station (you can have a snack in one of the 2 restaurants here) and continue on the other side of the Heilbronn circuit. It is an easy trail of about 2.5-3 hours around the plateau, which even children can manage.

There is a shark-shaped viewpoint along the way. You can climb right into its mouth and look at the surroundings through its teeth.

Source: dachstein.salzkammergut.at

Overall, it’s a very nice trail that ends at the third cable car station, just a short distance from the Gjaidalm mountain hut, where the cooking is great. From the mountain hut, you can then take the cable car back to the second cable car station and save yourself 300 vertical metres (it’s about an hour’s walk).

You can also go in the opposite direction, where you first go down to the Gjaidalm mountain hut and then follow the loop back to the second cable car station, but there is a bigger climb.

Useful information before visiting Dachstein-Krippenstein
  • If you book your tickets in advance, you don’t have to queue for tickets at the lower cable car station. There are also discounted tickets for families, with which you can save significantly.
  • I recommend planning a visit in the morning, when the weather is most stable in the mountains and there is a better chance of beautiful views.
  • The cable car can also be reached by bus from Obertraun or Hallstatt (about half an hour). You can also hike to Krippenstein – expect a full day hike.
  • In the summer season, the cable car operates from the beginning of May to the beginning of November. It starts at 8:40am and departs every quarter of an hour. It opens gradually – at the beginning of May the first section to the caves is in operation, from mid-May it goes to the second section and from the beginning of June it is in operation completely including the third section.
  • When you visit one or both of the caves, you register at the entrance for a specific time – there is no charge. The tour of each cave takes 50 minutes.
  • There are also discounted tickets for 4 cable cars in the area, or. discounted family packages.

Check the official website for current opening times and prices for the Krippenstein cable car.

Accommodation Dachstein 😴

ubytování dachstein rakousko
COOEE hotel

Modern hotel near Gosau with half board

ubytování dachstein rakousko
Alpine Club

Apartments in Schladming, ideal for families

3. Skywalk – Suspension bridge – Ice Palace

Where to stay near Skywalk: Pension Hofweyer (Ramsau am Dachstein), Tauernblick (Schladming)

The Skywalk, the suspension bridge, the Treppe ins Nichts viewpoint and the Ice Palace are among the most famous excursions to visit in and around Dachstein.

Skywalk Dachstein / Dachstein tours
Viewpoint Treppe ins Nichts

Between Filzmoos and Ramsau am Dachstein, turn off the main road onto the panoramic mountain road to the Dachstein glacier (left from Filzmoos). You go through the toll gate, where you take a ticket, but don’t pay anything yet (keep the ticket well and take it up with you).

The road will take you to the free car park at the lower gondola station. The car park fills up early in summer and winter.

Take the cable car up to the top station (the ride up takes a few minutes). There is an open area at the top of the cable car where you can also get on (see photo below). It’s not a night for the faint of heart, but the ride experience gets even better from there.

There is a free Skywalk at the top of the cable car station, from which you will have a beautiful view of the surrounding area.

Skywalk Dachstein / Dachstein trips cable car Skywalk

From the top station of the cable car, you can continue to three other attractions, which are already paid. The first is the 100-metre-long suspension bridge (Hängebrücke), which at 2,687 metres is the highest suspension bridge in Austria.

It’s not for the faint hearted as it wobbles a bit. Nevertheless, the bridge is absolutely safe – the Dachstein suspension bridge can withstand winds of up to 250 km/h and can bear loads of up to 750 kg/m2. It is made of 63 tons of steel.

Dachstein suspension bridge

Once you cross the bridge, continue along the rocks to the Treppe ins Nichts (Stairs to Nowhere) lookout. There is often a small queue for a view and a photo. This is also the entrance to the Ice Palace, where there are ice corridors with carved figures and domes and you can see buildings such as the Eiffel Tower.

Useful information before going to the Skywalk

  • There’s a toll road to the Dachstein glacier cable car, where you pay a 20€ toll (car for up to 9 people, motorbike for 6€), but we’ll cover how not to pay the toll in a moment. At the toll gate, you will pick up a ticket, which you will then verify at the ticket office before descending at the top station of the cable car and thus you will have a free toll.
  • You can also get to the cable car by bus – the current timetable can be found here – bus line 960 leads to the cable car below the Dachstein glacier, the terminus at the bottom station of the cable car is Dachstein Türlwandhütte.
  • From May to September, the cable car must be booked in advance, preferably at least 2 days in advance. You can go up with your dog for a fee, but you must buy a muzzle on site. Dogs are not allowed on the suspension bridge and other attractions.

4. Hoher Dachstein

The Hoher Dachstein with its 2995 m is the highest peak of the Dachstein massif. You can get here from the top station of the cable car to the Dachstein glacier (see previous trip tip).

The path leads over a glacier and then up the via ferratta to the top of Hoher Tauern. From the top, you can descend to the modern Seethalerhütte hut and refresh yourself here.

Hoher Dachstein
view from the top station – in the foreground the suspension bridge and above it Hoher Dachstein and below it the Seethalerhütte

Looking for an easy route? Start at the top station of the cable car and continue over the glacier straight to the Seethalerhütte hut. The journey takes about 40 minutes.

Or would you prefer something for the whole day? From the top station of the cable car you will walk across the glacier to the Simonyhütte mountain hut (4:50 h; challenging route). Another option is to go to Hoher Dachstein via the Gosausee lakes as part of a two-day ascent via the Adamekhütte hut.

5. Dachstein-Südwandhütte

The Dachstein-Südwandhütte is a good starting point for further hikes of varying difficulty. We start at the bottom station of the cable car to the Dachstein massif (see above). It can be reached by toll road (20 €) or by bus from the surrounding resorts.

The Dachstein-Südwandhütte is an easy 40-minute hike with a gentle climb that even children can manage. From the hut you can take a short detour to a viewpoint with a bench – you will walk down the ridge from the hut.

The view from the lookout offers a wonderful view of the Schladming Tauern, where you will also find some tips for hikes and routes around Dachstein in this guide.

Return the same way to the hut and you can continue on. For example, a challenging and safe route to Dachstein or an easier circuit. With children, the Fünf-Hütten-Weg circuit is ideal, which runs through the mountain huts at the foot of the Dachstein massif.

Accommodation Dachstein 😴

These accommodations include the Sommercard, which gives you free lift passes and discounts on attractions around Schladming.

dachstein rakousko ubytování
JUFA hotel Schladming

3* hotel with half board and wellness

dachstein ubytování
TUI Blue Schladming

Modern hotel with complete facilities

6. Peak Stoderzinken

Dachstein hiking trails

Stoderzinken (2048 m) is an easily accessible peak with a spectacular view that you wouldn’t expect at its altitude. A little below the summit is the wooden chapel Friedenskircherl in the rock, where you can ring the bell for luck and leave a few coins for its maintenance.

Dachstein hiking trails

The Stoder is reached by the Stoderzinken Alpine toll road from Gröbming – the price is €20 (€10 for motorbikes). Park in the car park and head uphill to the first signpost.

I recommend that you first go to the Friedenskircherl chapel on the blue marked trail no. 646 – it’s about 20 minutes along the rocks.

From the chapel, you will then walk back a short distance to the Peter Rosegger Memorial, where you will start climbing along the larch trees to the top (25 minutes from the memorial). From here you can continue to the Brünner Hütte, from where other routes branch off.

  • Difficulty (to the top of Stoderzinken): 1 hour; elevation ↑ 326 m ↓ 130 m; route map

7. Waterfalls Riesachfälle and Lake Riesachsee

The Riesachfälle waterfalls are the highest waterfalls in Styria (the highest is the 70 m high Großer Riesachfall), above which is the Riesachsee lake.

Park your car in Seeleiten (there are buses here too) at the end of the Untertalbach valley (in 2021, parking cost €9) and take the orange Alpinsteig Höll trail. You walk along the Reisachbach river, where you will find waterfalls, viewpoints, metal ladders, footbridges and a suspension bridge.

It takes a sure foot and a good pair of shoes. Even older children can manage the route if they have experience with more difficult terrain and are not afraid of heights.

In about an hour you will reach the Riesachsee lake with the Gföller Alm hut at its foot. The lake can be circumnavigated on a comfortable path to the other side to the Kaltenbachalm hut and from there you can continue on into the mountains.

Dachstein Lake

If you have small children, are in a stroller, or don’t feel up to a strenuous climb, you can walk to Lake Riesachsee from the left on the groomed 777 trail, which you then descend back down.

  • Difficulty to Lake Riesachsee: 1:15 h; elevation ↑ 284 m ↓ 21 m; route map

8. Silberkarklamm

Where to stay near Silberkarklamm: Pension Hofweyer (Ramsau am Dachstein), Tauernblick (Schladming)

The Silberkarklamm is located near Ramsau am Dachstein. The circuit winds along the Silberkarbach mountain stream and is wedged between the surrounding mountains. Thanks to this there are beautiful waterfalls and also 3 ferratas.

The route is short and leads mostly on wooden paths or a rocky path uphill. Even children can handle it. The journey takes about an hour and can be extended to the nearby Silberkarhütte hut.

From here you can continue on through the Stangalm mountain hut and even higher to the Silberkarsee. The ascent to the lake is not difficult in terms of technique, but it is good to have experience with high mountain terrain and fitness, because you will climb more than 1100 meters.

  • Difficulty (Silberkarklamm): 1 hour; suitable for children (not for strollers)
  • Difficulty (Silberkarsee including the gorge): 4:45 h; elevation ↑↓ 1106 m; route map
  • Parking: there are 2 parking areas a short distance from the entrance to the gorge – on the right is a free parking lot with plenty of spaces and on the left is a private paid area

☞ Here are the most beautiful places in Austria.

9. Lakes Gosauseen

Where to stay in Gosau: COOEE Hotel (modern hotel with half board), Gasthof Gosausee (guesthouse at Lake Gosausee)

The Gosauseen lakes consist of 3 lakes – Vorderer Gosausee, Gosaulacke and Hinterer Gosausee, which are set in the surrounding peaks in the middle of nature. You can get here from the town of Gosau in the north of the Dachstein.

Lake Gosausee Dachstein

There is a free car park right at the lower and also the largest lake Vorderer Gosausee, where the road ends. In high season or good weather it can be full early, but a little further away from the lake there are other options for where to leave your car.

The route starts at the largest lake, Vorderer Gosausee, which is reached after the barrier around the guesthouse. It is suitable for children and strollers. There is also one easier ferrata with a hanging ladder along the way. Or you can rent boats here.

From the lower lake you can continue to the smaller lake Gosaulacke and then to the upper lake Hinterer Gosausee, where you will be well hosted in the Holzmeister Alm. The route back and forth across the lakes will take you about half a day (with children it can take a whole day).

Lake Gosausee Dachstein

From the upper lake, other routes of varying difficulty branch off. The further you go from Vorderer Gosausee, the less crowded it will be (most people are at the lower lake, which is very easy to reach).

  • Difficulty (circular route around Vorderer Gosausee): 1.5 hours; suitable for strollers; route map
  • Difficulty (circular route across all lakes): 4:40 h; elevation ↑↓ 503 m; route map

If you want to enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Gosausee and Dachstein, take the cable car from the car park. The walk up takes about 4 minutes and the views are spectacular.

Lake Gosausee Dachstein cable car

At the top there are mountain huts and hiking trails of varying difficulty. Among the more demanding ones is the belayed route (it can be avoided even on the most belayed route) to Großer Donnerkogel.

Lake Gosausee Dachstein

If you are visiting the Gosausee Lakes with children, the Urzeitewald amusement park is a few minutes before the lakes.

10. Lake Spiegelsee

Spiegelsee means Mirror Lake, because its surface perfectly mirrors the opposite massif of the Dachstein. However, this requires a calm water level, which can rarely be achieved during the day in the summer season, because it is usually quite crowded.

Therefore, the best time to visit is during the off-peak season or in the early morning or evening when it is slightly less crowded.

Lake Spiegelsee Dachstein

Lake Spiegelsee is easily accessible and suitable for families with children. Take the cable car (or drive along the toll road – adults €6 and children €3) to the Gasselhöhe Hütte at the Reiteralmsee in the Reiteralm resort, from where you’ll climb uphill for about 45 minutes.

The path leads to other smaller lakes with short detours, where there are far fewer tourists. You can return from the lake by the same route or you can take the ridge, which we will talk more about now.

  • Difficulty (to Lake Spiegelsee): 0:45 h; elevation ↑ 208 ↓ 84; route map

☞ Are you planning a visit to the Austrian lakes? Take a look at the most beautiful lakes in Austria.

11. Ridge over Rippetegg peak

From Lake Spiegelsee, you can continue up the ridge that winds on your right. The whole ridge can be walked back to the Gasselhöhe Hütte. It is a beautiful ridge route, but not suitable for smaller children.

  • Difficulty (circular route over the ridge): 2:50 hours; elevation ↑ 497 ↓ 497; route map

Where to stay in Dachstein?

  • Seehotel am Hallstättersee: hotel near Hallstatt with great value for money
  • Dormio Hotel Obertraun: Fully equipped resort in Obertraun just outside Hallstatt (swimming pool, playground, garden, free parking, restaurant).
  • Lodge am Krippenstein: mountain hotel at the top of Krippenstein with fantastic views
  • COOEE Hotel: Fantastic hotel in Gosau with half-board option, rich facilities, free parking.
  • Alpine Club: Fully equipped apartments in Schladming with great value for money, children’s and tennis court

Accommodation Dachstein 😴

ubytování dachstein rakousko
COOEE hotel

Modern hotel near Gosau with half board

ubytování dachstein rakousko
Alpine Club

Apartments in Schladming, ideal for families

How to save in the Dachstein-Schladming area

The following accommodations include the Dachstein-Schladming Sommercard, which you will receive automatically upon arrival. The card is valid from 17th May to 3rd November 2024 for all those staying in partner accommodation for at least one day. Valid from 13:00 on the day of arrival, during the stay including the whole day of departure.

With the card you can travel free on local and regional buses, use the cable cars (Planai, Hochwurzen, Reiteralm and even includes a cable car to the Dachstein glacier if you stay for at least 2 days) + additional discounts on attractions in the area. The card does not include the lifts around Hallstat and Krippenstein.

Partner accommodation with the Dachstein-Schladming Sommercard:

Accommodation Dachstein 😴

These accommodations include the Sommercard, which gives you free lift passes and discounts on attractions around Schladming.

dachstein rakousko ubytování
JUFA hotel Schladming

3* hotel with half board and wellness

dachstein ubytování
TUI Blue Schladming

Modern hotel with complete facilities

Things to do in Dachstein – map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map to hikes and walking routes in Dachstein, Austria. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the guide of what to see around Dachstein. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

Transport in Austria

Austrian motorways are toll roads and cost €11.50 for 10 days. Other variants are also available. You can buy an Austrian vignette here.

Some sections of motorways and tunnels are tolled by section tolls. Coming from Prague, the A9 Pyhrn – Bosruck Tunnel is €17 one way. You can pay at the link above, where you can also buy a vignette. Here is a map of toll sections in Austria.

toll sections austria

It depends exactly where you are going in the Dachstein, because you will not pass through the toll section in the direction of Hallstatt, or you will not pass through the toll section in the direction of Hallstatt. you can get around on the regional road.

The maximum speed limit on Austrian motorways is 130 km/h, 100 km/h on roads and 50 km/h in a municipality like ours. However, there are often speed limits.

When to visit Dachstein, Austria?

The best time for hiking is June – September (depending on the weather, also October).

It depends on what activities you are planning in the area. If you’re going hiking in the high mountains, you could still find snowfields in June in many places. That’s why most mountain huts open at the end of June. At lower altitudes, some huts and alpine pastures are open from May.

In June and July, thunderstorms are more frequent in the afternoon and evening. On the other hand, in July the Alps are beautifully blooming.

The most stable weather is in August and September. If it’s warm, you can also go to Dachstein in October. The nature will be beautifully coloured and you will enjoy the distant views.

This was our travel guide and the things to do in Dachstein mountain range in the Austrian Alps. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about the Alps

AUSTRIAN ALPS: Check out the things to do in the Austrian Alps, including tips for hikes and walking routes in the area. Tips on the most beautiful places in the Austrian Alps in a separate article.

Or head straight to Tyrol or the High Tauern National Park. Other popular destinations in the Austrian Alps are the Wolfgangsee or Lake Achensee.

Zell am See is one of the most popular areas to stay in the Austrian Alps. Here is a detailed guide and what to visit around Zell am See.

Wolfgangsee is one of Austria’s most beautiful lakes, with swimming opportunities and plenty of activities in the surrounding area.

Get inspired by the things to do in Carinthia or enjoy a holiday at one of the lakes in Carinthia. Here is a detailed guide to Lake Wörthersee.

AUSTRIA: Here are the most beautiful places in Austria. Are you planning a visit to the Austrian lakes? Take a look at the most beautiful lakes in Austria.

BAVARIAN ALPS: Get inspired by attractions and hiking tips in the Bavarian Alps.

DOLOMITES: We have prepared a detailed guide with tips on the best hikes and hiking routes in the Dolomites.

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