Beneath the glittering lakes and snow-dusted mountains of Austria’s Lake District, the subterranean world of the Salzburg salt mines (Salzbergwerk) spreads out in a network of underground mines and tunnels. Used to mine “white gold” since the Bronze Age, the historic salt mines at Hallstatt and Berchtesgaden are now popular attractions. Here you’ll find fascinating insights into the region’s salt-mining heritage, as well as fun activities such as slides, train rides, and boat cruises.
The Berchtesgaden salt mines can only be visited as part of a guided tour. Exploring the salt mines is a blast for the whole family. At Berchtesgaden, visitors can tour the mines by train, brave a 118-foot-long (36-meter-long) miners’ slide, cruise across a subterranean salt lake (the “Mirror Lake”), and marvel at the Salt Cathedral. At the Hallstatt salt mines, visitors can walk through underground tunnels, learn about the science of salt in a subterranean classroom, see a prehistoric wooden staircase (the oldest of its kind in the world!), and shop for innovative salt products in the gift shop. Journey to the mines on a half- or full-day tour from Salzburg, Austria, or Munich, Germany.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The salt mines can only be visited on guided tours, and it’s best to book in advance, especially during high season in July and August.
- Wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes, as it can be chilly underground. Overalls and protective clothing are provided for most tours.
- Some parts of the salt mine tours are wheelchair accessible, but it’s best to check with your tour operator in advance.
How to Get There
The main salt mines are located in Berchtesgaden and Hallstatt, about 16 miles (25 kilometers) and 43 miles (70 kilometers) by road from Salzburg, respectively. It’s easiest to visit as part of a guided tour, but buses also run from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden and Hallstatt, as well as other locations in the Salzkammergut region.
When to Get There
Most salt mines are open year-round, but fewer tour times are usually available in low season. July and August are the most popular months to visit; during this time it’s a good idea to book an early time slot to avoid crowds.
Combo Tours with the Salzburg Salt Mines
Salt mine excursions are often combined with a trip to Adolf Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest atop a sub-peak of Hoher Göll mountain, or a boat cruise around Lake Königssee in Germany. Alternatively, opt for a private tour to Hallstatt and discover the underground world of the Hallstatt salt mines, ride the funicular—a steep cable railway—to the Five Fingers Viewing Platform at Krippenstein, or take a boat tour of Hallstatt Lake.