Obertraun: The Ultimate Winter Guide (Including 6 Best Things to Do)

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Obertraun is a small, quiet, and absolutely scenic village surrounded by the mighty Alps on all sides in the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria. Hmm, haven’t quite heard of this place, have you? Yeah, you are not alone. I wasn’t aware of Obertraun either. Does Hallstatt ring a bell? If not, then absolutely nothing to worry about. You will now know. But for all people who know Instagram’s famous village Hallstatt, Obertraun is a neighboring village around the Hallstätter See (Hallstatt Lake).

Most people who visit Hallstatt miss out on this beautiful village and everything to do here. This village is lovely and serene in the summer. But it turns into a winter wonderland and a totally different place once it is covered with the woolly white duvet of fresh snow.

Why Obertraun?

I wasn’t planning on visiting Obertraun either and wasn’t even aware of this place. Like everyone, I was planning on visiting Hallstatt. I accidentally stumbled upon this place when I couldn’t find an affordable stay in Hallstatt. My expectations of Obertraun were low as my main plan was to visit the nearby village of Hallstatt anyways. That actually, in fact, elevated my experience as I ended up falling in love with this beautiful village.

Do not expect too much to do, but sometimes you just like the peace and quiet and the bliss of having the entire place to yourselves, far away from all the crowd.

Obertraun is where you just free yourselves of everyday stress and soak in all the alpine beauty around you. Also, the stays here are more affordable, and the village is very close to Hallstatt.

Oh, wait! I just said not much to do but not nothing. There are, in fact, some pretty fun things to do. We just wanted to have a quiet weekend, but we did a lot of stuff and enjoyed some quiet time once the sun was down.

How to Reach Obertraun?

You could also drive to Obertraun, but there are convenient options to reach Obertraun via train from Salzburg and Vienna. It takes around 2 and a half hours from Salzburg and approximately 4 hours from Vienna to reach Obertraun by train.

Both options include a train ride to Attnang Pucheim and a transfer to Obertraun (Obertraun Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof).

What to Do in and Around Obertraun?

During winter, there are some epic winter activities that you could do in and around Obertraun.

Note! Winter weather is totally unpredictable (maybe to some extent you can still plan), so all the activities depend highly on the weather of the day. So plan to have at least a day or two in hand to move things around if you are stuck in a snowstorm or something.

Ride Cable Cars, Snowshoe Hike, and Paraglide in Dachstein Krippenstein

Dachstein Krippenstein is an alpine area easily accessible from the Obertraun village. It is quite popular in the region for epic winter activities.

Go Up the Dachstein Krippenstein Cable Car Sections

You could enjoy great views from the top of the Alps by riding the cable cars in Dachstein Krippenstein. These views can be conveniently accessed by the cable cars provided by the Free Sports Arena Dachstein Krippenstein. You can take three sections of cable car rides to enjoy heavenly views from the mountain top at 2000m above sea level. You could see the views of the entire Hallstätter See on a clear day.

In contrast, on a cloudy day, you could see a bed of fluffy white clouds below you and the stunning Alps emerging from the fluffy beds of clouds. It is quite a site to see. It is not just about the scenic cable car ride. There are a lot of other activities you can do up there. Not to worry, there is something for everyone. A lot more on that coming up.

Cable Car Sections

There are three cable car sections in Dachstein Krippenstein:

  • Dachstein Krippenstein Seilbahn 1 (Section 1) – From Talstation Dachstein Krippenstein (609m) to Mittelstation Schonbergalm. There was a viewpoint at this level, but it is currently closed as of January 2023.
  • Dachstein Krippenstein Seilbahn 2 (Section 2) – From Mittelstation Schonbergalm to Bergstation Dachstein Krippenstein at 2109m. This is the highest you could get to with a cable car in this region. The famous viewpoint 5 fingers can be accessed from here.
  • Dachstein Krippenstein Seilbahn 3 (Section 3) – From Bergstation Dachstein Krippenstein to Gjaid Station. This cable car is quieter and looks cuter with a vintage yellow look. I personally enjoyed the views from the open window in this cable car as every other one is completely sealed.
How to Reach Dachstein Krippenstein Seilbahn 1?

From Obertraun (and some of the nearby villages, including Hallstatt), a ski bus (542/543) operates in the winter which takes you free of charge to the Free Sports Arena Dachstein Krippenstein from where you can take the cable cars.

The bus is free if you belong to one of the below categories:

  • If you are skiing in the region and when you carry your winter sports equipment.
  • If you have a guest card. When you are staying in the region, your stay provides you with a guest card.
  • If you have a Salzkammergut Winter Card.

You could just download your free ski bus ticket from the official website.

What About Tickets?

As I always recommend, buying your ticket online saves you money (in most cases, like this one) and time, as the lines could get crowded at the ticket desk. There are a lot of ticket types based on the activity you choose.

Phew! There are so many options to choose from, so to avoid confusion, I have mentioned the type of ticket you can choose in every section.

The ticket for accessing only cable cars (panoramic ticket) costs €39.60 (€37.50 online) for an adult. This is the best option for accessing all 3 sections of the cable cars, including ascent and descent.

Tip! Take this ticket only if you want to enjoy the cable car rides and views up the mountain and probably have a bite cozying up in a hut. By this, I mean you are not participating in other activities like snowshoe hiking, skiing, etc. If so, check out the best ticket option for the corresponding activity. You could also take this ticket if you have your own gear for a snowshoe hike.

Good to know! But if I just change my mind about going on a snowshoe hike after going up, can I still do it without the snowshoes? You obviously are not advised (highly dangerous or maybe impossible) to do without the proper gear. BUT you could also hire them in one of the restaurants for around 10.

Psst! Although, by combining it with your ticket, you get good value for money.

Enjoy Snowshoe Hiking in the Alps

This actually became the highlight of my visit as I had no idea about it and never thought I would do it. (For others who already have done snowshoe hiking in the past! Folks, this is my first time experiencing snow or any winter activities, so yes, I never imagined doing it because I didn’t know such a thing existed!)

For newbies like me, snowshoe hiking is just normal hiking but in vast mountainous areas covered with untouched white powdered gems sparkling in the sun. Oh yeah! Forgot the main thing. You will have your shoes strapped to odd tennis racket-shaped snowshoes that help you walk on ice and snow. Also, two sticky things with pointed ends to help you walk.

There could be unlimited possibilities of snowshoe hiking around this area of endless snow. Still, there are three marked trails for people with different experience levels from section 2 of the cable car.

First Trail – World Heritage Spiral

World Heritage Spiral is a short trail, so all my fellow newbies start with this to test the waters (or snow). They say this could be done with regular winter boots when there is not much snow. I guess that is the reason why the signposts for this trail have the symbol of a winter boot. But when we visited, the Dachstein had really unleashed its full power with so much snow cover. Without those racket shoes (snow shoes), I couldn’t have done it.

The path starts from the cable car section 2 station and follows the yellow diamond-shaped signposts on a pole marked every 30m to 40m with a boot symbol. Once you have reached your destination, the way back is the same.

Tip! If you are also doing the 5 finger trail, do not loop back to the starting point. Instead, continue following the 5 finger signposts after completing the World Heritage Spiral.

Extra tip! The trail has a slightly steep part at the beginning of this path. The path takes an almost hairpin-shaped turn towards the left, which could be a bit challenging for first-timers. But try to continue as the rest of the trail is considerably less challenging.

Level – Beginners

Difficulty – Easy

Distance – 0.5 km one way

Time – 45 minutes (there and back). This is an approximate time, folks. We stopped multiple times to take a gazillion pics as the views are so worth it. Half the time, I was just checking if it was all real or if I was in some imaginary world.

Second Trail – 5 Fingers

Unlike the previous trail, the 5 Fingers trail requires a snowshoe as it is further elaborate and longer than the previous one. It also involves walking into a lot of snow, depending on the weather and snowfall that week. It doesn’t hurt to wear a snowshoe for the World Heritage Spiral trail, as well. As extraordinary as the view might be, it is also overwhelming to look at the vast areas of undisturbed snow and the dangers it might pose. So it is always recommended to take the maximum safety measures possible to have an enjoyable time.

This trail had more views of the Hallstatt from up above and hollow depressions in the mountains, which are covered by fresh snow glistening in the sunlight. The trail ends in a viewpoint where a platform extends out in the shape of five fingers from the palm. The platform is made of metal with some glass-like structure at the bottom, from where you can directly see down from a height of about 2000m. If you are not afraid of heights, enjoy some breathtaking views from there before you hike back.

Level – Beginners

Difficulty – Easy

Distance – 1 km one way

Time – 1 hour 15 minutes (there and back). It took us around 2 hours as we took stops at multiple points to just stand there and gaze at the views.

Safety tip! There are no defined trails, although it is marked with signposts. The constant wind and snowfall keep changing the condition of the courses, so make sure to check where you are stepping next. Ensure the next step is safe and you won’t slip down. Also, the same path is used both ways, so be considerate and safely leave a way for the people walking in the opposite way to pass.

Note! The route may be altered based on snow conditions, and the distance could be slightly longer or shorter than the information given here.

Third Trial – Dachstein Shark

Dachstein Shark trail is in the opposite direction from the starting point of the first two trails. This goes along with the skiing route for a short distance before parting ways. The trail is longer than the other two and comparatively more challenging.

This trail is marked with similar yellow signposts but with a shark symbol, and it reads Dachstein Hai. Watch out for the signposts, and do not stray from the course. There is also a small ice cave on the way, which you could visit only when there is little snow as it could be dangerous otherwise.

This trail involves a lot of uphill and downhill with a total altitude difference of 220m. This trail ends in a shark-like structure at the end, from where you return following the same route.

Level – Intermediate

Difficulty – Medium

Distance – 3.4 km

Time – 2 hours minutes (there and back). Takes more time in reality, and this is just an approximate estimation without any breaks while maintaining a constant speed.

Guided Tours for Snowshoe Hiking

If unsure, please take a guided tour and have a more carefree experience walking these wild alpine terrains with confidence and less worry about going off course. There are more options of snowshoe hiking possibilities with a mountain guide. For more information about guided tours, see here.

Important Safety Tips

Although the above trails are marked, you are still at risk and exposed to corners, edges, avalanches, and sinkholes. So always watch out and follow all safety precautions to the T. Here are some tips for your visit:

  • There are sinkholes in the alpine region, so watch out for any funnel-shaped landscapes. With snow cover, it might look safe and be tempting, but they could be sinkholes, and hence do not go anywhere near it.
  • Always check for weather conditions on the official website before you plan your visit. 
  • Save important rescue phone numbers.

For detailed information on the trails and safety information, see here.

Phew! I know that’s a lot of serious stuff, but one can never be too careful. I guess after all the hiking, you should be exhausted and starving. Try to hit some restaurants and gulp on some well-deserved calories.

Restaurants at the Top

There are restaurants and mountain huts around different sections of the cable car stations and at different distances. 

  • Lodge am Krippenstein – 5 minutes walk from Section 2
  • Mountain Restaurant Dachstein Krippenstein – In Section 2 station
  • Gjaid Alm – 10 minutes walk from Section 3 
  • Wiesberghaus – 2 hours walk from Section 3
  • Buffet in the Valley Station
  • Simonyhütte – 3 hours walk from Section 3 (next opening on 10th February 2023)
How to Reach the Snowshoe Hiking Trails?

All the mentioned trails start from the Section 2 cable car station. You could just take two cable cars, come out of the station, and start hiking immediately after putting on those snowshoes.

What About Tickets?

Suppose you do not have your own snowshoes. In that case, you could get the Yeti Ticketwhich includes the snowshoe rentals along with those pointy sticks and the ascent and descent of 3 cable car sections.

The Yeti Ticket costs 46.50 (44 online) for an adult.

Highly recommend! While getting your snowshoes from the rental shop at the base station, ask for the sticks, which are also included as part of your ticket. They only give them if explicitly requested. 

If you already have snowshoes, you could take the Panorama Ticketwhich cover the ascent and descent of 3 cable car sections.

The Panorama Ticket costs 39.60 (37.50 online) for an adult.

Additional Ticket Option (Applicable for Panoramic)

There is a 13h ticket that is slightly less pricey than the normal one. Using this ticket, you can only ascend after 13:00 hours and have to descend the same day. It costs €35.50 and is available only at the counter.

Ski in the Alps

Winter skiing is one of the most popular skiing resorts in Austria, and it also offers an 11 km long downhill ride in the valley. It is also the longest downhill run in Austria. They offer skiing for all ages and all experiences. Check out their website for more information.

There is also something nice for free riders and snowboarders here.

Paraglide From the Alps

Paragliding from the high Alpine mountains could be exhilarating and offer some breathtaking views over the Hallstatt and Salzkammergut region. The paraglider pilots could find a lot of peaks and opportunities to set off on their ride. Also, the Sky Club Austria Flight School is located here, offering special tandem flights to enjoy an adventure experience for everyone.

Facilities Around the Dachstein Krippenstein

Public Washrooms

You could find one in every cable car station and in most restaurants where they let you use it for free for the customers. They also have wheelchair-friendly washrooms.


There are some restaurants up in the mountains, and you can quickly rest up and catch a bite during your long hike. While you are up there, you should try homemade apple strudel at one of the restaurants. They are simply mouthwatering and comforting for the winter.


For all the folks driving up to the base station, there is ample parking space for your cars right beside the entrance.


There are also some shopping possibilities for winter gear and clothing if you need something quickly for layering. But it is better to pack appropriately as the prices are costly here.

Important Things to Know for a Better Visit

  • Be aware of the timings of the last cable car, which is usually around 4:40 pm. 
  • You can also bring your dogs, but they must be on a leash and carry a muzzle. You are required to buy an additional ticket for your dog, which costs around €9.70.
  • You might feel like you have an entire day, but you have only limited time as the days are short. There is pretty much nothing to do other than cozying up at your stay or possibly in a restaurant after sunset, so plan your day accordingly.

These are all the activities you could do at the Dachstein Krippenstein, but not the end of the list of things to do in Obertraun. You could easily spend a day just in Dachstein Krippenstein.

Walk Around the Hallstätter See (Hallstatt Lake)

Obertraun offers some quiet, scenic, and off-the-crowd walking trails around the Hallstätter See. During summer, these are also popular biking trails. But biking on the icy trails could be tricky during winter. If that’s your thing, you have plenty of biking and walking trails to explore.

The trails have a combination of different terrains, from mud paths to proper trails to even paved roads (some parts of the trails might be completely covered in snow), with various inclinations. But they all have one thing in common, which is their beauty. Every stretch of a trail gives you something to admire.

Most of the paths run along the lake, and you can spot ducks, swans, and ducklings just chilling and doing their magic in the beautiful lake, which looks like moving steel in the winter. Oh, did I mention there is also a little suspension bridge a little past the Hallstatt Bahnhof Station? I think I have already piqued your interest. If you are visiting Obertraun with your furry friend, bring them along on these walks. You might also meet other furry friends on the way, as many locals take their dogs for a walk around this area.

I would love to take my Sunshine for walks here. He will simply love it. (For those who don’t know Sunshine, he is my little fur baby.)

I have marked two different trail options based on the length of the trail. This could be completely customized according to your preferences.

Walking Trail 1 (Includes Ferry Ride) – The Long Route (8-10 km)

For this trail, I have both the starting and ending points of the trails as Obertraun. But you could use any point in the trail as your start. There are three sections of the trail. The first one starts at Obertraun center and goes along the lakeside to the village of Hallstatt and the dock at the Hallstatt side. This route is the major part of the trail, which covers around 5 km. From the Hallstatt dock, you can take a ferry to the Hallstatt Bahnhof, the railway station of Hallstatt across the lake. This is the time when you can chill and enjoy the views. (It hardly takes around 10 minutes.)

Once you reach the Hallstatt station, walk on the platform away from the Obertraun side, around 200 meters, to get to the suspension bridge. It takes about 0.5 km to reach the end of the bridge from the Hallstatt station.

After you reach the end of the bridge, return to the station via the same route and start walking towards Obertraun. This route takes around 3 km to go back to where you started from the Hallstatt station.

This loop takes around 2 hours to complete without any breaks. But you should take some breaks and relax on one of the benches along the way, looking up to the lake. Sit and watch the ducks and swans glide through the water.

Walking Trail 2 (From Obertraun) – The Short Route (3 km)

Suppose you are running out of time or may not be a fan of walking. In that case, you should try this short walking route of around 3 km, but I am sure you will be impressed by the beauty and the variation of the terrain and the views offered. Start from the Obertraun center and end at the Hallstatt Bahnhof and optionally walk just an additional half a kilometer to walk along the suspension bridge.

Tip! If you are staying at the Obertraun village, which I highly recommend, you could take up this trail on the day you visit Hallstatt. Instead of taking the train from Obertraun to Hallstatt Bahnhof, walk along the route and directly hop on the ferry to Hallstatt.

I guess I already gave away the route. Yes, it is that simple, and you don’t even need a map to get you going. Start walking along the railway track towards Hallstatt Bahnhof and continue along the lake route. There will be a point where a small mud trail branches off from the road. Take the mud trail. It is closer to the lake and offers much better views. A small section of the course will move away from the lake. Still, you will be walking on a road along the rail tracks, usually covered in snow during winter, which is quite picturesque.

It would be insanely magical to look at a steam engine going on the track. However, unfortunately, only a modern train runs along this route, but it still looks lovely.

Once you reach the Hallstatt Bahnhof, you could either continue a little ahead to check out the suspension bridge and be back or skip it. This marks the end of the trail. You could either proceed with your day trip to Hallstatt on a ferry or return to Obertraun on the next train. (Or perhaps walk back along the same trail.)

This should take around 30 mins to complete, which is short and quick but absolutely worth it.

Spend a Day in the Hallstatt Village

Hallstatt, indeed looks like it is directly out of a postcard. The tiny little village with only around 800 residents is colorful and has everything you need for a perfect photoshoot. It is very popular and even with about 50 people at once could make it seem very crowded as the place is really small. But it is absolutely worth going on a day trip.

Start early and explore the main square and viewpoints before the tourists from Vienna and Salzburg arrive. There is pretty much nothing to do other than roam around the cute little village covered in tiny colorful houses. There is also a nice museum and a salt mine to explore (but the salt mines might be closed during winter).

I have written about my visit to Hallstatt in detail so that you are aware of what to expect in Hallstatt.

Where to Stay in Obertraun?

Now, we are almost at the end of everything you could do in and around Obertraun in winter. But probably not necessarily the time to leave. If you want to simply relax and wake up to the sight of fresh powdery snow and relax and rejuvenate in a lovely B&B, you could stay for as long as you want.

Speaking of B&Bs, let me list some of the best places to stay in Obertraun.

Where Did We Stay?

We stayed in an excellent place called Haus Hepi B&B. The hosts were friendly and warm. The room had a balcony overlooking the mountains, and the view was simply incredible. There is a nice little lounge area to relax, with great views and comfortable couches. You could also enjoy some board games or read books once the sun is down.

Alternate Options in Obertraun

Want to explore more options in Obertraun? Please search in Booking.com here. We use Booking.com to book all our stays and have always had a good experience.

Where to Eat in Obertraun?

While we were there, not many places were open at the time. While we were roaming in hunt of a restaurant, we stumbled upon Pizzeria Kegelbahn. It is pretty close to the ferry point of Obertraun (temporarily closed as of February 2023) and the railway station. It is hard to miss as there aren’t many options, though. But it is not that I settled for this place as I didn’t have many options. I really enjoyed their food. It was absolutely delicious. I am always a little partial to Italian cuisine, but this was indeed drool-worthy.

Must try! If you love spicy food, you will absolutely enjoy their Spaghetti Aglio Olio. We ordered this at least thrice during our 2 days stay in Obertraun. It was that good.

And with that, we come to an end of everything to see and do in Obertraun in winter. I am pretty sure it is also stunning in summer, but this winter wonderland always holds a special place in my heart.

The Salzkammergut region is simply beautiful in winter. I have compiled the perfect itinerary for 2 days to explore in and around Obertraun and Hallstatt. Also, don’t forget to read and check out the best photo spots in Hallstatt.

Kiki from RooKiExplorers posing in a field of pink hyacinths in the Netherlands.
The Face Behind the Post

Hey, I am Kiki! A full-time software developer and hardcore travel enthusiast who is always up for a new adventure and the author of RooKiExplorers. I love to travel the world and enjoy talking about it, helping everyone around me plan their trips, and avoiding making the mistakes I made.

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