The Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut area has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List with the following inscription http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/806: "Human activity in the magnificent natural landscape of the Salzkammergut began in prehistoric times, with the salt deposits being exploited as early as the 2nd millennium BC. This resource formed the basis of the area’s prosperity up to the middle of the 20th century, a prosperity that is reflected in the fine architecture of the town of Hallstatt."
Hallstatt was the site of an early Iron Age culture from 800 to 400 BC, which is known as the Hallstatt Era. Hallstatt is considered to be the oldest still-inhabited village in Europe.
In addition to its ancient history, Hallstatt is spectacularly picturesque, due to its location on a narrow rocky west bank of the Hallstätter See with the sheer rising mountains behind it. Considered by some to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, Hallstatt is sometimes called "the pearl of Austria".
Note: during the "off season", few shops and restaurants are open, and in some periods it might even be difficult to find a place to stay. Advance reservations would help ensure acceptable accommodations and avoid a worrisome search for an open hotel.