Halstatt candidate for most beautiful Austria town

Squeezed between lake and mountain, Halstatt is a small and cheerful Austrian village

South of Salzburg, where the hills really are alive with the sound of music, they also are alive with small glacial lakes formed by runoff from the icefields above. Halstatt is a favorite. If you come here by train you must take a ferry across the lake from the station; but there is a small road, pleasant and bikeable, that swings along the western and southern shore. It is one of these towns that you ride into, and your jaw drops at the chalets around the square, with flowerboxes in full bloom, the fountain offering a cool rinse, and the numerous open air cafes beckoning you to stay. Austria is my choice for the prettiest country in Europe, and Halstatt is certainly one reason. [Heiligenblut, on the Grosseglocknerhochalpenstrasse, is another]. The French love their alps with reserve and a sort of haughtiness; the Swiss are a bit too willing to build another teleferique; but the Austrians know how to love their alps as they are, rather than as tourists wish them to be. The Austrian alps are often a bright silvery rock, instead of the gloomy faces of their French cousins, or the snowy summits in Switzerland. Austrian alpine villages seem to part of the mountains themselves, with their unique narrow church steeples like icy needles pointing to heaven. No wonder their tourist literature is full of subordinate clauses, praising the minor as well as the major attractions. By all means see the Austrian alps at midsummer, when their campsites are full and gemutlichkeit runs rampant.

The town square at Halstatt begs you stay