The villages of Hallein and Bad Dürrnberg near Salzburg
Just south of Salzburg is the Dürrnberg Mountain, its jagged peak rising 1300 meters above sea level. In the winter, this ski region’s pleasant altitude and quiet location near Hallein offers perfect conditions for skiers and snowboarders of all ages, as well as those on a ski tour. During the summer months, visitors also have a chance to take a spirited ride on the Keltenblitz, or Celtic Lightening, Austria’s longest summer bobsled. But above all, Dürrnberg is famous for its historical roots. Numerous excavations prove that the Celts settled here more than 2,500 years ago. They were the first people to make use of the rich salt deposits found here. Visitors can catch a glimpse into how these ancient peoples lived in the Celtic village near Hallein, included as part of the salt mine tour.
Down in the valley, valuable and interesting finds from the Celtic period are on display in Hallein’s Celtic Museum. Hallein, the second largest city in the Salzburg district, has an historic section with narrow streets dating from the Middle Ages. This old part of town, which is protected as an historical site, is an inviting place to stroll, enjoy an ice cream or just relax. Already in the Middle Ages, salt, or “white gold” as it was known, was transported along the Salzach River making this area wealthy. In fact, the town’s name reflects this history: “Hall” is the Celtic word for salt. Franz Xaver Gruber, one of the authors of the world famous hymn Silent Night, Holy Night, was born here, and a museum honoring him can be visited in the local church.