A "best small town in Europe" list almost never excludes Hallstatt, Austria. The adorable town, dating back over 7,000 years as a salt mine, has been on my bucket list ever since seeing pictures nearly ten years ago.
With no cars allowed in the city center, Hallstatt is a time portal back to simpler times - when the water and air were perfectly fresh and time stood still as you were surrounded by nature.
So with a little points planning I was ecstatic to be driving in from Vienna a few weeks ago. Staying at a brand new, recently renovated home-turned-into-rental, Hallstatt Hideaway, for only two nights gave Andrea and I ample time to hike, spend time on the lake and become immersed in the little paradise.
To get there, the best mile redemptions are to either Munich (1.5 hours by train or car) or Vienna (2.5 hours by train or car) using American, Delta or United miles. See my full breakdown below:
- 40,000 American, 60,000 United or 60,000 Delta miles for a round-trip ticket in economy class.
- 100,000 American, 115,000 United, or 120,000 Delta miles for a round-trip ticket in business class.
- American tip: Avoid British Airways bookings using AA miles as there are several hundred dollar fuel surcharges. Air Berlin and American both offer flights at lower cost.
- United tip: Lufthansa has a direct, red eye flight from Newark, New Jersey (EWR) to Munich (MUC).
- Expect $40 to $250 in booking fees, depending on the airline and award type.