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Let It Go: Austrian town that looks just like Frozen builds fence to stop selfie-taking tourists

A provisional wooden fence partially blocks the beautiful view, as visitors take selfies with the landscape in the tourist community of Hallstatt.
A provisional wooden fence partially blocks the beautiful view, as visitors take selfies with the landscape in the tourist community of Hallstatt. Copyright REINHARD HÖRMANDINGER / APA / AFP
By Euronews Travel
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Hallstatt’s Mayor told the Austrian press that the town’s residents just want to be left alone.


The stunning backdrop to the town of Hallstatt in the Austrian mountains is thought to have inspired Disney’s Frozen.

Over a million tourists descend on the destination every year with many wanting to snap a selfie with the famous view. So many that the town recently put up a fence to stop visitors from taking pictures.

It has since been removed due to backlash on social media but it was hoped that the barrier would prevent people from gathering in one popular selfie spot and disrupting residents by making too much noise.

Hallstatt’s Mayor Alexander Scheutz has now said he wants to put up a banner at the spot reminding tourists that people live in the area.

Why do so many people visit Hallstatt?

Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traditional houses sit against a dramatic backdrop of mountains and the clear waters of the Hallstätter See.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people visited every year and Hallstatt was particularly popular with visitors from East and South East Asia. It was featured on a Korean TV show in 2006 and a replica of the town was built in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China in 2011.

The traditional houses, mountain backdrop and lakeside steeple are thought to have inspired the Disney movie Frozen.Canva

The Austrian destination is also thought to have been the inspiration for the fictional village of Arendelle in the popular Disney movie Frozen.

Now numbers are picking up once again and the town is looking to curb overtourism. Hallstatt has already introduced daily limits on the number of buses and cars that can enter the town.

But it regularly reaches these caps and Mayor Scheutz told the Austrian press that residents just want to be left alone.

Selfie-bans are spreading across Europe

Hallstatt isn’t the only European destination looking to stop tourists from posing for selfies.

The picturesque town of Portofino on the Italian Riviera has introduced no-waiting zones. Anyone caught hanging around on the quay for too long between 10:30 am and 6 pm risks a fine of around €270.

It aims to prevent large groups of tourists from congregating on the pier to take photos in front of Portofino’s colourful buildings. With just 400 residents, the town is sometimes swamped by upwards of 10,000 tourists, resulting in overcrowded streets and traffic jams.

The no-waiting zones will be in place until the holiday season ends on 15 October.

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