Advice for Austria trip in December

Aug 4th, 2007, 06:37 AM
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Advice for Austria trip in December

As I do every time I start to plan a trip…I'm checking the Fodors board for the best advice in the world!!

My wife and I are taking our 2 year old to Austria in December 2007. My wife's mother and step dad live in a small town just outside of Innsbruck.

I've just started to do my reading of previous threads on this board and travel guides about Austria, so I'm not being lazy, but I thought I would ask a couple of very general questions to sort of guide me as I begin my planning and research. Especially since I know nothing about Austria really…

I really love to go to museums and famous sites when I travel. I love to pack my day and experience everything, the famous and the sublime moments of just hanging out or walking down a European street or talking to the locals.

My wife and I love art and she especially loves architecture. Her preference is French and Baroque or Roccoco stuff that makes my head dizzy. But I love her anyway.

We love to drive and see beautiful scenery and also pop into wonderful unique villages and towns in Europe.

And I would love to take a hike or two around the woods or mountain valleys in this area. (I've only seen one mountain valley ever…in Colorado…and it was one of the most magnificient experiences in my life. I don't know why, but I almost cried…thank god I was hiking alone!!!)

All this being said, her mother and step dad are not going to want to travel that much, and we probably will have to spend most of our time with them.

I don't think I can go to a lot of museums with this group, even though I would love to. So all this begs the questions…

If I'm going to be based in a small town near Innsbruck for 10 - 12 days in December…

What are the great day trips?

Do I go to Salzburg or Vienna or both?

What are the things to do or places to go in this area or within a few hours that I will kick myself if I miss on my first trip? Like the must-see views, towns, drives, castles, churches and yes museums and art…

What about timing? This is a special time of year. Do we go before or after Christmas? Is there some amazing Christmas celebration to catch in one of these cities or areas? What about New Year's? (And I've already read on the boards something about Christmas markets, so I'm guessing we want to go before Christmas?)

I look forward to all your help!!



Mylesaway is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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If you want to see the Christmas markets in Vienna and Salzburg (yes: see both), go before the holidays.

The Fodor Guide to Austria is an excellent planning tool.
Underhill is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Hi M,

By train, it's 2 hr from I to Salzburg and about the same to Munich.

By car, it's about 1:30 hr to Fuessen (Neuchwanstein castle) or to Linderhof. That should be enough Baroque for anyone.

ira is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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There are quite a few churches with Baroque architecture and fittings--if I remember correctly, the St. Charles church in Vienna is one.
Underhill is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 05:20 PM
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Thanks people. I'm already taking notes!!
Mylesaway is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 06:07 PM
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I'd just like to add...
Be sure to see Hall in Tirol. Beautiful old town 6 miles east of Innsbruck. Try to have dinner at least once at the Burg Tavern in Burg Hasseg in Hall. Right by the river and footbridge over the Inn.

We also enjoyed seeing Castle Ambras, just outside of Innsbruck.

Brixen/Bressanone is a gorgeous old town with a very a large pedestrian zone not far away at all in Italy. I know they have a wonderful (so I've heard) Christmas market there. The Diiocean Museum in Brixen is fantastic! Mittenwald, Germany (less than an hour away) is a gorgeous Bavarian village to visit.

pja1 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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These suggestions are exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!!

By the way, one day that we are in Innsbruck I'm going to drive into Milan. (My mother in law still has not seen The Last Supper up close, which I think is suprisingly moving. Surprising because I've seen pictures of it so many times that I was shocked at how beautifula nd painful Jesus's face is when you see the real thing. But then...that's Da Vinci!!)

How's the driving in winter in Europe?

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Mylesaway is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Hi M,

>I'm going to drive into Milan.

It's about 4:30 hr by car, almost all of it an highway.

OTOH, it's 5:30 hr by train via Verona. You will see the alps and the historic Brenner Pass, and you won't have to bother with finding a parking place.

ira is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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I live in Canberra which is of course the capital of Australia! Many people overseas think that Sydney is the capital Since, I live in Canberra, I would highly recommend the War Memorial - one of the best tourist destinations in Australia. Worth a day trip!

Also, the beaches of Wollongong and the caves along the coast are breathtaking and a must see. I forget the exact names of the caves. Anyone?

Lastly, make sure that you have travel insurance including health insurance particularly if you plan on doing some extreme stuff! You can check more on insurance at
traveladdiction is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Sorry, I thought you were talking about Australia when in fact it was Austria! Well, now you have some advice on Australia as well!!
traveladdiction is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 06:42 PM
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Weather and road conditions permitting, your wife might enjoy the following 1-day itinerary: Innsbruck, Zirl, Mittenwald (nice town and church), Kloster Ettal (just a short distance out of Garmisch, an on he Garmisch-Munich road). Ettal has a vey impressive abbey church. Continue past Oberammergau to the Reichtaler Bruecke (bridge). Fom there head to Steingaden. Just before S. take the short detour, (about 15km r/t) to the Wieskirche, one of Bavaria's mosdt beuatiful baroque church,, built by the Zimmermann brothers of Munich's Asam Kirche fame. It's located -as the name implies - in the maedows, with the Fuessen mountains in the background. Great organ.

Return by way of Fuessen, Garmisch, Zirl. All a very scenic trip.
treplow is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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Thanks for more tips. I had no idea that Milan was that far a drive. My mother in law said it was only 2 hours. So...Milan is out! I'd rather spend the travel time going to Vienna since this will be my Austrian trip.

Thanks for all the suggestions of places and churches near Innsbruck. I've copied them all down and will keep doing my own research.

Mylesaway is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Well, Vienna is quite a haul from Innsbruck as well... I would guess at least a four hour drive, if not further. If you wanr another city in Austria, go with Salzburg.
Jen is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Vienna is a great city to visit but it is a long way. You might want to concentrate on the area from Munich (great musuems from art to science) to Innsbruck including Oberammergau, Linderhof, Wiesekirche, Ettal Monastary, Fussen (Neuschwanstein), Bertschesgaden, Mittenwald, Garmish and Salzburg.
AisleSeat is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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I am going to concentrate on the towns around Innsbruck but also, as suggested by Fodorites, head into Bavaria.

I checked trains vs. planes from Innsbruck to Vienna. Do you realize that a plane is cheaper than a train from Innsbruck to Vienna?!! The guy in the Austrian Tourist Board in NYC didn't believe me, but we checked it out together.

So Vienna is probably a 2 day, 1 night trip. I really want to see the museum there and the palace and a concert.

Thanks for all the help and I'll be back with more qyuestions!!

Mylesaway is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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>you realize that a plane is cheaper than a train from Innsbruck to Vienna?!!

Have you found a one way fare for the flight under 52 Euro, including all taxes and fees and fully flexible? WOW!
altamiro is offline  
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