Advice for our week in Vienna

Jun 13th, 2018, 07:36 AM
  #1  
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Advice for our week in Vienna

Hello everyone. We are leaving in 6 days for a very last minute trip to Vienna. We will be there for seven nights. Within the week we have booked an overnight trip to Salzburg and hope to do a day trip to the Melk Abbey and area. Was wondering the best way to do the latter - should we book a tour or do the trip on our own? We would like to see as much of the countryside and sights along the way and hope at least one direction of the trip will be via boat cruise. We don’t mind spending a little if an organized tour would be worthwhile but are a bit worried we may be restricted if we go that route. We do love exploring on our own and finding little hidden gems that may not be overrun with tourists. Also any recommendations of what ‘not to miss’ in Vienna and Salzburg would be much appreciated. We love touring the cities but equally love the countryside and gardens. Thanks!

Last edited by maggie23; Jun 13th, 2018 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Error in text
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Jun 13th, 2018, 09:02 AM
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>>> a day trip to the Melk Abbey and area. Was wondering the best way to do the latter - should we book a tour or do the trip on our own? We would like to see as much of the countryside and sights along the way and hope at least one direction of the trip will be via boat cruise.
This is a trivial do it your own trip from Vienna. You can buy combo tickets/voucher https://kombitickets.railtours.at/wa...au-ticket.html. You can easily buy at the departing Vienna station on the day of the trip. The ship part is a voucher. You convert into a ticket at either of the two competing boat companies doing the same trip practically minutes apart. The train route is Vienna-Melk, then Krems-Vienna. Boat section is Melk-Krems or Melk-Dürnstein depending on how you want to configure your trip.
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Jun 13th, 2018, 09:12 AM
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Great advice as usual from greg - I've did that Wachau Valley trip twice and loved it. Some boats even have bikes so you can bike along the Danube bike paths between docks - go to Melk first and do abbey then a short walk to boat docks - Durnstein is a great place to end the boat part as it's a neat old wine town with old ruined castle where Richard-the-Lion-Hearted was held once for ransom when nabbed going to or returning from some Crusade. Then take bus thru vineyards to Krems - larger regional town and most pleasant but not tourist-dominated like Durnstein. (We walked the above 4 miles or so thru the vineyards along Danube and was great.)

One reason for not taking boat Durnstein-Krems is that the boat docks a long way away from the Krems train station whereas bus takes you to town center. Like Greg says buy all-inclusive tickets from Vienna and back. I thought entrance to Melk Abbey could be included but not sure. For lots on info on Wachau Valley trip check www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts - the Austrian section of their online European Planning and Rail Guide.

I would not take organized tour as as greg says it is so so easy to do on your own pace.
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Jun 13th, 2018, 09:45 AM
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Oh thank you so much Greg and PalenQ. So much easier talking to real people than trying to figure out on the internet. I will go to those websites - so much appreciated!
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Jun 13th, 2018, 09:59 AM
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thank you and do make an all-day adventure out of it - have lunch in say Durnstein or other wine town - bop around Krems - don't rush.
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Jun 13th, 2018, 10:38 AM
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You should buy a guide book and look over the many things to do in Vienna. If you are looking for a hotel, consider the Hotel Aldstadt. It is super and quite handy for getting around
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Jun 13th, 2018, 10:45 AM
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PalenQ replies

Did you notice that PalenQ has had 70000+ replies in 11 years. That is over 6000 a year or 18 a day. I wonder what he or she does for a living!!!
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Jun 13th, 2018, 11:05 AM
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I like the no rush comment! We really like to explore and enjoy. Am planning to also get a guide book - all great advice. It all helps! Thank you
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Jun 13th, 2018, 12:34 PM
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I second both Greg and Palenq’s suggestion to do it yourself. The combiticket does include the train, ship and Melk Abbey ticket, but does not include the hour long €2 Guided tour of the abbey in English (optional, of course) which starts at 11am (check Abbey’s website for the tour times as I think there are two guided tours each day) at the ticket office and ends in the church area. There may be a mass/service at about 12/12:30 when the monks come into the church for their worship. You can hang around for the service or leave after the monks come in and go on about your business.

If you get to the Abbey early, right as it opens, you can walk through the beautiful gardens, go up to the panoramic lookout area as well as go through the shop and the special exhibit before going into the Abbey. If you choose to do that and then the guided abbey tour at 11am then you would have a bit more time after the abbey tour to wander through the little Town of Melk before heading to the “ship station” for the cruise down to Durnstein or Krems.

If if you choose to get off the boat at Durnstein, you would then catch the WL1 bus to Krems (Walk down the hill from Schmidl Bakery, and cross the road, the bus stop is across from the tourist info & supermarket building right by a little brown or greenish bench in front of a parking lot area. Look for the bus schedule on the OBB website - From Dürnstein/Wachau West To:Krems/Donau). As PalenQ said, it is a short but very pretty bus ride through pretty residential and vineyard areas you probably would never see otherwise to Krems and it’s very cheap at €2.20.
At Krems you take the Train, using your combiticket train ticket back to Vienna (Check train schedules at OBB’s website - From Krems/Donau Bahnhof to Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof). Depending on where you are going in Vienna, you might want to get off at Spittelau or Heiligenstadt instead of Franz Josef station and catch the green or brown U line to wherever you need to go.

Last edited by jagirl2; Jun 13th, 2018 at 12:37 PM.
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Jun 13th, 2018, 12:47 PM
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Jagirl2 thank you for so much detail. Last year in southern England we had a few mishaps and missed buses. Really nice to have specific instructions and recommendations. Really appreciate you all taking the time to help out, getting excited!
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Jun 13th, 2018, 11:32 PM
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A few points of advice from one who has lived in Vienna for six years now (and routinely serves as tour guide for visiting family and friends.)

1. Nothing is a "must" if it doesn't interest you.
2. Investigate combination tickets and purchase any and all tickets online, especially for Schloss Schönbrunn.
3. Schloss Schönbrunn requires 3-4 hours to see "everything," and arriving before the first of the numerous tour buses disgorge their passengers will work to your benefit. (And, the restaurant near the Carriage Museum on the grounds is a pleasant and much less expensive alternative to the main restaurant.)

The vineyards on the northern edge of the city make for a spectacular day outing. From the Heiliegenstadt terminus of the U4, take the 38A bus to either the Cobenzlparkplatz stop (beautiful views) or the terminus at Kahlenberg (even more beautiful views) and walk down the 3-5 km into the wine village of Grinzing along the well-marked trails. All that's needed are sensible walking shoes; much of this route is family-friendly. The views are incredible and the baby grapes at this time of year are too cute; plus, the Cuckoos were singing gaily earlier this week! Once in Grinzing, find the nearest open table from among the numerous heuriger (wine taverns) and enjoy the local varietal (or a cold Almdudler, Austria's herbal soda if you don't imbibe) and the delicious food. Catch the 38 tram back toward the Inner Stadt to its terminus at Schottentor. This isn't quite a hidden gem, but it is distinctly Viennese.

For something a little more adventurous, and not touristy, take a hike through the Wildschwien (boar) preserve in Lanzier Tiergarten. Reaching the preserve will take about an hour on public, but in addition to hopefully spotting the free-range boar (it can feel like you're being stalked when you spot them watching you) you can also tour Hermesvilla, the "country estate" built for Empress Sisi. There are several places to eat within the preserve, as well.

I hope this is helpful.
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Jun 14th, 2018, 05:37 AM
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Fourfortravel - I love your recommendations! Both those outings sound like wonderful and unique ways to spend the day. It feels a lot less overwhelming now that we have a few outings planned. Really, really appreciate all this wonderful advice. Will check back in when we return and let you all know how we made out. Thank you so much!
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Jun 14th, 2018, 05:57 AM
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Check out Vienna's Prater area and its iconic Big Wheel - a Viennese landmark since around 1900 -my grandmother was born in Vienna and about all she ever talked about was the Big Wheel. Not a must but if have time.
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Jun 15th, 2018, 04:09 AM
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We will definitely check this out as we are staying close to all the major landmarks. Sure we will have time to take a ride and experience the great views. Thanks again!
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Jun 15th, 2018, 07:42 AM
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Well Prater is a very famous area for locals and varied - lots of kitsch for younger folk in thrill rides but nice parks to wander around in - outdoor beer gardens...go on a nice day - Sundays of course - great for lots of things.

https://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/prater
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Jun 15th, 2018, 01:30 PM
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Another vote for the combination ticket in the Wachau Valley. I did this several years ago and it was lovely.

My other favorites from Vienna: Schonbyunn Palace, Belvedere Museum, sitting in gorgeous cafes eating delectable desserts. There is so much to do in Vienna it's easily to go a mile a minute, but honestly my favorite was the cafes. Let yourselves slow down enough to just sit in cafes and enjoy the cafe culture!
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Jun 15th, 2018, 02:20 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sachertorte

And at any cafe you can try Vienna's renown delicacy!
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Jun 17th, 2018, 07:44 AM
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Belvedere Palace/Museum my favorite place in Vienna
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Jun 17th, 2018, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sachertorte

And at any cafe you can try Vienna's renown delicacy!
unfortunately the three sachertortes I tried (Aida, Heiner, can’t remember the third...Demel maybe?) were...well...awful, dry, tasteless By the third one I gave up. Nothing disappointed me more than this. Will have to try again when next I’m there.
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Jun 17th, 2018, 12:44 PM
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Maybe all Sacher Tortes taste like that? An aquired taste? Me I've never had one or if did long ago don't remember how it tasted.
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