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Are Munich and Vienna too similar for same trip?

Are Munich and Vienna too similar for same trip?

Old Jun 26th, 2016, 12:04 AM
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Are Munich and Vienna too similar for same trip?

I will be taking a short term teaching position (3 weeks) in Vienna starting 3 October.
We live in Australia and want to travel in nearby Europe for 10 days prior to that.
Goals: There few mountains in Australia, so one thing we'd like to do is see the Alps. And we'd like to see a different country than Austria in the 10 days prior to Vienna. Finally, I like to see some of modern Europe, not just historic Europe. Already seen a lot of castles and cathedrals in my life.
Thus, we could fly to Munich (4 days), then Innsbruck (4 days) for mountain scenery then to Vienna. I'd welcome to learn more about Germany (as an important country in Europe, already been to Berlin 6 years ago). Heard that the train route Munich to Innsbruck via Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany & Austria) is very scenic. However, I'm concerned that MUNICH AND VIENNA ARE TOO SIMILAR to visit both in a 5 week trip.

Alternatively, we could start in Italy (Milan or Florence) and take a train across the Swiss Alps ultimately to Vienna, such as the Glacier Express.

Any advice welcomed. Don't hesitate, just suggestion.


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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 12:36 AM
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First of all, the usual train route from Munich to Innsbruck does NOT go to Garmisch but rather through Rosenheim and Kufstein.

Munich and Vienna are not, IMO, all that similar. Vienna is very much an "imperial" city and despite the presence of the Residenze and the Nymphenberg Palace I think you'll find Vienna is much, MUCH more of a "grand" place than Munich.

As to seeing "the Alps" frankly I would do that in Switzerland and in an area such as the Berner Oberland.

Starting in Milan you could also make your way into Switzerland using the Bernina Express (the Glacier runs basically from southwest to northeast) which is, IMO, a much more scenic route than the Glacier has become.

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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 01:38 AM
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Totally agree with Dukey1. I was recently in both cities and they are not alike
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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 01:58 AM
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Thanks for those advice.
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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 04:06 AM
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No - Munich and Vienna are not really alike. Not as different as italy though. And if you want to see Alps you might want to do:

Venice, Berner Oberland/Lucerne and then Vienna and that would give you 3 very different places. Vienna is ver Imperial - but if you are stuck there working for 3weeks be sure to get to the outskirts and nearby areas (Melk Abby, Vienna woods, a weekend in/around Salzburg to see the town and the mountains).
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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 04:42 AM
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I'm not sure where the "modern Europe" you also wish to see comes into these itineraries.
Munich is not exactly a "modern" city.
Most visitors come for the historic city center, the museums, the Oktoberfest.
Otherwise, Munich and Vienna are not much similar, as said before. So the only thing you may want to give some thinking is the issue of how "modern" you want on your trip.
Since you've already been to Berlin, you could consider Hamburg. A port city with a very different flavor than Munich.

You can easily go to Innsbruck on the more scenic route via Garmisch and Mittenwald, though. It just requires one change in Garmisch. And takes an hour longer than the fastest connection via Rosenheim and Kufstein.
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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 04:44 AM
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I can suggest several possibilities, all of which begin by flying into a major European hub, which I assume will allow an easy connection with Australia.

Fly into Frankfurt, and travel to Munich or somewhere in the German Alps for your mountain experience. Then proceed to Innsbruck (or Salzburg, which I like better). The Salzkammergut, near Salzburg, is a beautiful region of lakes and mountains (although not as high as the Alps). It's a short detour from the main line between Salzburg and Vienna, so you could proceed to Vienna without returning to Salzburg. There are direct train connections to Vienna from either Innsbruck or Salzburg.

Fly into Milan, and spend a few nights there. Then proceed to the Dolomites (maybe Cortina d'Ampezzo) or to the upper part of Lake Garda, which is near Switzerland and has beautiful mountain scenery. Then spend a night or two in Verona, a very charming Italian city with an ancient Roman amphitheatre. Verona is close to Lake Garda, and also not far from Venice. There is a direct train from Verona to Innsbruck.

Fly into Zurich and get your mountain experience in Switzerland. There is a direct train from Zurich to Vienna, which takes about 8 hours, but you could break the trip in Innsbruck or Salzburg, which are stops along the way.
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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 05:33 AM
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Mountain experience:
Austria has stunning glaciers and glacier gondolas:
Kaunertal, Pitztal, Oetztal, Stubaital, Zillertal, Kaprun Glacier, etc. They are much closer to Vienna than the (much more expensive) Swiss Glacier railways and cableways.
But check the opening periods; many of them close in the second half of September, whereas in Switzerland, all mountain railways and most lifts run until mid/end October or even all the year round.

Although Vienna and Munich are not really similar, italian cities are much more different.
If you fly into Milan, you may easily visit Milan on day 1 (luggage deposit at Milano Centrale railway station), sleep in the historic city center of Bergamo (a real gem) and go on by train (either via Lecco - Colico or via Brescia - Edolo) to Tirano, where you can board the Bernina Express. Stay then at Pontresina and go by train/bus/gondola either to Diavolezza Glacier or to Corvatsch glacier and back.
Day 3 or 4: train through the scenic Engadin mountain valley up to Scuol-Tarasp (lugage lockers, thermal spa and castle) and then bus down the Engadin valley up to the Austrian railway station of Landeck: direct trains to Innsbruck - Salzburg - Vienna (5 hrs journey).
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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 05:41 AM
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The reason I added the www.rhb.ch LINK to my post was so the OP could actually check on the timetables for the two trains he was contemplating.
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Old Jun 26th, 2016, 06:52 AM
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"...but if you are stuck there working..." I have to say, nytraveler, we are about to begin our fifth year of being "stuck" in Vienna working and that's one term we've never uttered.

But back to the topic. Keep in mind that the weather in late September can be either postcard perfect or downright miserable for alpine destinations, the Salzkammergut, and Bavaria. We've been to those regions in September and have experienced all kinds of weather. I might save those areas for good weather weekend getaways from Vienna and take an alpine route through Italy instead.
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