Austria Experts - Please Help

Jul 25th, 2004, 12:39 PM
  #1  
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Austria Experts - Please Help

Hi all
My wife and I have narrowed our fall/winter trip down to Austria. (Now that can change, but for now....). From reading a lot of the posts on this forum, it seems that I would like someplace like Salzberg (small town vs city). It looks like we might be doing it over the Thanksgiving week. I think I would like to make little day trips to other quaint little places. Dont know about trains, buses or anything. Since I doubt that folks in Austria celebrate Thanksgiving, maybe they get an early start on Xmas.
At any rate, this is in the beginning stages so all suggestions will be appreciated (places to go, places to eat, things to see, buy, etc). Also if you have any favorite websites (including your own) please pass them along.
Dont know anything about this yet, but Ryanair is advertising London to Salzberg for $1.99. Cant beat that!
Shrink is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 06:00 PM
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Topping for Shrink.
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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First of all, you are right: The Austrians do not celebrate Thanksgiving in November, theirs is the Erntedanktag in September.
Second: The weather in November can get iffy, especially for visiting day-trip places.

Third,many places (pensions, restaurants, etc.) are closed in November. Generally, late September early October would be better in terms of weather and facilities.

Fourth, Salzburg is actually quite a sizeable city, although the old part is quite compact.

We have stayed in Saalfelden, a bit southeast of Salzburg,and did day-trips by car from there: Hallstadt, Saalbach valley, Zell am See, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Kitzbuehel.

You probably should think in terms of getting a car. The places you want to see are sometimes time consuming by train or bus.



From Salzburg, day trips are: Hallstadt,other lakes in the Salzkammergut east of Salzburg (Wolfgangsee), Berchtesgaden
treplow is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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Message - Treplow
The reason for the timing around Tksgiving is that my wife is a school teacher and that is the week she has off. Would love to do other times - but can't. Insofar as the weather is concerned - what do you mean by iffy? And from what you say about things being closed in November, it sounds like we might want to consider another part of the world! Thanks for the information and any other you or others might provide.
Shrink
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Jul 26th, 2004, 02:20 PM
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Shrink - I can't speak to the weather, because I went in May.

I found this link to be very useful for events and sites in Salzburg. They will also send you free packet of Salzburg info. http://www2.salzburg.info/

Munich is an hour and a 1/2 by car, so you could possibly do that for a day trip. (You could take a train too.)

Good luck! I LOVED Salzburg!
Tweeter is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 03:08 PM
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Shrink,

We have been to Salzburg at many times of the year, including once in late November and late February.

Advantages: You won't have the wall-to-wall crowds of summer, but you will get large numbers of locals and Austrian tourists for the Christmas Market, which will open over what is equivalent to our Thanksgiving weekend.
(Lovely place to shop for gifts!!)

The Salt Mines in Berchtsgarden are open, and there will not be a wait time for the tour.

You will simply "walk in" without a wait to all the museums, churches, the cathedral, the castle and the palaces in Salzburg. They will all be open.

Lodging is much less expensive; however, some of the pension (particularly those outside of town) will be closed for the season.

Disadvantages: You can expect early winter temperatures, so dress warmly---coats, socks, boots and gloves. Also, take umbrellas---if it rains (instead of snow),it will bone-chilling.

The Eagle's Nest will be closed and Berchtsgarden will be a "no man's land". (November falls between the last vestiges of autumn and the beginning of the ski season.)

Tourist boats on the lakes will have seized operating for the winter months.

Many tourist facilities will be closed in Halstatt, but it is still just as beautiful without the souvenir shops and tourist restaurants.

You will need a car to get to the smaller towns and villages, but that will give you freedom to explore at your own pace.

Regardless of the early winter temps and closure of some attractions and facilities, we have enjoyed the area in the winter months---just be prepared for the weather. Also, understand you may have to drive "further afield" to use your "vacation week".

Would I go---absolutely! Particularly if this is when you have a holiday break.

If you are looking for better weather, head down to Lisbon and its environs, or Sicily.

Georgine is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 01:42 AM
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By "iffy" I believe treplow means that it can be rainy and windy which means clouds can obscure views if you are going to the mountain areas, and would affect your ability to see the Alps from Salzburg. I live in Switzerland and we have the same problem in November. It is really between the autumn tourist season and the high season of winter in the ski areas, so that is why you may find pensions and restaurants closed. It can also be very cold in November.

You might consider Rome and other parts of Italy like Tuscany in November. While still cool and rainy, you don't have the high mountains so don't have the clouds/fog issue. Plus it will be relatively uncrowded in November, and you can get into museums easily and spend more time there without the crowds. I think Rome in November is one of the most romantic places there is, think wet cobblestone streets and bare trees. If you are prepare for the weather (bring layers) and can give up the idea of eating outdoors, I think Rome and Tuscany would be great. You could even luck out and have warm sunny weather for days at a time. I would avoid Venice as it starts to flood in November, and the Amalfi coast as it is just is not nice along the coast in November plus most restaurants are closed and Capri is basically shut down.

Cicerone is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 12:35 PM
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Thanks folks -- I have to tell you, I was beginning to get worried. After reading your posts, I'm feeling a little better now. Frankly, I would prefer cold, clear, and snowy -- I may not have that option. No crowds sounds great though.
Plan has been "enhanced". Considering flying to Zurich -- getting on a train through parts of Switzerland and into Austria somehow -- obviously still very much up in the air. I really appreciate all your comments and please - if anything else occurs to you let me know. Thanks again.
Shrink is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 04:56 AM
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My first reaction to the new plan, Shrink, is this: If you're hoping to see Switzerland after landing in Zurich, you'll have to take a very round-about route in order to pass through Swiss mountain areas. I'm thinking the Zurich-Salzburg route will pass through the Tyrol (Austrian) but the Swiss landscape will be rolling hills. Unless it's a bargain flight, I'd keep with your original idea and concentrate on Austria. It's a beautiful country with a lot to see. J.
jmw44 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 01:44 PM
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JMW
Thanks for the heads-up. Maybe I need to get out my map before we go any farther. Never was any good at geography.

Shrink
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Jul 28th, 2004, 05:02 PM
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We were in Austria last November (although earlier in the month). The weather was cold and we had rain a couple of days. It didn't stop us. We had a great time. In Salzburg, everything was open. We took the train to Vienna for several day stay, which we also enjoyed very much!
Go - you'll have a great time!
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