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Austrian Alps, Vienna and Prague- flight options and other advice

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Jul 6th, 2013, 09:54 AM
  #1
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Austrian Alps, Vienna and Prague- flight options and other advice

Looking to take a 9-10 day trip to Austria and Prague in late September/early October and I'm looking for some advice.

First option is to fly to Vienna, 3-4 days here, several days in the Alps and end with 2 days in Prague. Requires 2 connections for US to Vienna flight and arrives mid afternoon

Second option is fly to Munich, train to Alps, then to Vienna and end with Prague. 1 connection and arrives in Munich early morning. flight is slightly less expensive then option 1.

I'm leaning towards option 2, any advice or optional itineraries for these flight combos? We have no desire to stick around Munich for Octoberfest. We are an active couple in our mid 30's who enjoy the outdoors, food, wine, hiking and any unique activities to an area we visit. As always any advice is appreciated.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 03:48 PM
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If you are interested in Alps, they are closer to Munich than to Vienna.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 12:35 AM
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If you mean Swiss Alps when you say Alps, why don't you try flying into Zurich (or some other city close to Switzerland) instead of Munich since you have no interest in the Oktoberfest? You would save time and the train costs from Munich may offset potentially higher air prices... Just a thought.

Have a good trip!!!

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Jul 7th, 2013, 12:43 AM
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Option 2 seems like a no-brainer. It depends to some extent on which bit of the Austrian Alps you're thinking about, but the train ride between Vienna and the Alps can be quite a long trip - Vienna is a lot further east than one imagines. No point in doubling it.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 04:01 AM
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Well, Alps are shared between France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. It looks sometimes on this board that only Switzerland has got Alps, but frankly speaking also the other countries have a lot of nice places and probably Dolomites are even better than Switzerland for landscapes and hikes.
If the original posters are interested in Austrian Alps (maybe knowing what they exactly mean could help), Munich is the best located major airport around. Or maybe they could try to look for connecting flights into Innsbruck (most are from Zurich), but probably the added expense is not justified.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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I did mean Austrian Alps around the Salzburg area though I would prefer a smaller town or village for that portion of my trip. Flying into Munich and out of Prague makes the most sense geographically and flights are now priced much better even with the added expense of taking the train to all our destinations.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 07:01 AM
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I assume you want to visit the Austrian alps, as you state you want to visit Austria and Prague.
It is true, the highest, glacier-topped mountains of Austria are closer to Munich than to vienna. In fact, in good weather, you can actually see the highest Austrian mountain, Großglockner, from Bavarian mountain tops. Towards the east/Vienna, the Alpes "peter out" a little.
Have you thought of renting a car for this round trip (Munich-Vienna-Prague-Munich)?
Particularly from Munich to Vienna through the Alpes would be great with a car (along the small roads/passes, avoiding the Autobahn).
Thinking about it, I'd rent a car from Munich to Vienna, take the train from Vienna to Prague (a bit less than 5 hrs) and fly from Prague to Munich to go home directly without entering the city of Munich again.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 07:18 AM
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Ditto what Watzmann wrote.
The (Austrian) Alps are not really easy to "train to". The train lines stay in the valleys or go through tunnels. If you want to really experience the Alps, you will at least have a mix of trains and buses. Which can be time consuming.
If you don't like the idea to get off the plane after a red-eye flight and behind the wheel, you could take the train from Munich airport to Salzburg and acclimatisize there for a night or two. Then pick up your car, go South towards Carinthia (through the "real Alps", not the small hills you have around Salzburg), and to Vienna on the Southern side of the Alps (e.g. via Klagenfurt, Graz).
Since you mentioned wine, you could stop for a night in Wachau valley before you get into Vienna and drop off the car again.
You won't need/want a car in Vienna or for just going from Vienna to Prague later.
Prague-Munich is extremely expensive to fly one-way, but there is an express bus line which also calls at Munich airport coming from Prague (express buses are in fact the fastest option on this leg, trains are slower and often incur one change).

The question remains, though, if 9-10 days is not a bit rushed for this itinerary. If Prague was optional, you could go a bit into Slovenia from Southern Austria and see the Lake Bled area and Ljubljana. And eventually take the train from Vienna back to Munich. If you can't do an open jaw that is, e.g. US-Munich, Vienna-US; or US-Munich, Prague-US.
There may or may not be a small surcharge for those open jaw flights, but you save the hassle of back tracking to Munich (and possibly a night there, as most flights to the US leave in the AM hours).
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Jul 7th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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US to Munich and the Prague to US is actually about 130$pp cheaper than flying roundtrip to/from Munich which is why Prague is my this itinerary. I may get a car for my several days in the Austrian Alps and return it to Vienna but I certainly won't want a car for the city portion of my trip.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 08:15 AM
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Flying to Munich and back home from Prague sounds good.
A car is really only useful in the Alps, your're right not to use a car in the cities.
If you're fine with the alpine scenery around Salzburg (Berchtesgaden National Park), you won't need a car either, since the train connection Munich-Salzburg-Berchtesgaden-Salzburg-Vienna is really good.
As mentioned, you could go directly to Salzburg (or Berchtesgaden, which is just 20km off Salzburg in the mountains) on the first day (sth like 2h travel time).
On the second day, you could visit Lake Königssee/National Park and catch the train to vienna in the evening or the next morning (that would be the fastest possible alpine visit, I guess).
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Jul 7th, 2013, 02:41 PM
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Plane tickets into Munich and out of Prague are booked! Will have 8 nights, now to get to the fun part of planning
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Jul 8th, 2013, 07:19 AM
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Watzmann, Berchtesgaden looks great and being from coastal Virginia the mountains are certainly impressive enough for me. I'd love to get some hiking in, other interests are the ice caves in Werfen/Hohenwerfen and possibly some spa time. It looks like there is a beer festival the last week of September, is this typically crowded? Also are there any festivals in the area where they bring the cows down from the mountains?

Looking at 3 nights Alps, 3 nights Vienna and 2 nights Prague. We don't have anything set in stone aside from flying out of Prague; we are not "check the box" travellers in that we don't need to see everything in the area we visit as long we enjoy what we do. If there are any unique experiences in the area we can certainly adjust our itinerary.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 02:54 PM
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The Ice caves are impressive and worth a visit. There's a great new public spa in Bad Reichenhall http://www.rupertustherme.de/de/therme/
The bringing down of the cows is called "Almabtrieb" in German. Here are the dates: http://www.berchtesgadener-land.com/de/almabtrieb/
In particular, there is one very famous cattle drive at lake Königssee, where they bring down the cattle from the back of the lake via boats http://www.berchtesgadener-land.com/...artholomae.jpg
I don't know anything about beer-festivals in Berchtesgaden, yet I like the Hofbräuhaus Berchtesgaden, decent place for a beer.
By the way, a good hotel in Berchtesgaden ist the Edelweiss: http://www.edelweiss-berchtesgaden.com/en
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Jul 8th, 2013, 03:00 PM
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The Berchtesgaden mountains around Königssee are part of the National Park Berchtesgaden, the website might be useful: http://www.nationalpark-berchtesgade...isch/index.htm
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Jul 9th, 2013, 07:16 AM
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Several of the hotels in Berchtesgaden (including Hotel eidelweiss) are fully booked for my dates. Is this typical for the last week in September. Will the town feel too crowded? Any other suggestions for alpine towns to look at?
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Jul 15th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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September is peak hiking season, not only in Berchtesgaden but everywhere in the alps, sorry. But the town will not feel too crowded.
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