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Brugge, Aachen, Vienna, Salzburg, Lake Districs travel/itinerary help

Brugge, Aachen, Vienna, Salzburg, Lake Districs travel/itinerary help

Feb 4th, 2014, 04:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 80
Brugge, Aachen, Vienna, Salzburg, Lake Districs travel/itinerary help

We're checking one off my husband's bucket list this year by going to the Formula 1 race in Spa, Belgium this August (22-24 Aug). As this is no cheap feat, we are staying (for free) at a friend's well-located flat in Vienna, prior to heading to Belgium. We have a few parameters I'm trying to juggle and as neither of us have been to these places (excl. Vienna - I was there for a few days during the Christmas markets almost 10 years ago) I could use some sage Fodorite. The fact that we're dovetailing the Belgium portion of our trip with another couple's adds to the intrigue. So here we are - the knowns:

- We're in our early 40s. We are leisurely travelers (e.g., culture in the a.m., afternoon and evening pretend to be locals by hanging out in coffee shops/taverns/wine bars and watching life go by, meeting other travelers, etc.) Not much for tours or large hotels or "touristy" scenes, which is why we usual travel on the shoulder season to popular spots. The race being in August puts us a little off-kilter but oh well.
- We can be away from the States for 2 work weeks, so we can assume 14 days total.
- We're meeting our friends in Brugge a few days before heading to Spa (actually, Aachen, Germany as there is more for us girls to do during the race prelims/qualifying as the boys are only buying us tickets for the race on Sunday! Which is probably fine with us, truth be told). My sense is 3 days is good there? May be some local bicycling/beer things going on.
- We will visit Vienna for at least 4 days some time *prior* to meeting up in Brugge as we are travelling separately (they get 1 week away, we get 2, but we don't have the place to stay in Vienna if we do it at the end).
- We defo don't want a car in Vienna and don't really want to drive at all unless this trip

I've been skulking around the forum and TRs here, etc., and my interest has been piqued by the Lake District. And maybe Salzburg (unsure why I'm waffling on this - I guess I wonder if next to Vienna and the Lake District it is compelling enough to add vs. staying in one or other place longer).

-> The question(s):
1) *should* we be seeing all these places and if so,
2) how much time in each and,
3) perhaps more importantly, how to get from one place to another?
It's the latter point I've been struggling with the most as I was originally thinking of going in a big "C" (Vienna - Lake District - Salzburg - Brugge - Spa/Aachen) but I can't figure out the Salzburg-Brugge (or Brussels, as I know there's a speed train to Brugge) leg. It's 15 hours by train from Salz to Brugge, over 9 driving, and there don't seem to be any flights to Osten from Salzburg. There are some from Vienna but it would be optimal for us to start there as there's less guilt getting over jet lag when lodgings are free/we have more time in one place.

Thank you in advance for your advice. It's such a wonderful, helpful community here on the Fodors forum - amazing!
AandED is offline  
Feb 4th, 2014, 04:58 PM
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While Brugge is a charming town as long as you are in Germany and ester Belgium I would spend the time there. This is a fascianting area with a lot of WWII history and a number of charming small towns to explore.

We stayed in Spa for 3 days - seeing the countrysidee, Aachen and Liege and then headed south through Belgium stopping at several small towns and castles on the way to Trier in Germany (another wonderful city to visit with its extensive Roman ruins).
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 4th, 2014, 07:17 PM
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Thanks, nytraveler. I presume you had a car when in Spa?

Re: Brugge, I think going there (as well as Vienna and Spa) is non-negotiable as this is on our traveling companions' hit list (which is made up soley of 2 places - Spa and Brugge!). ;-)

Hoping others have additional feedback, esp. guidance on traveling routes and staying times...? Again, thanks!
AandED is offline  
Feb 4th, 2014, 10:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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have you looked at getting from Salzburg to Munich and flying/training from there?

for example, Salzburg to Aachen on the train is about 8 hours, Munich to Aachen is just over 5. it's about 90 minutes drive from Salzburg to Munich.

for working out cross-border trains around europe, the bahn.de website is generally accepted here as being the best - have fun playing about with it!
annhig is online now  
Feb 5th, 2014, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Sorry, I had no time to read your endless post.
Fares for direct Salzburg - Cologne flights start at 50 EUR
Cologne airport - Aachen is 1 hr 20 min by train, standard fare 17 EUR, trains about every 20 min.
neckervd is offline  
Feb 5th, 2014, 07:54 AM
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For your time in Vienna you are wise not to rent a car. Take the WestBahn (€25 per person, one way) from Vienna to Salzburg and look into renting a car there to enjoy Salzburg and the Salkammergut.

Train fares on bahn.de for Salzburg to Bruges in August will not be available until May. Right now, for that route in three months (the earliest time at which you can book ahead), the savings ticket is €89 per person; the regular price is €179. The bahn.de timetable shows the route as 10-12 hours with 3-4 changes. Personally, I would fly.
fourfortravel is offline  
Feb 5th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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I took the time to read your (not so endless) post. Had neckervd done so, he or she would have seen why his or her idea doesn't work for you. [Wouldn't have been snippy except for neckervd's snark].

If it were my trip, I'd stay in Salzburg and visit the Lake District one day from there--it's a very easy (and beautiful) drive and will save you from having too many short stays of one or two nites. Both are quite different from Vienna and each is worth seeing.

You've got four (or five) places in two weeks which is a good pace.

Can't help on the transportation question--never done it, but I do like the idea of training Salzburg to Munich and flying from there to Brussels.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 04:55 AM
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The train ride from Cologne airport to Brugge lasts about 4 hrs and costs about 34 EUR (discounted web fare)
The cheapest non stop flight Salzburg - Cologne costs about 50 EUR

The train ride from Salzburg to Munich airport lasts 2 1/2 hrs and costs 19 EUR discounted web fare)
The train ride from Brussels airport to Brugge lasts about 1 1/2 hrs and costs 21 EUR
The cheapest non stop flight Munich - Brussels costs about 150 EUR.

But dwd will certainly be able to explain why his solution is much better than mine.
neckervd is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 08:56 AM
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Sure can. Because your first solution had Aachen as the final destination, not Bruges, but the OP was going to Aachen after Bruges.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 09:13 AM
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... and the train from Cologne to Bruges goes via Aachen anyway....
neckervd is offline  
Feb 7th, 2014, 10:15 AM
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So, neckervd, we're supposed to consult railroad schedules in an effort to uncover the wisdom in your proposed solution--erroneous on the face of it--but you don't need to read the OP before replying?

My real point, though, was that had you not posted such a rude reply to the OP (which rudeness is becoming unpleasantly prevalent on this site, not just from you), I wouldn't have said anything in my reply except "second the idea to think about flying."

Some posts do deserve rude replies. E.g. "I want to go to Europe next summer. Where should I go?" This was not one of them.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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Thanks, everyone.

I do admit a wee bit of hurt feelings from one post but surely won't let it affect the fun we'll be having on this trip! ;-)

What I take from your helpful responses is that going to Aachen/eastern Belgium/western German is significantly easier both on the schedule (be it train or plane) and wallet. So! We will adjust accordingly and Aachen/similar will be our first stop in Brussels after coming from Austria... and perhaps if the other couple we are traveling with can't swing Brugge after, we may be tempted to skip it this trip and follow some of the other advice (going to Trier... or maybe even Luxembourg? I swear the more research I do, the harder this gets as so many places look so amazing.) And one (German - from Bavaria) friend of mine has recommended we stay in Maastricht rather than Aachen... although I'm not sure if this will make getting to Spa for the races more painful, esp. for the husbands who are going all three days... So I am a little back to the drawing board.

Thank you again for your help and of course, I heartily welcome any additional thoughts and words of wisdom. Cheers!
AandED is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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If riding enough trains in Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany and you want full flexibility to hop just about any train anytime (except Thalys and the sporadic ICE Sprinters the average tourist will rarely encounter - then investigate the Benelux-German train pass that lets you do exacgtly that - the more days you travel on inter-city trains the cheaper per day the pass becomes, at some point rivalling the 39 euro or so discounted and severely restricted fares that must be booked in stone weeks early to secure.
For loads of great info on trains in those countries check out these IMO superb sites: www.seat61.com - great info on the discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. that pass will also take you to Salzburg, Austria with any extra charge - that being also considered to be a German station for tarification purposes - also valid on trains Garmish to Reutte, Austria (jumping off point for Fussen just thru the gap by bus or taxi).
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 02:32 AM
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Sorry if you felt offended, that was in no way my intention. English is not my mother tongue, but my fourth language, so be indulgent!
As to Brugge: it's extremely easy to go by train through whole Belgium: from Aachen via Luttich - Brussels up to Bruges, (just a 2 3/4 hrs train ride, trains abaout every hr)

Aachen versus Maastricht:
Aachen/Aix-la-Chappelle, coronation place of German kings in the Middle Ages, is a famous place with a lot of historical stuff.
Maastricht got famous because of cannabis stores. As any European town, it has it's History (and medieval buidings) too, but it has much less to offer than Aachen.

Trier, Luxemburg and the Mosel Valley (!) are fine places too, but not easier to reach from Aachen than Brugge.
neckervd is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 08:08 AM
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Sorry if you felt offended, that was in no way my intention. English is not my mother tongue, but my fourth language, so be indulgent!>>

neckervd - some of us whose first language is english sometimes forget that doesn't apply to everyone here. Even those of us who purport to speak english as our mother tongue misunderstand each other quite often.
annhig is online now  

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