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Drive or train Austria

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May 3rd, 2015, 04:40 AM
  #1
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Drive or train Austria

Hi All

My husband and I are planning a trip for Sept and we'd like to spend some time in Austria. I haven't done too much research yet but I see Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck are some main places people visit. We're keen to visit some of the areas around the Danube River & wine region near Vienna and we also love looking at scenery.
I'm just wondering if we should train between the main cities and then do day trips by train to smaller places or should we drive our way from each place so that we can visit smaller towns and stay there instead.
We've driven in Tuscany (I hated driving here) and Burgundy (loved driving here) previously so not sure if Austrian roads are similar to either of these and we got to see all the smaller towns. We went to Switzerland last year and based ourselves in Lausanne and just used the train for our day trips, which we really enjoyed (and it saved moving around all the time). If Austria's train is like Switzerland this may be the better option.
Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.
Thanks.
Rellie.
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May 3rd, 2015, 06:34 AM
  #2
 
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I have visited Austria successfully by train. You can day trip out Vienna by train and boat, likewise Innsbruck by train - I recommend the trip up the Ziller valley, and to the Stubai glacier.

Besides Vienna and Innsbruck (haven't been to Salzburg) I've enjoyed Graz, Hallstat, Zell-am-See (bus up the Hochalpenstrasse and to the Krimml waterfall) Kufstein and Pertisau, all by train.
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May 3rd, 2015, 08:41 AM
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My favorite destinations in Austria are the Wolfgang see, Hallstatt, and Melk. Having a car makes it all much easier.
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May 3rd, 2015, 09:09 AM
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Driving in Austria, to me, is similar to driving in Switzerland, and, to me, it's enjoyable.

On the other hand, I prefer taking the train in Austria (have done it many times). Local public transport is also quite easy.

Either way, I think you'll be happy. However, if by car, the person driving gets the disadvantage of having to focus on the driving vs. the views and scenery.
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May 3rd, 2015, 09:46 AM
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My favorite destinations in Austria are the Wolfgang see, Hallstatt, and Melk. Having a car makes it all much easier.>

Easier but all those places are also very easily accessed by train and or public buses and once in those areas lake boats or trains or river boats are often a nicer option than a car - I would not say Austria's train systemis as dense as Switzerland's but buses go everywhere trains don't and the Austrian Railways to me are about tops in Europe in terms of comfort and not overcrowding, punctuality, etc.

Cars are a liability in cities like Vienna and Salzburg and Innsbruck and you can easily get out of those places by trains or buses or boats - no need for a car and overall it will not be easier if going to the larger cities.

For lots of goodies on Austrian trains check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Westbahn is a competitor to the Austrian Railways and may offer cheaper walk-up tickets or cheaper tickets though they run much fewer trains and only on the main Vienna-Salzburg-Innsbruck axis I believe.
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May 3rd, 2015, 09:54 AM
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What PQ said. Plus, you certainly don't want a car IN Hallstatt, or probably Melk, never mind not in Vienna or Innsbruck.

And if you want to stay in smaller places between the cities, they're probably on the train line, too.
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May 3rd, 2015, 02:22 PM
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Depends on your itinerary.

A car is of no real use in Vienna. Public transport is excellent.
Also daytrips to the Wachau or Baden or Eisenstadt can be easily done by frequent trains. Often also faster than by car if you need to drive during the rush hours.

Salzburg is very compact. Most sights are in walking distance - literally.
Hellbrunn castle is an easy bus ride to the outskirts.

Innsbruck does not require a car, but it's also no rocket science to drive there.
The biggest hassle would be the fees for the parking garages.

But if you want to explore Austria and see more like,for example, the mountains or the Southern parts like Carinthia, or the remote valleys of East Tyrol a car is a good option.

But you can choose both modes of transport: trains for inter-city legs, and a car for 2, 3 days to explore the country away from the Sound of Music trail.
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May 4th, 2015, 03:37 AM
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Have a look at http://www.oebb.at/en/index.jsp and find out that most trains and buses run at least every hr, even to small places!
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May 4th, 2015, 04:31 AM
  #9
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Thanks for all your replies. Sounds like a train is the way to go as it will still get us to the smaller places.
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