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Finalizing our Austria and Switzerland trip - last minute advice?

Finalizing our Austria and Switzerland trip - last minute advice?

Old Aug 16th, 2014, 05:35 PM
  #1  
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Finalizing our Austria and Switzerland trip - last minute advice?

Current itinerary:
Day 1 - arrive in Vienna at ~2:00 PM - 24 hours to see Mozart sights - would you recommend dinner in a beer garden or heurigen? (we still have Salzburg coming ahead)
Day 2 - leave mid/late afternoon via train to Salzburg (the day that the Salzburg Festival is apparently ending - is this a positive or negative thing in terms of restaurants, crowds, events and activities? Our focus is Mozart and eating. Preferably sauerkraut and potato salad.)
Day 3 - full day in Salzburg, focus on Mozart sights - planning to do St. Peter's Stiftskeller for dinner concert
Day 4 - leave Salzburg via train to Interlaken - via Buchs, Zurich, Bern - arrive around 4 PM and stay in Interlaken for 3 nights
Day 5 - Berner Oberland - is the Swiss Open Air Folk Museum highly recommended?
Day 6 - Berner Oberland
Day 7 - leave for French Alps via Golden Rail train, arrive in Lausanne and stay for 3 nights
Day 8 - French Alps area
Day 9 - French Alps area
Day 10 - leave for Lyon, 1 day in Lyon and early flight out the next AM - what are not miss sights? We are just planning to eat!

Any comments are appreciated! I got some great advice on previous threads but just want to see if anyone has any personal experiences or tips to share at this point. Maneuvering trains and carry on luggage, managing crowds, a favorite restaurant, dressing for weather, anything! We'll be there end of August/early September. Thanks!
itspat is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2014, 06:13 PM
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For train travel make sure your luggage is as compact as possible. If you can;t easily pick it up and walk a block briskly then it's too big/heavy.

When changing trains be at the door with your luggage when the train pulls into the station. Get down quickly, walk briskly yo the next platform and don't dally getting onto the next train.

In terms of weather make sure you have comfy broken in waterproofed walking shoes, a tissue weight rain jacket (with hood is better) and a sturdy folding umbrella.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 06:28 PM
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Pack light!!!!!!! Can't say that enough! Salzburg is such a lovely little city. I would spend more time there. I think we had only two nights there and it wasn't enough. I think you will really enjoy your trip!

Rain jacket is excellent advice. Good walking shoes are also great advice.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 08:29 PM
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Yes, Ballenberg open air museum above Brienz is highly recommended for a half-day trip and is easily reached by bus (20 minute trip from train station). Are you planning a trip up the Jungfrau or hiking in the area? If not, and you have the time, a short boat cruise on either Lake Thun or Lake Brienz is also highly recommended!
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 10:38 PM
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Hi itspat,

I'm a bit confused. Will you be going on to the French Alps from Lausanne? Or will you be making day-trips to the French Alps from Lausanne?

Lausanne is in Switzerland on Lake Geneva, and it's more than 2h from the French Alps, so I'm not sure what your plan is.

Will you be spending time at/around the lake?

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 10:39 PM
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In Vienna I would suggest a heuriger evening; save the biergartens for Salzburg. One of my personal favorites is Kierlinger (at the terminus of the D tram). Double check the openings of any heuriger you may choose; this time of year there are many "Urlaub" (vacation) signs tacked on the doors.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 12:59 AM
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Like swandav I am confused about the Lausanne/French Alps part. Lausanne is in the French speaking part of Switzerland, but not in the French Alps. The nearby Alps are the Alpes Vaudoises and the Pennine Alps in the Swiss canton Valais.

Doing day trips to the French Alps from Lausanne would be very inconvenient.

I.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 03:38 AM
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Another vote in support of Ballenberg open air museum - it's wonderful.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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I too would go to a Heuriger in Vienna. We found plenty of them open in Grinzing in July - i can't speak for august, though your hotel should be able to point you in the right direction. The ones with buffets are particularly good, IME.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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Ballenberg is well worth visiting.

Obviously, you are not planning to visit the Alps in France from Laussane. I would not choose to stay in Laussane, I would prefer Montreux. Or get off the Golden train in Gstaad and stay there if you want to hike etc. and do a day trip to Montreux.

You are using up too many days moving around for my taste. You are using up 4 days just to spend a half day in Vienna and a day in Salzburg.

Most Switzerland aficionados would not suggest staying in Interlaken. Better to choose one of the nearby villages such as Wengen, Grindelwald, Murren, etc.

While in Switzerland I would get a 3 day Swissrail Flexipass which will get you 3 days of free travel as well as free entry and/or discounts on all your other days in Switzerland. That includes Ballenburg.

Why are you going to Lyon? Seems like a waste of a day just to fly from there the next morning. Why not fly from Geneva instead? You could have the whole day 10 in Montreux area and head straight to Geneva airport on the following morning.

Overall, I think you are trying to squeeze too many places into too little time. The equivalent of trying to put a quart of water into a pint pot. I'd drop a couple of stops and go for quality over quantity.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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I agree about the trip being too bitty - going to Vienna for just 24 hours seems like a waste to me too. you may only be there for the beer but the Hofburg and the Schoenbrunn are surely worth a day's worth of anyone's time.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 03:15 PM
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Sorry all... meant to say the "French-speaking region" rather than "French Alps"... we are going to Lausanne because of a friend of a friend.

We understand it's "different strokes for different folks". Our original itinerary started out even more hopelessly busy! Vienna and Lyon at the beginning and end are admittedly a bit hurried, but they were added on with a purpose in mind. That's why we hoped to slow it down with 3 nights each in 2 locations in the middle.

We can't wait for our trip! Thanks for the words of wisdom you've provided...
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 01:27 PM
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If current weather is anything like it will be at end of August and early September, would you recommend just casual travel pants and shirts plus a rain jacket and sturdy walking shoes for our trip? For a total of 12 days, including travel days, I'm assuming we should plan to do laundry somewhere in there at least once? Would a versatile, multifunctional pair of dress pants and skirt with a regular tops suffice for anything nice or we might choose to do (like the Mozart dinner)? We are guessing it won't be warm or cold enough to pack any other kind of specialty wear, save for possibly the top of Jungfrau if we go, in which case we will layer.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 09:14 PM
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itspat, the weather across Austria the last week have been very temperamental, and the upcoming week looks the same. Plan to layer; though the outside temperatures may be cooler, the tourist-filled (and often un-airconditioned) museums and sights become hot and stuffy quickly. And also for planning, most heuriger often have limited indoor seating areas with even less (if any) non-smoking seating, should the weather be too cool for an outside table.

annhig, I'm curious. Do you recall the heuriger(s) with buffets? Not that I've been to every heuriger in Grinzing, but that would greatly appeal to my teenage son!
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 12:54 PM
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Thank you, fourfortravel. Putting layers in the suitcase now.

Any other clothing advice related to my previous post?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 03:18 PM
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fourfor - that's a good question. I've got a feeling that there was a buffet at the one near the Beethovenwohnung in Heiligenstadt -

http://www.zimmermanns.at/

we liked this one too, but i can't remember if it had a buffet.

http://www.schuebel-auer.at/schubel-auer

the best selection of Heuriger in the smallest area was in Gumpoldskirchen, where we happened across the wine festival and ended up staying there for 3 glorious days:

http://www.weinfest-gumpoldskirchen.at/

you're just in time - this year it lasts from 20-31st August.

Prost!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 06:04 PM
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It's been a long time since we've been to Austria but I will always remember our evening in St. Peter's in the center of Salzburg. It was winter, we were in Austria to ski. The word to know in Austria is 'konditorei' which means pastry shop-- yumm, the windows alone were outstanding. Cafe Demel might be the most famous but it wasn't the best, nor was the Sacher Torte from Hotel.

As to Switzerland, yes, better to stay in Montreux and visit Lausanne & Vevey by train (both for day trip); yes, Interlaken is dead center to access the Jungfrau and but also the most convenient to access the lakes or the city of Bern should the mountain weather be less than spectacular. We stayed there for this reason and were afforded 3 cloudless days so up the mountains we went. If drizzly or clouded in, Wengen or Murren do not offer many options except to catch the train down and go through Interlaken to other pursuits, your decision. In Interlaken, be sure to walk over to the old section, a charming part of the town ignored by the masses through Interlaken; we wanted to be near the train station and walking about easy. Last year mid-September, we had warm glorious weather, never using our merino base wool layers nor our packable featherweight down jackets. But when you see the prices of clothing there, you'll not wish to have to purchase any! Unless you're in the most formal, splendid of hotels, tourists wear casual clothes such as you describe. Sounds like a great trip.
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Old Aug 24th, 2014, 08:52 PM
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its been cool and rainy the past 2 weeks in Vienna and Salzburg. Good idea to take a waterproof jacket, and a light cotton sweater, and a 3/4 or long sleeve top. Also you may want a microfleece or light sweatshirt, particularly as you will be in the Alps. Check the weather forecast.

For your Mozart dinner, you can wear nice slacks with a top. you won't need a skirt. I would recommend taking one pair of nice slacks that you can use with a variety of tops, and make that your dress up outfit. you can also take a cotton or poly scarf that can double as a shawl;good to use if you need extra warmth, and easy to pack

As for your dinner in Vienna, given the weather, you may want to see if you can eat indoors, and if you find you are too jet lagged to care where you eat, you can always find places in Salzburg.
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