Help on Austria trip

Old Jun 26th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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Help on Austria trip

We are planning a trip to Austria so I need help from Fodorites again.

1. There does not seem to be a direct flight into any city in Austria therefore Munich or Zurich seems like the best options. I think we will start & end our trip at Munich. Comments?

2. We would like to take a train to Ehrwald so the Tyrol could be explored first, then on to Salzburg. Comments?

3. Best time of year to go? If in October then we could attend Oktoberfest in Munich. Any recommendations?

4. Should we skip Innsbruck? How many days should we spend in Salzburg & Vienna?

5. Should we rent a car or take the train?

Thatís enough for now.
Thanks
Greg
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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Greg,

We have been to approximately 15 countries in Europe and Austria is our favorite. I will try to answer a few of your questions.

1) If you can get a direct flight to Munich, I think that would be the best way to go as its much closer to what you want to see in Austria.

2) I didn't visit Ehrwald so I really can't comment.

3) We stopped in Innsbruck on the way to Switzerland and were were definitely not impressed. The old part of town was interesting, but other than that we couldn't wait to leave. I much preferred Hall, a lovely town not far from Innsbruck.

4) We spent a week in Berchtesgaden and did a lot of the Salzkammergut and Salzburg. I thought that one whole day in Salzburg was adequate, as the city is fairly small. I would devote three days for it if you want to daytrip to the Salzkammergut (Hallstatt, St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang, etc) and Berchtesgaden/Schonau (Eagle's Nest, Salt Mines, Konigssee).

For Vienna, I would give at least two full days, preferrably three. The city is beautiful and there is quite a bit to see. This would give you time to see things at a more leisurely pace.

4) I always recommend renting a car for this area. Driving around is a joy; the roads are terrific and you can see some great small towns that the trains just can't get to. It would allow you to easily daytrip from Salzburg and possibly Vienna.

Good luck!
Tracy
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 06:46 AM
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Munich is best. Try to avoid Octoberfest, which is really in Sep. I would skip Innsbruck---a town of 150,000 people, and spend time in the Salzkammergut. A car is the only good way to see things.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 08:19 AM
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Thanks for the advice.

After going to the unorganize & dirty, (and wonderful) Italy last year we wanted a cleaner more efficient country to visit on our next trip.

Being a fan of the 101st Airborne a trip to Berchtesgaden (& Zell am Zee) would be a treat. They spent some time their as an occupying force before being disbanded.


What time of year would you go?

Thanks
Greg
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 08:32 AM
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I travel to Austria now 2-3 times a year when hubby is on business in Vienna and I have a break from teaching school. Jan.-April have tended to be gray and rainy. The Christmas time markets and wintry activities are fun. May-Sept. though, allow you to see green and flowers everywhere, and is the best time to visit IMO. We flew into Munich and out of Vienna this past March...traveled acros the country with the Germany/Austria rail saver pass. Everything worked out well, except the weather--rained everywhere EXCEPT Innsbruck (warm and sunny).
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 09:29 AM
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We were in Vienna in February and Salzburg in May. I loved Vienna but it was freezing when we were there, and I would not go in February again. I'm from St. Louis so I'm used to cold winters, but this was bitterly cold.

Salzburg in May was delightful. It was a little on the chilly side a few days we were there, and it was drizzly at times, but the flowers were in bloom and the grass was nice and green, and the tourists weren't out in droves yet.

I would probably pick either May/June or September/October if it were me.

Tracy
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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I've gone to Austria three times in January (once included cross country skiing) and enjoyed it, although got cold at times. Would love to see it in warm weather with the green on the mountains.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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I would go to Austria in early September- weather should be perfect and the crowds gone. One day in Saltzburg is enough. 3 days in Vienna. We fly into Vienna via Franfurt from New York- it was no big deal. Austria is clean, safe, and the people friendly- you will love it!
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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P.S. - take thr trains there is nothing like first class train travel in Europe! It beats driving.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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I took the train (Ausserfernbahn) through the Tirol from Pfronten to Germisch-Partenkirchen once. We didn't stop in Ehrwald, but I remember the entire Tirol was very beautiful.

I would not recommend having a car from Munich to Ehrwald. You can do the trip with a Bayern passes for €25. Via Michelin shows the fuel for a compact car from Munich to Ehrwald to be about €10. Where are you going to find a rental car for a day for €15? With a Bayern pass you could go first to Reutte or Pfronten, then come back to Ehrwald for the night, all for the same €25.

For your next leg I would suggest you use a Bayern ticket back to Munich. You wonít need a rental car in Munich. Then go straight to Vienna. You can buy a Europa-Spezial ticket online for selected EuroCity trains between Munich and Vienna from the Bahn for €29 each way, per person. You don't want a car in a big city like Vienna anyway.

To get the trip from Vienna to Salzburg for €29, you have to buy a RT starting in Munich, but you can get off in Salzburg on the way back.

I would suggest you spend just one day in Salzburg, and don't do a Sound of Music tour. The authentic sights from the movie can be seen easily just walking around town. The places the tours take you to weren't even in the movie. The lakeside scenes (rowboat) were not at Leopoldskron, for which they could not get permission. They created a temporary copy of the lakefront patio somewhere else on the lake, and shot the scenes there.

The gazebo scenes were actually shot in a sound stage in Hollywood (they had to control the lightning and the rain) using a reproduction of the gazebo at Leopoldskron.

From Salzburg go to Berchtesgaden (€8 pP on the Watzmann Express) and spend the rest of your time there. I have spent 4 days (plus some) in Berchtesgaden. They have excellent public transportation. Everything there (Kehlsteinhaus, Dokumentation Center, salt mine, Therme, Königsee) is readily accessible by bus (been there, done that).

Return to Munich using another Bayern ticket. The train goes right by Prien, so if you want to, you can get off for a while and visit Herrenchiemsee. With the Bayern ticket you get a 10% discount on the ship to the Island.

The total rail fare for two from Munich to Ehrwald (or Reutte) to Wien to Salzburg to Berchtesgaden and back to Munich comes to €207. From that subtract Via Michelinís estimate of €121 for fuel and tolls if you rent a car. The net difference is €86 plus maybe €20 for local bus transportation in Berchtesgaden.

If you have more time, you might want to see the Salzkammergut. Getting to Hallstatt using public transportation is possible, but a little awkward. That is the only place you might want to rent a car.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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Its a matter of personal opinion, but I found the area to be very accessible by car, and a car would allow you to journey to some of the smaller towns, such as the towns along the Wolfgangsee (St. Wolfgang and St. Gilgen) that trains do not go to, and usually save you considerable amount of time on the places they do go to (for example, it takes about an hour to drive from Salzburg to Hallstatt, versus the 2 hour plus train ride). I'm all for trains in certain areas of Europe (certain parts of Italy and the cities) but I thought that Austria and Germany was a dream to drive, and I couldn't imagine doing otherwise.

Tracy
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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Austrian Air has a direct flight from Wash DC to Vienna. There may be other cities as well - but I've done the DC-Vienna flight several times.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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We've always taken the train on our trips to Austria and Germany.

On our most recent trip, we flew Vienna to Paris for our return. Our connection in Paris was tight, and a snow delay out of Vienna made us miss the next flight. We got an unexpected 24 hours in Paris! Turned out to be great fun.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Wow Larryincolorado, you must have a great memory. I donít have a map in from of me so I canít ask specific questions so just let me make myself clear.

We are thinking of flying into and out of Munich since there is not a direct flight into Austria. This is to avoid lengthy airport layovers. If we choose go to Munich then we will stay for 2-3 days before heading to Austria because we do not want to do ground travel the first day off the plane.

From Munich I see two rails to Austria the first stop is one going to the western part of Austria (Ehrwald / Seeweld / Innsbruck) , and the other line to the middle part (Salzburg). It seems better to me to start at one end and then complete the trip at the other end. If you start a Salzburg then you got to back track to see both Vienna and the Tyrol region.

I am not committed to starting in Ehrwald it could just as well be Innsbruck.

So Larryincolorado is it an easy route between Munich & Innsbruck? Or do you have another suggestion?


Thanks
Greg
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 03:26 PM
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Munich to Innsbruck - nothing could be easier. The route is part of the main line from Munich to Italy. There are nice modern EuroCity trains running directly (no changes) from Munich to Innsbruck. However, it will cost you €31,40 pP each way.

If you use a Bayern ticket, you have to use slower regional trains. The pass is valid to Kufstein on the border. From there you will need a point to point ticket to Innsbruck for €13,40 each way pP. Kufstein to Hall, by the way, is €12,- each way pP.

I've never been to Innsbruck, but I have been on the Ausserfernbahn from Garmisch to Ehrwald, Reutte, and Pfronten. Considering the comments about Innsbruck here I think I would choose the Reutte route.

It's not that I have a great memory; I have the bahn website up. It's a great resouce. Learn to use it or you will be condemned to spend hundreds of extra $$$ for a car because you don't know how to get somewhere by train.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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Thanks Larry:
could you copy and paste the address on this thread?

greg
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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I've been to Austria only twice; once in June and once in September. Both months were fantastic. We were a bit too early for Oktoberfest in early September, but places were gearing up for it and we got some fun souveniers. The last time we did fly into Salzburg, alhtough there was a transfer in Amsterdam. From the airport, we drove directly to Munich to spend a day, and the drive wasn't too bad. My DH had never been to Hoffbrau Haus and hence the detour there for a day/night. What fun!

I personally loved Innsbruck, tucked up in the mountains. It was the true small town Bavarian experience. A total contrast to the more sophisticated large city of Vienna, which is also fantastic. You want at least a couple of days in Vienna. I wouldn't spend more than a day in Innsbruck, but I wouldn't miss it. Nice drive.

On our last trip we had a car (eurail the first trip), and loved driving all around the lake country. Hallstadt is amazing. We actually stayed at a nice resort outside of Salzburg, about halfway between Hallstadt and Salzburg, and drove into Salzburg for a day. I understand that the hotel has recently undergone a major renovation.

I agree that one full day in Salzburg is probably good. Don't miss the Augustiner brewery. The beer garden is a riot for people watching. If you are a Mozart fan (which I am), there is so much Mozart history to take in as well. As for the Sound of Music tour, you can still see the fountain from the movie, which is in Salzburg, even if you don't do the full tour (which my DH would not let me do). I love Austria. Have a great time!
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 05:56 PM
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The query page (where you get schedules) for the German Rail website is at reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en. If you can't remember that, just go to www.bahn.de and click on English in the gray area on left side and it will take you to the same page. Austrian Rail has schedules at www.oebb.at. I think you can change it to English; I can't remember because I always do it in German (good practice).

If you need help negotiating these websites, email me at [email protected].
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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Can someone tell me how you know which trains on a given route are available with the Bayern ticket? If I want to travel from Munich to Salzburg, for instance, how can I specify I only want to view trips I can take with the Bayern ticket?
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 07:39 AM
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On the German Rail query page, where it says "Means of transport", pull down the menu and select "Only local transport". That way it will filter out express trains (ICE, IC, EC) and only show the regional trains (RE, RB) for which the Bayern ticket is valid.

Note also, that although all regional train will be shown, the Bayern ticket is only valid after 9 AM on weekdays. However, you can purchase a point to point ticket to the first stop after 9 and use the Bayern ticket from there.
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