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Trip to Switzerland and Austria, June 2011 - Salzburg

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Nov 26th, 2011, 02:38 PM
  #1
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Trip to Switzerland and Austria, June 2011 - Salzburg

We loved Salzburg, it was the highlight of our trip. It helped that the weather was wonderful, and our hotel was wonderful and right in the center of things. But Salzburg would have been fabulous anyway.

We came to Salzburg from Lauterbrunnen, which caused much angst during the planning of the trip. We ended up taking a train (5 hour ride) - and the majority of it (the Switzerland portion) was covered by our half passes. We took a cab to the Hotel Am Dom, which is amazing - quite the upgrade from our humble lodgings in Lauterbrunnen. HUGE bathroom, modern decorating, right downtown, and very quiet. I recommend this hotel highly.

We had tea at the Cafe Tomaselli (my newest favorite place in the world) - right around the corner from the hotel, fabulous pastries, coffees, ice cream - and people watching. I can't remember the name of the restaurant where we had dinner, but the food was SO much better than in Switzerland - and much more affordable.

Wednesday, we had a lovely, very full day. Great breakfast at the hotel, gorgeous weather. We started at Mozart platz, went to the Residenz, the Dom, St Peter's church and cemetery. All of this is in the same general area. We then went to Mirabell Gardens, since we had tickets for a concert in the evening and wanted to know where we were going. The gardens there are gorgeous and huge.

Stopped for a frankfurter along the river - then up an elevator to the Museum of Modern art - beautiful vistas from the top AND a Giacometti exhibit inside. Back to Cafe Tomaselli, and then I grabbed my book and found a nice place to read outside (I was clearly starved for nice weather). Dinner at Carpe DIem, small plates of delicious nouveau food, then onto the Marble Hall at Mirabell Gardens to hear a concert - three strings, in a room Leopold Mozart played in with this children, Nannerl and Wolfgang. It was lovely.

Thursday we started at the Salzburg Museum - just okay, and then to the Fortress - very interesting with stunning 360 degree views (you take a cable car up). There's a Marionette Exhibit that's easy to miss but which I loved. Then I decided to have ice cream for lunch (my husband opted for salad), and then took a long bus ride to Hellbruin Palace. We stayed outside, with all the trick fountains and the gardens. Very amusing and there was a huge group of kids withus and it was very fun to watch them squealing and jumping in the sprays of water.

Back to Cafe Tomaselli (maybe I will open one in the States) for my first EIskaffee (coffee, vanilla ice cream and schlag - really, the perfect drink. It started to drizzle, so I checked out the soaking tub at the hotel and we went out for a good dinner at an italian restaurant, and a nice bottle of Prosecco.

I should mention that you must buy the Salzburg Pass - it seems to be valid EVERYWHERE and really saves you a lot of money. You can generally buy one at your hotel.

Back to pack for Vienna the next day. Salzburg is just magical, a must see I think.
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Nov 29th, 2011, 07:12 AM
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I think you probably should have made one trip report not a number of them.

Otherwise, your information is very good. Thanks.
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Nov 29th, 2011, 07:50 AM
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I thought about it, but I generally like reading other people's when they're not so long. Plus if I'm going to only one of the places they visited, I only read that one. (Besides it's already taken me 6 months to get around to this it was easier to do in chunks!).

Alice
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Nov 29th, 2011, 10:15 AM
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talking about train passes in Switzerland - curious as to which of the several possible passes you used - Swiss Pass, Half-Fare Ticket, Swiss Card, Swiss Transfer Ticket, etc.?

thanks and any comments on Swiss trains and using passes would be appreciated.
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Dec 5th, 2011, 05:53 AM
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I believe we used the Half-Fare Ticket. The Swiss Pass was more than we needed. The Half-Fare Ticket applied to anything that moved - trains, cog-wheel trains, gondolas, boats, etc. The trip up Jungfraujoch paid for the passes, it's SO expensive an activity but so worth it! And when we took the train from Switzerland to Salzburg - it paid half of the SWISS part of the trip, just not the Austria part. Worked great for us.

Alice
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Dec 5th, 2011, 06:25 AM
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Nice report Alice!
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Dec 5th, 2011, 01:14 PM
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Swiss passes only pay 25% of Wengen or Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch station whereas Half-Fare Card pays 50% - a BIG difference and one factor when choosing between the two if in the cards.

Thanks for the info Alcie!
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Dec 5th, 2011, 09:45 PM
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Thanks for the info PalenQ........it is really a challenge to work out which combination of passes to buy in Switzerland, which shall suit one's purpose the best. It also depends on how one wants to spend his/her active time there.
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Dec 5th, 2011, 10:14 PM
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We travelled in Switzerland this year with Swiss rail passes and got 50% discount, plus free entry to many museums and art galleries - it may be worth your while to check this detail.
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Dec 6th, 2011, 09:20 AM
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I spent a LOT Of time figuring out which pass to get. Since we had a car to get around, the half pass was the way to go. And as PalenQ notes, half off of the trip to Jungfraujoch is a LOT.

Alice
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Dec 6th, 2011, 10:45 AM
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figuring out which pass yes - Swiss Pass, Half-Fare Card, Swiss Transfer Ticket and Swiss Card (same as Half-Fare Card but also includes 100% trips from any border or airport to any place in Switzerland and out to any border point or airport - all other benefits TMK exactly the same - or of course just buying regular tickets as you go along.

Swiss Pass if traveling between more than a few bases often is the best and it simplifies the whole process - Half-Fare Card you must know exactly what you will do and do no more to calculate its benefit - as it costs $130 to start before you pay 50% on anything you have to be doing enough rides to off set the initial $130 cost. My favorite pass is a consecutive-day pass that simply covers everything that moves in Switzerland - city trams and buses, lake boats, postal buses, trains and gives 50% off on every mountain life except the 25% mentioned above (so if doing that factor that in!) - passes also give free entry to over 400 Swiss museums like the fantastic Ballenberg Open-Air museum near Interlaken - about a $20 p.p. value so if museums are in your plan that is another factor as I believe Half-Fare Card gives nothing on museums - yet few folks relatively going to Switzerland go for museums!

And there is also the Jungfraubahn Pass that could be better to folks driving to the Berner Oberland and then just using public transit there - it covers nearly everything that moves from Interlaken and above in full - I figured once that just taking the Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch trains would make it pay off alone (sold at stations in the area).

So yes there are so so many options - get out the calculator!
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Dec 6th, 2011, 07:43 PM
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Thanks PQ...these are very useful info. As of now, I feel, the Swiss Pass for 4 consecutive days + the family card will serve my purpose. I shall look into it further though.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 11:32 AM
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Swiss Passes are sold in Switzerland and in your home country, if in the U S, thru RailEurope, in which the Swiss Federal Railways are a stakeholder, along the the French national railways - my advice is to check prices both in Swiss francs in Switzerland and in U S dollars if an American resident as often during the past several years the exact same pass has been cheaper if bought here than there - this is not always true but often has been - and figure in any foreign transaction fees your c card may impose in in Swiss prices. Family passes come free with the pass - at least in U S - think same in Switzerland but not sure as they at least used to be a 20 CH - Swiss franc fee for them but that was a few years back. I have often bought Swiss passes from Byron at www.budgeteuropetravel.com and if you need to talk to an expert who IME can answer any questions expertly I advise calling him - but pass prices are universal, set by RailEurope and their agents have to sell at the same price but shipping and handling fees can be tacked on so find an agent with no fees. Many folks report good service also from www.ricksteves.com.
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Dec 9th, 2011, 09:34 AM
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PalenQ........it is really a challenge to work out which combination of passes to buy in Switzerland, which shall suit one's purpose the best. It also depends on how one wants to spend his/her active time there.>

again yes it can be daunting if you get the calculator out - I always have a pass and I always end up doing more than I expected - get to Interlaken in mid-afternoon and the sun is out so I just hop on without formality a lake boat and putz around Lake Thun for a few hours - oogling the glacier-girdled Jungfrau Massif looming high above and even reflecting in the lake. If I had to buy even a half-fare ticket I may have been more reluctant - again the weather factor - if wet in the hills not much fun and I can day trip to places like Bern or Lucerne or Thun, by boat, and with a pass not have to factor in the costs. A consecutive-day pass gives the ultimate freedom and per day is cheaper the more you buy. But yes you have to be an active traveler on the move enough to justify - if you are going to say Wengen and only Wengen or Murren and just hike the calculations may not be in favour of a pass.
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