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11-night July Austrian loop with car - itinerary?

My husband and I have a July trip planned flying in and out of Vienna with 11 nights (last night needed at airport due to early AM flight). We love a mix of cities and villages. Please advise about the following possible itinerary:
3 nights - stay in old town Vienna, then pick up rental car as leaving Vienna
1 night - Melk
4 nights - Salzburg / Grossglockner High Alpine Road - stay just outside of Salzburg?
1 night - Halstatt
1 night - Graz/Styria
final night - Vienna

I would appreciate any input - thank you!

Posted by
4391 posts

The first thing i would do is check the price of rental cars, if budget is important to you. I think you can do most of that via public transportation. Rental car prices, in many locations in the world, are exorbitant, right now. Or you might think about a train to Salzburg or Melk, picking up a car there, reducing the amount of time you'd have to pay for a car. 4 days in Salzburg may be a bit much if you do not have day trips planned.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you, Jules M. The price of the rental car is not that important, but your comment about Salzburg is one I am needing help with - would you suggest staying outside of Salzburg or ("New Town" area of Salzburg, where parking is easier)? When I read some other travel blogs, there are suggestions about staying in St. Gilgen. We definitely wish to explore the areas around Salzburg.

Posted by
877 posts

I like to stay in Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden. You can get to a Salzburg Park and Ride Parkplatz in .5 to 1 hour (Parkplatz P+R Alpenstraße Süd). The parking ticket includes the bus transportation (for 5 if I remember right). If you are going to drive the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße, then maybe change your literary some. There is a lot to see along the way there from Salzburg like the Zeller See and on the southern side in East Tyrol Lienz. I do a short tour of Saltzburg with family and friends in a day. If you want a rustic hotel with good dinners in Ramsau I recommend Gasthof Auzinger. Call ahead. They have music evenings from time to time and are at the foot of the Nationalpark Berchtesgaden. Many other places to stay in the Naehe.
https://www.foto-webcam.eu/webcam/vorderloiplsau/
https://www.foto-webcam.eu/webcam/zellamsee/
https://www.foto-webcam.eu/webcam/lienz/

Posted by
1381 posts

I'm not sure why Graz is in your itinerary since it seems out of the way and you are spending so little time there?

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you for your advice! After looking more closely at the map of Austria, I will eliminate Graz and spend more time split between the areas around Salzburg than in the city itself.

I am so excited to drive the Grossglockner HAR - I was able to pull a map of the route. Anyone have advice about special areas that we should make time for?

Thank you!

Posted by
877 posts

You could stop or stay overnight at the Wallackhaus. If you look for a garage/work area near where the road is closed from the north in winter, just down the road from Fusch an der Großglocknerstraße, you might see one of the original light blue two engine snowplow/snow throwers. Several auto manufacturers test their new cars on the Großglocknerstraße and base out of Fusch. They have garages at several hotels there. You'll see them camouflaged with test equipment on them. Lots of bicycle riders on the Großglocknerstraße too, so be careful. Never thought too much about Heiligenblut, though I've stayed there a few times. It's a nice area to hike.

Franz Wallack: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Wallack
https://www.foto-webcam.eu/webcam/wallackhaus/
https://www.grossglockner.at/gg/en/index

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you for your advice about the Grossglockner High Alpine Road area. We will definitely incorporate these ideas.

Posted by
2776 posts

check out Youtube for travel videos, I'm sure the Grossglockner is a popular subject

Posted by
508 posts

With a similar itinerary a few years ago, we based for several nights in Mondsee, a 20 minute drive east of Salzburg (and on the lake
also called Mondsee.) This gave us easy access to the adjacent and beautiful Salzkammergut region and a day trip to Halstatt (1 hour drive). It also eliminated some unpacking/repacking/relocating hassles. (Potential downside: unless you plan to make Grossglockner a 1-night stay, Mondsee would add 40 minutes to an otherwise pretty long day.)

FWIW, we stopped in Melk for only a few hours en route to Vienna, but only saw the Abbey.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you for your replies. I am still undecided about where to base myself in or around Salzburg. Rick Steves seems to like the New Town area, and it seems as if parking would not be a problem. However, still thinking about staying outside of the city.

Posted by
12 posts

If you do keep your original itinerary of Graz, one way off the beaten path if you have a car is to go to the Zotter Chocolate Factory in Riegersburg. One of the finer chocolate makers with a lot of interesting and unique flavors. I last visited this in 2010, but my understanding from our friends living in Graz is little has changed other than it is expanded. The best part is as part of the tour is all you can eat chocolate tasting. This is absolutely worth the time in my opinion for any chocolate lover.

On the way, you can stop at Schloss Kornberg. Pick up some pumpkin seed oil in this area, and if you want a way out of left field excursion, you can visit the World Machine (Weltmaschine). The Weltmaschine is one that might be hard to justify spending time to visit, but if you have a car and are close, you won’t forget the drive and the oddity of this experience. Good luck!

Posted by
2725 posts

We have stayed in Ramsau bed Berchtesgaden, 30 or 40 minutes drive from Salzburg, 5 times. LOVE staying at the Pension Mayringerlehen. Check out the Rossfeld Panorama Road above Berchtesgaden. You can also take part of this road (via Oberau to Hallein) over the mountain, through beautiful scenery, to Salzburg. Check out the Sommerrodelbahn above Berchtesgaden for some real thrills.

www.Mayringerlehen.de

https://www.rossfeldpanoramastrasse.de/en/

https://hochlenzer.de/rodelbahn.html

If driving the Grossglockner, consider a 1 night stay in Heiligenblut or maybe Zell am See. Heiligenblut is quintessential Austrian village with the Grossglockner as a backdrop. We loved this place.

https://www.ederhof-heiligenblut.at/de/

Posted by
6951 posts

I would suggest visiting Halstatt before going into Salzburg.

Salzburg is a small, walkable town, and you can do it in 2 days. Have you considered spending 2 days there and a then couple of days in Innsbruck--a great city to do day trips from?

The start of the Grossglockner is just south of Zell-am-see, and the road ends up in Lientz, Austria. The southside of the mountains is about the most beautiful place I've ever seen.

PM me if you need a place in Vienna to stay. I know a really good'un.

Posted by
4698 posts

Here's my input:

3 nights in Vienna sounds good, but I would suggest that you either 1) visit Melk and the Wachau Valley as a day trip from Vienna or 2) spend one night in the Wachau Valley/Melk and consider staying in Duernstein instead. In the Wachau Valley, especially if you have a car, I would suggest seeing more than just Melk as the beauty lies in the valley itself, in the villages of Spitz, Weissenkirchen and Duernstein. Wonderful to explore on a bike. On a side note, there is no "Old Town" in Vienna as the center of the city is quite modern by European standards. The city center is referred to as the First District or the Innere Stadt. As public transportation in Vienna is excellent, you can easily stay in districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 as well and get to the center in a few minutes (Vienna is small). These districts are much more interesting in the evening with better restaurants.

Your Salzburg/Hallstatt/Grossglockner HAR really messes me up. First, I think that 2-3 nights in Salzburg is fine and I would strongly recommend you stay in the Old Town (yes, this is a proper old town). Rick likes to save money, but it is money well spent to be right under the fortress. I also think that you stay in Hallstatt for the one night on the way to Salzburg from the Wachau Valley.

After Salzburg, pack up at that point and head towards the Grossglockner HAR, staying in Zell am See or Kaprun. Spend the next day driving the HAR and spend that night in Lienz or Millstatt. Trek over to Graz if you have decided to day trip to the Wachau from Vienna. I totally agree with the Zotter Chocolate factory recommendation - it is quite likely the best attraction in all of Austria. You'll see. The nearby Riegersburg fortress built on a dormant volcano is spectacular. I've suggested to itineraries below. You will be doing a lot of driving.

Night 1 - Vienna
Night 2 - Vienna (Day trip to Wachau)
Night 3 - Vienna
Night 4 - Hallstatt
Night 5 - Salzburg
Night 6 - Salzburg
Night 7 - Zell am See
Night 8 - Lienz/Millstatt
Night 9 - Graz
Night 10 - Graz
Night 11 - VIE

OR

Night 1 - Vienna
Night 2 - Vienna
Night 3 - Vienna
Night 4 - Duernstein
Night 5 - Hallstatt
Night 6 - Salzburg
Night 7 - Salzburg
Night 8 - Salzburg
Night 9 - Zell am See
Night 10 - Lienz/Millstaff
Night 11 - VIE