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4 Nights in Austria - how to plan?

I am (attempting to) plan a Central European vacation next summer, including Switzerland, Austria & Germany. It will be myself and my 2 kids (1 teen/1 tween) and we have about 2 weeks. I have scoured the tour brochures out there and none of them seem to have the "perfect tour" I am looking for , so it looks like I am going to have to do it myself! I am thinking I will have about 4 nights to spend in Austria. I'm wondering if I could stay in 1 place for 4 nights or if I should break it up into 2 & 2? The things I am interested in seeing:

-Tyrol Mountains
-Salzburg/something Sound of Music related

We're more interested in seeing nature -- mountains, lakes, caves, etc. - than modern cities, although I do REALLY like any old town/medieval style towns and old castles.

I can rent a car if needed, but if it's easier to get around my bus/train, I'll do that.

Any advice on where to start? I know ideally I'd stay more than 4 nights but that is all I can fit in for this trip.

Thank you!

Posted by
389 posts

My honest advice is don't visit three countries - half your holiday will be taken up with travelling. Seeing as you have posted in the Austria forum I'm going to suggest you just visit here, use two bases and hire a car. Check out this place

Do you really need to go to Switzerland to see a more beautiful mountain plateau or Germany to have an old castle next to a warm swimming lake? This is within 45 minutes of Salzburg, salt mines, white water rafting, awesome gorge walks, ice caves, hohenwerfen castle more than enough for your first week plus travel/jet lag. Then take the train to Vienna, you can manage without a car. Return with so many wonderful memories and relaxed kids.

Posted by
1524 posts

First option Itinerary can be:

Berner Oberland Switzerland - 5 days

Salzburg Austria - 5 days

Munich Germany - 4 days

Another option can be to skip spending nights in Germany and stick mostly with Switzerland and Austria.

From Zurich airport, train to Lucerne Switzerland and spend 2 nights there. Then from Lucerne train to Bernese Oberland Switzerland for 4 nights. Base yourself in the town of Wengen. After Wengen, train to Innsbruck Austria for 4 nights and explore Tyrol mountain towns. Afterward, train to Salzburg Austria for 4 nights and do a day trip to Hallstat. Finally, train from Saltzburg to Munich Germany to fly home.

Fly into Zurich and fly out of Munich to head home.

Posted by
784 posts

I remember seeing a Rick Steve's video on YouTube, that is 10 years old or so about the Salzkammergut that included Salzburg, Hallstatt, salt mines etc. I was even able to track down the Ferienwohnung (holiday apartment) that he stayed in, in the video (sorry don't have it). His visit to Hallstatt then was quiet and ideal and not overrun with tourists like nowadays. Maybe you can track down this video or others in the Forum can help with info from that episode. Might be what you are looking for...

Edit: A third day could be Berchtesgaden, Jennerbahn and Königssee, and Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden as part of Germany.

Posted by
613 posts

Rental car is best. I second the recommendation that 3 countries is too much. For Austria (& all Alpine trips) plan 2 itineraries, one for good weather, one for bad weather. Bad weather: Salzburg & Innsbruck & Hall am Tyrol.. Good weather: Loop around the Dachstein (Hallstatt is a second rate sight on this trip). And perhaps a loop thru the Salzkammergut.

From Innsbruck, the 3 "tals" just west of Innsbruk (I describe these in another post. Look it up)

Then go to Fussen (Germany) for the Royal Castles & then follow the Deutchalpinestrasse to Lake Constance.

For driving, Michelin Green Guides are essential.

I have previously posted some details on this itinurey, so I'm not going to repeat, Look it up.