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Austria/Italy itinerary

I'm planning a trip for my wife and I in July to spend about 2 weeks driving through Austria and Italy. So far I have planned:
3 nights Salzburg
1 night Halstatt
1 night Lienz
3 nights Ortisei
3 nights Zillertal or Innsbruck

I'm just wondering where would the best town to stay in for the last 3 nights. As I've researched, I 've noticed people mention the towns of Seefeld, Hall, and Finkenberg. Ideally, we would stay in a scenic area close to lifts for hikes and has a few decent restaurants with outdoor seating where we can enjoy a drink. The towns I've listed all look nice. Are there any others I should check out? Also does the Lienz area warrant two days to see? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Posted by
12040 posts

3 nights is a little long for Salzburg. Although it is a fairly decently sized city, the Altstadt is very small and takes very little time to explore.

Hall also underwhelmed me. See it briefly if driving from somewhere else, but don't go out of your way.

If you can fit it in, don't miss the spectacular drive over the Großglocker Hochalpenstraße. I wish I had spent one less night in Graz and lodged the night in one of the chalet hotels high in the mountains along this road.

Posted by
10114 posts

Ortisei is one of our favorite places anywhere. I would allocate one more night there. There are so many lifts to various venues on both sides of the Val Gardena. Wonderful walking, hiking, and fabulous restaurants.

Posted by
2723 posts

Hi Brett,

Here's my advice, as your plan looks very good. Plenty to see and do in Salzburg and the Salzburg area. Salzkammergut, Berchtesgaden area, etc.

From Hallstatt, drive the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse to Heiligenblut (replace Lienz with Heiligenblut) for 1 night. We stayed at the Pension Ederhof just outside the village. Absolutely amazing views.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjbassplyr/albums/72157646805064622

I'd suggest the Alta Badia instead of the Val Gardena. Just our preference.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjbassplyr/albums/72157646798948951
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjbassplyr/albums/72157646609535108
Finkenberg in the Zillertal is like Heaven on Earth. While we love Hall in Tirol (stayed 18 nights so far), the place we stayed in Finkenberg (Gaestehaus Bergland) was spectacular.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjbassplyr/albums/72157646600331977

For scenic drives, the Dolomite passes surpass the scenic Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse in my opinion.

Paul

Posted by
31506 posts

Brett,

One question.... are you planning to rent the car in Austria and drop it off in Italy? There's usually a steep charge for doing that.

Also, be sure you have the compulsory International Driver's Permit, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. You'll also need to be vigilant to avoid the dreaded ZTL (limited traffic) areas in Italy (hefty fines!).

Posted by
4696 posts

Seefeld is a great choice with great hiking, good food and some nearby sights, like Mittenwald. Also has a great spa complex. We spent a week there in August and didn't do it all. The town is cradled in a high Alpine valley - beautiful. I would caution, however, that Innsbruck is only about 20 minutes away, so it seems kind of silly to stay in Innsbruck for 3 nights and then relocate to Seefeld for another 3. I would combine the time - maybe 3-4 nights in Seefeld and make s day trip to Innsbruck (not really that exciting anyway).

If you go to Seefeld, be sure to visit the Leutasch Gorge.

Posted by
2723 posts

I may be mistaken, but I don't recall seeing ZTL Zones in the villages of the Val Gardena or the Alta Badia.

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks to everyone for the excellent advice. I certainly have a lot to think about. Ken, I plan to pick up the car and return it to Salzburg. Paul, could you elaborate on why you prefer Alta Badia over Val Garedena? Thanks.

Posted by
2723 posts

Hi Brett,

I like the scenery in the Alta Badia in general a little more than the Val Gardena. The Val Gardena also seemed a little more popular, meaning busy, compared to the Alta Badia. Just a preference.

Paul

Posted by
10114 posts

The Val Gardena is a little more accessible than the Alta Badia, especially by public transportation. It is incredibly lovely and there is a lot of hiking and many lifts to incredible beauty, like the Alpe di Siusi. We go every summer and have never found it overrun, even in July. (We are spending the entire month of July there this year!)

The Alta Badia is also incredibly beautiful, we just find it harder/more time consuming to get around since we always use public transportation.

Posted by
2723 posts

I agree you can't go wrong with either valley, but my answer was predicated on your post saying you were driving. We simply prefer the Alta Badia and with a car it's not inconvenient.

Posted by
21 posts

Both places look incredible. As far as hiking goes, are both similar as to access to lifts and mountain huts?

Posted by
10114 posts

Access to lifts and mountain huts (called rifugi in Italian) is not dissimilar in either area. We have more experience in the Val Gardena, so I can speak with some authority. Even just basing in Ortisei for 4 nights, you'll find more than 3 days worth of hiking without having to get into your car or on a bus.