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Austria Solo travel end of sept -early oct

I am travelling solo end sept 2017 to Autria (first time to Europe). I have 12 days and I am planning to do Vienna->Hallstatt->Salz->Innsbruck->Italian Dolomites->Innsbruck (back to Vienna by train last day) . I am not into winter sports , would like a lot of scenery
and to see the fall colours (I love walking). I would like information regarding:
1.Shall I include/alter my itinerary any way to include scenic spots, any recommendations?
2.B&B/hostel information in Vienna near the old town (walking distance) and also easily accessible by train from airport.
3. How to travel by Bus/any other public transport from Hallstatt to grossglockner alpine road ?
Vienna (3 days) ->Day 1 : St Stephens Cathedral and Hofburg Palace, Day 2:towns of Melk and Krems, "Wachau", Day 3:Schönbrunn Palace
VIENNA to Hallstatt by train (2 days)-> Dachstein Caves,5 fingers and Schafberg by Schafbergbahn
Hallstatt to SALZ via train : I want to travel via grossglockner alpine road. I think I can give Salz a miss and travel to Innsbruck, but is it the possible to cover grossglockner alpine road?
SALZ->Innsbruck-> (2 days salz, 2 days Innsbruck): Swarovski Crystal Worlds, Altstadt in Innsbruck
Innsbruck->Dolomites (completely clueless here, how to travel back and forth from Dolomites and what to see here.

Any recommendations would be useful.
Thank you !

Posted by
4645 posts

Do the 12 days include your arrival and departure day?

I think you probably realize this already, but you are really trying to do too much, especially without a car.

It is also a good thing that you don't like winter sports as there will be none going on in September.

With regards to your accommodation in Vienna, everything is accessible as public transport is very good. Vienna is also not a large capital city. Do yourself a favor and be sure to stay as close to the center as possible (avoid staying near the train stations). If you send me your exact dates and budget range, I'd be happy to make some specific recommendations.

Posted by
1168 posts

Everybody would love to travel via the Grossglockner road, but a glance to a map shows that it is nowhere near to Hallstatt or Salzburg or Innsbruck and a long detour from any of these places. A detour possible, if long, driving a car; I am afraid that doing it by public transportation would take a lot of time, if possible at all out of the main tourist season.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you Emily and Lachera for quick replies! I didn't realize I was trying to cover too much :)
I may fly in on 29th Sept morning around 10 AM and fly out 15th Oct night.
Based on these dates can you pls suggest an itinerary. I am not wanting to cover all castles and places ..thought Hallstatt to Innsbruck could be done skipping Salz. Is it possible to travel by public transport to Zell am See/ any other scenic place, stop over for a day then travel to Innsbruck? Or is it recommended to stay at Salz ?
Pls. let me know where/which days/routes am I trying to cover more ground...


Posted by
4645 posts

I would do something like what I have spelled out below. You have more than 12 days so plenty of time to see the locations you have in mind at a good pace. That said, Grossglockner will be hard without a car. Italy may also be hard to reach depending on what you want to see/do. As for hotels in Vienna, I don't know your budget, but the Wein and Design hotel has rooms for the dates below and it is a good choice.

29 - Arrive Vienna, rest
30 - Vienna
1 - Vienna (Wachau)
2 - Vienna
3 - Vienna
4 - Vienna to Salzburg
5 - Salzburg
6 - Salzburg (Berchtesgaden)
7 - Salzburg (Hallstatt)
8 - Salzburg (Wolfgangsee)
9 - Salzburg to Seefeld
10 - Seefeld
11 - Seefeld (Mittenwald, Leutasch Gorge)
12 - Seefeld (Innsbruck)
13 - Seefeld to Vienna
14 - Vienna
15 - Fly back from Vienna

Posted by
1168 posts

Once you get to Seefeld or Innsbruck (personally, I would prefer Innsbruck over Seefeld, much more things to do and mountains very close anyway), Munich airport is much closer than Vienna. People usually underestimate how distant to the east Vienna is. Or maybe you could try to put on the ticket a short connecting flight Innsbruck to Vienna.

Posted by
631 posts

It's a good job you aren't into winter sports as most of these places won't have snow much before mid December!

Hallstatt: WHY? Yes it's pretty but so are other places that are much easier to get to! Like Obertraun across the lake which actually has a railway and is the place to be for the caves. Looks not much difference on the map but by public transport it makes a lot of time saving. And if you come from Vienna via Attnang-Pucheim (one station, double name) you'll get the tourist view of Hallstatt across the lake (sit on the right). Or possibly Bad Ischl a few stops back. You mention the Schafbergbahn, this only runs until mid October and only has 2 guaranteed departures (both morning) with more IF the weather is fine. But if you get weather good enough for this why spend time down a cave? And if the weather isn't good enough for them to run the train then going down a cave might be a good idea. Stay in Bad Ischl, do just one depending on the weather. You won't have 2 days anyway, it will be midday before you get there.

Großglockner Road: Is not that far from Salzburg city (most of the road is in Salzburg Land). Unfortunately the Postbus I once rode from that side appears to have been discontinued, only route 5002 from the Lienz in the south to the summit seems to run and their timetable system denies knowledge of it at the download page (but shows it in the specific journey planner!!). Don't worry, there are alternatives to come

Innsbruck: we'll come back to that, your itinery is in the wrong order and doesn't make best use of time!

From Bad Ischl (area) head back to Attnang-Pucheim, then fast train to Spittal-Millstättersee (one station, one name of two words) and on to Lienz (NOT Linz!!!!). Change here to the cross border train and head to Bruneck/Brunico in Italy. Northern edge of the Dolomites. Much of the Dolomites were previously part of Austria until the end of WW1 when the border was redrawn. Within this area German is still the first language but almost everywhere has two names, Google Maps sometimes only shows the Italian version just because it's in Italy, but Streetview shows most of their roads - research and enjoy! The ex Austrian area is known in German as Südtirol (Alto Adige in Italian) and has what may be Europe's best public transport pass, the Mobilcard.

It covers all trains except the international Eurocity service on the Brenner Pass line and the high speed trains southwards from Bozen to Rome. Plus all city and regional buses. Plus several cable cars. I think a 3 day pass (at less than €8 per day) will come in handy, but for a longer stay the 7 day version is only €5 dearer so don't worry about wasting a day or so off the end. From Bruneck you can get regional buses south into the mountains and several of the roads are nearly as impressive as Großglockner. Some bus lines may be ending in late September but there must be something worth riding! If you like the idea I'll work out a plan.

From Bruneck it's easy to reach Innsbruck in just over 2 hours. Train to Franzensfeste, quick change for the climb to the border at Brenner. The Mobilcard is valid to Brenner if you have any days left on it. At Brenner change into Austrian train for the short ride down to Innsbruck. Plenty of time to wander around the Altstadt.

Swarovski (if you must...) is easy to reach from Innsbruck, there is a bus direct to the door every couple of hours or regular local traisn to Fritzens-Wattens (two names because it's shared!).

The german border town of Mittenwald is a nice half day trip in dry weather, the old town has painted frescos on the outsides of most buildings, trains every couple of hours.

Back to Vienna. Forget using Munich airport. Innsbruck to Vienna Airport is a direct train ride in less than 5 hours (every 2 hours). Or try an internal flight from Innsbruck

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you very much Steve for writing in detail and the wonderful tips! I looked up Bad Ischl and day trips to Hallstatt/5 fingers can be done. I like the idea of going to Bruneck, please let me know more in detail.
Warm Regards,

Posted by
631 posts

For public transport in Südtirol download this timetable file,

if you are taking a tablet or laptop with you keep a copy on that. The Mobil cardcovers all buses and all trains except those in Table 100 marked EC (Eurocity) or FA (Freccia Argente) at the top of the column. On trains it is valid as far south as Trient/Trento but the area is so large that is probably too far for a day trip from Bruneck!

Symbols to be aware of at the top of columns, a boxed S = schooldays only, a boxed X = Monday to Saturday and not if public holiday, a black & white square = Monday- Friday and not holidays, no symbol on that line = runs daily. If there is a boxed number or letter above the column it links to a note at the bottom of the page, usually dates when it runs (vom = from, bis zum = until, dates in the format day.month, so bis zum 8.10 = until 8 October). And naturally it uses the 24 hour clock!

Anyway my recommended tour – only possible until October 8, after which some bus lines close for the winter. Maybe you could put your Vienna days at the end of the trip and head west earlier? With a Mobilcard you need to put the ticket through the validator by the bus driver (I think it's yellow and the card has to face the way shown on the machine label). On trains use the validator on the station, there may also be a different one for long distance tickets.

Bruneck Bus station depart 08:07 (also 08:37 but not on Sundays or 09:07 but risky connection). Line 460, Bus destination Kolfschlag which will be on the front. Buses also pick up at the railway station a minute or two later.
Arrive Corvara in Badia bus interchange 09:13 (or 09:45/10:13). By the first bus you have time for coffee and other needs (there may not be another chance for a while!)
Depart Corvara 10:18 Line 472 destination Pordiojoch/Passo Pordoi. Arrive 11:03. This is a staggering road, the bus ends at the summit which is the 2nd highest surfaced road in the Dolomites at 7346 feet. The area suffered massive fighting in WW1 which usually gets forgotten about by UK and USA, there is a large German war grave and monument north east of the bus stop. Technically you are in the Veneto region here but Südtirol provides the bus lines.

Depart Pordoijoch at 11:30, destination Wolkenstein Plan (it's the only other bus here). This continues west and goes over the Sella Pass – which is number 1 highest in Dolomites (by 15 feet). The bus ends next to Wolkenstein bus garage at 12:25.

Transfer to bus destination Bozen/Bolzano departing at 12:34. This goes through the Val Gardena ski area and around the main road is a little overdeveloped. You'll also notice a 3rd language in use! As if having both German and Italian wasn't enough many between Corvara and here use Ladin which is an ancient language with roots back to Roman times. Arrive Bozen bus station 14:02.

Bozen is the capital of Südtirol and has a very interesting old centre. And a museum with Ötzi the iceman. Beer lovers head for Hopfen&Co at the corner of Obstmarkt and Silbergasse.

Head for the railway station. From a corner at the cathedral end on the main square Waltherplatz is a road with access to underground parking. Go past the parking and beyond the trees is a mad road junction with Italain rules (ie none!) and teh staion is on the oppsoite side. Take the train at 18:02 (destination Brenner) and get off at Franzensfeste/ Fortezza at 18:45. The train to Bruneck (and Lienz via Innichen) should be waiting. Arrive Bruneck 19:30. Don't forget a trip report and some photos of the roads!

A trip to Brixen/Bressanone is also worth at least half a day whilst you are in the area. Bus or train.