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6 days Vienna salzburg Innsbruck what should we do

My 15 year old son and I fly into vienna out of Geneva in July and will have 12nights to travel. We are thinking of going from Vienna to salzburg to Innsbruck to bern to Lausanne to Geneva. Do u suggest I buy a eurail or point to point tickets or a Swiss pass of some kind or a combination of some kind? I am traveling with my 15 year old son who is an artist. Do we need to have advance reservations on the trains if we do buy a train pass? Should we buy point to point tickets in austria and a Swiss pass for Switzerland since my son is 15 years? Is it cheaper to buy point to point tickets ahead or at the train stations? When we are in Vienna is there a city pass to purchase for transportion from the airport and to the train station when we leave?

How many nights do u suggest for each stop? Are there any other places u would recommend ? the itinerary is not set in stone. Where do u suggest we stay in each place? We want to be centrally located to be able to walk to sights be safe but affordable. Any suggestions and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much

Posted by
16171 posts

Do not get a Eurorail Pass (see rant on the Transportation Forum). The train from Vienna to Salzburg can be done using West Bahn, which is cheap and you just grab a seat and pay the conductor. Salzburg-Innsbruck can be done using a "SparSchiene" advance purchase nonrefundable ticket on the direct Railjet train for 42 euro. You might think about some sort of Swiss pass, like a Half Fare Card with a Family ticket to save money on that end. Go to:
http://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/holidays--short-breaks-in-switzerland/swisstravelsystem.html

Posted by
12 posts

Thank u Sam really appreciate the advice. Where is the rant I can't seem to find it.

Posted by
4404 posts

Do not use Rail Europe, Eurail, etc or buy any of their passes.

Vienna to Salzburg:
Two options, Westbahn (a private rail carrier) or OeBB (Austrian Rail Carrier).
With Westbahn, as stated above, board any of the trains running hourly and pay the conductor 25 Euro per person.
With OeBB, you can purchase a SparSchiene ticket in advance online at www.oebb.at for 19 Euro per person.

Salzburg to Innsbruck:
Only option here is OeBB, so go to their website mentioned above where you can buy this SparSchiene fare at 9 Euro per person (not sure where Sam above came up with the 42 Euro figure as that is way too much).

Overall, you have listed 6 destinations with 12 nights, about 3 too many destinations in my opinion. I would definitely include Vienna and Salzburg, but cut out much of the rest. Is there any reason you are looking at larger cities and towns? Do you not want to really experience the Alps? In Austria, you should definitely consider the Salzkammergut area, including Wolfgangsee and Hallstatt. I would say that 3 full days in both Vienna and Salzburg/Salzkammergut would be sufficient to get a feel for these places.

In Vienna, I would suggest that you stay as close to the center as possible. Vienna is entirely safe, as is everywhere else you have listed. For Salzburg/Salzkammergut, look at St. Wolfgang or St. Gilgen. Use booking.com to narrow down your preferences and read reviews.

Posted by
11275 posts

The rant is here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/transportation/global-eurail-pass-bad-deal

A great source of information about rail in Europe is The Man In Seat 61. Here's his explanation of why rail passes are not a good idea (certainly not on your routes): http://tinyurl.com/bkw4u6c

To find schedules for trains in Europe, use the Bahn website, following Rick's tutorial: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/db_tips.htm. This will not have prices for trains that do not start or end in Germany; for those, use the Austrian and Swiss rail sites you were given in the above posts. To find out if there is a discount for advance purchase on any route, check prices for tomorrow vs prices for your intended travel dates.

I also agree with the above posts that you are doing too much moving around for 12 days. See fewer places, but enjoy them more, by cutting some destinations. And note that unless you have a VERY early flight out of Geneva, you can stay in Lausanne and still get to the Geneva airport easily (frequent trains taking about an hour go right from Lausanne to the airport).

Posted by
12 posts

Thank u soo much for the very helpful information. Because we fly into Vienna and out of Geneva that is how I picked our stops. Is it easy to get around vienna on foot or do you use public transportation if so is there a pass I should by? Is it easy to get from Vienna airport to main area? Are their specific hotels or hostels or b and bs that you can recommend in my destinations that are in good locations clean and affordable? thanks again really appreciate it. Best wishes

Posted by
4404 posts

Just because you are going from Vienna to Geneva doesn't mean you have to make so many stops. Seriously, pick 3 places (not Geneva, probably the most boring town ever, just get to the airport and go) and explore.

Getting around Vienna is super easy by public transport. The location of your hotel will determine if you need public transport or go by foot. Chances are you will need to use public transport a few times, especially if you want to visit Schonbrunn. For a pass, there are several types outlined very clearly in English on the website for Wiener Linien under "ticket guide":

http://www.wienerlinien.at/eportal2/ep/tab.do?tabId=0

The type of pass will depend on the location of your hotel and how many days you will be in Vienna.

As for hotels, again, you should use a website like booking.com or tripadvisor.com and read reviews.

Posted by
18 posts

My daughter and I are starting in Vienna and plan to travel to Salzburg and Hallstat. I have found some amazing places to stay on www.airbnb.com I was hesitant at first to rent a room in someones home but I'm excited to meet someone who lives there and can tell me all about their amazing country! It's worth checking into, prices are reasonable. You can also rent an entire home/apartment instead of renting a room.

Have fun with your son!