My sister and I are taking my mom on a central European trip in October and are very excited. The idea we have at this time is to be in Vienna October 8-10 after which we will rent a car and travel through the Wachau Valley (Oct 11), Salzkammergut region (Hallstatt/St. Gilgen/St.Wolfgang - or some combo of these - Oct 12) and Salzburg (Oct 13) for one-ish day each before heading to Prague.
I have read quite a bit through the forum but would still like to get your advice on how to best arrange for this, namely leaving Vienna and spending the day in the Wachau Valley to maximize on the time. The struggle is that I need to rent a car and drive unfamiliar paths for the cruise that leaves from Krems at 10am - even for early risers it seems unreasonable to make this, and if we take the afternoon cruise from Melk it is right in the middle of the day at 1:45pm which seems like a bummer.. in a very enjoyable sort of way:)
What is the best way to organize all this - we will have a car to leave and get back to, not sure where it makes sense to find lodging for the evening, and I would like us to do the boat cruise, see the old villages (which?) and a vineyard or two (which?), lunch at a picture perfect spot and tour the Melk Abbey (though I suppose we could also see the Abbey the next morning before heading to the lakes). I know everyone is going to stay this is too much, but what is the best way in your opinion then?
Any insight would be useful and I am grateful for it.