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Germany/Austria (without Vienna)

We are planning a trip to Germany and Austria in May 2020 and I wanted to fly into Vienna and spend a couple of days there. My wife, who has been to Austria in 1999 with a HS chorus tour group, said she wasn't that impressed and thought we should leave it off, exploring more of the western part of Austria and Germany. Ironic because her mother was a church organist for 65 years and she has been around music all her life. I've only seen Vienna on RS programs but it looks like a great city to visit. Also on our list among others is Salzburg, Hallstatt, Rothenburg, Cologne and finishing up in Amsterdam for a few days before flying home. We can also reverse this and fly home from Vienna. We're looking at 10 days to two weeks and will start in Edinburgh where I will be finishing a golf trip at St. Andrews and she is meeting me for a couple of days. Other than her tour neither of us have been to Austria or Germany. Any advice as to other places to see, things to do (or avoid), how much time we should allow and best transportation options would be appreciated. We have no problem driving in Europe if that is the best option for parts of our journey. Thank you.

Jim

Posted by
1224 posts

Well, I wasn't as impressed with Vienna as I was expecting to be, so I can understand her wanting to leave it off and I would recommend Munich (which I love, have been to twice, and need to go back to again some day) in its' place after Salzburg (which I loved). I can see though how not having been, you would want to go. I did enjoy the art museums and the treasury as well as Schonnbrunn. Hard choice. 2 weeks definitely.

Posted by
10325 posts

I would expect that your wife's interests have changed since she was in high school 20 years ago, so she may have a different feeling about Vienna now. With 10 days to 2 weeks (I vote for 2 weeks!). You might decide to keep it to a smaller geographic area. You could start in Amsterdam and finish in Munich, or visa versa. Do you want to actually stay in Hallstatt, or day trip there from Salzburg? I plan by how many nights I will be in each place, factoring in that 2 nights = 1 day, 3 nights = 2 days, and so on. I would allow a minimum of 3 nights each in Amsterdam and Munich (or Vienna). You could get by with one night each in Rothenburg and Hallstatt if necessary. If you plan to do a day trip to Hallstatt you will need at least 3 nights in Salzburg. I constantly have to remind myself in the planning process that I can't do everything.

The places you are going are well served by trains and parking can be difficult, and expensive.

Posted by
4419 posts

We loved Vienna-several great museums, everything except Schonbrunn in a small area. One of my favorite cities. Two families we know who live in Europe raved about their vacations there.

Posted by
1878 posts

Vienna is definitely worth visiting, especially if you like art museums. Schonbrunn Palace as others have mentioned is great. The annoying thing about Vienna is that when I have visited the city center area where everyone goes has been very crowded. Tourists just naturally flock there. Even with 14 days on the ground this is a really tight itinerary and you are covering a lot of ground. I don’t know how to improve it without fundamentally changing it though, and it’s your trip so go for it. One consideration is that Amsterdam is very expensive and you might be better off with four nights there rather than fewer, just because the day of arrival you’ll pay top dollar for a room but only enjoy a partial day. Rothenburg is not that easily connnected to anywhere without a car, might want to check into the logistics of that.

Posted by
14580 posts

If I am going to Austria with ample time on the trip, it's unimaginable not including Vienna as part of that Austria trip, even if I have to backtrack to see Vienna again. I went back to Vienna in 2009, ( have been going back ever since), hadn't seen the place since Sept. 1977, my second trip there, when it struck me as very depressing.

Posted by
4419 posts

We went to Rothenburg by train but I don't remember if we started in Munich or Fussen.

Posted by
998 posts

I am working on a very similar trip. Munich 3 nights, Salzburg 3 nights, and Hallstatt 2 nights before returning to Salzburg to fly back into the UK. (we will be visiting relatives in North East London and leaving out of Stansted Airport). We scratched Vienna of our itinerary just last night. We figured we just can't do it all and we prefer to spend quality time in each place rather than to feel rushed. Now I am going to watch this post. We plan to visit in July 2020 and have already booked accommodation.

Margaret

Posted by
5444 posts

You will get opinions all over the place from complete strangers on whether or not to include Vienna. Read about Vienna and decide for yourself. Do you like what Vienna has to offer?

From a practical perspective, 10-14 days is not a lot of time to cover the places you list. Not a lot of time at all. For that reason, I would fly into Munich and focus on Salzburg and Germany, skipping Vienna which is out of the way. Your best transportation option would be the train for most of your trip. You should note that May can still be cool, particularly in the mountains. There are also many public holidays in Austria in May which you should be aware of.