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Prague to Salzburg to Vienna (and Halstatt??)

First, hopefully Europe will be open by the late spring, 2021 to us Americans. We'll assume so, or my wife and I will change the dates to the fall. But basic questions remain. I am planning on mid May definitely not summer. We are middle aged but fit, like scenery and food, and architecture/cool places to walk around. Not hiking particularly.

So far I have us flying into Prague, spending 3 or 4 nights, taking a driver to Salzburg (Or an overnight train to Salzburg?) and staying 2-3 nights (2 full days). Then train to Vienna for 3-4 nights. Then home. Does that sound reasonable as far as timing?

The next question is Hallstatt. We can take the train to Hallstatt and spend one night then on to Vienna again by train. I don't mind the short stop and extra effort as we have a longer period in Vienna to rest up. But is it worth it--Hallstatt? To spend a night? Should we consider it as a day trip instead or is it too isolated for that? Or skip it and just concentrate on the three cities? Thanks.

Posted by
21292 posts

I don't see any sign of a night train from Prague to Salzburg in the usual sense of the word. You'd be making multiple changes, at least one of them in the middle of the night. You can take a look at the options on the Deutsche Bahn website. Note that the day of the week does matter; I checked a weeknight. https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml

There's tons of gorgeous architecture in Prague, plus quite a lot of historical sites and museums. I thought the Museum of Communism was very interesting, just as one example. From the standpoint of my interests, you are not allowing nearly enough time there. Three nights at the beginning of your trip would only be two full, reasonably-non-jetlagged days.

Vienna is much larger, again with interesting architecture, plus it has some large museums. I haven't been there recently, but again I think 3 nights would be too little time. I'm expecting to stay there about a week on my next visit, but it's true that I spend more time at each stop than the average American tourist.

I haven't been to Hallstatt. Photos are pretty, but my philosophy is always to get a comprehensive look at the places I visit, so I wouldn't cut short my time in a place like Prague or Vienna to shoehorn Hallstatt into an itinerary. YMMV.

Posted by
16941 posts

You'll find it easier to go Prague-Vienna-Hallstatt-Salzburg. Vienna is only 4 hours on a direct train, and too short a distance for there to be a night train. Hallstatt is a detour off the main line from Vienna to Salzburg. 2 hours to Attnang-Puchheim, then change to train to Hallstatt. From Salzburg, get train to Munich airport and fly home from there.

Posted by
3346 posts

There is a night train from Prague to Salzburg in a way, the Prague-Zürich night train stops in Salzburg but in the middle of the night so it would not be my choice. In my opinion a day train is the best option, takes about the same time as driving an much more comfortable (probably a lot cheaper as well). Another option could be Prague-Vienna-Salzburg and then fly home from Munich, you don't mention your location but Munich has rather large airport with direct flights to several North american cities.

Regarding Hallstatt, you should spend the night there. It is one of those over crowded destinations that can be unbearable in the day but becomes very different in the evening after all the day trippers have left.

Posted by
1102 posts

I love Prague and Salzburg, but not Vienna so much. I would have the most time in Prague with 2 nights in Salzburg for 1 full day of sightseeing and then Vienna. Probably 3 nights for 2 full days or more if there is interest. I would recommend you stay overnight in Hallstatt, which I loved. Go to the museum and do the Salt Mine Tour. So much fun!!

Posted by
2144 posts

We did Prague- Chesky Krumlov- Hallstatt- Salzburg- Vienna a few years ago.

Flew into Prague, 4 days.

Cesky Krumlov [via CK Shuttle, 3 hrs trip, arrived by noon.]
Departed next day , CK Shuttle departed 3:30pm]

Hallstatt [via CK Shuttle, 3.5 hrs, arrived early evening]
Salt mine tour, explore town.
Departed via train early evening, 2 hrs, [I think]

Salzburg, 3 nights.
[about 2 hour train to Vienna]

Vienna, 4 days.
Flew back to Prague, to meet return flight

We were there early April, and didn't go to Melk from Vienna, as the boats weren't running so early in the season, but I do hope to visit Melk in the future.

Obviously, two one-night stays aren't ideal, but using CK Shuttle [RS recommended] and having door-to-door service was very convenient and efficient. I felt both Hallstatt and Cesky Krumlov were worth the visits. Hope this helps.

Good luck on your future travels!

Posted by
46 posts

My husband and I did a similar trip in early February this year actually. So the weather and certain places being closed that time of year or having shortened hours factored into our trip, where in May that shouldn't matter.

We arrived in Prague from the US on a Saturday and stayed 5 nights. Which was perfect for us, we did take 2 day trips, one to Pilsen and the other to Kutna Hora.

We then took the train to Vienna for 5 nights. We looked at the CK shuttle to take us to Vienna or Salzburg, but with seasonal closings we decided just take the train. We also flew back to the US from Munich, which was nonstop trip for us whereas flying from Vienna required a stop. So that is why we opted to do this order of cities. The train in the Czech Republic was quite easy to figure out and fairly inexpensive to Vienna (we thought). It was just 4 hours, however to Salzburg is 6 hours or more depending on route, we would've done the shuttle I think. We aren't museum people particularly and honestly didn't even go to any gardens or big palaces in Vienna. We did tour St Stephens Cathedral, saw a beautiful musical performance and took a day trip up to the Klosterneuburg Monastery, went to the Naschmarkt and went ice skating (obviously not when you will be there!). We probably needed 1 less day.

We then took the train to Salzburg for 4 nights. Which in February was the perfect amount of time, had it been warmer we could have stayed more I believe. We did the Salt Mine tour in Berchtesgaden and the Dokumentation Obersalzberg that day. We went to the Untersberg cable car, went to the Fortress and spent some time at the spa at our hotel. We thought about Hallstatt, and if we had 1 more night in Salzburg would have done a private driver or tour. The public transportation options seemed very long for a short day or 1 night stay. We took the train from Salzburg to Munich airport to fly home, 2 1/2 hours.

Enjoy your planning, we enjoyed the Czech Republic and Austria and had never been before this trip.

Posted by
1093 posts

I am planning a similar trip mid-May, only backwards. We are flying into Munich (1-2 nights) , then we may spend a night in Berchtesgaden or go straight to Salzburg and daytrip to Berchtesgaden. From Salzburg to Vienna and from Vienna to Prague. Planning 5 nights each for Vienna and Prague. We have 15 nights on the ground. Flying home from Prague. I was also contemplating fitting in Hallstatt, but I think I may skip it. (I bought changeable tickets, but I needed something to plan for)

Posted by
28093 posts

If I can only visit Vienna or Salzburg, which would you do?

I'd decide where I was coming from, where I was going afterwards, how much time I had - Vienna is much larger and takes more time to visit - and what I wanted to see. Then see which fits best.

The two places are quite far from each other and considerably different.

If you could only visit either Los Angeles or San Francisco, which would you pick? Why?

Posted by
4698 posts

Vienna - imperial culture, museums, cafes, opera, palaces, classical music, cathedrals, wine
Salzburg - alpine culture, fortresses, mountains, beer, churches, lake daytrips, Sound of Music

You decide.

Posted by
17 posts

Prague is too out of the way for you to do with Salzburg and Vienna. The train ride is long and so is the drive. If you want to visit a city that isn't out of the way, I would suggest replacing Prague with Munich. It is only 1.5 hours from Salzburg not 7 hours on train, bus, or car. I haven't been to Hallstatt but since your question is on timing, it is on the way to Vienna and it is a 3 hour train ride. Everyone who has been there likes it but I don't know because I haven't been

Posted by
735 posts

My husband and I did the same trip that Pat did just 2 years ago. We flew into Prague, rented a car after 4 days there and drove to Cesky Krumlov........delightful for a night. From there we drove to Salzburg, one of our favorite cities for 3 nights. After Salzburg we drove to Hallstatt......a bucket list goal and so beautiful. I feel it was well worth it .......don’t plan to go back but have done that! It is charming. We drove to Melk after Hallstatt to see the incredible cathedral there and took advantage of the vineyard river road drive from there on our way to Vienna. I was surprised at the size of Vienna......was not ready for it to be so big.......but it too was a lovely city to see. Our last stop was our drive to Budapest. We both loved Budapest and its charm........found it to still be a bit behind of the prices of large European cities.......Prague used to be so affordable then all the visitors have made it a busy place and the new prices reflect that. Budapest does not seem to have caught up with that yet. From there we flew home. It was a great trip and in all we were gone about 13 days.

Posted by
1172 posts

I did Prague-Vienna- Salzburg last December and loved my trip. I took the morning train from Prague to Vienna and was there before 1 pm