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Logistics Challenge! Would you rather...

Hi travelers,

I need some help with time management and logistics.

Should I stay two nights in Salzburg leaving later in the day/early evening via train to the Wachau Valley at the end of the second day (thereby having to stay one night and saving daylight the following day for the Wachau Valley) OR should I stay three nights in Salzburg leaving first thing in the am via train to Wachau Valley condensing our time there, but not having a one night stay over in the area? (see more details of itinerary at the end if needed)

We will be coming into Salzburg from Hallstatt/Salzkammergut region via rental car. We'll drop the car at the airport and then use public transportation from there. After Salzburg we will take the train to Melk and spend most of the day biking to Krems. Afterwards, onto Vienna via train.

The crux of the question is how much time do I really need in Salzburg?

My husband and I will have our 10 and 6 year old kids. We are currently planning to see the following as a minimum:

  • Mozart's House
  • Salzburg Fortress
  • Austinerbrau
  • Hellbrun Fountains
  • Dwarves in Mirabelle Garden
  • Marionette Theater and/or Mozart concert

Anything major we are missing (I'm not interested in the Sound of Music Tour or shopping) that I haven't considered?

AND...back to the question at hand, can we easily do all that in basically two full days and two evenings?

Many thanks in advance for sharing your perspective and experience!


Itinerary (still in work):
Venice - 3 nights, 2 1/2 days
Verona - 1 night, 1 day
Ortisei - 2 nights, 3 days (a day in Bolzano)
Lienz/Grossglocker area - 1 night, 1 day
Admont - 1 night, 1 day
St. Gilgen - 3 nights, 3 days (a day in Hallstatt)
Salzburg - TBD, maybe 3 night 2 full day
Wachau Valley - maybe 1 night, 1 full day (biking)
Vienna - 5 days/nights

Posted by
204 posts

I think your "must see" list can be done in 2 full days/nights. I recently spent exactly this duration in Salzburg and felt I had plenty of time to do what I wanted to do without being rushed (also not interested in Sound of Music or shopping). Of course, you have to account for your kids and how much they can handle per day, but Salzburg isn't that big a place and there are plenty of options for taking a break during sightseeing.

Check the Marionette Theater to see if there will be an afternoon show while you are there. These are shorter (kid-friendlier) than the evening shows and would free up evening time.
Hellbrunn would be a whole morning or afternoon.
Walking around the old town deserves a full day (incl Mozart House, Mirabell gardens) but this can be split/combined as needed between the days (half day on arrival day, half day combined with Fortress or Hellbrunn for example).

For me, the 3rd night would be unnecessary. Although nice to not have to pack/unpack/repack for just 1 night in Melk, the 3rd night would get you off to a later start for Wachau while not necessarily adding much value.

Posted by
97 posts

Hi Hopper!

Thank you, I really appreciate your thoughts and sharing your recent experience!