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Salzburg to Dolomites to Italy Itinerary planning help - car/no car

Hello travellers,

Thank you for your guidance in advance. We have a large itinerary but the travel from Salzburg to Lake Garda area is complicated to navigate having never been/experienced the trains etc.

I am travelling with Hub/daughter from Salzburg towards Innsbruck (area) then on to see the dolomites area, then to Lake Garda (area), on to Venice and ending in Trieste. We would like to do sight seeing through the mountains and lite day hike(s) in both Austria and Dolomites. I have 2 days for each these two locations with 1/2 day available travel to next place in my schedule with potential to change that if helpful. We would like a car as it seems so much simpler ( while more money perhaps) to be able to navigate. I would like to get to Zugspitze if we could, then narrow down our dolomite 2/3 days. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. As our time is limited making the best of 5 days before picking up rest of family in Verona. We are open to any all opportunities you may suggest, along with restaurants, picnic spots, and over all advice.

I am also trying to determine if we should rent a car in Salzburg to Innsbruck then train to Bolzano? Or Salzburg to Bolzano? We would need to get a larger car from Verona thru to Trieste? The cost of 5 for train tickets from Verona onto Venice for a few days and then to Trieste cruise port is more than rental costs. Suggestions, guidance, or just what worked for you.

Thanks you for any words of wisdom you can offer. Beginner traveller :)

Posted by
877 posts

Ok, if I understand you want to go from Salzburg to Innsbruck to Garmish-Partenkirchen (Zugspitze) to Innsbruck to the Dolomites to Verona to Lake Garda to Venice, to Trieste... I assume each change of place will end up taking half a day... maybe not but that is my experience.

Day A:
1/2 day

Salzburg to Innsbruck takes about 2 hours and costs about 20 Euros per person.

1/2 Day:
Innsbruck to Garmish-Partenkirchen from 1 1/2 to 3 hours each way 16 Euros per person. Zugspitze Bahn up and down takes half a day once you are there.

1/2 day hiking around Innsbruck:
You can investigate for a nearby valley easily reachable from Innsbruck. Note that the Zillertalbahn goes all the way up the valley to Mayrhofen and you can take a bus from there to the Hintertux Glacier. There are gondolas everywhere so you can gondola up, hike around and gondola back down.

Day B:
1/2 day
Train from Innsbruck to Bolzano takes about 2 hours and costs about 10 Euro per person.

From Bolzano there are local buses to everywhere. Ortisei is an hour, Castelrotto (Beloved of Rick) is about 45 minutes away. About 5 Euros per person each way unless your hotel gives you a free bus pass. From Castelrotto the bus can take you to Seiser All village where you can catch the Gondola up to the Alpi di Seusi. Picnic anywhere. Some Refugio's available for lunches depending on when you go.

Check Gillian Prices hiking guides to the Dolomites

Check out:

Day C:

1/2 day
Bolzano to Verona takes about 1 1/2 hours and cost 10-20 Euros per person
Local trains and buses go to Lake Garda from Verona.

Day D:
1/2 day

Verona to Venice 1 1/4 hours and costs range from 10-30 Euros per person. Verona to Trieste takes 3 hours for 20 Euros per person.

Renting a car in one country and returning it in another will be very very expensive. and driving in cities is a real pain. Changing cars will be an equal pain. Where were you going to park while in Venice? Not at the hotel of course. You can do everything you propose by train and local bus (which is actually a fun way to sightsee for everyone).

My suggestion would be do it by train. Skip the Zugspitze this time and take more hikes around Innsbruck and Bolzano and Lake Garda. Have fun.