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Salzburg to Hallstatt car/bus/train?

I am traveling to Austria for the first time with my 2 sisters. We are renting a car in Vienna & driving to Salzburg. Staying in Salzburg for 4 days & taking a day trip or 2 from there. Is it best to keep the car & drive to Hallstatt from Salzburg or should we take a train or bus?

Posted by
4698 posts

Just curious - why are you driving from Vienna to Salzburg? If it were me, I'd use public transportation to get to Hallstatt. Where is your other day trip from Salzburg?

Posted by
15 posts

Driving so that we may stop at Schönbrunn Palace, Melk Abbey, & any other places of interest. Will be 4 of us in the car with luggage so we thought it would be easier that way. Once we get to Salzburg Sunday evening, we will have time to do possibly 1 or 2 day trips before Thursday am departure. Hallstatt was recommended as a great trip if we only twke one from Salzburg. Any ideas?

Posted by
4698 posts

Personally, in this part of Europe, taking the train is so much easier than renting a car - especially for the places you are listing. It is stressful to drive in this cities, I tell you. The highway linking Salzburg and Vienna is also frequently under construction and makes me anxious. I would do Melk as a day trip from Vienna. Schonbrunn is in Vienna proper so easy to get to on the subway. A nice, easy day trip from Salzburg is Berchtesgaden. Also consider Schloss Hellbrunn which is really in Salzburg, but south of town.

Posted by
4587 posts

Hi Amy, we just returned from a trip to Austria. I concur with Emily that there's no need to drive between Salzburg & Vienna. We traveled by train & boat with a short bus connection. If you're in Salzburg, take a daytrip to lovely St. Wolfgang. We were in Salzburg for 4 days, St. Wolfgang for 2, Melk for 1, & Vienna for 5. St. Wolfgang was the location that was hardest to leave - so beautiful! If you decide to go, take Bus #150 from Salzburg (by Mirabell Palace) to St. Gilgen and take the boat out to St. Wolfgang - easy connections.

The advantage of train or boat travel is that everyone can relax and enjoy the ride. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
18373 posts

Going from Vienna to Salzburg, and then making a round trip to Hallstatt entails a lot of backtracking. Instead, I would go in one day from Vienna to Hallstatt. It's not that long a trip. I might stop off at Melk on the way.

Hallstatt deserves an overnight. The next day you can continue on to Salzburg. I did it the opposite way by bus a few years ago, and, although it takes longer, it gives you a good scenic ride through the Salzkammergut. There is a bus station in Lahn, a half km walk along the pedestrian street south of Hallstatt. From there you can go to Bad Ischl (or you can take the train to Bad Ischl) and bus from there. I went from Salzburg to Mondsee (wedding church from Sound of Music), then via St. Gilgen, along Wolfgangsee, to Bad Ischl. It probably works in reverse.

As another day trip from Salzburg, consider Berchtesgaden. Go by bus (RVO 840, Walzmann Express) in the morning. It leaves from multiple stops in Salzburg (the Hbf, Mirabellplatz, Rathaus, Mozartsteg, and Justizgebäude). It you buy a BGL Tagesticket Bus & Bahn pass, from the driver, you can come back on the train after the buses stop running at 6:15 PM. It is also valid for most of the buses in Berchtesgaden.

Posted by
1184 posts

The trip between Salzburg and Halstatt is much faster by car than by train so if you have already rented a car you should better keep it for a few days more. - This if you are driving in spring or summer with good weather. In winter I would not try it.

Posted by
31510 posts

amy,

A few thoughts on your plans.....

  • using a train from Vienna to Salzburg will be quicker and more efficient than by car. Unless you have plans to stop somewhere along the way, I'd suggest train.
  • you might consider using the Westbahn trains rather than RailJet. Although they take about 35 minutes longer, they're about half the price (€24.90 va €57 as I recall). You can buy tickets on the train so no need to pre-book. One important point to mention though - if you're planning to buy tickets on the the train using a credit card, they ONLY accept Visa or MasterCard with a chip.
  • As Emily mentioned, Schönbrunn Palace is easily accessible via the Metro (which is very fast and efficient). Depending on which part of the city you're staying, it may only be a few stops on the Metro. For example, if you're staying near Karlsplatz (Opera House), it will be six stops on the U4 line.
  • In Vienna you could also consider a visit to Hofburg Palace, as the royal apartments are quite interesting to see. It's within walking distance from Stephensplatz (the Cathedral area).
  • If you'd like to visit Hellbrunn Palace in Salzburg (also where the Zoo is located, I believe), one very easy option is to take the Hop On / Hop Off Bus that leaves from the Mirabell Gardens area (€16 PP for the whole day, as I recall). You can hop off at the palace, spend a few hours there and then hop on the next bus that comes along.
  • For visiting Hallstatt, I would also recommend spending at least one night there. If you'd prefer to just do a day trip, the train will be a minimum of about 2H:15M each way (not including time on Stefanie to get across the lake). For a day trip you could also consider taking a local tour, such as Bob's Special Tours.
Posted by
15 posts

All of this input is so very helpful, thanks to everyone! Our trip is somewhat inflexible as we have already rented a flat in Salzburg Sunday-Wednesday & we depart Thursday morning. I think we will scrap the idea of renting a car for the drive from Vienna to Salzburg. Perhaps we should rent a car for the day if we go to Hallstatt to make the most of a day trip there. It seems like such a lovely place. If not, another perhaps easier day trip from Salzburg.

Posted by
31510 posts

amy,

Hallstatt is indeed a lovely place, one of the most beautiful I've seen in Europe. Renting a car for a day trip there would certainly provide more flexibility in terms of timing, as you could leave Salzburg early and return late.

One point to mention is that you'll have to park in Lahn, and walk into Hallstatt (it's not a difficult walk). If you want to tour the Salt Mine, the Funicular is in Lahn so that's convenient.

Posted by
31 posts

We drove from Vienna to Hallstatt and stayed in Obertraun. We drove through and visited Enns and Steyr on the way, very fun and beautiful to drive. You definitely don't need a car in Vienna or Salzburg, it actually complicates things. Also make sure the car you rent is big enough for you and your luggage, we rented a Skoda and it barely has enough room to fit two carry on bags in the trunk.

Posted by
15 posts

I so appreciate all this valuable input.
We are now thinking we will rent a car to travel from Vienna to Hallstatt. My niece who is studying in Salzburg is very skeptical of the train availability these days...wondering now about places to overnight in Hallstatt. Obertrsun was mentioned but is not right in town, would that be close or would it be better to stay right in town if just for one night? If in town, any suggestions of hotels for 3 sisters & a college age neice?
Thanks!

Posted by
1437 posts

St Wolfgang am Wolfgangsee and Hallstatt are close to each other. Consider staying in St Wolgang and going to Hallstatt for the day. This is easily doable with a rental car.

I preferred St Wolfgang to Hallstatt, although both are equally beautiful.

Posted by
4698 posts

Trains between Vienna and Salzburg are running and have been running.

Posted by
15 posts

Emily, would you suggest a train or renting a car from Vienna to Hallstatt?
Thank you

Posted by
31 posts

Obertraun is where the train station is, if you took a train you would need to catch the boat to Hallstatt. By car it is an easy 5 minute drive and you can park in any of the lots and walk into Hallstatt. If you get a place in Hallstatt you will likely have to drag your luggage a fair distance to wherever you decide to stay. At night Hallstatt is dead and I really don't see the need to stay there, also the restaurants are more expensive as it has become a big tourist site. We stayed at the Obertauner Hof which is run by a couple of British expats. Nice room and very affordable. I'd recommend a drive, it's faster and you can stop wherever you like, many nice towns along the way.

Posted by
243 posts

Hallstatt was one of the most beautiful towns that I have stayed in. While there are not a lot of specific three star museums or sights, the entire town is the site. To rush to the town, check it out, and rush back to Salzburg would sort of defeat the beauty and tranquility of the town. Try to stay at least one night. The evenings and mornings were really magical as the tour groups had left the town. We stayed two nights and it was our vacation away from our vacation. We kayaked on the lake, hiked in the mountains, and visited the salt mines. This was an easy drive from Salzburg and having the car allowed us easy and quick access to the surrounding country side.