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Trip to Austria in May 2023

We are a family of 4 with 2 grown children-ages 22 and 24. We have a quick graduation trip to Austria planned this May flying into Munich and departing from Vienna. We arrive May 13 midday and I was planning on just booking a hotel in Munich that first night and then doing a morning tour to Dachau on Sunday. Planning on leaving Munich Sunday after the tour. We are ending in Vienna on Thursday night , May 18 and spending 2 full days there and flying out the morning of Sunday the 21st. The middle is what I need help to decide. We want to spend some time in the mountains and not all of it in the cities. Want to see some beautiful scenery and possibly ice caves and hiking, etc. Trying to decide if we want to go to Innsbruck and do day trips from there or maybe head to Werfen or St Johann im Pongau? We want to be In Salzburg my morning of Wednesday , May 17 for a guided tour of Berchtesgaden. Would we be better off just going from Munich to Berchtesgaden? Should we rent a car in Innsbruck and then drive to Hallstatt and stay a night there and then drive to Salzburg and drop off the car there? I have Sunday night to Wednesday morning to figure out?
Milray Howell

Posted by
5009 posts

You have eight nights for Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna? The first day is your arrival day, so you won't have much time after checking into the hotel. I think three cities in eight days is more than enough, or you'll spend all your time just traveling.
Have a great trip.

Posted by
5450 posts

You should know that May 18 (Thursday) is a public holiday in Austria. Shops will be closed, but attractions will be open. Many Austrians will make this a four day weekend, so expect higher rates and longer lines.

Posted by
70 posts

Only one view here but sharing my perspective having done a trip with 3 of the 4 spots you mentioned last year.

Berchtesgaden we stayed 3 nights in and wished we had more time. It was so lovely and the hike up to the little lake past Koenigsee is gorgeous. So much fun stuff to do in the area within a 30-60 minute radius - salt mine tour, toboggan run, Therme, cable cars up the Mtn, deep gorge hikes…

Saltzburg was beautiful but we had 1 evening and then through early afternoon there and that felt like a fine amount to enjoy it. If you need to pick between a base spot and day trip spot I would vote for Berchtesgaden the base unless you want to spend a lot more time in the various churches and museums in Saltzburg (we dipped into a couple churches and did the castle but that was it on that front). If you are bookending with Vienna I think you would get many similar experiences.

I am sure others will have an opposite view but just sharing mine! :)

Posted by
21 posts

We are only planning on spending one night in Munich and then leaving after we got to Dachau. We definitely don't want to spend all our time in the cities. I'm thinking of taking the train to Innsbruck and spending a couple days there and then may be going to Berchtesgaden for a couple days then heading to Vienna and skipping Salzburg? The holiday on Thursday explains the difficulty I was having getting a hotel in Vienna so I'm glad I got that accomplished!
Where did you stay in Berchtesgaden? No notes on hotels in the RS book.
As always-I love this forum and appreciate everyone's insights,
Milray Howell

Posted by
4549 posts

also look on Youtube for videos from travelers and train vloggers, I just watched a Salzburg to Innsbruck train video that gave a good look at the scenery

Posted by
2920 posts

Will you have a car?

Skip Innsbruck and head to the Berchtesgaden area. We love staying in Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden. Salzburg is a 30 min. drive. Spend all the nights between Munich and Vienna based here.

If the above is booked up, try

Ramsau is a cute small village with a very photogenic church with alpine backdrop
Berchtesgaden is a lovely small old town
Rossfeld Panorama Road
Salt Mine
Eagles Nest
Sommerrodelbahn (luge rides)
Hikes and walks
Herrenchiemsee Palace
Even Hallstatt and Zell am See can be day trips

Posted by
2920 posts

If you pick up a car in Germany, be sure to return it in Germany. Same goes for Austria. You can probably get one in Munich or train to Freilassing, Germany, which is just outside of Salzburg. Pick up and return here. Train to Vienna. Or pick up in Salzburg and return in Vienna.

Posted by
1293 posts

Having been to both cities multiple times, I would never choose to visit Innsbruck over Salzburg. If have been in the area of Innsbruck many times, but only went into the city twice. The city didn't hold my interest at all, but the area is beautiful. Salzburg has a more interesting city and also beautiful scenery. I have also stayed in Berchtesgaden and it is beautiful too. I would split my time between Salzburg and Vienna.

Posted by
1325 posts

Can you schedule more time? St Johann im Pongau and the surrounding area are beautiful. I've spent time in Hüttschlag. I like both Salzburg and Innsbruck. Innsbruck is better in winter.

Posted by
21 posts

Unfortunately can't get more time. But we've decided to base in Berchtesgaden so we will take the train from Munich and stay there for 3 nights. We have a tour booked at the Eagle's Nest on Wednesday and then we'll take the train to Vienna on Thursday night/afternoon. We're thinking of getting a VRBO/Airbnb there and renting a car. Then we can do day trips to Hallstatt and possibly to Zell am See? Can you rent a car in Berchtesgaden or should we get off the train in Freilassing? And then take it back there? Or would Salzburg be easier to get a car?