We are going to be in Vienna for 3 full days and 2 half days this October. Has anyone ever done the day trip to Salzburg offered through Viator? It looks great, with stopping along the way to take pictures, seeing the Lake District, etc. May even be willing to do the small group tour at an increased cost to minimize the problems noted in the reviews about the larger groups, multiple language translations, etc. I thought about going on our own via train, but I don't think we'd have the same experience being able to stop along the way and enjoy the countryside. Any thoughts? Or should we consider a day trip to Budapest instead?
I think I am in the wrong business. Is this the tour that costs $123 per person? Whoa.
If it were me, I'd much rather do this myself. Not just because it's cheaper, but I really hate being on someone else's schedule. Getting to Salzburg by train is easy. Renting a car is easy. Between Budapest and Salzburg, I'd choose Salzburg.
I'd just take the train. Salzburg is compact and the things you'll want to see are walkable from the station (or you can take bus or cab to drop you off closer). If you're a walker there's a nice paved trail along the ridge above town where you can get views of the mountains on the "backside" of town.
And agree, I'd pick Salzburg over Budapest for a day trip.
A day trip which includes Salzburgerland? How much of it? If you spend all your time getting there and wandering around in the countryside, how much actual time could you spend doing anything in Salzburg.
On a train it is a long journey (I've done it a couple of times) and on a coach limited in speed and with driver rest stops every two hours it must take forever.
I haven't done a coach trip on that route, but I would expect unless the literature specifies otherwise, that what you will mostly see is the inside of the bus and highway out the window.
ViaMichelin says the fastest way by road from Vienna to Salzburg take over 3½ hours. That's over 7 hrs round trip. Viator says the duration is 13 hours, so over half of your time is spent on the bus. They make a big deal about going through the Salzkammergut and stopping in Mondsee, but that's the fastest route according to ViaMichelin - right through Mondsee. Other than that, the Michelin route only passes by the north end of the Attersee. I would assume the rest of the Salzkammergut you see out the window.
This summer we drove Vienna-Hallstatt-Salzburg. It took a good 3 1/2 hours to get to Hallstatt not including a quick stop for lunch. After that it was about 45 minutes through Bad Ischl/Wolfgangsee to get to Salzburg. I would not have wanted to quickly take a spin through Salzburg after that and then drive back to Vienna. It's a long way and traffic can be dicey with lots of truck traffic and road construction. If you take a bus tour then road conditions are an issue. Trains are, of course, more predictable and this would be my recommended mode of getting there - if you can do without seeing the lakes or other sights the bus will stop at, then a train will give you much more time in the city. If you get an early start from Vienna you can be in Salzburg in 2 1/2 hours or so. If you left at 7 AM you'd get there by 9:30ish. If you stay all day and leave at 7 at night you'll still get back to Vienna in time to get in bed at a decent hour. You can see just about everything in town in that time span. It's very compact and walkable! The only downside is that there is so much to see outside of town that you will miss. Personally, I would save Salzburg for another trip.
Budapest is much closer to Vienna and has loads to see - it's a beautiful city especially if you can stay after dark and take a boat tour along the Danube. Since it's only about 40 mins from Vienna this trip is also easily done. If I had to pick between the two I would go to Budapest.
Anita, I'm sorry but you are just flat out wrong. Budapest is 2hours and 37 minutes by train (not 40 min!). Salzburg is actually closer taking 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Perhaps you are confusing Bratislava with Budapest...
OMG! Emily...you're right...I was confusing Budapest for Bratislava. My bad. It was a bit of a whirlwind this summer and I just intertwined the two. (red faced)