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Vienna Day Trip Help

Hello all, I'll start by explaining my itinerary.
I leave Chicago May 11 and land in Munich May 12
Munich May 13
Munich May 14
fly to Prague May 15
Prague May 16
Prague May 17
Prague May 18
train from Prague to Vienna May 19
Vienna May 20
Vienna May 21
Vienna May 22
train to Budapest on May 23
Budapest on May 24
Budapest on May 25
Eger May 26 for the day/night
Budapest on May 27
fly back to Chicago on May 28.
While in Munich I plan to see the castles in Bavaria. Prague I currently don't have any day trips plan but I expect to get out of the city if at least for a half day. Budapest we will do a night in Eger on May 26 I think then back to Budapest for the day/night before we leave. I am looking for help with Vienna. We have 4 nights in Vienna and while we would love to do Salzburg, everyone seems pretty adamant that you need at least 2 nights which I don't think we can squeeze in. First has anyone done a night in Salzburg and would you recommend it?

Second I was just reading in Rick Steves' book about the day trip to Melk to see the abbey in the morning and then thinking about biking to Krems while stopping at vineyards and towns along the way. This day trip sounds pretty awesome! It seems like the best bet is bike from Melk to Krems and then bus back to Melk and back to Vienna from Melk based on Rick's recommendations. Has anyone biked from Melk to Krems, then gone back to Vienna from Krems? I know we'd have to find a bike company that is in both towns that would allow this so looking for recommendations if you know any? Also looking to see if anyone has done this and get your thoughts on if you enjoyed it? Would love vineyard/restaurant/town recommendations!

Also, what do people think of Eger as a night trip from Budapest?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
4671 posts

There are direct and fairly frequent train services from Krems to Vienna, there's no need to go back to Melk.

Posted by
4404 posts

On Salzburg, I think you could do it as a one night trip and get something out of it, but do you really want to spend all that travel time for very little reward? I'd combine Salzburg with other locations on another trip.

It is also worth noting that you will be in Vienna on a major long holiday weekend (Pentecost). Monday is a federal holiday and many people will be going away for the weekend. Shops will be closed on Monday, but restaurants and museums will be open. Transport will run on a holiday schedule and you will want to reserve seats on trains for any longer journey.

The Wachau Valley will be stunning in May, really the best time of year. I also think that your itinerary is very city heavy, so it will be nice for you to be in smaller villages - even if for a day.

I've been to the Wachau many times. Rick's book is ok for details, but I would look elsewhere for additional resources. As noted above, there is no reason to backtrack to Melk. I also think that Melk and Krems are the least interesting parts of the Wachau. I prefer the small villages and apricot orchards and wineries in between. Nextbike has locations in all the Wachau villages and you can drop off/pick up in different locations. I would suggest taking the train from Vienna to Melk and picking up your bike. Have lunch in Weissenkirchen at someplace like Restaurant Heinzle or Weingut Hermenegild Mang. Then head to Durnstein where you can hike up to the castle ruin and have an apricot dumpling on the terrace of the Richard Lionheart hotel. Then head to the Krems train station where you can ditch the bikes and get the train back to Vienna.

Some specific winery recommendations (there are 500 in the area, but these are some of the best):
WEINGUT KNOLL - in Unterloiben, famous wines and an excellent Restaurant "Loibnerhof"
DOMÄNE WACHAU - in Dürnstein; the only cooperative in the valley. Great selection of good wines.
WEINGUT SCHMIDL - Organic wines-good.
FX PICHLER - in Dürnsein:the star of winemakers. Very modern and sterile-but good wines, pricey though.
WEINGUT PRAGER - in Weissenkirchen; Famous Winery, great wines.
WEINGUT JOSEF JAMEK - in Joching, the godfather of winemaking in the valley- good wines and good restaurant
WEINGUT HOLZAPFEL - in Joching, wines not so great, but the court with the Restaurant on a sunny day fantastic.
RUDI PICHLER---in Wösendorf, a new star, very nice wines, expensive.
WEINGUT HIRTZBERGER - in Spitz, the new Number One of winemakers.
WEINGUT LAGLER - in Spitz, Nice wines, great views, nice hotel.

Posted by
12839 posts

I will just comment on the Budapest part.

If you have to do the Eger trip put it in the middle of the stay and not at the end so you can wind down before heading home. If you are doing the trip for the wine, you need two nights there.

If its just wine that you are interested in, then a day trip to Etyek might do the trick for you and leave you sufficient time to see Budapest.

Posted by
79 posts

Emily, do you think doing the Melk - Krems trip would be good for the Monday after Pentecost or should we plan to do that on another day? I just don't know if things will be open for us. Is the Abbey open 365 days? The website doesn't note any closures

Posted by
1410 posts

Melk Abbey is open daily.

Wachau is a touristic area, so expect everything open even at Pentecost. Only the trains will run on holiday schedule.

This is the bike company which has a pick-up/drop points both in Melk (4 locations) and Krems (6 locations):
Read the details thoroughly to get acquainted with the procedures and rules.