We are looking for a day trip on the way from Salzburg to Vienna in early July. My husband and I are in our 50s and we will have our girls ages 16 and 19 with us. We would like to be someplace a little rural before heading to Vienna and the lake towns look appealing.
One possibility is taking the train to Hallstatt and then the train on to Vienna. This looks like a long day with tight connections but maybe it's easier than I think it is. Alternatively we could take a private car from CK Shuttle instead to either Wolfgansee or Hallstatt and then on to Vienna. At Wolfgansee we could arrange to be dropped off at St. Gilgan and then take the boat on to St. Wolfgang and join our driver there before heading on to Vienna. The other alternative is to do Hallstatt at a more leisurely pace with a driver. Lastly there is the possibility of renting a car for the day, but I have yet to talk my husband into driving (or letting me drive) in and I'm afraid we'd eat up a lot of time picking up and dropping off a car that we would not want in Vienna. Whatever we do, I'm hoping the drive or train ride itself will be scenic for much of the way.
Which is better for a couple hours walk around, Wolfgangsee or Halstatt, and is Halstatt worth the extra hour to get there as opposed to Wolfgangsee. Any suggestions would be appreciated including other side-trips, and or means of transport. We are willing to leave Salzburg as early as 7:00, but we'd like to be in Vienna by 4:30ish so we can settle into the apartment and buy groceries. We aren't wedded to lake towns, but we'd like to see one or two smaller Austrian villages. If it matters to your answers, we will probably take a day trip to Melk and Krems an der Donau by train and boat while in Vienna. So if not lake towns, we will see river towns. We will probably do Cesky Krumlov on the way to Prague from Vienna.
Also, has anyone used CK Shuttle, and what did you think? And does anyone have a different transfer service recommendation?