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Your favorite day trip from Vienna (by train)?

Hi All, we're going to visit beautiful Vienna in Feb and I'm hoping to find ideas for a day trip or two. We won't be renting a car, so something that's accessible via train would be ideal.

It's just my husband and I and we love art, history, shopping and exploring beautiful little towns. We're considering a trip to see Melk Abbey but I'd love some alternatives if they exist.

Thank you for your thoughts!

Posted by
6354 posts

I would absolutely suggest Melk Abbey. The Danube cruise from Melk to either Durnstein or Krems might be a little chilly in Feb but you could still do the triangle by train to Melk, then bus to Durnstein, bus to Krems and then train back to Vienna. It makes a great day trip. I also enjoyed my half-day trip to Bratislava Slovakia. I went by train but learned afterward that it's easier by bus because the bus lands you in old town Bratislava whereas the train station still requires a local bus (or taxi) ride to the old town.

Posted by
527 posts

I'm not sure the boats run from Melk to Krems in February Nancy. You can get to Melk by train easily or to Krems. From Krems you could catch the bus that runs to Durnstein which is very nice. How long will you be in Vienna? It can easily take 5 days of any trip by itself.

Posted by
6354 posts

@Alex, I was pretty sure they wouldn't be but you never know. That's why I suggested they could do it anyway by train/bus - no need to have the Danube cruise be part of it.

Posted by
4671 posts

Yep, go by train to Melk and see the Abbey, then take a bus back along the Danube to Krems and get the train from there back to Vienna. There is a day bus ticket for ten euros that allows you to stop as many times as you like between Melk and Krems without having to buy a new bus ticket each time. Probably the most interesting are Duernstein (pretty but possibly a bit over-touristy) and Weissenkirchen (less tourist-oriented but absolutely dead when I stopped off there on a weekday afternoon). Krems itself is nice as well.

Note that in the winter Melk Abbey can ONLY be visited on a guided tour, which begins at either 1100 or 1400.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks for the great suggestions. We have 8 nights in Vienna (we're huge museum nerds so that time will be well spent!) and plan to spend a day or two venturing out. Melk is certainly on the list and Bratislava sounds like fun too. Any other suggestions are most appreciated - thanks to everyone for their comments so far, it's very helpful!

Posted by
2164 posts

I took a day trip to Melk on the Kombiticket--train from Vienna to Melk, toured the abbey and had lunch in the charming town, then by boat on the Danube to Krems where I caught the train back to Vienna. There are variations possible with this, check the OBB website. There are also guided tours but I did this on my own with no trouble.

I also took the train to Salzburg for a day--early train got me there by 10:30, spent the day wandering about happily in the Old Town and touring Mozart's Geburthaus and Hellbrunn (the HoHo bus was good for getting to out-lying areas), had an excellent lunch at Triangel in the Old Town, enjoyed a craft fair that ran along the river and then caught the train back to Vienna around 6:30.

I spent 7 days in Vienna and I'm also a huge museum nerd--you won't lack for great museums to visit, that's for sure! I visited 9 and had to leave the Kunsthistoriche for a return trip.

Posted by
12550 posts

Melk is excellent. While we have been to Vienna a few times we visited Melk as a day trip from Budapest. Ewwwww, that suggests an idea!

Cross the border!!! Four choices

Train to BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA. About 35 minutes on the train (?) Never been there myself and to be honest I have heard mixed reviews but those that I know and trust that have been there say its worth the minimal effort.

Train to GYOR, HUNGARY (a little over 1.5 hours). Excellent baroque downtown with a few medieval fortress wall ruins. Some decent shopping but best is to taka a cab to the Pannonhalma Archabbey I'v been to this and Melk and why I don't want to compare them because they are entirely different experiences, this is the one I would return to if the opportunity presented itself.

SOPRON, HUNGARY. Where do Austrians go shopping? Sopron of course. (1 hour).

BUDAPEST And my favorite of course. Yes, thanks to the high speed trains Budapest can be a day trip (about 3 hours).

Ice Skating at Városligeti Műjégpálya.

Bath Houses outside (note the snow) or inside a 14th century bath house or maybe you prefer classical: with the dubious history of having been visited by Himmler and Schindler. Even bathhouse party night

Shopping in the three story 19th century market hall

A couple of classic Budapest restaurants for before, during or after:

Posted by
11613 posts

I took a daytrip from Vienna to Linz by train and then a taxi to Majdanek Memorial, just outside the town. If you love history, and can do a daytrip that's not all fun, there it is.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks again everyone - great tips! We hadn't even considered something like Budapest or Bratislava, so this advice has truly been invaluable. Again, thanks so much to everyone who posted replies - each one of these sounds great and now I have the challenge of picking just one or two!

Posted by
527 posts the Egri Bikaver again? Too much of that stuff will make you long for a good Austrian Zwiegelt.

Posted by
4376 posts

A few thoughts:

  1. February will be cold, but I bet you know that. While this is truly my least favorite month, there are a few shining lights to see you through the damp and gray. First, go to the Rathaus and rent a pair of skates to check out the skating trail. If you aren't into skating, at least have a look, and hunker down at a punsch stand. February is also ball season - not as hard to manage as you might think. Consider renting a ball gown and tux. Here is a link to some more info.

  2. Day trips - Yes to Melk, but I wouldn't really consider exploring that exceptionally atmospheric villages as these will be pretty shut down this time of year. So stick to Melk and see the abbey. As an alternative, consider Sopron, Salzburg or Graz.

Posted by
12400 posts


What I have done as day trips from Vienna r/t have been within Austria and outside of the country too. If you intend to stay inside Austria for the day trip, I suggest Graz, a very interesting small town, an university town, " klein aber fein" is how it's described. If you're going out of the country r/t, then I suggest Budapest, ca 2& 3/4 hrs., way better that Bratislava or Melk. It all depends on what appeals to you. Melk was all right but Budapest was way more interesting.