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4 days in Austria

Originally, I had 7 days in Austria, but this has changed to 4. I have been reading about options for days and I'm a bit overwhelmed. (I feel safe admitting I'm overwhelmed on this site as opposed to other travel threads I won't mention)
I am starting from Vienna and other than maybe 1 day in Vienna, walking all over cities and museums is not really my thing. I'd rather be in the country and small villages. I was thinking about heading to Melk and then going further west, but I am unsure of where to aim for in terms of overnight.
Can anyone offer some tips on places (villages/towns or ho/s/tels) to stay?
Is it possible to hike for a day between villages somewhere between Melk and Linz?
Sorry for posting tons of questions in one post. Thanks for helping. btw, this is happening in the spring not summer.

Posted by
1202 posts

Melk is a lovely town. If you enjoy hiking, you may also be a person who bikes. One highlight of my last trip to Melk was renting bikes and biking from Melk to Krems. It is a delightful trip that takes you through small villages with castles perched above them. The Wachau valley is beautiful. You don't say what time you are going, but the valley is filled with vineyards and very lovely. (we went in September when all the grapes were ripe and being harvested) We rode the boat back up the river to Melk. The only thing I didn't like was that we had to keep moving so that we would be sure we didn't miss the last boat. If I did it again, I would probably take an early boat to Krems and bike back to Melk so that I didn't have that pressure. Also, I don't know how far you can get with 4 days, the Lakes district around Salzburg is filled with small towns and beautiful scenery. There is also hiking available back in the Hallstatt area. Also, I like Salzburg over Vienna because it is smaller and very charming. It is also a great area for biking. Enjoy your trip to Austria.

Posted by
430 posts

With only 4 days for Austria, and a self-admitted preference for towns over musuems, I'd recommend cutting Vienna completely.

(As someone who lived in Vienna, it pains me to say that, but...)

If you focus on the area from Melk to Salzburg you can really enjoy Austria, and get out of town most of the time. Melk, based on your preferences, will be a must-see. I had a picnic in the shadow of the little church in the center of town that is a standout memory among 20+ years of Europe travel.

In Melk I stayed in the Gasthof Goldener Stern -- and loved it -- BUT I was last there in 2000 -- and more recent reviews say that their value and service have both gone downhill.

Posted by
18373 posts

The picturesque lake area east of Salzburg is not well served by train, but there is a network of buses between those towns. I went from Salzburg to Mondsee to St. Gilgen to Bad Ischl to Hallstatt, by bus.

Posted by
182 posts

Is it fair to say you're flying into Vienna? If you are, then I'd agree with Connie and Jim's advice regarding the Wachau region. It's absolutely gorgeous. And if you're really not into the museum thing, then skip Vienna. Beautiful city, but I'm not sure 1 day will do you or the city justice.

But, if you're not flying into Vienna, skip it altogether and head to the Salzkammergut area near Salzburg. This would be my first choice by far. We loved the region and if you're into the outdoors, this is the place to be. (And Salzburg ain't a bad city to visit if you really want to do 1 day of city viewing)

Best of luck!

Posted by
31510 posts

sarah,

With only four days, you'll have to be a bit "selective". I'm assuming you'll be flying into Vienna?

As you stated that "walking all over cities and museums is not really my thing", you might want to make a hasty exit from Vienna. While there's lot of history there and many sights to visit, it doesn't sound like you'd enjoy it.

With only four days, you could consider:

Hallstatt - a wonderful small town with incredible history, it's older than Rome; tour the Salt Mine above town and hike down; the view of the lake, especially in the mornings is incredible! You can get there by road or rail. The rail method provides an awesome view of the city from across the lake. Be sure to buy your outgoing ticket as well, as the small station is not "manned".

Berchtesgaden - if you don't mind a short excursion into south eastern Germany, the town of Berchtesgaden is very scenic. There's a Salt Mine there also, which can be toured, the Documentation Centre above town which is a WW-II site and of course the Eagle's Nest.

Salzburg - is a wonderful and very walkable city. Aside from the Mozart and Sound of Music sights, there are some easy hikes in that area. Check the Guidebook for the details.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
386 posts

Dear Sarah,

I agree with Connie and Gary all the way :-))
Not only because I am a Native of the Wachau, but because it is hands-down, one of the loveliest river-scapes in the world. Castles/culture, climate, culinary delights, it's all there, nestled among vineyards stretching along the Danube river. One town prettier than the other.
http://www.donau.com/donau/e/portal/default.asp
I suggest that you make Weissenkirchen (Weißenkirchen), not Melk (which is on the opposite shore of the Wachau, but still belongs to it) your home base. It is the perfect starting point to explore the valley by ship, bike, train or on foot.
Right in town is a small, family run B&B, Gästehaus Heller, run by dear friends of mine. The breakfast is wonderful, the rooms more than reasonable, clean and pretty, and the proprietors speak English.
http://www.gaestehaus-heller.at/
The English translation will be posted within days.
You can also find them on Trip Advisor, and read the ratings about them.
The B&B Heller is in walking distance of everything: restaurants, wine taverns, ship station, train station, etc.
Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
with best regards from the Wachau

Posted by
186 posts

Not been to Melk, but I can imagine it's quite beautiful. Spent several days in Salzburg and the surrounding area last year and could easily go back tomorrow. People are superbly friendly and the food outstanding. The description of the landscapes, I will leave to an artist. Unbelievable.