Itinerary - Northern Italy / Austria / Munich

Hi all, I am looking for some advice on an itinerary for a trip later this year. My wife and I want to go back to Soave, Italy (near Verona) for at least a few days. We stayed there a couple years ago and really fell in love with the area. We are considering maybe 15 days total. Possibly could add a couple more. From Soave, we are thinking we'd really like to see Munich and Vienna. So the idea at the moment is to drive from Soave to Innsbruck, then drive to Munich, then take the train to Vienna. After doing some research, it sounds like it is worth checking out Salzburg too. I am concerned about trying to jam too much in to too little time, so I'm hoping we can get some advice on where to prioritize or if this sounds reasonable. I like the idea of driving as that gives us a lot of latitude to stop and see things along the way that we'd never have the chance to see if we took trains. Friday 8/30/13 – Travel to Italy Saturday 8/31 – Monday 9/2: Soave Tuesday 9/3 – drive to Innsbruck Wednesday 9/4 – Innsbruck Thursday 9/5 – drive to Munich via Fussen / Neuschwanstein (do castles) Friday 9/6 – Saturday 9/7 – Munich Sunday 9/8 - Train to Salzburg Monday 9/9 - Tuesday 9/10 - Salzburg Wednesday 9/11 - train to Vienna Thursday 9/12 – Friday 9/13 – Vienna Saturday 9/14 fly home Thoughts? Too much? Thanks! Steve Johnson
Carmel, In

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1590 posts

My first thought is this: you don't want to rent a car in Italy and drive it into Germany to turn in. You'll pay a big drop fee to leave it in a different country. Instead, why don't you train to Innsbruck and rent the car there. Then you can drive through Germany to see the castles, drive to Salzburg and drop it there, back in Austria.

Posted by Steve
Ca\, IN, USA
3 posts

that's a great tip, thanks. i didn't even think of that. the main reason we wanted to drive is to experience the Brenner pass at our own pace and enjoy the scenery along the way. I'll look into what this will cost.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17783 posts

Steve, As the previous post mentioned, you may be facing HUGE fees if you rent a car in one country and drop in another. A few other issues to check.... > Driving in Austria may require a highway tax vignette (I haven't checked recently). Those caught without one face hefty fines. They can be bought easily, but it's still something to be aware of. > For driving in Italy, EACH driver will require the compulsory International Driver's Permit, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. Failure to produce an I.D.P. if requested can result in fines on the spot! You'll also have to be vigilant to avoid the dreaded ZTL (limited traffic areas) which exist in many towns in Italy. > Experiencing the Brenner Pass by road may or may not be an entirely "pleasant" experience (depending on conditions at the time). I was through part of it by Bus last year and the traffic was horrific! It looked like evening rush hour in Los Angeles (which I have experienced first hand). I was glad that I wasn't doing the driving. Regarding cities to see in Austria, Salzburg is definitely worth a visit (IMO) and a few days. While there you could also take a side trip to Hallstatt (and preferably at least one night). It's one of the most beautiful spots I've seen in Europe, and while there you could tour the Salt Mine. The town is older than Rome, and has an interesting history. One option might be to take the train into Austria, rent a car and tour the places you want to see, and then drop the car in Salzburg. Make Munich your last stop and travel there by train. You can easily take a day trip to the Castles via public transit. Happy travels!

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1434 posts

Hi Steve, You want to "experience" the Brenner Pass at your own pace. Driven through the Brenner many times. Nice scenery, but nothing out of the ordinary for the area. If you take the A22, it's actually a multi lane highway trhough the Brenner. You do need a "Vignette" (toll sticker) to drive on Austria's highways. Cost is 8 Euro for a sticker good for 10 consecutive days. The drive from Innsbruck to Munich via Fuessen take should take roughly 4 hours without stopping. Visitng both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles could take a few hours. My honest opinion on your itinerary... a lot of traveling for what amounts to basically 1 full day in each location. Paul

Posted by Steve
Ca\, IN, USA
3 posts

Thanks Paul. I did some quick checking and the drop off fee is pretty substantial ($500). We'll get a car when we are in Soave as there is a lot of driving aroudn we know we want to do there. But now I'm thinking we'll take trains the rest of the way. That itinerary does give us 3 full days in Soave (we want to do Verona and Lake Garda), a full day in Inssbruck, two full days in Munich, two full days in Salzburg, and two full days in Vienna. Yes it is a lot of travelling and by taking trains we'll lose some time... I'm not committed to going to Innsbruck based on what I've read and has been suggested. We could cut that out and go directly to Munich from Verona. That would give us three full days in Munich, still two in Salzburg, and three in Vienna. I'm assuming there's plenty to do to keep us busy for three days in Munich and Vienna?