My family of 4 will be taking the overnight train from Venice to Salzburg in July. The train arrives at the Salzburg train station at 4:09 a.m. Our car rental agency opens at 7:30 a.m. Any ideas on what we can do to pass those 3.5 hours? Is there anything to do in the main Salzburg station (I imagine finding a bench and sleeping will be high on our list!)? Any cafes nearby that are open all night? Have any of you arrived in Salzburg on this train? Any thoughts?
Is Salzburg your final destination or are you just picking up a car there? If you are going in the direction of Munich or Vienna, you could take connecting trains within the hour and rent when you get there.
We're ultimately headed to St. Johann in Tirol, about an hour away, but we'll be staying there starting the day after we arrive in Salzburg. We haven't decided where we'll spend the night right after we get to Salzburg. I've already paid for the car rental, picking it up in Salzburg. Probably not the best planning, but that's where things stand :-)
Car rentals can be cancelled or changed. Any chance of picking up a car in Innsbruck instead? Do you already have a non-refundable ticket for the night train? It might be easier to take a day connection via Verona. There is a direct EC leaving Venice at 1334, arriving in Innsbruck at 1832 (4h58m). There is a later connection leaving Venice at 1520, arriving in Innsbruck at 2032 (5h20m), but it involves an ES to Verona to catch the EC. There is also a train leaving Salzburg at 4:42, getting into St. Johann at a more workable 7 AM. Any chance you can rent a car in St. Johann or possibly get by without one?
Another daytime option would be to take the Austrian Railways bus to Villach and then train to Salzburg or direct to Sankt Johann. You can book the whole trip at www.oebb.at. I haven't taken the bus personally but other people here have been satisfied with it, and the train route NW from Villach is absolutely spectacular.
A search on a random weekday in July for Venice-St Johann on the OEBB website shows the route via Verona as 0850-1626 with two changes and the one via Villach as 0920-1633 with two, so there's not a great deal in it.
We did the opposite (Salzburg to Venice) with the train leaving at 12:30ish AM...we actually hung out at McD's for 2 hrs...lol. Right beside the train stn (well, in 2010 it was). My guess is it was open 24 hrs...you could prob check. No funny looks from anyone for hanging around that long.
I've just looked at all the opening hours of all the Salzburg McD's. I don't see one adjacent to or in the Hbf. Only one, in the Altstadt, is open on Fridays until 0300, another to 0200, the rest of the days and the rest of the locations all close significantly earlier.
I contacted the Salzburg tourism office, and they replied that there are small glass waiting rooms which can be closed with a door in the train station. There's a bistro outside the station that opens at 6 am for breakfast. The small glass waiting rooms seem odd, but I guess it's worth a shot. If nothing else, one of us can stay awake while the other three try to get some rest. We're hoping to visit friends about an hour north of Salzburg, stay there overnight, then head toward St. Johann. However, our friends have some health issues and may not be able to see us depending on their condition that day. We want the car, certainly for the week in St. Johann, but also so we can adjust our plans as necessary depending on our friends' health. Thanks for all your advice!
Hmm - this was 2010 while the train stn was undergoing renos. I know we only had a min or two walk to the train stn under a covered walkway I'm sure right along front of the stn...maybe it's closed in the few years since we've been there...(McD's). Edit - that being said, I was checking and there is a Burger King there in the area - I could have confused the two...wouldn't be the first time
We just got back from our trip, and I thought I'd provide some feedback. There was a little pastry/coffee kiosk right outside the station that was open when we arrived. There was nowhere to sit there, so it wasn't the kind of place to hang out for an extended period. After a while we were able to find the "rooms with doors" mentioned by the Salzburg tourism office. They were relatively nice, and we ended up staying in one of those to pass the time. Unfortunately throughout the train station, all the seats had immovable armrests so it was impossible to lie down anywhere except on the floor. There were several groups of people lying on the floor in various places, but we didn't have blankets or anything that would make that appealing. I fell asleep while leaning on my suitcase. It looked like there was a grocery store that opened at 6. We walked by the Burger King, and it wasn't open at around 5:30, but there was someone in there cleaning, so it might have been opening soon. Also, there was a lot of construction in the station, so maybe there will be more options/amenities when that's done. Overall, it wasn't a horrible experience. I'm not sure I'd do it again intentionally. The overnight train ride was challenging. I had envisioned the kids going to sleep as soon as we got on the train (9 pm), and sleeping through the night. However the conductors didn't put down the beds until close to 10:30, so we lost a few hours of sleep. Finally a tip: if you buy your tix through Austrian rail, rather than Trenitalia, there's nowhere in the Venice train station to retrieve those tickets. We waited to print our tickets because once you open the ticket link, the tix are nable/nonrefundable. So we ended up running around Venice in a mad panic trying to find wifi and a printer. Not a relaxing evening :-)
Meredith: Thanks for the feedback!
oy, the hardships of the road which often breed lasting memories... I have spend many hours at the Salzburg station and just read this post...live and learn : )