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Seat reservations in Austria necessary at Christmastime?

Hello all,
I've never traveled by train around Christmastime in Austria (or anywhere else in Europe for that matter) before, and I'm not sure how crowded the trains usually are-- specifically I'm talking about the first weekend after Christmas 2013, Friday and Sunday, in and out of the Salzburg area. We are a group of 3.
Would seat reservations be a good idea here?

Thanks in advance for your helpful input! I have no experience with this one ;)

Posted by
4684 posts

Definitely. I've travelled in that area on a different weekend and trains were very busy. Christmas will probably be worse.

Since you don't say where you're going to, however, I should point out that if you're using RE or RB trains so you can use a Bayern Ticket, no reservations will be possible.

Posted by
5450 posts

Where are you traveling to from Salzburg?

Where are you looking for your tickets online?

Posted by
19169 posts

In Germany, at least, and I would suspect also in Austria, the 26th of December is a national holiday, 2nd Day of Christmas. In 2001, the trains were very crowded on that day. The ICE I was on from Frankfurt Flughafen to Mannheim was SRO. However, although every seat was occupied, only about half were reserved. One could have reserved a seat when they bought their ticket.

Posted by
23465 posts

Based on our experience, that is the one time of year when reservations are critical and first class may be equally important especially if you can get a deal on first class. A couple of years we were traveling in that area the day after Christmas and the trains were jammed and, of course, so were the stations. We were encountering weather delays because of ice which made the schedules unpredictable and everyone was getting on any train going in the right direction. First class allowed us to use first class lounges in the station (with uncrowded bathrooms and some refreshments) and, more important, let us use the first class ticket lines for getting new routing and tickets. We took a number when we went into the ticket office in Munich. We were 65th in line before we realized that there was no one in line for first class tickets. The convenience of the first class ticket that day was more than worth the additional cost.