I will be visiting my brother who's studying abroad in Dornbirn, Austria in a couple weeks and looking for some advice on travel. We plan to take 2-3 days to visit Salzburg and Innsbruck. What are some good spots to check out there and the surrounding area, and would it be better to go by train or rent-a-car? I'm also a little concerned about it being November that a lot of the sites in the mountains will be inaccessible because of weather. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Apparently, Dornbirn is in the Tirol/Vorarlberg part of Austria. Innsbruck and Salzburg are on direct rail lines from there. I would use the trains (www.oebb.at) just because of the weather and the opportunity to see the scenery while traveling.
Both Salzburg and Innsbruck have a lot of history and interesting sites to visit. The cities are beautiful in the winter months and easily accessible! From Salzburg you can visit Hallstatt and/or Berchtesgaden. We have always used the trains to get around so cannot comment on rental car.
Wow, Dornbirn, where I learned to ski! This really brings back some memories! I wish I could remember the name of the mountain / resort that we went, but it was a college trip so I don't have the specifics. We picked up rental skis in Dornbirn and then went straight up the mountain. It was beautiful for even beginners like me on the "bunny" slopes. My fellow who went higher said that they saw the Bodensee. I agree with the easy rail trips to Innsbruck and Salzburg. You'll enjoy both. Munich would be easy by train as well.
I hope your brother can steer you to some local spots!
I won't talk you out of visiting salzburg or innsbruck. November is about as off-season as you are going to get and you'll have the towns to yourself. A lot of the outdoor attractions will be closed, but there are enough museums, churches and old-town streets to keep you interested. But you are practically in Bregenz, and it would be worth your time to visit it and some of the towns around Lake Bodensee. Konstanz, in particular, is pretty any time of year.
I also recommend visiting St. Gallen in Switzerland, just a stone's throw from Dornbirn. St. Gallen is known for its abbey of the same name, a UNESCO world heritage site.
As for choosing between a car or train - chances are that you'd be driving in snow. If you are comfortable with that, I'd certainly recommend it for short day trips from Dornbirn. For longer trips, stick to trains or buses.
Thank you all for the advice! Yes we plan on visiting the areas around Dornbirn as well. Is there any chance that some ski resorts will be open or is it too early in the season?
The alps have already had decent snowfall this year. I think your chances for finding skiing opportunities are fairly good.
Keep an eye on Boedele, the ski resort above Dornbirn for snow and weather report. I just looked, I couldn't find any current information, but that can change in a matter of days.