Please sign in to post.

Car rental vs Trains Munich, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Nuremberg back to Munich

We are traveling middle of May for 15 day trip. Roundtrip to and from Munich. Our itinerary begins in Munich, going to Neuschwanstein castle, Innsbruck, Salzburg, back roads to Vienna, up to Prague, to Nurenberg and back to Munich. We are debating renting a car in Munich for the entire trip or taking trains or combining both.
I grew up spending summers and winters at my grandparents in Salzburg, so this will be our main travel spot and would prefer to drive from Innsbruck to Vienna so as to show my husband all the beautiful lakes and towns where I grew up going.
Other than that, we are not opposed to taking trains, but if the cost to pick up a rental in one place and drop off in another is high, we might as well rent in Munich and drop off in Munich. The other concern I have is location and cost to park the rental while we tour Salzburg, Vienna and Prague. I also need to confirm we can rent in Germany and take the rental into Prague without issues.
Any advice on these concerns/topics would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Claudine

Posted by
5378 posts

Pick up car in Salzburg or Innsbruck, drop off in Vienna ? Usually no or small dropoff fee within the same country and it looks like that's the area you want to do by car.
Seems like a lot of moving for 15 days ... will you actually have time to "see" anything ??

Posted by
1060 posts

Hi Claudine. Each rental company has its own rules. We rented from Sixt and drove in Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic with no restrictions. You probably know, when entering Austria and Czech, you need to buy a sticker (nominal fee - $15 or so) to drive on the freeways. There are many places to stay in Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague that offer parking if you decide to rent. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
694 posts

I did that basic loop by rental car in 2011 over 20 days. I had no problems, and might do that again. But I've also done it by train, and for that specific route I would consider using both, train and a rental. I'd go from Munich to Innsbruck (with the castles) buy train or bus, if that was all I wanted to see on that route. And since you want to take back roads thru Austria I'd definitely use a car for that. Vienna to Prague is easy by train, and so is Prague to Nurnberg and the Nurnberg to Munich legs. To me it depends on if you're going to be seeing the city centers, or planning on multiple detours. If all you're doing is the main parts of the old cities (which may be all you have time for) then train is just as fast and a lot less expensive.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for all the advice. Right now I have 2 rental reservations through Discover Cars. One for the whole trip Munich to Munich and one just for Innsbruck to Vienna. I entered the same info into Sixt and they are considerably more expensive. The drop off fee if we go Innsbruck to Vienna is only $32, which isn't bad at all. I just need to make sure they allow me to travel through 3 countries if we keep the reservation for a rental for the whole trip. I am going to AAA tomorrow to get a new International Drivers License just in case. I didn't need one for France, but I'd rather have it after reading some horrid stories on tripadvisor. We will definitely buy the stickers and pay all the tolls.... I am trying to map the route taking trains through the entire trip, except for Austria now so I can compare prices. Gasoline and tolls will increase the cost significantly and traveling by train would be nice, so decisions, decisions... :)

Posted by
4701 posts

You should consider the possibility that you will not receive an automatic transmission even if you ordered one. This happened to me again at the Frankfurt Airport (!) recently, with one of the big companies and a months in advance reservation. Even in large cities, I have always found it helpful to order the smallest car that will be big enough for our needs. (I mainly refer to parking stalls and ramps, but also sometimes to medieval city streets.) You may wish to consider whether you will need to completely conceal your bags while do daily touring with the cars. We once had a note on our rental ticket that we were not responsible for the luggage area cover because it was missing!

I always tell the rental agent what country we are going into. I should mention that when I rented a Hertz at Zurich Airport and told him I was driving into Germany, he approved, but added that I couldn't take the car into Poland (or was it Czech Republic?) But I was only going to Germany and back to Zurich. I don't need to tell you about contemporary trends in Collision Damage coverage.

I have never driven a car on your route, but I would think that it would be an expensive annoyance in Vienna and Munich. We did Innsbruck/Salzburg/Munich/Vienna by train, flying into Innsbruck on Austrian Air and home from Vienna. You certainly gave good reasons for using a car, but you have to accept that there will be some down side. We settled for a Sound of Music-like bus tour from Salzburg, and managed to get to Schloss Hellbrun by public transportation.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks everyone for the responses. I will read through them all after work today to finalize plans. I do plan to get a manual transmission. That's what I grew up driving and don't need to pay an additional unnecessary cost.

Posted by
11170 posts

A friend booked a Mercedes at Munich airport, to drive to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest (and then back to Munich) with her family. The kids were particularly excited about the idea of having a Mercedes for the trip. When she got to the rental counter and they learned of her destinations, that was the end of the Mercedes. They did get another car that worked out fine for them.

So, do make sure you confirm that your car can be taken into all the places you are going.