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Scenery on a train through Germany

Trying to decide if we should take a train from Vienna to our final destination of Strasbourg or fly. We have no experience with trains in Europe. Our train would connect through Frankfurt before going on to Strasbourg. All things being fairly equal, which mode of transportation would you choose? The train would have us arriving at 16:12 and flying would connect us through Brussels and have us arriving at 14:40. Pricing is very comparable. If we flew we would miss the countryside. Our travel date is 5 December, 2016.

Thank you!

Posted by
16764 posts

My look at the schedule shows you changing trains in Salzburg and Stuttgart. There is a warning that if you use the route via Frankfurt you may miss your connection due to on-going construction work that will delay the train to Frankfurt by 20 minutes and there is a 23 minutes connection there.

The scenery between Ulm and Karlsruhe is nice, but nothing stunning. It is an overall 8 hour and 42 minutes ride. I find that all things being equal, riding the train is much more relaxing. Room to move around and a bar/bistro car for refreshment and snacks. And they go city center to city center. No to and from the airports in the burbs, 2 hour arrival before flight for check-in and security.

Posted by
12882 posts

Hi,

I've done this route Vienna-Frankfurt both day and night. My vote goes to taking the train. It's the ICE train for that route...very nice.

Posted by
5555 posts

How much does that ticket to Strasbourg cost?

I've found a €39 ticket each (today's price) at DB for Vienna to Offenburg via Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. Once in Offenburg you can buy a "Europass 24h Family" at €9.30, good for the two of you to Strasbourg on the local train, from a ticket machine. Leave Vienna 7:30, ar. Offenburg 16:24 on Dec. 5.

It's a very long trip you're taking. Suggestion: break it up with an overnight stay on the way. I see a fare of €39 leaving Vienna on Dec 4 at 17:30 with a 10-hour, 59-minute overnight stopover in Augsburg; leave Augsburg after breakfast the next morning at 9:21 and reach Offenburg by 12:32. This is all accomplished on just one ticket. To find this fare, enter a stopover of 10:00 in Augsburg between Wien and Offenburg. There are several fairly-priced hotels in Augsburg near the station.

This way you still get to spend most of the 4th in Vienna, and you get an earlier start in Strasbourg the next day. And the price is absolutely right.

Posted by
16883 posts

If timing, price, and number of connections are similar, then I prefer the train for a bit more comfort and simplicity, even if there's nothing particularly special about the scenery. This route through more of Austria is quite scenic and doesn't have a construction warning (as Sam also noted) and lets you sleep an extra half hour:

Wien Hbf dep 07:30 RJ 160/RJ 560 track 8

Salzburg Hbf arr 09:52 track 3

Transfer time 8 min.

Salzburg Hbf dep 10:00 track 2 EC 218

Stuttgart Hbf arr 14:00 track 9

Transfer time 50 min.

Stuttgart Hbf dep 14:50 track 7 ICE 9572

Subject to compulsory reservation (Karlsruhe Hbf --> Strasbourg)

Strasbourg arr 16:12

Posted by
2353 posts

The train is so relaxing and there is some pretty countryside along the way. For me its a no brainer - train.

Posted by
18301 posts

I don't think that the scenery through that part of Germany is that great, but it's a whole lot better than the insides of airports, which is most of what you will see if you fly. Flying time will be short compared to the time you will spend going through security and waiting to board, etc.

Pricing is very comparable

Where are you getting your rail prices? German Rail doesn't show one going through Frankfurt and arriving in Strasbourg at 16:12.. The connections that German Rail show arriving at 16:12 go from Vienna to Strasbourg via Stuttgart, and they are faster than the connection via Frankfurt. RailEurope does offer a connection via Frankfurt, arriving at 16:00. Is that the one you mean? They want $230/person!

You can also book Vienna to Strasbourg via Frankfurt on TrainLine (formerly Captain Train) for 121,90€/person.

There is a rail connection leaving Vienna at 7:30, changing at Salzburg and Stuttgart and arriving in Strasbourg at 16:12. Because both ends are outside Germany, German Rail does not offer an online fare, but if you take the same trains from Vienna to Karlsruhe, Germany, the last stop on the ICE before Strasbourg, the fare is 78€ for two people booked as a Savings Fare from the Bahn. The Savings Fare on the same ICE from Karlsruhe to Strasbourg is 38€ for two. That's 116€, total, for two for the entire trip.

You can book a single ticket via Stuttgart on TrainLine for 68€/person (136€ for 2).

And with a little manipulation and somewhat different trains, you can go from Vienna to Offenburg, Germany, across the river from Strasbourg, for 78€ for two. If you leave Vienna at 7:30, youi'll get to Offenburg at 16:24 and have 10 minutes to make a one platform change to the local train to Strasbourg arriving 17:04. The fare from Offenburg to Strasbourg is 17,60€ for two, which makes the entire trip less than 96€.

How does that compare, pricewise, with flying?

Edit: I started my post before Russ posted his. I didn't know about the pass for 9,30€. That would make the trip less then 90€. The connection in Offenburg is from track 1 to track 4. Offenburg is an unusual station, with track 1 all alone next to the station building but sharing a platform with track 2. The platform change to 3/4 is down the stairs and up the next set of stairs. If you have to take time to go into the station building to buy the ticket to Strasbourg and miss the connecting train, the trains to Strasbourg run every half hour.

You can buy the full fare, fully flexible, 17,60€ ticket from the Bahn online and not have to take time in Offenburg to purchase a ticket.

Posted by
375 posts

We took the train from Vienna to Rothenburg and then 2 days later took it from Rothenburg to Frankfurt. There were several things that are positive about train travel. 1. Legroom - much more than an airplane. 2. Elbow room - the seats are larger and much more comfortable. 3. Scenery - the scenery is beautiful, but the ICE train goes fast, so the scenery literally flies by you. You can pick a stop anywhere along the way and spend a day seeing something on your wish list. We used the Eurail app on our phone to know which train to get on because the trains were very punctual. We really enjoyed our time on the train. We traveled September 2015 at the end of our Rick Steves tour. We purchased a 2nd class fare because we wanted to put our mind at ease that we had a seat.

Posted by
16764 posts

I see from OEBB that the 7:30 departure with changes at Salzburg and Stuttgart arriving at 16:12 is available for 34 EUR per person for the section from Vienna to Stuttgart. The cost for the ticket from Stuttgart to Strasbourg is available for 29 EUR from Deutsche Bahn. Giving 63 EUR per person.

Another strategy is to buy the ticket to Karlsruhe for 39 EUR (same price from OEBB or DB), then buy a separate Sparpreis ticket from Karlsruhe to Strasbourg for 19 EUR giving a 58 EUR ticket price per person. The Karlruhe-Strasbourg section comes with a seat reservation since it is a cross-border train. When you board in Stuttgart, just grab those seats right away. The train originates in Stuttgart and you will arrive 50 minutes before it departs, so you can be one of the first to board when they spot the train on the platform.

Posted by
18301 posts

I have to wonder if this was a serious inquiry, or a failed attempt to promote air travel. Note that the OP has not returned after her original question. She has not told us what airfare she found despite several requests. I think I have found her air connection on Expedia, a Brussels airline flight from Vienna, connecting in Brussels and getting to Strasbourg at 14:40 (exactly the time she said). The fare is almost $360 (320€) for two, compared to 100€ or less for the train.

All things being fairly equal, which mode of transportation would you
choose?

But obviously, all things are not anywhere near equal. It would be hard to justify paying hundreds of euro more to arrive less than two hours earlier, regardless of the scenery, which obviously favors the train..

Posted by
16764 posts

She has quite a few posts, including one 2 months ago about problems buying tickets at OEBB.

Posted by
5555 posts

"You can buy the full fare, fully flexible, 17,60€ ticket from the Bahn online and not have to take time in Offenburg to purchase a ticket."

(OMG. Lee may have gone soft on us, heh heh.)

Posted by
724 posts

Thank you everyone for your input. No, I am not promoting air travel. My college roommate came into town today and I haven't seen her in 25 years. I spent the afternoon with her. Gee, Lee......

I took the advise of many of you. The connection in Frankfurt was listed as being questionable (we would possibly miss the connection) so we are taking the train from Vienna to Salzburg to Stuttgart, then Stuttgart to Strasbourg. Yes, it will be a long day of travel but while hubby sleeps on the train I will be catching up on my journal and taking in the scenery!

Posted by
2353 posts

Thank you everyone for your input. No, I am not promoting air travel. My college roommate came into town today and I haven't seen her in 25 years. I spent the afternoon with her. Gee, Lee......
I took the advise of many of you. The connection in Frankfurt was listed as being questionable (we would possibly miss the connection) so we are taking the train from Vienna to Salzburg to Stuttgart, then Stuttgart to Strasbourg. Yes, it will be a long day of travel but while hubby sleeps on the train I will be catching up on my journal and taking in the scenery!

What a fun reunion that must have been!

That is what I do on the train - catch up my journal - there is usually wine involved too! There is always wine & snacks in my bag - I open the wine and pour it into a "rum runner" type bag - airtight, leak proof and much lighter than the heavy glass bottle. Enjoy your train ride!

Posted by
724 posts

That is what I do on the train - catch up my journal - there is usually wine involved too! There is always wine & snacks in my bag - I open the wine and pour it into a "rum runner" type bag - airtight, leak proof and much lighter than the heavy glass bottle. Enjoy your train ride!

Thank you for this hint...I have never heard of a "rum runner bag" but I googled it and learned something new today!

Posted by
12882 posts

Good that you are going by train and seeing that lovely German countryside, I would too.

Posted by
977 posts

No brainer. Take the train. Love German trains

Posted by
724 posts

Thank you again, everyone! I always learn so much on this site. We will be in Munich 3 weeks from today and the anticipation is killing me.