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A Slow 9 Night Wander Near Salzburg

Trip Outline:

  • 3 nights Salzburg
  • 2 nights Wagrain
  • 3 nights Hallstatt
  • 1 nightSalzburg
  • Flights - DFW-FRA-SZG-FRA-DFW

Traveled with a friend and one of my daughters who met us there. We had a 1 hr transfer in Frankfurt around 8:30am. Although we did have to change terminals, our flight was on time and the immigration line was non-existent; so we were at our gate for Salzburg with 20 minutes to spare. Immigration on our return was equally fast - we had 2.5 hours and had at least 1.5 hours to sit at the gate. Plus I had the lovely SSSS. It only entailed a swab of my phone, iPad, and pockets and took 11 minutes including the extra walking to swab location. I made my friend go on to the gate, though, since there’s no predicting.

Salzburg 3 nights: Stayed Altstadthotel Weisse Taube in a triple room.
It was really conveniently located and very pleasant. I would definitely stay here again. However it did not have air conditioning (and I could see some people might want that). We were on the 5th floor - the elevator went to the 4th floor and then we walked 1 flight. We had a fan, plenty of room, large windows that allowed a great breeze, and a view right to the fortress. Price was high for me, but Salzburg in the summer seems expensive everywhere (and I didn’t start really early).

Did: Day 1 - Wandered the streets, took a nap. Day 2 - noon organ concert at the cathedral; Hohensalzburg; Christmas museum. Day 3 - Panorama Sound of Music tour (I have done the Bob’s tour and wanted to compare); apple strudel and Salzburger Nockerl cooking class at Eidelweiss Cooking School; shopping (see my packing report).

Actually I have been to the fortress twice. So while my travel companions went, I checked out the experience of getting my DL translated at the local equivalent of AAA, since I forgot to bring my IDP 🤦🏻‍♀️. I had no idea you could do this; but it was a fast simple process apparently not out of the ordinary for the staff and I had quite a nice time.

Ate: highlights were the Augustiner Bräu beer garden and Zipfer Bierhaus.

Picked up a Budget/Avis rental car at the airport, where they never asked about the required international license…… Although it took an hour, it was a really interesting experience to watch them deal with the several unprepared customers in front of us.

On the way to our next stay: Koenigsee boat trip to St. Bartholomew’s. We had wanted to take the longer ride and hike but some light rain and a late start meant we decided to take the shorter ride. It is stunningly beautiful.

Wagrain 2 nights:
Stayed Oberauer Wagrain - Die Hotelpension (B&B) in a triple room.
We loved this town. It is primarily a ski resort but is so charming and not really on a tourist path for Americans. I started out just looking for somewhere less expensive but scenic. For us, it was a win. It is a family run B&B with breakfast, free parking, and wonderful hospitality. No air conditioning but we SURE did not need it.

Did: the Flying Mozart Cable car up the mountain. Ate at the top at Kogelalm, which had the best mulled wine I have ever had. (Again, we hit a few hours of drizzly cold weather).
Then in the evening we just happened to be there for the annual weekend Lindenfest. They had a tiny parade with a band, musket firing, a beer garden (under the linden tree), and music all evening. It was clearly a community gathering and fundraiser- and so much fun! We also ran into the same hen party we talked to in the morning as we all came out of our lodgings.

Ate: **Kia Ora on night 1. This elegant restaurant also has a hotel and the food was delicious and inexpensive and our waitress was a delight.

These 2 nights were a totally unknown experiment and a complete success.

Cont.

Posted by
4290 posts

On the way to our next stay, our day included:

  • the Sound of Music meadow just above Hohenwerfen;
  • then Hohenwerfen itself - we loved the Birds of Prey show and unexpectedly loved the included guided tour of the castle we almost didn’t take (tons of stairs);
  • and lastly a stop for 2 rides at Woody Bob’s summer toboggan, which was so fun.

Hallstatt 3 nights: Stayed Gingin Rooms, found on booking.com.
This room/apartment was right by the entrance to the funicular up to the salt mine, had free parking, and was very spacious - except for no cooking facilities it felt like an apartment. No air conditioning, didn’t need it.

Did: Day 1 arrival, we just ate dinner and then went to the music by the fountain. It was classic rock/old jazz and was completely fun while feeling at odds with the surroundings. LOL! They were still playing when I left at 9:45. :) Day 2 - a walk into town for breakfast, then up the funicular for the salt mine tour. Lots of steps, very interesting, and of course the slides and train were fun. Day 3 - a day trip to Admont Abbey to see the library. This was a lovely day out through beautiful scenery and the library and grounds were also beautiful.

Ate: Highlights: Rudolfsturm at the top of the funicular - the food was good, less expensive than down in Hallstatt, with views to die for.

Simple 169 in Hallstatt - like the name, this was a small simple place, with a small drinks selection and minimal food menu. But we went all 3 nights mainly to watch the 1 or 2 people working interact with all the customers. They made it welcoming and homey and I would be happy to finish off every night there. Plus the food and drinks were good. :)

Der Kamper in Admont - this sounds cliche but they had the best schnitzel I have ever had and possibly the best green salad. We ate late afternoon and they were open but did not have their full menu available.

Salzburg 1 night: Stayed Airport Hotel. Really nice unique and comfy hotel right by the airport (for our 6:30am departure). I would have done a chain for convenience, but this was just as cheap and convenient and so much better. Overlook the terse, business-like front desk for the hotel itself.

Did: We arrived earlier than we could have, so had time to grab the last 3 seats at the Marionette Theater, an hour and a bit “Carnival of the Animals” - 3 short stories (Babar, Ferdinand the Bull, and Saint Saëns Carnival of the Animals). It was absolutely delightful. We then headed straight for our reservations at St. Peter Stiftskulinarium for our Mozart dinner reservations - a perfect way to end our trip!

Observations:

  • Salzburg is expensive.
  • Hallstatt is expensive.
  • Every restaurant, bakery, etc. we encountered in Hallstatt only took cash. Otherwise, in other cities, card was fine.
  • The car was an extra expense, but this time it got us to places it would have been difficult and time-consuming to see without it. It came equipped for the Austrian toll roads and was ok to take into Germany. Driving was easy.
  • Flights were unexpectedly cheaper for us to fly on in to Salzburg instead of just to Munich or Frankfurt. That is usually not the case.
  • The busses and trams in Salzburg are easy and nice. All stops had a ticket machine, which will display in English and you can tap to pay. We went some places (including the airport several times) where the #10 tram was necessary.
  • We did not encounter crowds anywhere. Hallstatt had day trippers (but nothing like when I was a day tripper in 2018), but we were basically not in town then. It was quiet and sleepy at night, with many places closing at 6 or 8. The main shopping street in Salzburg also had more daytime traffic but again we were not there much then and even at the busiest we saw, it was ok.
  • It was definitely not hot.
  • And best, the scenery was the star of the trip.
Posted by
6823 posts

Sounds like a lovely trip! I love Austria and reading this makes me want to head back there. And Wagrain sounds perfect!

I'm glad you got to spend a vacation with your daughter, too - I'm sure that was wonderful!

Posted by
5004 posts

Since heat wasn't an issue, what month was this?
Thanks for sharing your adventures!

Posted by
4290 posts

Thank you, Mister É. :) I will have a doozy (as my dad would say) coming up for my next one. 🤣

Mardee, yes! I absolutely loved getting to drive the smaller roads through the mountains and small towns. And, yes, I love that that my daughter thinks it’s fun to come travel with us old people every so often. 😝

Pat, it was July 18-27. We just got home Thursday night. We had a rather warm first day in Salzburg, then a number of days with a light drizzle for 10 minutes or an hour, and 2 days with heavier rain half the day. All but the first day were quite pleasant and we had 3 times (including part of our last evening in Salzburg) that we were actually cold! None of the weather we had was consistent for a whole day, though! Coming home to 105° was the sad part.

Posted by
312 posts

Wonderful trip report as always! And I really like how you organized it. It's inspired me to consider tackling one for my recent trip.

Posted by
4290 posts

Do it, min! Your trips are so different from mine - it would be interesting!

Mister É, I will if you will. 🤣

Posted by
7394 posts

Excellent trip report! Thanks for sharing your experiences and recommendations in that lovely area!

Posted by
4290 posts

Thank you, Jean!

And Tammy, it’s such beautiful scenery. And I liked staying in a small geographic area. I could have stayed longer… 🤣

Posted by
10334 posts

Great trip report!

Inquiring minds want to know, which SOM tour did you prefer? I’ve only done Bob’s.

Posted by
14580 posts

Thanks for some very important information and tips on Hallstatt, which admittedly I have yet to see on trips to Austria, crowds or no crowds.

Absolutely, it pays to bring cash, one of the mistakes made on this trip in June/July. I did not bring enough cash.

Not surprising at all that these businesses in Hallstatt had the cash only policy. I saw that also in heavily tourist areas in Munich , ie Viktualienmarkt.

Posted by
4290 posts

Thanks, Fred! While I did have to get cash several times, ATM machines were easy to find in all the towns I went to.

Andrea, maybe the answer is situational for me. When I went on the Bob’s tour, I had a group of 13 people and our own private van as a result. The Panorama is a big bus. But for me, maybe the Bob’s tour wins out. It was more informational and made an extra stop because we had time.