Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

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Talfred
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Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:44 am

Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Talfred »

I will be taking a solo trip to Europe in June and am specifically interested in scenic Austria and the Bavarian Alps. I vacationed in Switzerland last year and loved it. I will be flying in and out of Zurich, and am seeking recommendations for sights, activities, hotels and trains. I have about 20 days, and will not have a car.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated helpful suggestions.
MGBMartin
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by MGBMartin »

I’ll get you started…
For train learning about train travel in both places you can’t get any better than https://www.seat61.com/
Navigate to the respective sections on European and country specific travel.
In Bavaria you can get train day tickets for the entire state for 2 or more people that can be less expensive than purchasing individual tickets. Austria probably has some regional tickets too. I remember getting the bus from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden and the driver told us he would give us a day pass as it is cheaper than buying two tickets there and back.
Bad spellers of the world untie | Autocorrect is my worst enema
dcabler
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by dcabler »

Talfred wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:02 pm I will be taking a solo trip to Europe in June and am specifically interested in scenic Austria and the Bavarian Alps. I vacationed in Switzerland last year and loved it. I will be flying in and out of Zurich, and am seeking recommendations for sights, activities, hotels and trains. I have about 20 days, and will not have a car.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated helpful suggestions.
When in Austria, head to Dachstein. Then take the gondola up to the top. But mostly, ride on top of the gondola instead of riding inside (on top, it's open air with a handrail). When I did it, it was first come, first served to ride on top. It wasn't really a problem because most didn't want to. Go figure. Might have changed since I did it a few years ago and you might have to reserve that now or purchase a special ticket, not sure. Once up, walk around on the glacier..

Cheers.
Dukefan
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Dukefan »

Heartily recommend a few days in the Wachau Valley of Austria (shortish train ride outside of Vienna). Right on the Danube. We went in early July last year. The weather was very nice (typically not too warm there in the summer). The scenery is lovely (vineyards, apricot orchards, monasteries, castles, etc). Wonderful little restaurants in each of the small towns along the river. Easy to get around on the tour boats that run up and down the river. Some crowds, sure - but nothing compared to Europe’s more touristy spots. Just a very tranquil place to be.
bendix
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by bendix »

Talfred wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:02 pm I will be taking a solo trip to Europe in June and am specifically interested in scenic Austria and the Bavarian Alps. I vacationed in Switzerland last year and loved it. I will be flying in and out of Zurich, and am seeking recommendations for sights, activities, hotels and trains. I have about 20 days, and will not have a car.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated helpful suggestions.
Why wouldnt you rent a car? Sure, train rides are cheap and sort of available, but the comfort of a car and weather independence will make your trip a lot nicer. Renting at ZRH airport can be (very) expensive, but you could rent anywhere along the way.

Any of the Bavarian villages in the countryside are lovely. Think about Oberammergau, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Tegernsee, Chiemsee... On your way to Bavaria you could stop by the Bodensee area as it´s lovely at this time of the year. There are plenty of nice little villages between Bayreuth and Bamberg in Frankonia in the North of Bavaria and I´ve done hiking trips there, going from brewery to brewery... This is all good as long as you stay away from the bigger cities and stay in the countryside.
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Talfred
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Talfred »

bendix wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:33 pm
Talfred wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:02 pm I will be taking a solo trip to Europe in June and am specifically interested in scenic Austria and the Bavarian Alps. I vacationed in Switzerland last year and loved it. I will be flying in and out of Zurich, and am seeking recommendations for sights, activities, hotels and trains. I have about 20 days, and will not have a car.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated helpful suggestions.
Why wouldnt you rent a car? Sure, train rides are cheap and sort of available, but the comfort of a car and weather independence will make your trip a lot nicer. Renting at ZRH airport can be (very) expensive, but you could rent anywhere along the way.
I don't enjoy driving at all and want no part of it on my vacation.
hunoraut
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by hunoraut »

Most of Austria is scenic. The most scenic is Tirol region that borders Switzerland as it encompasses more of the Alps.

Obvious activities are hiking, but also riding the alpine coasters ie toboggan that are set up at the ski resorts. The other thing thats possible is downhill biking rentals.

Theres also incredible mountain passes to drive on like the Grossglockner near Salzburg but you would obviously require a car.
Valuethinker
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Valuethinker »

Talfred wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:02 pm I will be taking a solo trip to Europe in June and am specifically interested in scenic Austria and the Bavarian Alps. I vacationed in Switzerland last year and loved it. I will be flying in and out of Zurich, and am seeking recommendations for sights, activities, hotels and trains. I have about 20 days, and will not have a car.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated helpful suggestions.
So Innsbruck and Salzburg are both very scenic "Olde World" places. I prefer Innsbruck because it felt more "authentic" but there are those who would say the opposite. Great zoo. Lots of museums - the Hapsburg one is a hoot. Also the castle (Schloss Ambras) out on the outskirts of town (you take the streetcar, then you come to its last stop, and walk). Older memories, but I think Salzburg castle was pretty interesting, too.

Places you can go and stay from Innsbruck that I know. Neustift (quite close - about a 45 minute bus ride, or there is a small train and *then* you take a bus). Lots of great walks from there. Nice town. Music in town square at night. Tirol buses from Innsbruck are very good.

Kitzbuhl is also nice. But it's definitely a more luxury resort town. But most things would be open in June, probably.

We have stayed in Heilegenblut. But there's not a lot there. People go from there to the Grossglockner glacier.

One issue is a lot of places don't open until July. That may well be the case in Oetz Valley (Solden, for example - which is a lovely place). Weather is not reliably good enough for walking. The road to Italy from Obergurgl (top, ie southernmost point of the Oetz Valley) is not open until July, I don't think.

There is an Oetz Valley tourist card which is well worth having - gives you 1 free up and down on any given lift for that day, plus free bus travel. Austria is not cheap - but probably cheaper than Switzerland. Other valleys may do something similar. Not all lifts are running every day so be sure and check with tourist office.

Voraalberg is supposed to be interesting-- tried to join Switzerland at end of WW2 but the 4 wartime Allies were not having it, as I recall. And Liechenstein is right there too. I would check out Rick Steves' books for some good ideas about seeing castles and other things in Austria.

It depends a lot what you want. The Swiss Alps are of course more magnificent. The Austrian Alps are good for walking. Not all the lifts run every day, so you have to check with the tourist office.

With the very warm winters and summers we have been having walks on glaciers are restricted and do be careful if you are crossing snow. At this rate there won't be skiiing in Austria in future years.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sat Mar 30, 2024 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Valuethinker
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Valuethinker »

hunoraut wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 4:32 am Most of Austria is scenic. The most scenic is Tirol region that borders Switzerland as it encompasses more of the Alps.

Obvious activities are hiking, but also riding the alpine coasters ie toboggan that are set up at the ski resorts. The other thing thats possible is downhill biking rentals.

Theres also incredible mountain passes to drive on like the Grossglockner near Salzburg but you would obviously require a car.
In Tirol at least the buses are very good, so that may offer a way to see some of these passes without driving?
Valuethinker
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Valuethinker »

Talfred wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 6:20 pm
bendix wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:33 pm
Talfred wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:02 pm I will be taking a solo trip to Europe in June and am specifically interested in scenic Austria and the Bavarian Alps. I vacationed in Switzerland last year and loved it. I will be flying in and out of Zurich, and am seeking recommendations for sights, activities, hotels and trains. I have about 20 days, and will not have a car.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated helpful suggestions.
Why wouldnt you rent a car? Sure, train rides are cheap and sort of available, but the comfort of a car and weather independence will make your trip a lot nicer. Renting at ZRH airport can be (very) expensive, but you could rent anywhere along the way.
It's possible to get from Zurich to Innsbruck to the Oetz Valley (Imst) by train. We met someone who did it. Sounded like fun.

I don't know if there is an Austrian railcard, or if one could do Interrail? But that could save both money and hassle (not having to book seats ahead). I have understood that German trains are suffering from underinvestment: chronic delays and cancellations. I thought this was a British disease, only, I must admit. (Blowing national stereotypes out of the water, Italian intercity trains are great).
I don't enjoy driving at all and want no part of it on my vacation.
Driving on Austrian mountain roads would be taxing. And the way *they* drive is ... a bit stressful. We've seen more than one accident scenes -- including one where it appeared there had been a fatality-- gone right into the ravine. Oh and our bus crashed - but that was carelessness (parking brake slid off at a stop, and bus crashed back through guard rail, leaving us with 2 wheels dangling in space).
Bayern
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Bayern »

You will thoroughly enjoy Bavaria and Austria, and June is a nice time to visit, though the weather can be variable at times in the Alps. As been mentioned in responses, you should check mountain transport in the areas you are interested in visiting, as they may not be operational at the time of your visit.

I try to avoid the main tourist destinations and focus more on finding a nice base to then branch out on day hikes and also multi-day hut hiking.

In Austria, I would recommend the areas around Mayrhofen, St. Johann in Tirol, and St Anton am Arlberg (western Austria).

In Germany, I would strongly recommend the Allgäuer Hochalpen area (fewer tourists).
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Theseus
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Theseus »

Talfred wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:02 pm I will be taking a solo trip to Europe in June and am specifically interested in scenic Austria and the Bavarian Alps. I vacationed in Switzerland last year and loved it. I will be flying in and out of Zurich, and am seeking recommendations for sights, activities, hotels and trains. I have about 20 days, and will not have a car.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated helpful suggestions.
Are you a hiker? If so I recommend inn-to-inn hike. Basically you hike from one place to another with a day pack and your luggage is transferred for you. We had used this company and they were great. They give you a map, gps files for an app based hiking etc. https://www.eurohike.at/en

We did that and it was awesome. We loved all the small towns/villages. Ruhpolding was such a cute town.
02nz
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by 02nz »

Not in the Alps, but Regensburg and Bamberg, both in northern Bavaria, are incredibly beautiful and pretty untouristy. The Danube Gorge near Regensburg is one of Germany's best-kept scenic secrets.

Also not in the Alps, but Graz in Austria is another well-kept secret. It's Austria's second-largest city and sees almost no foreign tourists. It's on the way to Slovenia, which does have the (Julian) Alps. With three weeks, I'd definitely include Slovenia in your itinerary. Ljubljana and just about everywhere else in the country are very, very beautiful.

And I second the recommendation above for the Wachau - Melk Abbey is stunning, and the whole region has beautiful scenery and great food and wine.
hunoraut
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by hunoraut »

Valuethinker wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 5:28 pm
I don't know if there is an Austrian railcard, or if one could do Interrail? But that could save both money and hassle (not having to book seats ahead). I have understood that German trains are suffering from underinvestment: chronic delays and cancellations. I thought this was a British disease, only, I must admit. (Blowing national stereotypes out of the water, Italian intercity trains are great).
The Austrian railcard Vorteilscard is a pass that gives 50% discounts on the fares on OEBB lines, which is yes cleaner and more on-time than Deutsche Bahn
Topic Author
Talfred
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by Talfred »

Thank you to all for your recommendations! I'm researching the information you've provided and my enhusiasm is growing. Please feel free to continue to leave suggestions and other bits of wisdom.
AlottaJuicy
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Re: Three Weeks in Austria and Bavaria

Post by AlottaJuicy »

We stayed almost a week last summer in St. Wolfgang .. but we had a car which enabled us to venture out on day trips to Berchtesgaden and other small scenic towns in the area
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