Now that we knew our first destination on our three week trip was going to be Italy and the last one was going to be Belgium, we had plenty of choice on how to get there. But, we didn't want to go to south France or Switzerland, so the next choice was Austria! And it turned out to be my favorite one!
Here is our brief itinerary:
There is a lot to do and see in Austria. Three major cities, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Vienna. We chose to see only Salzburg and Vienna as Innsbruck was quite west and wouldn't have fit our schedule. Hence, we decided to make these two cities our base and take day trips from here.
- Austria has amazing public transport. We bought our 2 or 3 day pass and it was super convenient for local transport in the respective cities.
- For inter city travel, you can book using the OBB website. Remember to print your tickets and carry them with you.
- Rick Steve's audio guides, mostly his city walks for Salzburg and Vienna were very informative. I either listened to his tour, or sometimes read the text before I wandered in the streets.
- All the shops, except restaurants and bars will close at 6 pm, sharp! So, be mindful of that while planning your day.
- We drove in Austria and I am glad we did. Their tunnels and bridges are engineering marvels and I think it is well explored by driving around.
- There are plenty of websites to help you look for things to do in Austria. I got recommended JenReviews website.
|Klagenfurt old town center|
|Our big bright red umbrella and Residenzplatz|
|Trick fountains at Hellbrunn Palace|
We decided to go see Hellbrunn Palace and the trick fountains. We took the bus #170 to the palace. The palace was good, but having seen some great architecture in Italy, this wasn't much impressive. We took the 5 pm trick fountain tour, this was fun. The fountains are really camouflaged you can't figure when and where they'll start squirting water. This was a lot of fun. We strolled trough the gardens and stopped by the legendary Sound of Music glass room.
Tip: Salzburg is a very pretty city and beautiful landscapes. It is worth spending a few days here and going for day hikes and excursions in the nearby cities. Water sports close to the Wolfgangsee river and hiking in the alps would be on my list next time.
|Hike up to the caves|
|Spot the winding trolley path|
Tip: There is another set of ice caves, Dachstein ice caves, close to Hallstatt, so you can pick which ones to see. We didn't have time to stop by at nearby lakes and salt mines, but they might make for good day trips. I read that Linz is also a pretty little town worth a visit.
|Walking through Karnerstrasse|
|Inside St. Stephens Cathedral|
I had initially wanted to go visit the Spanish riding school and catch one of their shows, but then I happened to see some videos on YouTube and realized it wasn't worth it. Now we were hunting for dinner and we stumbled upon this restaurant on yelp, Mughal Darbar and it was really good. With our tummies full, we retired for the night, wondering what to do tomorrow before we leave for Prague. Here is a good two day itinerary for Vienna.
|Demel's chocolate cake|
After we exited the abbey we strolled through their gardens and then walked through the narrow alleys of this small town to reach the banks of the river. We saw many cruise ships leaving for and arriving from Krems. We wanted to hike along the river, but didn't have time to do so. So we walked back to the town center and had Italian lunch at one of the local restaurants before boarding our train back to Vienna. I wish we could take the cruise, visit Krems and bike along the river. But well, we got to leave something for the next time.
|View from the Melk Abbey|
Tip: An ideal trip to Melk Abbey would include taking a train to Melk city, visiting Melk Abbey and taking Danube river cruise to Krems through Wachau valley. Then you could tour Krems and take a train ride back to Vienna. We couldn't do it since we were short on time.
- We skipped visiting Innsbruck on this trip as it was a little out of our way and decided to visit it on our next trip
- Biking along the Danube river from Melk to Krems via Wachau valley.
- Water sports and hiking along Wolfgangsee river.