Austria is located in the heart of Europe, bordered by Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia, Hungary and Liechtenstein. With over 6,000km of public and private railways running throughout, it is easy to travel all the way across Austria by rail. Be inspired by our sample route below.
Most buildings of interest are in the old town. Here you will find the Gothic St. Stephen's Cathedral where Mozart got married, the Imperial Hofburg, plus countless narrow streets and hidden squares. In the evening, enjoy a casual dinner with popular local music at a traditional tavern in the neighbourhood of Grinzing (take tram 38). White wine such as the Grüner Veltliner is the Viennese speciality and it goes particularly well with a good pork dish.
We suggest using Day 4 to catch the direct regional train from Westbahnhof station to Melk (around 50 min). The romantic Wachau is undoubtedly one of the most magical regions Austria. The 33 km of riverside from Melk to Krems are UNESCO World Heritage, opening into a landscape of hills covered with vineyards and charming medieval villages. In early April, apricot trees bloom in splendor, being the most precious fruit of the region from which the famously delicious Wachauer Marillenknödel are made.
Baroque Salzburg is surrounded by magical mountains and its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the birthplace of Mozart, plus The Sound of Music was filmed here and in the surrounding areas. Hohensalzburg Fortress perches majestically on the Mönchsberg. For splendid views of the city, take a walk to the Museum of Modern Art.
One of Salzburg's most attractive markets is situated in the University Square, where you can try local products such as 'Kaspressknödel' (bread dumplings filled with cheese). Through a narrow passage you reach Getreidegasse, the most characteristic street where Mozart was born, along which you will find beautiful courtyards. For the sweet-toothed, it is a must to try the most famous dessert in town, the Salzburger Nockerl.
After lunch, take a regional train from Hallstatt to Bad Ischl (around 25 min), a small historic town with hot thermal springs. It is a tradition to go to the Café Zauner and try their exquisite pastries. Continue with bus 546 (around 25 min) to St. Wolfgang, a charming village, to later take a boat trip along Lake Wolfgang (around 45 min) to St. Gilgen, the town where Nannerl, Mozart's sister, lived. As the day draws to an end, take bus 150 (around 45 min) back to Salzburg.
From May until late October, you have two options for enjoying the wonders of nature on Day 8 of your round trip. The first option takes you to the Krimml Waterfalls, the highest in Europe, in the National Park Hohe Tauern. Take two trains: first a regional train to Zell am See (around 1h35m) and then the local narrow gauge train (around 1h25m); a pleasant trip throughout which you will enjoy the scenery. On Thursdays and in the two summer months also on Tuesdays, you can take the nostalgic train with an old steam locomotive. From Krimml station a bus takes you to the village.
The second option is to take the train from Salzburg (around 40 min) to Werfen. Go to the medieval Hohenwerfen Fortress which is situated on a hill with an impressive chain of mountains in the background. Give yourself an hour to visit the castle’s interior and then try to make it to the inner courtyard gardens to watch the spectacular falconry demonstration.
This beautiful alpine city with its medieval old town is nestled in the Nordkette mountains. Hungerburgbahn Station is one of the most magnificent examples of modern design in Tirol. A rack railway and a cable car take you to where you can enjoy views of the city. And one last cable car takes you to an alpine landscape at over 2,000 meters.
Back down in Innsbruck you can try specialties such as Schlutzkrapfen (dumplings stuffed with cheese or spinach), Käsespätzle (pasta tossed with onions and cheese) and Tiroler Gröstl (a pan with potatoes, meat and vegetables) in one of the traditional restaurants. Dedicate the rest of the day to sightseeing and shopping in town.
Return to Innsbruck and continue to the village of Wattens to admire the Swarovski Crystal Worlds, also included in the Innsbruck Card. From the station take either a shuttle bus (4 times a day, around 30 min) leading you directly to the entrance, or a commuter train to Fritzens-Wattens (around 16 min) and continue 15 minutes by foot.
End the day taking a regional train (only 8 min) to Hall in Tirol. This beautiful medieval town with picturesque streets and squares is well worth a visit with its Hasegg Burg castle (where you find the Mint Museum, also called the birthplace of the Taler coin and the modern day Dollar), the fascinating Magdalena chapel with its frescoes and altar, and the churches of St. Nikolaus and the Jesuits. The town is even more charming admidst the colourful Christmas lights.
On the final day of your round trip, take a regional train from Innsbruck to Rattenberg (around 45 min).The ancient town by the river Inn is the smallest in Austria. Its highlights are the main street with colorful facades where you find glass shops, the church and the castle ruins. Continue your journey taking bus 4074 to Alpbach, undoubtedly the most scenic mountain village in Tirol with its characteristic wooden houses and balconies full of flowers. From here, take bus 4074 to Brixlegg (around 23 min) and then a regional train to Jenbach (around 7 min).
From Jenbach take the Achenseebahn - Europe's oldest steam cog railway - to Seespitz (around 50 min), enjoying a slow journey of 6.78 km of woods and at the end Lake Achensee, the largest of the bathing lakes in Tirol. Take a boat from here to Pertisau (around 10 min) and when you are ready to return take bus 8332 back to Jenbach (around 40 min) and from there a train returning to Innsbruck (around 20 min).
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