Vienna to Innsbruck by Train
Day 1: Vienna
Vienna is undoubtedly one of the most charming European capitals. On the morning of Day 1, take the U4 subway to Schönbrunn Palace, a baroque delight and UNESCO World Heritage Site where Mozart played for the Empress Maria Theresia when he was just five. The extraordinary imperial park houses the world's oldest zoo and you can go up the Gloriette mounument for great views and have a coffee.
Most buildings of interest are in the old town (fist district), were you find the Gothic St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Imperial Palace, plus countless narrow streets and hidden squares. In the evening, enjoy a casual dinner with traditional music at a local winel tavern (Heuriger) in the neighborhood of Grinzing (take tram 38). Try a wine typical and exclusive to Vienna: Gemischter Satz.
Watch the morning exercise at the Spanish Riding School or attend a Vienna Boys' Choir performance and visit the central cemetery (Zentralfriedhof, take tram 71) where Strauss, Schubert and Beethoven lie. Falling in love with Vienna? The world's most famous kiss on display in Belvedere Palace amidst the largest painting collection by Gustav Klimt. Vienna has plenty of great art galleries and museums such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the MuseumsQuartier, which houses the MUMOK and the Leopold Collection and many more. The coffee house, the second living room of many Viennese, is one of the best places to relax and meet locals. Great writers like Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler and Thomas Bernhard came here to enjoy a 'Melange' and read the newspaper. And there's nothing like a piece of cake to go with your coffee, of course, such as the Sacher Torte or a slice of Wiener Apfelstrudel.
Day 3 and 4: Excursions from Vienna
On Day 3, take the train leaving from Wien Meidling station to Graz (2h,30m). Look forward to a vibrant city with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, its Old Town and Eggenberg Castle. Graz also has a bit of a foodie reputation and you will love the charming farmers markets or sitting down for a meal at one of the award-winning restaurants.
We suggest using Day 4 to catch the direct regional train from Westbahnhof station to Melk (50 min). The romantic Wachau is undoubtedly one of the most magical regions Austria. The 20 miles of riverside, from Melk to Krems, are UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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 famous Wachauer Marillenknödel are made.
Day 5: Salzburg
The comfortable 'Railjet' train takes just 2h22m from Vienna's Westbahnhof station to Salzburg.
Baroque Salzburg is surrounded by magical mountains and its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the birthplace of Mozart, and 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, where the restaurant's terrace invites you to take in the great view.
One of Salzburg's most attractive markets, the Schrannenmarkt, is situated in the University Square, just a few steps away from Getreidegasse, the picturesque street where Mozart was born. For the sweet-toothed, it is a must to try the most famous dessert in town, the Salzburger Nockerl.
Next morning, take bus 25 to Hellbrunn Palace and enjoy the unique trick fountains in the park. Come afternoon, it is time to relax in one of Salzburg's coffehouses: Try the Cafe Tomaselli. Salzburg is renowned for its music and in the summer months it goes without saying that you should attend an opera or a concert at the famous Salzburg Festival.
Day 7 and 8: Excursions from Salzburg
Take an early train from Salzburg to Hallsatt (2h30m with a change in Attnang-Puchheim) to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of lakes surrounded by mountains. Hallstatt is a real feast for the eyes and at the top of the village you can visit the oldest salt mines in the world. Eat on the banks of one of the lakes and enjoy the catch of the day such as 'Forelle' (trout) or 'Saibling' (char).
After lunch, take a regional train from Hallstatt to Bad Ischl (25 min), a small historic town with hot thermal springs. It is a tradition to go to the coffee house Zauner to try their exquisite pastries. Continue with bus 546 (25 min) to St. Wolfgang, a charming village, to later take a boat trip along Lake Wolfgang (45 min) to St. Gilgen, the town where Nannerl, Mozart's sister, lived. As the day draws to an end, take bus 150 (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 (1h35m) and then the local narrow gauge train (1h25m); a pleasent trip to enjoy the natural beauty. 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 (40 min) to Werfen. Go to the medieval fortress Hohenwerfen which is situated on a hill with impressive 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 at 11:15 am or 3:15 pm to watch the spectacular falconry demonstration.
Day 9: Innsbruck
Take an early train from Salzburg to Innsbruck (1h 50m). We recommend buying the Innsbruck Card for 48 or 72 hours which includes free public transport in the city and to surrounding villages, plus tourist attractions and cable cars.
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 architecture 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.
Spend the day visiting three iconic places around Innsbruck's historic center. Take tram 1 to the Bergisel Ski Jump and then continue to the small mountain village of Igls (only 15 min with the busline J). In the afternoon, take tram 3 to Ambras Castle which houses a unique collection of art.
Day 11 and 12: Excursions from Innsbruck
Early in the morning, take the STB train from Südtiroler Platz station (30 min) to the village of Mutters. From the station, walk towards the church, and on the main street you will find a typical Tirolean farm with painted facades. If you continue to the next stop you will arrive at the Mutteralm cable car (included in the Innsbruck Card) where you can enjoy a half-day hike followed by lunch in a mountain hut.In the afternoon take the 1 hour train ride to Kufstein to explore the Riedel Glas Factory, a company that revolutionized the way of experiencing wine.