This ideal tour for travelers on a tight time budget hits all the key attractions from Vienna to the Salzkammergut to Salzburg to Wachau in just eight days. Possible add-ons include Großglockner, Graz, Innsbruck, Munich, Garmisch and Neuschwanstein.
This trip will be customized according to your wishes.
The city on the Danube, which is situated at the crossroads of the transport routes from the Baltic to the Adriatic and from southern Germany to the Great Hungarian Plain, is much more than the capital of Austria.
For many centuries Vienna was the center of a powerful empire covering much of southeast Europe, the seat of the powerful Habsburg Monarchy which ruled from the Middle Ages to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.The city's illustrious past is reflected in its stately palaces and other majestic landmarks along the ring surrounding the old town, such as the Staatsoper (state opera) and the ducal Hofburg. Today Vienna, former capital of the former multinational state, is a modern, cosmopolitan city with a touch of nostalgia for the glorious days of old. It is still the mecca of classical music with the world's largest music conservatory, the most famous concert halls with countless music events each year.
The small hotel with 26 bedrooms is imbued with homelike atmosphere rarely found in a commercial establishment.
This is not due to chance: It was the intention of owner Otto Wiesenthal from the start to provide guests with an extra measure of hospitality. Before opening his hotel in 1991, Herr Wiesenthal was in the computer business, where his unpleasant experiences with impersonal hotels inspired him to create an inn where guests are welcomed as friends. Located on a quiet side street outside the Inner Ring, the hotel is a 15-minute walk to the heart of Vienna. A staircase leads up one level to the reception area. The reception staff will gladly assist with sightseeing plans, dinner reservations and tickets for events. On the same floor there is a cozy lounge with an open fireplace, which is a popular meeting point for regular guests and local artists and musicians.
Dr. Marco Pongratz-Lippitt is a knowledgeable city guide who brings Vienna's history and present to life with light-footed and profound humour.
Large connections become visible without getting lost in details. Together with him one walks for a few hours on side paths through the Danube metropolis and sees beside the important sights like the Hofburg, the Stephansdom and the city centre also some hidden, enchanting inner courtyards.
For six centuries, from the 13th century to 1918, the Vienna Hofburg was the residence of the Habsburgs. The Hofburg grew with the rise of the noble family from a small country nobility to Europe's leading dynasty. In the beginning there was a small castle. In the end, it had 2,500 rooms. In addition there is the Winter Riding School, where the Lipizzaner horses train, the National Library with a magnificent domed hall, the Museum of Art History and the seat of the Federal President. A large part of the Hofburg is open to the public.
In 1857, Emperor Franz ordered the old fortifications to be razed. In its place, a magnificent boulevard was built around historic Vienna, which leads to the Danube at both ends. The almost 5 km long road is lined by public and private buildings, which try to surpass each other in splendor, pomp and pathos. The buildings imitate earlier style epochs, from Greek antiquity to Gothic cathedrals and the Renaissance. The ring road was inaugurated in 1865. Today it is regarded as a complete work of art, which is unique in the world.
The museum is located at Berggasse 19, where Sigmund Freud lived and worked for 47 years. In his study he wrote the majority of his writings, which are an integral part of the intellectual history of the 20th century. When the family moved in in 1891, the house was a new building. After the transfer of power to the Nazis in 1939, the seriously cancer-ill founder of psychoanalysis had to emigrate to London. Original pieces from Freud's possession can be seen in the museum as well as the waiting room of the practice and some pieces from Freud's extensive collection of antique works of art, mainly small statues. Most of the earlier furniture with the famous couch, however, is in today's Freud Museum in London, where Anna Freud lived until her death in 1982.
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Vehicle: Ford C-Max or similar (CDMR)
Location: Vienna Airport (Desk at Airport)
The baroque princely residence of the Esterházy family is one of the most beautiful castles in Austria. Already in the 13th century a gothic castle stood here. The historical ballroom of the castle is known as the Haydn Hall and is often used as a concert hall. In the 18th century Joseph Haydn served for thirty years as Kapellmeister for the Princely Court and in this capacity had to compose hundreds of pieces of music for immediate performance at the Prince's ceremonial occasions. The castle park is considered one of the most interesting monuments in Austria in terms of garden architecture.
At the summit of the Semmering Pass at an altitude of 985 metres there is a sophisticated climatic health resort. In the 19th century Semmering became a popular holiday destination for the “fine society” of Vienna. In the Südbahnhotel from 1882 or the Kurhaus from 1909 the nobility met, among them Emperor Karl I and his son Otto. But artists such as Oskar Kokoschka and Karl Kraus also shook hands here. From 1854 the Semmeringbahn was a magnet for visitors. The first mountain railway in Europe leads through 15 tunnels and crosses 16 adventurous viaducts.
The region south and east of Salzburg was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997, both due to its indescribable beauty and its cultural-historical importance as a source of salt.
The valuable mineral has been mined in the area for over 7,000 years. (Salzkammer & gut = saltroom & property). Many of today's most important eastern Alpine passes were used in the Middle Ages to transport salt from the city that still bears the word in its name (Salzburg = Salt Fortress). A tour of the Hallein Salt Mines, the oldest salt mines in the world, is one of the highlights of a visit to the region. The Salzkammergut is dotted with incredibly beautiful mountain lakes, which are enjoyed by many a tourist.
The hotel consists of three painstakingly restored buildings in the World Heritage Site Hallstatt. The main building was built over 500 years ago, making it the oldest structure in town.
The expert renovation has enabled the facility to offer a high standard of modern comfort without sacrificing its historical character. Tucked in between majestic mountains and the stunning lake, the hotel enjoys an unsurpassed romantic setting. The rooms offer a standard of comfort that has enabled the accommodation to join the exclusive group of hotels known as Luxury Hotels of the World(SLH). The Hallstatt dock is directly in front of the building. The famous Drachstein Caves are just around the lake at Obertraun.
Chinese architects found the picturesque town on Lake Hallstatt so enchanting that they built a replica of it in the People's Republic. The settlement here owes its origin to salt. Mighty Salt chambers were discovered here more than 4,000 years ago. Even today the “white gold” is still mined in the oldest salt mine in the world above Hallstatt. Traces of a rich past can be discovered everywhere: The Celtic grave sites, the salt mine, the prehistoric museum, the houses nested in confined space one above the other, the churches, the cemetery with the ossuary and the “oldest pipeline in the world”.
The quickest route leads across the Gschütt Pass that separates the provinces of Upper Austria and Salzburg. Hallein, site of the world's oldes salt mines, lies along the route.
A scenic alternative route follows the shore of Hallstättersee north to the north end and continues past Wolfgangsee and Fuschlsee to Salzburg. A cog railway leads from St. Wolfgang to the top of the Schafberg (1,780 m or 5,840 ft).
At the end of an eventful political life in 976, when Saint Wolfgang built a monastery with his own hands and worked several miracles, he had no idea that his hermitage would become one of the most famous tourist resorts in Austria. St. Wolfgang owes this above all to the pilgrimage church, which is dedicated to him and enthroned in perfect grace over the Wolfgangsee. Inside, the late Gothic church impresses with a richly decorated altar, which Michael Pacher completed in 1481. He shows Our Lady kneeling in front of her child and framed by two monks, Saint Benedict and of course Saint Wolfgang.
The Salzkammergut at the foot of the Alps near Salzburg is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. Medium and high mountains, gorges, cliffs and over 40 lakes alternate with one another. There are also countless Baroque churches and abbeys, castles and picturesque towns such as St. Gilgen or Bad Ischl, which is why UNESCO declared the whole area a World Heritage Site. Lake Fuschl is located in the heart of the Salzkammergut region, only 30 kilometers away from Salzburg. With a length of ten kilometers it belongs to the smaller lakes and is therefore less well known than the Mondsee or the Attersee, though no less appealing.
The 1,783 meter high rock is only for those who are free from vertigo. It towers above the foothills of the Alps and offers a fantastic view across the Salzkammergut. However, the ascent to the summit can even be done by sheep. It belongs to the most beautiful hikes near and far. For those who find just under 1,200 metres of altitude too much, you can take the rack-railway, which was opened in 1893. The valley station is in St. Wolfgang, where the hiking trail begins. At the top you can stop at a hotel. (one way: 7.3 kilometers, 4 hours, up: 1170 meters)
The small Eibensee is one of the lesser known waters in the western Salzkammergut. The ascent leads along the Eibenseebach through the Wildmoos nature reserve. From nearby Marienköpfl you have wonderful views of Lake Fuschlsee and its surroundings. The Eibensee is idyllically situated between steep slopes that keep the wind away, so that the lake often lies as smooth as a mirror. On hot days you can swim in the lake. (round trip: 9.8 kilometers, 3 hours, up and down: 375 meters)
The “Sehweg” is a simple walk. If the whole circular hiking trail seems too long, you can cross the Fuschlsee half way with the “Zille”. The path mostly leads along the shore. Information boards inform about meadow, tree and forest types. In summer, the bays and beaches invite you to swim in the emerald green lake (return journey: 11 kilometers, 3 hours, up and down 100 meters).
The city located at the northern boundary of the Alps is one the most beautiful in central Europe. The backdrop of the Alps to the south contrasts strongly with the rolling plains to the north.
The closest Alpine peak – the 1,972 m Untersberg – is only a few kilometers from the city center. The inner city, or old town, is dominated by baroque towers and churches. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is Salzburg's most famous son. The houses where he was born and also lived in are popular tourist attractions and there are many monuments remembering the “Wolferl” in the city. His family is buried in a small church graveyard in the old town.
The 19th century villa, converted into a boutique hotel, is located in a residential area south of the Kapuzinerberg.
Each of the 14 rooms is individually furnished and offers modern comfort. In the morning a rich Breakfast buffet with local and seasonal specialities awaits and in good weather can also be served on a terrace in the garden with a natural pond. Those who want can take a stroll along the Salzach and reach the oldtown in approximately 15 minutes; with the bus (line 7), it takes about five minutes.
The fortress from the 11th century towers high above the city. It is the landmark of Salzburg and with an area of over 7,000 square metres one of the largest castles in Europe. The location on a rock above the Salzach was ideal for monitoring a wide surrounding area. Even today you have the best views of Salzburg from there. The interior of the fortress is also worth seeing. Concerts take place regularly in the Golden Hall. If the ascent to the castle is too difficult for you, you can take the fortress railway.
The Salzach River, which divides the old town into two parts, flows right through Salzburg. To the left, i.e. west of it, lies the actual core of the city. There are the historic churches, the monasteries and cemeteries, the Salzburg Cathedral and the Getreidegasse with Mozart's birthplace. The Festspielhaus and the Residenzplatz also belong to the left Old Town. The old town on the right is younger, but is also a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the many valuable town houses and the worth seeing Mirabell Castle. Those who want to stroll through the old town should therefore visit both sides of the river.
Although the Archbishop of Salzburg lived in celibacy qua office, this did not prevent him from taking the beautiful Salome Alt as his lover. And since he was a generous man, he had a palace built for them and their 15 children, which he named after her “Schloss Altenau”. When he had to exchange his pretty residence for a prison cell in Hohensalzburg in 1612 because of this scandal, the glory came to an end. His successor as archbishop was his virtuous nephew, who expelled the illustrious family and renamed the castle. It's called Mirabell ever since. A masterpiece of architectural history is the magnificent staircase from the ground floor to the second floor. The wall niches contain marble sculptures inspired by Greek mythology.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the old town, you can hike to one of the surrounding mountains. Especially recommendable is the legendary Untersberg in the south of the city. The massif between Berchtesgaden and Salzburg is full of mysterious caves, including the Schellenberger Ice Cave and the Riesending Shaft Cave. Both can be visited. From St. Leonhart, the Untersbergbahn takes you up to the ridge in ten minutes and overcomes 1,300 metres in altitude. From the mountain station you can hike to the Große Mittagsscharte. (round trip: 2 hours, 4.5 kilometers, up and down: 260 meters)
The capital of Upper Austria straddles the Danube. The heart of the 2,000-year-old city is the central square (Hauptplatz) lined with stately Baroque buildings and Renaissance courtyards. In recent years Linz has managed to change its image as a grimy industrial center thanks to new environmental regulations governing steel production and the increased promotion of cultural activities. Indeed, Linz was named the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2009.
The largest concentration camp in Austria is located south of Linz in the town of Mauthausen. It began operating just ten days after the German occupation of Austria. It was a category III camp where people died performing slave labor. Starting in 1942, there was a camp brothel in which women who were considered “asocial” were forced into prostitution. In February 1945, 500 Soviet officers attempted to flee from death-block 20. Nearly all of them were killed during the following three-week manhunt. Only eleven survived, because the local population hid them. Before being liberated by the US Army in 1945, over 120,000 people perished in the quarries and in the surrounding area. There is a monument located at the site of the former concentration camp.
The region known as the Wachau occupies a 30 km strip of the Danube Valley between the cities of Krems and Melk. The area was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000 due to its natural beauty in harmony with its architectural landmarks, which include numerous castles, monasteries and ruins.
Along this stretch the Danube flows through a narrow valley sandwiched between the Bohemian Massif and the Dunkelsteiner Forest, lined with terraced vineyards and dotted with historical towns and medieval villages. High night-day temperature fluctuations contribute to the special aroma of the wines and this is where Austria's most famous wines, including Grüner Veltliner, are produced.
The palace in Dürnstein was built by a princess in 1632. She chose the location well: a high cliff overlooking the beautiful Danube as it winds through vineyards on the way to Vienna. Today the palace is a luxury Relais-et-Chateaux hotel considered one of the best properties in Austria.
Meals are served on the popular garden terrace above the river. The individually decorated rooms are complemented by elegant lounges with period furniture. Among many other activities, guests can take a dip in the indoor or outdoor swimming pools, enjoy a sauna or steam bath, walk up to the medieval castle ruins above the picturesque town of Dürnstein, stroll along the river or among the vineyards, or take day trips to nearby Vienna.
Krems, the oldest city in Lower Austria, is surrounded by vineyards and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape of Wachau. The town is famous for its medieval gate called the “Steiner Tor.” A Capuchin monastery called “Kloster Und” is located in front of the gates. Today, the monastery houses wine cellars, conference rooms and museums devoted to art and caricature. The old town of Stein, where hardly anything has changed for centuries, is only a short walk from here.
Location: Vienna Airport (Desk at Airport)