Arriving by air in Vienna, there two ways to get downtown, the CAT (City Airport Train) for
€9.00 or by bus (to either Schwedenplatz or Westbahnhof) €6.00, both one way prices.
I stayed at the Marriott Vienna which is easy to reach by taking the airport bus to Schwedenplatz and then taking either Tram 1 or 2, the hotel is right in front of the third stop.
Vienna has much to offer and 3 days seem to be minimum to visit this city. The VIENNA CARD
(€18.50) allows traveling around the city for 72 hours on any public transportation as well as discounts to over 200 sights. A lot of sights and museums are located within the Burg Ring, where the city wall used to be and which is the old part of town. The major city tour company is VIENNA SIGHTSEEING
(Visit Site), which offers several tours leaving in front of the state opera building. The guided 2 hour city tour (€36) includes a tour of Schloss Schoenbrunn but only the imperial tour which leaves out some amazing rooms. Therefore, I recommend the Hop on Hop off Tour (€16), this one gives most flexibility and they offer information via head sets. Afterwards pick and choose sights by interest. Some of the sights have a little information box (look like telephones) which offer for
€1.00 information in several languages.
SCHLOSS SCHOENBRUNN The enormous and elegant Schönbrunn Palace is one of the city's top attractions and a must for anyone who visits Vienna. The Baroque palace features lavish decorations and it is surrounded by formal gardens. XIII, Schönbrunner Schloss-Strasse, Vienna U-Bahn Schönbrunn Tram 10, 58, 60 Tel (01) 811 13 (Visit Site) . Audio guided tours are available which let you see either 22 rooms Imperial Tour (€9.50) or 40 rooms Grand Tour (€12.90, €11.40 with Vienna Card) of the palace's 1440 rooms Open Jan-Mar 8:30am-4:30pm daily; Apr-Jun 8:30am-5pm daily; Jul-Aug 8:30am-6pm daily; Sep-Oct 8:30am-5pm daily; Nov-Dec 8:30am-4:30pm daily. I recommend the Grand Tour and some extra time in the garden.
SCHLOSS BELVEDERE This impressive palace complex comprises two ornate Baroque mansions separated by formal gardens. Originally built for Prince Eugène of Savoy, the Belvedere Palace complex nowadays contains an art museum with an excellent collection of works by Gustav Klimt. III, Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, Vienna (Visit Site) . S-Bahn Rennweg Tram 18, 71, D, O Open daily 10am-6pm. Admission either Upper Belvedere or Lower Belvedere €9.50, €8 with Vienna Card, Combi ticket for both €12.50, €10.50 with Vienna Card..
The upper building (used for celebrations) and lower building (where Prince Eugene actually lived) are about 10-15 minute walk from each other through the garden. The famous pictures of the middle ages to the 20th century are shown at the upper building. The lower building shows changing exhibitions.
STEPHANSDOM St Stephen's Cathedral dominates the Inner Stadt and features catacombs and a view of the old town from the south tower. 01, Stephansplatz, Vienna U-Bahn Stephansplatz
(Visit Site) . Admission free Open 6am-5:30pm daily. The Dom lit at night and people like to sit here in cafes etc., as this is all pedestrian area.
HOFBURG Originally a medieval castle, the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) is one of Vienna's top attractions and the seat of the Habsburg empire until 1918. Nowadays the Hofburg houses the offices of Austria's president, state apartments, museums and is home to both the Vienna Boys Choir and the Spanish Riding School. 01, In der Burg, Kaisertof, Vienna U-Bahn Stephansplatz, Herrengasse, Volkstheater Tram D, J, 1, 2 Bus 48A 57A (Visit Site), open Jan-Jun 9am-5pm daily; Jul-Aug 9am-5:30pm daily; Sep-Dec 9am-5pm daily
A wonderful museum behind the opera is the ALBERTINA with changing exhibitions as main attraction and in the 'Prunk Raeumen' they show pictures of famous painters but only as duplicates.
€9.00, €8.00 with Vienna card. Daily 10am-6pm, Wed 10am-9pm. The Secession museum was recommended to me but I did not like it's extremely modern art (exhibitions change here often).
KARLSKIRCHE Karlschurch, (Visit Site), is a church situated on the south side of Karlsplatz, Vienna. It is one of the most outstanding baroque church structures north of the Alps, and boasts a dome in the form of an elongated ellipsoid. Very beautiful church, worth a visit.
KAERTNER STRASSE from Stephansdom to the opera is a pedestrian area with many restaurants and shops. Nice to stroll along here in the evening.
MUSEUMS QUARTIER Two museums next to each other and an open square in between. Here younger people meet in the evening to sit outside in one of the bars/restaurants. Nice atmosphere.
SHOWS/CONCERTS The state opera offers shows all year long except July and August, when it takes a summer break. In July/August another company rents the opera and offers WIENER MOZART KONZERTE in historic costumes. Good to know is that for this event they try to get people from the street and therefore some people show up in jeans and T-shirt which might ruin the 'opera feeling' for some guests. (Visit Site). A more classical concert is shown at the Schoenbrunn Palace Orangerie, the SCHOENBRUNNER SCHLOSSKONZERTE. Here people are dressed appropriate and the whole atmosphere has a more classical feeling. It is held in a simple side building, but in this building supposedly Mozart has played in front of the queen back in his time. The IMaGE company offers packages with dinners and themes. See me for more information or see (Visit Site).
MARRIOTT VIENNA, directly at the ring and opposite the Stadtpark. Rooms are typical Marriott style, staff was friendly and helpful. Internet access in the business centre is
€9.00 for 15 minutes (!) and everything else is expensive here too (a simple peppermint tea
€5.00). Location is good, tram stops right in front of building, about 10 minute walk to either the Stephansdom or the opera. Breakfast is not included.
HOTEL AM STEPHANSDOM, right next to the Stephansdom. The hotel is in great location with nice, modern rooms. The standard rooms are a little small, get the double deluxe instead. The suite has a huge balcony with view to the Dom. The breakfast room has all glass facing the dom. Breakfast is included. I would recommend this hotel. (Visit Site).
HOTEL ASTORIA, in Kaerntner Strasse next to Hotel Sacher. Hotel in old style, wide corridors and double doors to rooms. Very small elevator and all together a feeling of "old". However, the rooms look nice. Breakfast is included. (Visit Site).
HOTEL SACHER WIEN, right next to the state opera in Kaerntner Strasse. This 5 star hotel has a reception at the entrance to stop walk-ins, after that the reception is located next to an impressive lounge. All rooms are beautifully decorated, in classic old style flair. Two floors were added to the hotel and decorated by a French stylist in a more modern version. A wonderful hotel for people who are willing to pay the price, breakfast not included. Only downside, it felt a little stiff and formal. Signature Network Hotel. (Visit Site).
HOTEL DAS TYROL, a small luxury hotel next to the museums quartier, about 10 minutes walk from the ring. Modern hotel with tiny elevator and small rooms. Staff is very friendly and internet as well as breakfast are included. (Visit Site).
HELPFUL LINKS Vienna Tourist Board, (Visit Site), (my contact person in Vienna was Elke Bachner
(Contact Elke Hachner). AGIL Touristic&Services, this company provides help with any special requests, excursions, groups etc. (Visit Site). (Contact Mr Philip Stol).
EXCURSION, Danube cruise from MELK to KREMS (the Wachau area), a bit like a Rhine cruise with many castles along the way. I took the train from Vienna to Melk (2 hours) and went to the Stift Melk, a spectacular Benedictine abbey which dominates the town. It is located on a hill and it's size and rich inside decorations are pretty impressive. Afterwards I took the DDSG Blue Danube ship downstream for 1hr 40minutes to Krems (upstream takes longer). Personally I thought the Rhine cruise was more exciting and would not recommend this excursion unless someone has not been on the Rhine yet. From Krems it takes 1 hour by train to get back to Vienna. The train station is about 25 minute walk from the ship! Cruise cost
€18.00, the train ride is extra. (Visit Site). The Vienna Sightseeing company offers day tours from/to Vienna, (Visit Site).
Hydrofoil cruise on the Danube to Budapest. Takes about 6 hours one way. Price roundtrip
€ 109.00 or one way cruise, return train €126.00 (Visit Site), (this sounds like a nice excursion, unfortunately I did not have the time to explore this one).
To explore the Lake area and Salzkammergut, a rental car is necessary. Avis
in Vienna is a little further outside and Europcar or Hertz easier to reach. Important, some brochures still say that Avis offers free delivery to hotels in Vienna. This is not valid anymore! Delivery costs
I drove from Vienna to HALLSTATT, one of Europe's oldest towns. Hallstatt's history dates back 4500 years. Many relics of the early Iron sage, including a preserved 3000 year old salt miner, were unearthed in the nearby salt mine (Salzbergwerk). It is part of the World UNESCO Heritage. Unfortunately, very crowded with tourists. Parking for cars is IN the tunnel above/behind Hallstatt. Easy to miss, as it is not well sign posted. So please tell clients, they will see a blue P (for parking) in the tunnel and they will need to follow this sign. Otherwise, more parking is available at the salt mine a little outside the old town (about 10 minute walk). Hallstatt offers a museum, narrow alleys, a few hotels and restaurants next to many souvenir shops. These souvenir shops offer pretty glass containers with 'Hallstatt Salt' labels, which cannot be bought at the salt mine. The salt mine offers products with label "Salzkammergut" (produced in Bad Ischl). Also, Hallstatt offers boat rides on the Hallstaetter lake, with a stop in Obertraun, a little town about 10 car minutes away from Hallstatt. In Obertraun is a wonderful Hotel located right at the lake's edge and the boat dock. A nice get away for either accommodation or for a meal at the lake. Hallstaetter lake is a deep lake and therefore dark in color and very cold.
SALZWELTEN (saltmine) and RUDOLFSTURM about 10 minute walk outside the old town is a funicular railway, which offers rides every 15 minutes (€ 10) up the mountain to the saltmine and Rudolfsturm (restaurant). From up on the mountain the panorama view is wonderful. Right next to the funicular railway is the Rudolfsturm restaurant, which offers guests a great view over the lake and the surrounding mountains. The saltmine can be reached by a 15 minute up-hill walk. The World's Oldest Salt Mine 7,000 years of salt mining in Hallstatt. The “Man in Salt” accompanies the visitors on their journey through time at the Salzwelten Hallstatt. Duration of tour in the mines approximately 70 minutes; total duration of stay about three hours, cost
€16. Even if the time does not allow for a visit to the saltmine (I skipped the tour), the view is worth a trip up the mountain. (Visit Site).
GASTHOF ZAUNER, next to the market place. This hotel is privately owned by family Zauner for many years and they offer a restaurant downstairs, a few rooms upstairs. Very simple, missing some details and does not seem to be well looked after. I did not like this place very much.
HOTEL GRUENER BAUM next to the lake on the other side of the market place. This hotel seems in better shape and up dated. The breakfast room has lake view and there is outdoor seating next to the lake. Unfortunately, the hotel was fully booked and I could not see a room. But lobby, restaurant and seating area looked nice. (Visit Site).
Hotel HAUS AM SEE in Obertraun is a quiet place with wonderful lake view, surrounded by mountains. This hotel offers simple but well looked after rooms with lake view balconies for €89.00 incl. breakfast. The lady in charge, Mrs. Weinfurtner is from Munich and this place is certainly a little gem. During the summer, each Wednesday they have a grill evening next to the water and each Wednesday a wooden canoe with horn musicians on board cruises in front of the hotel for about 1hr. The horn music echoes from the mountains and offers a very special atmosphere.
EXCURSION Obertraun, Dachstein World Heritage. Three amazing caves: Giant Ice Cave, ranking among the biggest ice caves worldwide, is the probably most remarkable highlight of the World Heritage site, attracting 150,000 visitors per year. Less icy yet not less interesting are the extensive
Mammut Cave at the mountain and Koppenbrüller Cave in the valley, the latter featuring amazing underground streams especially at periods of thaw and heavy rainfalls. Installations, created by the students of the Linz University of Art, provide complementary impressions in all caves and provide surprising light and sound experiences. (Visit Site). (I did not have time to explore any of the caves)
Town AUSSEE, a sleepy town at Lake Aussee. Women still wear 'Dirndls' here as their daily dress (I did see a few, but also women with regular cloths).
ST. WOLFGANGSSEE about 35 minutes drive north of Hallstatt. This lake is not as deep as the Hallstaetter lake and looks
Caribbean blue and clear. In the summer it gets warm enough to swim in this lake.
ST. WOLFGANG offers well maintained buildings and cozy alleys, but not as tight and narrow as in Hallstatt. The musical "Im weissen Roessl" was created here and people can still enjoy a coffee at the lake im Weissen Roessl. Also, boat rides are offered (30 minutes
FUSCHL is about 30 minutes drive north of St. Wolfgang at lake Fuschl. Another beautiful blue lake, warm enough to swim in. Across the lake opposite the town is the Hotel
SCHLOSS FUSCHL. This hotel on a little peninsula has been a simple one building summer castle, before it was changed into a hotel with add-ons to the castle. The movie "Sissi" was filmed here and a little museum on property informs about it. The hotel is one of the Leading hotels of the world and truly a treat. Classic vacation offers this hotel for almost $500.00 room/night, but you can get a AAA rate of $379.00 in
world span, breakfast is included. This hotel is not stiff and formal, it offers any visitor a tour through the hotel and meals on the terrace with lake view or in one of the three restaurants. Only the swimming/boat dock area is exclusively reserved for hotel guests. This castle is about 30 minute drive from Salzburg and a wonderful place for a special dinner. Reservation recommended! (Visit Site).
Arriving by car in Salzburg can be a little confusing because of the many one way streets and if a hotel is located in the Altstadt (told town) even the GPS might have a problem to find a way to the hotel, as the old town is mostly pedestrian area and only allows hotel guests to enter for a quick check-in or check-out. Once parked it is best to use the busses. Salzburg does not provide an underground system, only busses. But that's enough because Salzburg is not very big and especially the old town’s most sights are in walking distance. Only Schloss Hellbrunn is further away and can be reached by bus in about 20 minutes.
This city has kept its charm and people seem to be very open and friendly. Nestled close to the Moenchsberg, the older part of the city is separated from the ‘newer’ part by the river Salzach. Most sights are in the old town; Mozart's residence and Mirabell Palace are just across the river outside the old part. I recommend at least 2 days for this city.
A nice way to start the sightseeing is to visit the Hotel Stein. Not a nice place to stay but from the cafe on the roof terrace one has a wonderful view over Salzburg. The tourist information (Mozartplatz 5) offers daily
scheduled walking tours and private tours can also be arranged there. Depending on how many sights one wants to visit, the SALZBURG CARD is helpful. This card offers public transportation as well as entrance to all sights in Salzburg. It is available for 24hrs (€24), 48hrs (€32) or 72hrs (€37). A very easy way to explore the sights by simply swiping this card (a great idea).
MIRABELL PALACE This palace was built in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich and includes the gardens which featured in The Sound of Music. The Mirabellgarden is a beautiful little garden with a fountain in old
Greek style. This palace was once built for the woman Wolf Dietrich loved. He was archbishop and back then the archbishop was automatically the prince of Salzburg. As bishop he was not allowed to have a wife inside the city walls but as the prince he built this palace outside the city and had 15 children.
MOZART'S RESIDENCE The house where Mozart spent seven years of his life contains another popular Mozart museum. Makartplatz
8, Tel (662) 87 42 27-70 (Visit Site). Admission €6.50, free with Salzburg Card. Open Jan-Jun 9am-6pm daily (last entry 5:30pm); Jul-Aug 9am-7pm daily (last entry 6:30pm); Sep-Dec 9am-6pm daily (last entry 5:30pm).
This one is very interesting, much more to see than in the birthplace museum and the audio guide offers a lot of information about Mozart and his life beyond this residence.
The following sights are inside the old town:
MOZART'S BIRTHPLACE Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born here on 27 January 1756 and this popular Mozart museum features the usual memorabilia alongside Mozart's first violin. Getreidegasse 9, Salzburg Tel (662) 84 43 13 (Visit Site). Admission €6.50, free with Salzburg Card. Open Jan-Jun 9am-6pm daily (last entry 5:30pm); Jul-Aug 9am-7pm daily (last entry 6:30pm); Sep-Dec 9am-6pm daily (last entry 5:30pm).
This one I found not very interesting. There is actually not much to look at and I went through this place in about 10 minutes (they don't offer audio guide).
GETREIDEGASSE is the alley in which Mozart's birthplace is located but also many shops and restaurants. The old signs on the houses show symbols as indication what kind of shop it is, as back then many people could not read. The Getreidegasse passes the Marketplace with the old CAFE TOMASELLI. Mozart often went there even though he always complained about their coffee and food. Across this Cafe is the FUERST CAFE, where the original 'Mozartkugel' (Mozart chocolate) was created. At the marketplace the Getreidegasse ends and the Judengasse begins. In this alley one can find an Easter shop next to a Christmas shop and many other little shops.
HOHENSALZBURG FORTRESS This castle is one of the highlights of the city and offers excellent views of the city. The castle features a tower, torture chambers and impressive state rooms. If you take the guided tour you get to see parts of the castle which are out of bounds to other visitors. Mönchsberg 34, Salzburg (access via Festungbahn funicular) (Visit Site). Admission €10.00 including return funicular fare, free with Salzburg Card. Open Jan-Apr 9am-5:30pm daily; May 9am-7pm daily; Jun-Aug 9am-7:30pm daily; Sep 9am-7pm daily; Oct-Dec 9am-5:30pm daily.
The view from here is indeed wonderful. The inside of the fortress can be seen by audio guide but only as a group (which makes it a slow process). I took the funicular train the day I went into the fortress. The day before I took the Moenchsberg elevator up onto the Moenchsberg and walked through that forest like park up there to the fortress. A nice walk and once in a while a space between the trees would reveal great views over the city and much further.
ST PETER'S ABBEY This ornate church, dating from 846, features fascinating examples of Baroque art in addition to a beautiful organ and catacombes. Franziskanergasse, Salzburg
(Visit Site). Admission €1, free with Salzburg Card Open Jan-Apr Wed-Thu 10:30am-3:30pm, Fri-Sun 10:30am-4pm; May-Sep Tue-Sun 10:30am-5pm; Oct-Dec Wed-Thu 10:30am-3:30pm, Fri-Sun 10:30am-4pm.
SALZBURG DOM The site where the current cathedral or Dom of Salzburg stands was probably a sacred place for rituals and sacrifices from Celtic and Roman times. It is known that the first Dom was built under the guidance of St. Virgil, who might have used foundations by St. Rupert. The first Salzburg Dom was recorded in 774. In this year, the relics of St. Rupert were transferred to the Dom from St. Peter’s Abbey. The Domplatz is the site where the “Jedermann” is staged during the Salzburg Festival, implementing the façade of the cathedral to use the dramatic scenery. In late November and December, it is the location of the Christmas Market and draws thousands of visitors.
The following is a little further away from the city (about 20 minutes by bus):
HELLBRUNN PALACE Prince Archbishop Markus Sittikus commissioned the Hellbrunn Palace in 1612 shortly after taking the throne. The palace is noted as one of the finest
Renaissance buildings north of the Alps although the main attraction for most visitors are the famous trick fountains in the palace's water gardens. Fürstenweg 37, Salzburg Tel (662) 82 03 72-0 (Visit Site). Tours cost €8.50 (€6 students) Tours depart half-hourly Apr 9am-4:30pm daily; May-Jun 9am-5:30pm daily; Jul-Aug 9am-6pm daily; Sep 9am-5:30pm daily; Oct 9am-4:30pm daily.
I did not see the palace from the inside but went on one of the Trick Fountain tours. Important to know - visitors will get wet! They really trick the guests and especially in the evening it is difficult to see from where water might suddenly shoot...I don't think I saw any 'dry' person leaving this tour. Therefore, best to visit on a warm day.
SHOWS/CONCERTS A wonderful experience is the MOZART DINNER CONCERT at the Stiftskeller St. Peter. A three course meal with music from Mozart in between the courses. Two different menus, two different prices, drinks are not included. (Visit Site).
BEST WESTERN HOTEL ELEFANT, in best location close to the Getreidegasse. This hotel is privately owned and March 2008 renovated. The rooms look elegant and stylish. The whole hotel looks well looked after and staff is very friendly. The standard double rooms are small, so get the 'big' double, which is the same price. Price is €135.00 incl. breakfast. Parking
€11.00 per day. My favorite hotel in this city, in regards to what one gets for his money. (Visit Site).
HOTEL ALTSTADT Radisson SAS in Judengasse next to the Christmas shop. This hotel was built in a synagogue and expanded into three buildings over time now. Great location, rooms are nice and with historic flair. (Visit Site).
GOLDENER HIRSCH at the end of the Getreidegasse. This hotel is popular with Americans, offers traditional looking rooms with historic flair. The prices here are pretty high and do not include breakfast. Parking is
€33.0 per day (!). (Visit Site).
HOTEL BLAUE GANS is a very modern looking art hotel. Prices are fair, but this might not be for everyone. The owner is very friendly and lets art students exhibit their work throughout the hotel. The restaurant is popular with locals, especially the outside seating area. (Visit Site).
HOTEL STEIN just outside the old town across the river. Does not look very nice. Quick and cheap renovation. Only the cafe on the roof is worth a visit.
HOTEL SACHER SALZBURG also just outside the old town, across the Salzach. Very bright lobby, due to the glass roof and open corridors. Nice rooms with class. Not as formal and stiff as the Sacher in Vienna. (Visit Site).
HOTEL WOLF DIETRICH about 10 minutes walk outside the old town. Privately owned and it looked like the entire was very young (in their twenties). Very friendly, free internet access and organic breakfast. Unfortunately, simple details are missing, e.g. how to reach reception, no clock in room. It is further from all sights, but if someone does not mind the walk, this is a good hotel for younger guests. The location is in a pedestrian area where locals live and eat (prices are a little less than in the old town) and staff is extremely nice and helpful. (Visit Site).
HELPFUL LINKS INFORMATION CENTRE Salzburg Tourism Mozartplatz 5 Tel 889 87330 (Visit Site) or TOURISMUS SALZBURG my contact was Ms. Gunda Bleckmann Sales & Marketing Manager. Auerspergstrasse 6 A-5020 Salzburg Tel. +43/662/88987-304 Fax: +43/662/88987-32
(Email Ms. Gunda Bleckmann), (Visit Site).
Also very helpful is the (Visit Site). This website is run by locals from Salzburg, who collected independent “inside” information in English for international visitors. Independent means that they neither work for the tourism council, nor for any particular company. They share information on Salzburg – so you can experience Salzburg at your visit through the eyes of a local.
(Note: All information and prices are based on July 2008).
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