Travelling by train through Austria is now faster and easier than ever before.
What better way to explore Austria than travelling through stunning mountain scenery, lush alpine meadows, historic towns and picturesque villages. The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) takes you to your favourite vacation destination. Whether you are heading to Salzburg, the city of Mozart and “The Sound of Music”, to Graz, across the famous “Semmering Railway” line, which is part of the UNESCO world heritage or to St. Anton and Bregenz, Austria’s westernmost province.
Discover Austria off the beaten path with this 11-day sample train journey, which takes you from Vienna to the Arlberg via Graz and Salzburg
Day 1 & 2: Vienna
Austria’s capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning architecture. Famous for its many cultural events, classical concerts, imperial architecture, coffee houses, cosy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm. Visit Schönbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer residence, with its beautifully tended formal gardens, the Gloriette monument, the Palm House, and the world’s oldest zoo. In the old town don’t miss out on Vienna’s prime landmark, the gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and explore the splendid baroque Belvedere Palace, displaying the largest collection of works by Gustav Klimt. On your second day in Vienna watch a morning practice at the Spanish Riding School or attend a Vienna Boys’ Choir performance. In the afternoon explore Vienna’s lush art scene and visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the MuseumsQuartier.
Day 3 & 4: Graz
On Day 3, explore the charms of Austria’s second largest city – combine arts, architecture, and culinary highlights. Take the train from Vienna Central Station to Graz (approx. 2h30min). Walk up Schlossberg for great views over the city’s roofscape, visit the Armory, the largest historic arsenal in the world, and get a ticket for the Kunsthaus (Museum of Modern Art), also called the “Friendly Alien”. On your second day in Graz, find out why it is called “Austria’s Culinary Capital”. Start your day at the Kaiser Josef Markt farmer’s market and try the culinary “sights”. You haven’t fully experienced Graz until you’ve sunk your teeth into at least one of them. There is no way around pumpkin seed oil – drizzled on anything from salads to vanilla ice cream. Visit chocolate manufacturer Zotter just outside of Graz and don’t forget to try a glass of Styria’s home-grown Sauvignon Blanc.
Day 5 & 6: Salzburg
The train from Graz to Salzburg takes about 4 hours – along the gentle hills in Styria to the gateway to the Alps. Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage city, has an unforgettable panorama: Fortress Hohensalzburg and the spires of Salzburg’s 50 churches rise up along the river. Thanks to Mozart’s legacy and the acclaimed Salzburg Festival, the city’s cultural life is rich and star-studded, with classical music. Visit Fortress Hohensalzburg, the unmistakable landmark that defines the Salzburg skyline. Dating to 1077, it endures as the largest preserved castle in central Europe. For a splendid view walk from the Fortress to the Museum of Modern Art on the opposite hill. From here walk down to the Festival District, at the foot of Mönchsberg, with two famous festival halls and the Felsenreitschule. On your second day explore Salzburg in Mozart’s footsteps. Start your day at legendary Café Tomaselli, walk via Alter Markt over to the Getreidegasse street and visit Mozart’s Birthplace. Afterwards visit the Salzburg Cathedral, where Mozart was baptized and try the original Fürst Mozartkugeln, which has been made from pistachio marzipan, layered in nougat, and dipped in chocolate for more than 130 years.
Day 7 & 8: Excursions from Salzburg
Take a trip down south to Werfen (approx. 45min) and visit the World of Ice Giants. After the ice caves walk up to Hohenwerfen Fortress to watch the spectacular falconry demonstration. Continue further south to see Central Europe’s tallest waterfalls, the “Krimml Waterfalls”. Hike from the village of Krimml up to the top of the waterfalls (1.5h). Take an early train from Salzburg to Hallstatt (approx. 2h30min). Hallstatt’s lakeside view may be the Alps’ most famous panorama. Visit the world’s oldest salt mine at the Salzwelten, where humans have mined salt for 7,000 years. For above-ground adventure, punt like a local on Hallstättersee lake in a wooden Fuhr boat. From Hallstatt, you can take the bus back to Salzburg and further explore the stunning Lake District on your way.
Day 9: Innsbruck
From Salzburg take the train to Innsbruck (approx. 2h). “The Capital of the Alps” is nestled in the Nordkette mountains. The Hungerburg Funicular takes you straight from the city centre up to 2,000 metres from where you can enjoy the views of the city and surroundings. Back down in Innsbruck visit the city’s landmark, the Golden Roof and try some Tirolean specialities.
Day 10 & 11: The Arlberg Region
1h15min west of Innsbruck you find yourself in breathtaking nature. Take a direct train from Innsbruck main train station to St. Anton. Famous for skiing during the Winter months, in summer the Arlberg region is the perfect destination to take a breath and hit the reset button on your body, mind, and soul. On your first day, hike to Formarinsee lake, Austria’s most beautiful place in 2015, and finish your day in a mountain hut with traditional Austrian food. On the last day of your Austria journey explore one of the locals hidden gem, the Verwalltal valley. Regular shuttle buses bring visitors from St. Anton into the Verwalltal valley, where cars are not allowed. Lake Verwall is known for its strong natural energy, making it an ideal spot to recharge, or go on one of the most beautiful hikes of your life and let the mystical Green Ring inspire you. A scenic hiking trail that winds from Lech Zürs over several peaks, invites you to explore its local myths. Artists and story-tellers have created installations along the way that will teach you about the Arlberg’s lore.
Are you tempted to try this itinerary out yourself?
Contact Travel Masters or The Travel Studio for more information!
- Text provided courtesy of Rail Plus