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Old 08-15-2014, 08:11 AM   #1621
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We will buy our Wachau ticket after we arrive in Vienna. We also have to pick up our pre purchased Vienna-Budapest ticket. Bought our Budapest-Prague tickets on line at MAV this week. We knew when we were travelling so locking in for a reduced fare was the way to go. We will do the same on Trenitalia once we have finalized our Italy plans.
We'll buy our Wachau Valley combiticket either the day we arrive in Vienna (probably), or the (very early) morning of the trip.

After reviewing several Wachau Valley trip reports, we plan to get off the boat at Dürnstein, instead of the final stop at Krems. Then we can hike up to the Richard the Lion-hearted castle ruin, and then relax at the local wine tavern or bakery before catching the hourly bus (bus WL1 leaves Dürnstein Parkplatz Ost at 33 after each hour) to the Krems train station to then return to Vienna. Overwhelmingly people talk about what a lovely little town Dürnstein is.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:33 AM   #1622
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We'll buy our Wachau Valley combiticket either the day we arrive in Vienna (probably), or the (very early) morning of the trip.

After reviewing several Wachau Valley trip reports, we plan to get off the boat at Dürnstein, instead of the final stop at Krems. Then we can hike up to the Richard the Lion-hearted castle ruin, and then relax at the local wine tavern or bakery before catching the hourly bus (bus WL1 leaves Dürnstein Parkplatz Ost at 33 after each hour) to the Krems train station to then return to Vienna. Overwhelmingly people talk about what a lovely little town Dürnstein is.
What ticket is this?

I'm going in November and thinking of a day trip, though the boats won't be running.

Viator offers this coach tour:

Wachau Valley Small-Group Tour and Wine Tasting from Vienna - Vienna | Viator

Was also thinking of this one too.

Danube Valley Day Trip from Vienna - Vienna | Viator
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:45 AM   #1623
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We'll buy our Wachau Valley combiticket either the day we arrive in Vienna (probably), or the (very early) morning of the trip.

After reviewing several Wachau Valley trip reports, we plan to get off the boat at Dürnstein, instead of the final stop at Krems. Then we can hike up to the Richard the Lion-hearted castle ruin, and then relax at the local wine tavern or bakery before catching the hourly bus (bus WL1 leaves Dürnstein Parkplatz Ost at 33 after each hour) to the Krems train station to then return to Vienna. Overwhelmingly people talk about what a lovely little town Dürnstein is.
Durnstein is beautiful (even in the rain). I think this is a good plan. One of my group hiked up to the castle.

The Blondel inn is right in the centre of town and looks lovely, though I did not eat there.

Hotel Restaurant Sänger Blondel

The Hotel Schloss is at the top of the hill and there is a wonderful view of the Wachau Valley. Didn't eat there either, but it looked very inviting.

Hotel Schloss Dürnstein
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:49 AM   #1624
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We visited the Wachau Valley and stopped in Durnstein on a bike trip last year. Very nice.
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:56 PM   #1625
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Our kids just came back from 10 days at the Los Cabos Hilton in Mexico...

Curious, I looked it up and found this site, with pictures of the Hotel and the surroundings. Must confess that I have never seen anything like it, much less been to this kind of a resort. Our idea of a super vacation was a trip to my folks little cottage in Barrington RI, on the 100 Acre Cove.
Just talked to my son, and he said they went to all five restaurants in the Hotel, and "did" all of the activities shown in the slide show, except maybe diving off the cliffs.

We're going to have to have a talk about LBYM... as they took four kids with them on the trip...

https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x81345fbc03ca8a85:0x66254281038d64 7a!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4shttps://plus.google.com/105003752747368420707/photos?hl%3Den%26socfid%3Dweb:lu:kplacepageimage %26socpid%3D1!5scabo+hilton+-+Google+Search&sa=X&ei=Z7LrU5HhDZH4yQS8y4HIDg&ved= 0CLoBEKIqMAo
Why do they have a camel in Mexico? That is really bizarre!
Kids must have loved all those pools!
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:02 PM   #1626
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Durnstein is beautiful (even in the rain). I think this is a good plan. One of my group hiked up to the castle.

The Blondel inn is right in the centre of town and looks lovely, though I did not eat there.

Hotel Restaurant Sänger Blondel

The Hotel Schloss is at the top of the hill and there is a wonderful view of the Wachau Valley. Didn't eat there either, but it looked very inviting.

Hotel Schloss Dürnstein
The two I found were the Altes Presshaus (old press house) wine heuriger selling locally produced wines and the typical hearty snacks that go with them. Across the street is the Schmidl bakery and cafe that sells the famous Wachau laberl (bread roll) they invented, along with apricot jam and various other edibles. These seem like our speed. Although, the Hotel Sänger Blondel does have their famous apricot dumplings…..hmmmmm


Could that possibly be the "Hauerplatte" for two people on the Altes Presshaus menu? OMG! It makes you think of gigantic Austrians consuming copious amounts of wine along with it.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:18 PM   #1627
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What is the ticket to the Wachau Valley being referred to?

Is it a train or bus ticket to reach the Wachau Valley from Vienna or is it some kind of tour?
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:46 PM   #1628
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My understanding is that it is a combo ticket available from Austrian Rail for approx. E46. It is a day ticket that includes train to Melk, admission to Melk Catherdral, a boat ride on the Danube, and then train back to Vienna.

We are going next month We actually want to stop in Melk and Durnstein so we will check when we arrive. We may just do our own thing. For sure, we will not take the Wachau boat tour from Vienna.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:53 PM   #1629
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The boat tour is not worth it?
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Old 08-16-2014, 12:50 PM   #1630
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The boat tour is not worth it?
The most scenic section of the boat tour is the Wachau valley between Krems and Melk. That's why folks take trains to get up to that area before hopping on a boat. It's much further and upstream from Vienna, so it's slow, and boats round trips from Vienna take all day. I think they are also only offered on Sunday.

It's actually Melk Abbey and grounds which include some neat gardens and buildings. The library holds almost a million books. This abbey inspired the book "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Echo. They sold their Gutenberg Bible to Harvard to pay for abbey restoration. The Baroque Garden Pavilion contains some famous frescoes.


ÖBB sells this combination ticket - available from any Austrian railway ticket counter/booking office for €39pp. Combitickets-Summerdreams Wachau, Wachau-Ticket, Austria-Reisen mit Rail Tours Touristik GmbH

It's valid for 10 days, so it could be used over multiple days if you wanted to spend one or more nights at some locations.

Here is the trip described by one of the boat companies that accepts the voucher for the boat portion. DDSG Blue Danube GmbH

They offer Vienna to Dürnstein cruise on Sundays. You can just go one way, or cruise both ways with a 2 hour layover in Dürnstein.
DDSG Blue Danube GmbH

On those Viator trips you're paying a lot more, and being driven there by van or coach instead of train, and the first one skips the Melk abbey in favor of a boat cruise in the summer - so you don't get to do both.
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Old 08-16-2014, 02:10 PM   #1631
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Audrey (or others), any suggestions for other cities to couple with Vienna in addition to Durnstein? Trying to think of easy ground links to make up a maybe a 3 week trip. Thanks for the Durnstein info.

Did you find any guides you prefer? Rick Steves has one on Vienna, Salzburg & Tirol .

It seems like August and the very beginning of September might be a good period according to this weather picture: Average Weather For Vienna, Austria

If I recall right, I read in Rick Steves that Vienna gets a lot of business travel (conventions?) in September so prices are higher maybe.
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Old 08-16-2014, 02:25 PM   #1632
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Thanks for the links. Looks like those combo tickets are only through the end of October.

Maybe I can find just the rail tickets to the region.
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Old 08-16-2014, 03:05 PM   #1633
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I got back on Sunday from a 10-day car trip to the Tidewater VA area. It was something of a nostalgia trip as I had not visited since I moved 32 years ago. Much busier than I remembered. I drove down on the fast roads (Beltway-I-95 and I-64) but decided to come home via central VA and avoid the stress as much as I could. I have a couple of short Road Scholar trips planned for later this year (eastern PA and Blue Ridge area of VA).
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Old 08-16-2014, 04:06 PM   #1634
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Audrey (or others), any suggestions for other cities to couple with Vienna in addition to Durnstein? Trying to think of easy ground links to make up a maybe a 3 week trip. Thanks for the Durnstein info.

Did you find any guides you prefer? Rick Steves has one on Vienna, Salzburg & Tirol .

It seems like August and the very beginning of September might be a good period according to this weather picture: Average Weather For Vienna, Austria

If I recall right, I read in Rick Steves that Vienna gets a lot of business travel (conventions?) in September so prices are higher maybe.
We decided not to visit Vienna in August, because quite a few cultural activities shut down that month. It also can get a little warm - or at least people complain about that, especially in Salzburg where many hotels don't have AC. Summer is quite rainy in Salzburg and some parts of Austria June-Aug. In general, July and August are the busiest tourist months by far (as in most of Europe), so with the wet weather, crowds, and Vienna schedule we waited until September. It did look like the hotels were a little tougher to book for mid-Sept - something is definitely going on Sept 15-18 as lodging seemed to be really full then.

This is not a "city" per say - but the outskirts of Vienna (Vienna woods) is a famous wine growing region, and we have one day set aside to visit the area near Kahlenburg, enjoy the scenery, hike through some vineyards (do part of city wanderweg 1 or 1a), and then hang out at one of the wine taverns in the late afternoon before catching a tram back to Vienna inner district.

Don't forget Melk near Dürnstein. Dürnstein seems like a lovely place to spend a night or two. We decided not too just for logistics of moving into yet another hotel room. But if we were spending more time in that part of Austria, we probably would have. There are buses running along the Danube there, so if you have a base it's easy to get back and forth between towns.

Several people go to see the Klosterneuburg Abbey from Vienna, something we won't have time to do.

And we consider the Schönbrunn Palace to be a "day trip" from Vienna due to the immense size if you really spend time on the grounds. It's probably a 2/3 day trip at least. There is enough to do in Vienna inner district to use up several days. We're going to be cramming all our museum visits into a single day.

My main Vienna e-reference is the Rick Steve's "Best of Europe 2014" that I bought even before I had settled on this destination. This also has Hallstatt and surrounds treated in depth. I also got the mini-ebook Snapshot Munich, Bavaria and Salzburg for covering other parts of the trip. There is some overlap.

He has a pretty good free app with free downloads of walking tours for different towns and some podcasts with general info. His videos are on-line as well as several destination articles, so you can pick up a lot of info without needing to purchase much.

But honestly most of the info I got on-line. Browsing tripadvisor.com and "things to do" in various locations helps consolidate what would be most interesting to us and how many nights we might have to stay in a location to do what we were most interested in at our pace.
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Old 08-16-2014, 04:07 PM   #1635
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Thanks for the links. Looks like those combo tickets are only through the end of October.

Maybe I can find just the rail tickets to the region.
The boats quit running their river cruises after October.

In Austria you can buy a day train ticket (for a specific day) called Einfach-Raus-Ticket for €35 that covers 2 to 5 people traveling together anywhere within Austria. Yep! Total. It's valid from 9am on a given weekday until 3am then next morning. On weekends, there is no start time restriction. You can go anywhere and take multiple trips on that given day as long as it's using the regional trains - not any of the high speed ones. Regional trains only have 2nd class available. Most of the trains going between Vienna and Melk, and all of the Krems return trains are regional. You just can't take the Railjet high speed train on one of the legs out of Vienna. Regional trains pretty much go everywhere within country, it might just take a bit longer on a long leg, and you can't take an early train on a weekday ÖBB travel portal: Einfach-Raus-Ticket

That ÖBB site is excellent, as long as you flip the switch to English - left panel. You can enter dates, times, destinations, and it will spit out all the possibilities at least for the next 60-90 days. Schedules aren't usually available 90 days out.

Bavaria has a similar regional ticket called the Bayern ticket and you can buy a first class or 2nd class version. Same time and regional train restrictions. That's how you would pay for a trip from Munich Füssen, for example. €27 for two people 2nd class, €50 for two people first class. An entire day of unlimited travel in Bavaria
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Old 08-16-2014, 04:55 PM   #1636
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Audrey, thanks for such a thorough reply. Sounds like you did loads of planning. I appreciate how much is required pre-trip. Sometimes I'm tempted to go the tour route but neither DW or I really want to leave it all to others. Plus you pay for the convenience. I have looked over Rick Steves itineraries as a way to get some ideas. For instance, one 14 day tour covers Germany-Prague-Vienna (as I recall). It shows stop days and discusses sites.

We did do a short tour in Scotland of 2 nights duration. Went to Skye from Edinburgh and back. That worked out OK although the tour bus driver was a creep and I complained to management. They refunded the entire tour amount. Hopefully that was an unusal case as the tour company has a good reputation.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:00 PM   #1637
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Most of our retired neighbors go on tours, and this is precisely why. It's a huge amount of work to do it on your own. But since we plan to visit Europe annually, I'm hoping some of the logistics work will pay off in the future. Certainly the bits about train travel in Europe is transferrable.

I first looked at the Viking cruise up or down the Danube, but quickly decided that wouldn't work for me because I didn't like how limited the time was in various cities. We definitely wanted to spend more time in Vienna, for example, and then I was interested in Salzburg. And there were cities that I wasn't that interested in.

We might consider them for short cruises in other parts of Europe we are not familiar with such as some parts of France, or sections of the Rhine, etc. No more than a week though. Some people feel like they get "stuck" on a less than desirable boat or crew.

We won't do a bus tour though. I did one in Canada, and never again. It was just too constrained, and we had nothing in common with our fellow travelers. It just felt very passive. It was a shock because we'd been on several birding and photography tours and had a great time with our fellow enthusiasts. A boat I don't mind as long as it's smallish - you don't have to be around your fellow travelers much if you don't want to.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:17 PM   #1638
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Way back in 1983 I did a bike trip down the Danube in Austria. At least then the tow path along the canal was open to bikes and it is of course very flat. We biked from Ebbs to Krems, and then took the old First Danube Steamship company boat into Vienna. Interestingly Durnstein is only 6 km from Krems by Bike according to the old road logs. One possibility might be to train to Krems, bike up to Durnstein, or if your up to it all the way to Melk (30 km) and back, and catch the boat back to Vienna. (Assuming there are bikes to rent in Krems)
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:20 PM   #1639
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I've only been to Vienna in winter but supposedly it doesn't rain much if at all in November.

Have to admit I didn't research day trip possibilities or else I wouldn't have planned to split the week between Vienna and Prague.

Still have to see Hallstatt and Bavaria, and Salzburg again.
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:16 PM   #1640
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I've only been to Vienna in winter but supposedly it doesn't rain much if at all in November.

Have to admit I didn't research day trip possibilities or else I wouldn't have planned to split the week between Vienna and Prague.

Still have to see Hallstatt and Bavaria, and Salzburg again.
I've wanted to visit Salzburg since reading The Salzburg Connection many years ago. Lots of spies in those parts.
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