9 Countries in 7 Weeks: Austria

Each year Messina Hof Wine Cellars, Inc offers travel to a wine region.  Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo lead these travel tours. This year our Messina Hof Travel was on Amawaterways from Budapest to Bucharest. This was an unexplored wine region for wine and food.

Tip for Travel: If you are traveling abroad for a guided tour, try to go early before the tour and/or stay after to explore other areas. Make the most of your time there to do as much as possible. Airfare and 9 hours of flight time are investments.

This was a great trip and we wanted to share our favorite finds and some tips along the way.

Tips for all destinations:

  1. If you are traveling by train, book your hotel near the train station or tram stop that runs from the train station. It makes movement around the city and to other destinations much easier.
  2. On the first day we either take the sightseeing Hop on Hop off bus to learn more about the city or we jump on the local buses and trams to see every part of the city. This allows us to identify areas we want to explore more. We usually go to the local Tourist Information office to get maps and points of interest.
  3. We use the bus and metro to move around the cities. Most towns offer one and two day passes for all local modes of transportation.

Vienna, Austria – Travel from Dresden to Vienna is 8-10 hours by train through Praha

Hotel: Andaz Vienna AM Belvedere

Arsenalstrasse 10, Vienna, 1100 AT; +43 1 205 7744 1234

Check-in 3 pm.

This was a beautiful hotel within walking distance of trains and buses.

Don’t miss the Schonbrunn Palace; St. Stephen’s Cathedral; Opera House; Belvedere Palace; the majestic Danube River; and the Vienna Naschmarkt. This is the view from our hotel rooftop.

Restaurants are plentiful. Be sure to try the Wiener Schnitzel (the best we tasted) and Café’ Vienna.

We were fortunate to be there during the Easter season. It is tradition in Austria to have Egg Trees.  Many yards and public buildings boasted many colorful eggs.

 Graz, Austria – Zagreb to Graz was by bus. (Zagreb bus station to Graz, Webling Graz P+R bus stop)

Hotel: Hotel Daniel Graz

Europaplatz 1, Lend, Graz, 8020, Austria +43 316-7110800

Graz is a beautiful city that looks like a mini-Vienna in architecture and style. It is one of the most gracious towns we visited. It has a flair of the Hapsburg Royalty.

Check out the Island Mur coffee shop on the river and Castle Hill.

Salzburg, Austria – The train took us from Graz to Salzburg, Austria (4-5 hour)

Hotel: H+ Hotel Salzburg – Sudtiroler Platz 13, Elisabeth-Vorstadt, Salzburg, 5020, Austria +43 662 22850

Mirabell Palace and Gardens

Mozart, Sound of Music, and beautiful scenery define Salzburg. And it is so much more. While visiting the beautiful Mirabell Gardens (which are free) we found across the street the local market featuring local foods and artisan products from the area.

One of our favorite visits was the Hellbrunn Palace and it Trick Fountain gardens. Worth the price of admission, these gardens were amusing and awe inspiring for their creativity and natural water flow engineering still working since the 1600’s!

Innsbruck, Austria –                                       Hotel: AC Hotel Innsbruck

Salumer Strasse 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria +43(0) 512 5935

This hotel is located within walking distance of the train station and in city center.

Trams and buses are the way to get around. We went to the Olympic Village and Olympic Park in Innsbruck.  Along the way we found the best flea market at Olympic Park.

Roof Top Lounges with Sunset Views

In town center we found unique architectural building facades and an unexpected emphasis on grapes and wine.

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