Vienna, Salzburg & Tirol Guidebook
Best and worst sights, experiences and destinations:
Best: Schonbrunn Palace
Why: Spectacular setting; excellent audioguide.
Ron Pipe in Holliston, MA USA 05/17/2013
Best: Cafe Sacher, Vienna Red bus city tours, view from St. Stephen's South Tower, Hohensalzburg Fortress
Why: Far too many to choose one. Best chocolate cake with whipped cream I've ever had (lovely atmosphere in the cafe as well). Best introduction to a city I've ever had via the red bus city tour, great to condense lots of sightseeing and good value. The view from St. Stephen's south tower is well worth the cheap price and long set of stairs. It makes the view even more spectacular (and we saw it on an overcast day). The tour around the Hohensalzburg fortress, and the museum were one of the most memorable parts of the trip. We felt transported to another time and place, and the view over Salzburg will not soon be forgotten. I could have sat there looking over the city for hours.
Why: The view was absolutely destroyed by the scaffolding on the outside of the castle. I imagine this will be an incredible experience once they are done construction. We had awful luck, it was pooring rain the entire day we were there. We weren't willing to walk because there was so much rain, and the bus system is really slow. I definitely wouldn't have put the effort into venturing to Germany for the day until the construction is finished.
Lauren Wallis in Stouffville, ON Canada 04/16/2013
Best: Innsbruck Olympic Ski Jump
Why: Great place to visit fabulous view from restaurant at the top
Pete Hall in Haddonfield, NJ USA 11/12/2012
Worst: Hotel Schweizerhof
Why: My wife and I were scheduled to spend several nights at this hotel, flying from Zürich to Vienna. Unfortunately, prior to our trip from Zürich, my wife was stricken with a heart attack. I cancelled our reservation SIX days prior to our arrival, only to be advised that a SEVEN day cancellation was the policy of the hotel. I might have been able to meet that requirement, but I was with my wife in an intensive care unit of a hospital in Zürich. My wife's doctors prohibited her from flying; Swiss Air prohibits a cardiac victim from flying for three weeks. This Vienna hotel just takes your money! Terrible customer service in my efforts to resolve this. I am a veteran Rick Steves reviewer with an even-tempered, if not liberal attitude of such situations. My advice: if you book here, book through a agency with cancellation options.
Kelly in Clark, WI USA 10/25/2012
Why: Hallstatt was the highlight of my trip to Austria. It is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy. I took the salt mine tour and found it more interesting than expected. The views on the way up to the mine were gorgeous. On the way back from the mine we had a beer at the edge of the mountain looking down on Hallstatt. It was a spectacular place to hang out on a nice day.
Jim Perschbacher in Mableton, GA USA 09/30/2012
Worst: Mozart's Residence
Why: Overpriced (now 10 euro) and while informative, all the info could be obtained elsewhere. Being at the site did not increase my knowledge or appreciation for Mozart. Maybe one triangle or none.
Diane McDaniel in Pressath, Germany 07/16/2012
Best: Hard to choose! I would say Salzburg and the sites
Why: of course, then there is Vienna, and Reutte (pronounced ROY te as I finally found out.
Worst: Mozart Homes
Why: Frankly I would skip[ BOTH Mozart homes. Really not much to them, but we had the Salzburg Tourist card so they were free.
Tracy Baker in San Leandro, Ca USA 07/05/2012
Best: Walking tours
Why: Perfect directions and just the right amount of comments and information. We've done Rick's walks in other cities and always are our favorites.
Joanne in San Rafael, CA USA 06/09/2012
Best: Vienna City Walk
Why: It was easy to follow and the guidebook told us all we needed to know about each sight.
Worst: Red Bus City Tours
Why: The audio guide was poorly coordinated with the sites. We passed by too quickly in some cases and were held up in traffic at other times. Occasionally the driver and his helper pointed to a site and yelled out information in German, making it impossible to hear the English being spoken in our audio guide.
Sue McCauley in Portland, OR USA 06/04/2012
Best: Melk Abbey
Why: Great description of this amazing building, should note the boats only run May-October, but th 28Euro round-trip train ride for up to 5 people worked great.
Pat Leathrum in Corvallis, OR USA 04/01/2012
Best: Walking tours of Vienna and Salzburg
Why: Rick's self-guided walking tours are great ways to get to know both cities. I also highly recommend the tram tour in Vienna. The Belvedere Palace is wonderful for art. We also enjoyed the Vienna Volksoper: saw an interesting performance of Madama Butterfly, and had no problem booking good seats online in advance. Ticket prices are much less than at the Statsoper.
In Salzburg, the climb up to the Fortress is worth it. The Cathedral is a baroque feast for the eyes. The late afternoon concerts next to St. Peter's Church in the Old Town and evening recitals at the Mirabel Palace are also enjoyable ways to hear chamber music in pleasant venues.
Worst: Hofburg Palace - Sisi Museum
Why: The Imperial Apartments are worth seeing. Unfortunately, you have to go through the Imperial Silver collection and Sisi Museum to get to them. The Sisi Museum is cramped and overrated. It can get very, very crowded, even if you go early, which makes viewing the exhibits difficult. One comes away from the Sisi Museum thinking she would have benefited from Zoloft.
In Salzburg, the Mozart house was very disappointing. They were not handing out audioguides, so there was little explanation of the exhibits unless you read German. Save your money and go to a concert instead.
Steve Macfarlane in Carmichael, CA USA 01/16/2012
Best: Hafelekar, Innsbruck
Why: It had snowed the previous day and the weather cleared to ideal conditions for visiting: calm, warm and clear skies.
R. Kanazawa in Saratoga, CA USA 10/27/2011
Best: Schonbrunn gardens St Augustine Sunday service
Why: Wonderful wandering in Schonbrunn. Wonderful music at 2 hr mass.
Worst: Staatsoper Tour. St Stephens South Tower climb
Why: The English group had too many people for the single guide to make herself heard. We were led into 3 spaces that also contained groups being guided in other languages. I felt like I was in the Tower or Babel. I contacted them and they refused a refund and did not acknowledge they need to make changes.
Having climbed the Domo in Florence, we were very disappointed by your recommendation to climb this tower. View was nowhere as splendid. I got very little impression of Vienna from the observation level.
The English tour of the cathedral was cancelled due to other activities in the cathedral after we wasted 30 min waiting at the sign. Poor service in not posting the cancellaton on the sign.
mark brumbaugh in morristown, nj USA 10/11/2011
Best: Hotel Hauser, St. Goar or Hallien Salt Mines
Why: We have a split decision. I love the balcony of Hotel Hauser, a glass of beer and watching the Rhine water traffic which we have experienced on 3 different ocassions. My wife could not miss, for the second time, the salt mines at Hallien, Austria as her most unique experience.
LOWELL HANCUH in EAGAN, MN USA 10/07/2011
Worst: Mozart's residence
Why: Mozart's Residence (Wohnhaus) no longer has an audio-tour (discontinued sometime during summer 2011), and without it, it's quite a dull experience. Really, don't bother. There is no attempt to capture what the house might have been like when he lived there, and other than letters and books, very little of Mozart himself in evidence. Skip it.
John Warner in Lambrecht, Germany 09/25/2011
Best: Day trip outside of Salzburg to Eagle's Nest
Why: We took the fantastic Eagle's Nest tour with David. He was an excellent historian who enjoyed what he was doing. Kudos to him for still having enthusiasm about giving this tour many, many times over. We felt like we learned a lot and are eager to find out more on our own.
Worst: Mozart's Residence Tour - Sept. 2011
Why: This was a complete bust! I'm sure at one time this was an excellent tour when the audio guides were available. Unfortunately, the museum is undergoing a face lift and there weren't even English translations to read on any of the displays. At the end of the short tour there was a English video that helped summarize some of the things that we had scene. But overall, it was one of the only museum we went to that I almost felt compelled to ask for our money back. If you go, please check to see that the museum has updated their audio guide system.
Alexandra in Boise, Id USA 09/12/2011
Best: Schonbrunn Palace
Why: a lot to see and do, magnificent grounds, fun maze
Philip Braverman in New York, NY USA 09/05/2011
Why: Tourism hasn't spoiled it.
Kathleen Waton in Jackson, GA USA 07/14/2011
Best: Salzburg Panorama 1829.
Why: It was fun and unusual; we never would have found it or gone without the recommendation.
Laurie Zaepfel in St. Paul, MN USA 04/15/2011