austria

A Detailed One Month Budget in Austria For Travelers

A Detailed One Month Budget in Austria For Travelers

Austria has long been a travel destination for tourists and nature lovers for good reason. However, traveling anywhere costs money. This post will cover an average one-month budget in Austria for travelers.

This historic country is nestled in the northern alps, where the sun is always shining, and nearly everyone is outside enjoying the beauty of nature. While Austria isn’t usually considered a budget destination, it can definitely be done affordably with a little bit of planning!

We traveled for 2 months in Austria, split between Upper Austria including Salzburg, Hallstatt, and the entire Salzkammergut, as well as in the heart of the Alps, in Tirol near Innsbruck.

Check out what’s waiting for you in Austria, and what you can expect to spend on accommodation, food, transportation, excursions, and general living expenses!

Woman standing on sun dial platform looking out over the mountains

Table of Contents

Accommodation Budget In Austria

Our accommodation is what determines our trips since many Airbnb hosts have a huge discount for any stay over 28 days, especially in the shoulder- and off-seasons. This is what has made living in Austria for 2 months affordable for us.

On average, our Airbnb’s cost a total of €774 for one month. Since my partner and I share living expenses, we were able to split this cost, making it even cheaper. This includes Airbnb as well as the local tourist tax, which depends on the location.

During our first month, we stayed in Bad Ischl, centrally located in the Salzkammergut of Upper Austria, only 20 minutes from Hallstatt! Our Airbnb was about 700 in total, with a tourist tax of 3.85/night. Since I travel with my boyfriend, we were able to split the Airbnb cost, however, the cost listed is the total price.

For our second month, we stayed near Neustift in the Stubai Valley, south of Innsbruck. Our Airbnb was a total of 650 before we split it. The tourist tax in this region was 2.68/night.

Note: Regardless if you’re in a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb, many regions have a tourist tax that should be factored into your accommodation expense! It is usually due upon arrival, in cash so be prepared!

Accommodation

774 Monthly
  • Airbnb
  • Tourist Tax

Food Budget In Austria

Austrian food is hearty, locally sourced, and definitely keeps you warm on those brisk winter days. Food prices were comparable to what we knew at home in the US, so budgeting was essential!

Our food expenses differed greatly between the two months. During the first month in Bad Ischl, we were constantly out and exploring, eating out, and working from cafes where we would get a few coffees and snacks.

In our second month, we were in a much smaller town, where we mostly grocery shopped and would eat out a big meal less frequently, with very few small expenses at cafes.

On average, we spent 415 on food. Most of this was on groceries, with a few small meals and coffees out! We are definitely big coffee and dessert people, so there was some room to save, but the food was too good!

Food

415 Monthly
  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Cafes
Two hands clinked beer glasses on top of a mountain in Austria during winter

Transportation Budget in Austria

Transportation around Austria was extremely easy and affordable for us. If you’re trying to see the whole country, you may experience it differently, but we were able to utilize FREE BUSES during both of our stays.

Austria has a well-connected public transport system including buses, trains, and ferries and we used a lot of electric scooters for short-term travel! There wasn’t a single time we needed a ride share like Uber or wished we had a rental car.

The Tourist Tax we paid at both of our month-long stays provided free transport within the region, and even transport to our destination upon arrival! We did have a few public transportation costs when we took a bus/train further than our free bus allowed, but it only totaled to about 65 per month.

We thought transport in Austria would be a much bigger expense, so we were stoked to save so much here. It’s easy to spend a lot more if you don’t know how you can save! 

Note: this budget doesn’t include the transport in between our stays. In our second month, the transport was included with the tourist tax, however, this post is focused on the costs once you’re at a place, since the travel to get there depends on where you are before!

Transportation

65 Monthly
  • Public Transport
  • Electric Scooters

Check out everything you need to know about Transportation in Austria!

Excursions Budget in Austria

There is so much to explore in Austria, luckily we love exploring the outdoors the most, which is accessible and mostly free! We were in Austria from mid-December to mid-February, so we focused a lot on skiing, gondola rides to mountain tops, and a bit of sightseeing when we were in cities.

Although skiing seems like an expensive sport, it is very affordable in Austria. We did travel with our own skis (which I definitely DO NOT recommend), so we avoided rental costs which are about 50.  Coming from California where day-pass skiing can be 180 (or more), 50 a day was so cheap!

We also loved getting up into the mountains on gondolas and funiculars to see the views. This can be about 15 a ride, but we got a month pass to go up the Katrin Cable Car in Bad Ischl for 65!

We did visit Salzburg for a day, and got the 24-hour tourist pass for only 25! We planned a long layover between train rides to see the city sights, without going out of our way and incurring more transport costs!

While in Austria, you HAVE to check out Tobogganing. This is a fun sport in the Alps, like adult sledding. Tickets were typically 20 for the toboggan rental and gondola ride, but highly recommend it as a great winter activity!

Excursions

171 Monthly
  • Skiing
  • Sight-seeing
  • Gondolas
  • Tobogganing

This section isn’t Austria-specific, but it is important to make note of the other monthly expenses you may have that will eat a chunk of your budget. This includes Health Insurance, Renter’s Insurance, a Mobile Phone plan, and various subscriptions for music, apps, and a VPN.

The biggest expense is health insurance, which luckily I’m still on my parent’s plan (yay for being 25)! However, I took into account my boyfriend’s plan since this is an expense for most people, which is emergency medical costing around €50.

We each also have renter’s insurance, which costs about €14 a month and will cover up to 10,000 worth of items that get lost, damaged, or stolen while we are abroad.

For our cell phone,  we purchased an eSIM for Austria, which is great for saving money while traveling and managing your data from your phone! We purchased 10GB of data for €24 a month. Check out what we did for international phone plans abroad,, and get discounts!

Finally, some of the subscriptions I have total up to about €24 a month, which includes my DuoLingo Super, YouTube Music, Hosting platform for this website, and most importantly a VPN. If you are traveling and have any intention of using your computer or phone for personal things, I highly suggest using a VPN to protect your online information!

Life Expenses

112 Monthly
  • Insurance
  • Mobile Phone
  • Subscriptions

As a reminder; when you are on any public WiFi, make sure to use a VPN to protect yourself online! Learn more here.

Total Expenses

1-Month Budget in Austria
1,517 Monthly
  • Accommodations - €774
  • Food - €415
  • Transportation - €65
  • Excursions - €171
  • Life Expenses - €112

Summary - Detailed One Month Budget in Austria

Austria is an idyllic country in the mountains, with so much history, culture, and natural beauty to explore. Although it isn’t typically on the top of the list when it comes to ‘budget destinations’, it can definitely be explored thoroughly on a budget! 

My biggest suggestion to save while in Austria, is to stay in a long-term Airbnb (more than 28 days), use public transport as much as possible, and be aware of what free transport options you have! Also, use a local phone plan where you can top-up data as needed.

We would absolutely go back to the 2 regions we stayed in Austria. To check out the highlights of the areas, see my posts on Bad Ischl, the Salzkammergut, and the Stubai Valley! Austria is beautiful year-round, so start planning your next trip to the Alps!

What other destinations are on your bucket list? Find your Travel Inspiration here. 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Austria, 0 comments
Visiting The Stubai Valley [Winter Destination]

Visiting The Stubai Valley [Winter Destination]

If you’re thinking about your next winter destination, look no further than Innsbruck & the Stubai Valley. Where lush valleys extend to crisp alpine peaks, and you can explore everywhere in between. Whether you’re a winter sports person, a lover of nature, or just looking to experience somewhere new this winter, Austria has the place for you.

The Stubai Valley is right between Germany and Italy and leads to the highest point in all of the Tyrolean state of Austria. This is home to the largest ski resort in Austria, which is saying something since this is where downhill skiing was born! 

I was fortunate to spend a month in Stubai this winter, check out everything I learned about the region and what’s waiting for you on your next trip!

Painted houses in Innsbruck over the river

Where Is The Stubai Valley

The Stubai Valley is centrally located in the Tyrol region, which spans from Austria across the border into ‘South Tyrol’ in northern Italy. The valley runs North/South and leads to the highest point in the Tyrol region, located at the Stubai Glacier ski resort.

Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol and a central location to access the Alps, making Stubai a perfect valley to be tucked into the mountains, while still accessible to everything else you’d want to do. No matter where you go, there are winter activities for everyone! Major towns include Neustift and Schönberg!

Table of Contents

Winter Activities

Major Towns

Ski Resorts

Stubai Winter Guest Card

If you’re staying in Stubai, ask your accommodation host about the Winter Guest Card. When you pay the local Tourist Tax (2.5 euros/night), you will receive a receipt that represents the Guest Card (Summer stays receive a physical card).

Keep this receipt on you to receive some of the benefits that come with being a tourist! This card grants free bus rides between Stubai Gletscher and Schönberg (south of Innsbruck), as well as discounts on many of the excursions in the valley!

A major bonus of the guest card is free transport on arrival and departure, so no matter where you’re staying, you will get a free bus ride from Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof to your nearest stop! Just be sure to print out the vouchers before arriving! 

Winter Activities In The Stubai Valley

Tobogganing

The Stubai Valley is home to the longest Toboggan run in all of Tyrol! Right in the heart of Neustift, you can zip down a 6.6km trail through the forest on an authentic toboggan. If you used to sled as a kid, you’ll feel your inner child light up with this high-speed extreme version! 

At the Elferbahnen cable car valley station, you can rent your sleds and head up the cable car, where you’ll get insane views of the valley! It takes some getting used to, and we were so surprised at how fast we went! It felt like a real-life Mario Kart. If you’re up for the challenge, they also offer night sledding 3 days a week. Don’t forget your helmet, goggles, and a headlamp!

There are a few other options in the region, but as the longest in Tyrol, the Elfer Toboggan run is by far the best!

Ice Skating

With the Stubai Guest Card, you get a discount on any of the 3 public ice rinks! All three locations offer ice skate rentals for a small fee if you don’t have your own, and have various times available. There are 2 rink options, one in Fulpmes, and the other in Neustift which cost 5 euros and 4 euros respectively (in addition to the rental cost).

The only natural (outdoor on frozen water) option is the southernmost, at Klaus Äuele, which is totally free to use! This location also hosts family-friendly ‘Winter Hiking Nights‘ events throughout the winter season, where ice sculptors, dog sleds, curling equipment, and local foods are set up after 7:00 pm to enjoy a night in the winter forest!

For information on future events, follow @stubai_tirol on social media!

Paragliding

Austria is definitely a base for many extreme sports enthusiasts, especially paragliders. No matter where you are in the mountains, it’s hard not to see a few soaring above the peaks, flying with the birds. Although it is quite a sport to get into (money and fear), there are plenty of options to try it

There are at least 5 flight schools in the Stubai Valley, where you can learn to go solo or with a trained pilot in a tandem flight. This life is a dream, where people take a cable car up to a summit at sunrise, fly down and land in their work parking lot to go on with the day!

Snowshoe & Cross-Country Skiing

There are cross-country trails all over the valley, mainly at the lower elevations following the tree line on both sides. Even if skiing isn’t your thing, give snowshoeing a try! There are a few local sports stores that will rent you all the gear you need so you can get out and explore the mountains.

The alps have been getting less snow than usual in the winter, so be prepared for a potential hiking trek instead! This only means that you’ll have to go higher in elevation to reach the snow, but you’ll have many more options you can explore on foot!

Downhill Skiing

It’s no surprise that you’re interested in the Stubai region in winter, especially if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding. The king of the valley for resorts is Stubai Glacier, which is the largest ski resort in Austria! Since skiing is so big in this area, it gets a whole section dedicated to it next…

Skiing in the Stubai Valley

Stubai Gletscher / Glacier

Stubai Glacier is an impressive ski area to say the least. Not only is it the highest point in all of Tyrol, but it’s also the largest ski area in all of Austria. With other 110 km of piste runs and 26 chair lifts, Stubai also has the best views in the area. The resort has runs on both sides of the mountain, so when the afternoon shade rolls in, head to the south side to soak up the sun until 4:00 when the lifts close. From there, take a groomed run all the way to the bottom with breathe-taking views the whole way!

With the Stubai Guest Card, you get a discount on the lift prices, which are usually 57 euros/day. If you buy online ahead of time, they are also a few euros cheaper than bought at the ticket counter!

Sign reading 'Top of Tyrol' at Gletscher Resort
Mountain hut on top of snowy ridge line in the Alps of the Stubai Valley

Schlick 2000

Located right in Fulpmes, Schlick 2000 is a great ski area for skiers of all levels. Schlick is a great option especially if you’re closer to Innsbruck and not looking to make the journey all the way down to Stubai. The crowd is often smaller than Stubai and Nordkette, and the view is spectacular. You can do a full day of skiing here for only €46, which can’t be beaten!

The resort is east-facing, so it does get shaded earlier in the day than the backside of Stubai and Nordkette, but don’t let that hold you back from getting out there and exploring the slopes!

Man wearing black snow suit, white backpack, and skis, standing on a wooden deck in the Austrian Alps

Nordkette

Although not technically in the Stubai Valley, Nordkette is a notable ski area on the north end of Innsbruck. Although there are only 5 lifts, this area has some gnarly runs for more advanced-level skiers. While up there, you may even see some Red Bull athletes in the terrain park!

Even if you don’t make it up there for a ski day, a ride up the Nordkettenbahn cable car is definitely worth the €42 for the view at the Top of Innsbruck. This area is always in the sun, with an amazing restaurant and apré ski bars for a drink!

Snowy peak in Innsbruck, Austria with the Nordkette cable car

Accommodation In The Stubai Valley

The Stubai Region is designed for tourists and travelers. Whether you have a family or are a solo traveler looking to meet people, you’ll find a perfect accommodation here. 

There are at least 3 hostels in Innsbruck, with dorms and private rooms available. Innsbruck is a very young city due to the university and advanced-level skiing, so you’ll meet some chill locals and travelers in Innsbruck.

There are endless hotels, some with a water park, food provided, and more. You’ll often see the word ‘pension’ on the name of a hotel, meaning it is a specific style of guest house offering food and accommodation to guests only. The hotels at the ski resorts get pretty rowdy in the afternoon for some apré ski drinking, so beware if you are trying to avoid the parties!

Another great option is Airbnb, with hosts all over the valley. We stayed in an Airbnb for 1 month in Kampl just north of Neustift, and the location was a perfect distance right between Innsbruck and Stubai Glacier. This is a great way to get to know the locals, get an authentic experience of what it’s like to live in Austria and have some privacy in your own space.

Plus at your own place, you can come back after a long day of skiing to cold beers and schnapps 🙂

Two glasses of beer, with two shots of Schnapps on a deck ledge with the mountain valley in the background

Transportation In The Stubai Valley

As mentioned above, the guest card permits FREE rides on the ski bus. Typically the drivers don’t ask for any information if you have your ski gear, but it’s good to keep your guest card on you just in case. Bus 590a and 590b run the valley, every 15 minutes and can take you to the glacier or north into Innsbruck and beyond!

The guest card only permits free rides to Schönberg, just south of Innsbruck. If you’re looking to get to Innsbruck from the valley, you’ll need to pay 4 euros to cover the ride between Schönberg and Innsbruck. Once in Innsbruck, you can get to any other destination from the main station, ‘Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof‘.

No matter where you’re trying to go in Austria, the Verkehr-Salzburg website will be reliable and accurate. This website will provide the exact bus number, platform, time, and cost of the ride so you can plan accordingly. 

Summary - Visitng The Stubai Valley [Winter Destination]

The Stubai Valley is a winter wonderland, with skiing, the best views in the alps, and a buzzing social atmosphere. You’ll find good food, and great beer, and have the time to sit back and relax as you enjoy the crisp mountain air. With the Stubai Guest Card, you can get all of this at a discount, with free transport on top of that so you can fit this into your budget travel destination! Especially if you’re not a pro at winter sports, here you can give it all a try with the easy-to-rent gear for ice skating, tobogganing, and skiing. 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Austria, Destinations, 0 comments
7 Things To Do Near Hallstatt in Winter

7 Things To Do Near Hallstatt in Winter

Dreaming of a winter wonderland this year? You have to check out Hallstatt in Winter, a place where you will feel like you’re walking through a snow globe! 

The best part is there is so much beauty to discover outside of this famous town. Snow-covered mountains, icy lakes with white swans, idyllic towns with a rum-spiked punch, and Christmas markets. There is so much to see in Austria in the winter!

Not to mention the skiing, hiking, and cultural events that make this area feel like home. Check out everything that is waiting for you in the beautiful region around Hallstatt in winter.

Iconic view of Hallstatt, Austria with a blue sky and clouds overhead
Hallstatt, Austria

Table of Contents

The Salzkammergut Region

The Salzkammergut is a beautiful region filled with lakes, mountains, and cultural towns. It spans east of Salzburg mostly in Upper Austria, encompassing over 70 lakes and 58 municipalities, and is home to 14 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage events! The word Salzkammergut translates to ‘salt domain’, which provides a glimpse of the history that has sparked prosperity in the region for the many cultures that have existed here, nestled among the mountains. 

The Salzkammergut is not an administrative region and has no distinct boundaries, but rather a loosely defined region that encompasses the history of the salt mines and the beautiful landscape that lies within. This region is a perfect destination at any time of year. 

You can dive into the glassy alpine lakes, hike in old-growth forests with panoramic views, and get a taste of authentic Austrian cuisine and culture! Check out this interactive map of the region.

Winter Guest Card

While visiting the Salzkammergut, be sure to get a Winter Guest Card to get discounts on many of the attractions around. This card is free with at least a 3-night stay in the region and will be provided by your host, or one can be purchased for only 4.50 EUR from a local Tourist Office. Children under 15 do not need a card to receive these rewards!

The winter card gets users up to 25% off the top attractions there are to do in the Salzkammergut, including:

  • Many museums
  • Katrin Cable Car (Bad Ischl)
  • Ice Skating (Gmunden)
  • Saltzwelten Tour (Hallstatt)

For a full list of discounts included in the Salzkammergut Winter Card, check it out: HereYou can find other informational brochures and up-to-date offerings on the Salzkammergut website

Cultural Events

The Salzkammergut is a cultural hub of Austria with many events and traditions around to see. It’s no surprise that it has over 14 UNESCO intangible World Heritage Events and traditions of which you can be a part. 

Check out the Salzkammergut Tourist website to see what’s happening during the time of your stay! You may get to witness any of these local events:

  • Krampus Parade
  • Christmas Markets
  • Gosau Balloon Festival
  • Ebensee Glöcklerlauf
  • Lake Wolfgang Ice Festival

The Salzkammergut is hosting the 2024 European Capital of Culture, with the main location in Bad Ischl. Consider this when planning your trip to this stunning region, and learn about the traditional clothing, music, dance, and cuisine that is cherished by the locals. 

Three hot air balloons lit up at night while tethered to the ground
Gosau Balloon Festival

Skiing in the Salzkammergut

Although there is evidence of people using skis over 4,000 years ago, the downhill alpine ski style that we all know and love was started by Austrian native Mathias Zdarksy in the late 19th century. Mountain skiing originated here in Austria, and today there are over 700 places to hit the slopes in Austria alone! 

While in the Salzkammergut, the best place to ski is definitely within the Dachstein West Ski Region. This isn’t just any resort; it includes 8 separate locations around the region, and if you get at least a 1.5-day pass, you can access ALL of them with the same ticket! 

Dachstein West has over 160 km of on-piste runs, with over 70 lifts and cable cars so you can ski around this panoramic scenery. Their website has updated weather conditions, webcams, and currently open runs and lifts so you can plan your days of skiing! 

Dachstein West ski region map to highlight the best places in the Salzkammergut
Image from Dachstein West Ski Region

Towns of the Salzkammergut

Hallstatt

The most well-known place in the Salzkammergut is the picturesque town of Hallstatt. It is nestled in between a lake and the base of a 1,030-meter mountain, where salt deposits have made this town a central mining location for thousands of years. 

Evidence of people living and mining in Hallstatt dates back to 5,000 BC. You can tour the Salzwelten Hallstatt, the world’s oldest salt mine, which was first created 7,000 years ago! If you don’t want to pay the cost to tour the mine, be sure to hike to the top of Salzberg mountain and check out the views from the Hallstatt Skywalkfree in the off-season!

Hallstatt is a part of the Hallstatt-Dachstein UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and since its official title in 1997, tourism has exploded! The town has a population of only 780 residents but in the peak season experiences up to 30,000 tourists per day

This town is so iconic that there is even a replication in the southeast of China. But be aware, that this Austrian location is not a museum, these are people’s homes! Do not fly drones, be destructive, or enter any of the private residences (unfortunately this is overlooked by too many people). 

This town is idyllic, but wow is it touristy. Even during the off-peak times of the year, it was madness! If you’re in the region, it is 100% worth the trip to walk around the town of Hallstatt in winter, but don’t overlook the neighboring towns that carry the same beauty!

Woman standing looking out over a snow covered Halstatt

Hallstatt is a victim of over-tourism, where far too many people visit the destination for quick photos and then move on, disrespecting the people and land that exist here. This is why it is great to travel in the off-season, and check out the less-touristy places near by these hot-spot locations!

Bad Ischl

Bad Ischl is a historic town involving the long-reigning Emporer/King of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1848-1916, Franz Joseph I. He and his political affiliates would escape Vienna’s summer heat to enjoy the tranquility of Bad Ischl, where they made decisions that would impact the world… such as the start of WWI

There are numerous museums highlighting the history and life of Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth (“Sisi”), and of the salt industry that dominated the region’s economy for centuries.

Bad Ischl was historically a healing town where people around Europe would go to soak in the salty water to recover from their ailments. Today, you can have a similar healing experience at the Eurotherm Spa in Bad Ischl. The adults-only sauna section has numerous different sauna styles including salt-inhalation, wet-saunas, infrared, and a cold plunge. 

The spa is located right in the quaint village, where you’ll hear horse-drawn carriages strolling the streets during the winter season. 

Once you cross over the Traun River, head to Casino Keller – a historic beer cellar with phenomenal authentic Austrian brews. Here you can meet the owner, Bernhard who will walk you through the history that lies beneath the building. 

While in Bad Ischl, you cannot miss a ride up the Katrin Cable Car, where you will see an incredible 360-degree view, tons of hiking trails to explore, and a perfect way to finish the day with a cappuccino and some Kaiserschmarrn at Katrin Berggasthof. 

A horse drawn carriage walking down the streets of Bad Ischl during Christmas

Gosau

Along the free bus route (discussed below), you can get to the town of Gosau, where winter sports enthusiasts and hikers come together to take in the beauty that surrounds Gosau. 

One of the largest ski resorts in the Salzkammergut, Dachstein West is located in this town, but just past the resort, you will find yourself immersed in the remote natural setting surrounding Lake Gosausee. 

The photo on the left is what you see when you get to the lake, which has a hiking trail that circulates the water that can be done in about an hour. But, if you’re a bit more adventurous, you can take a 9-mile hike back to Hintersee, a lake at the base of Hoher Dachstein – the king of mountains in the region. 

Hiking from Gosausee to Hintersee is a perfect destination in the Salzkammergut
Base of Hoher Dachstein

Bad Goisern

On your way to Hallstatt from Bad Ischl, you’ll pass through a beautiful town called Bad Goisern. This town is often missed since everyone is hustling to get to Hallstatt in winter, but you’ll miss so much beauty if you don’t take a moment to stop! 

This town has a rich history tied with the salt mine of Hallstatt and of traditional craftsmanship.While visiting Bad Goisern, take some time to walk the historical streets and get a feel for what life would have been like over the past few centuries. 

Make sure to stop into the Carina Saponetta Soap shop to meet the wonderful owner and get a taste of the history that fills these cobblestone streets!

Intricate Austrian home, brown with yellow trim that looks like a gingerbread house

St Wolfgang

St Wolfgang is a town on the lake of Wolfgansee, where the sun strikes the south-facing town for most of the day (a treat especially in the winter months). This town is a gem to stroll around to see the impressive detailing of the Austrian architecture or see the views from high above the town! 

Here, you can take a 35-minute ride on the SchafbergBahn cog railway to the summit of Schafberg mountain. This is the steepest railway in Austria, but the views are incredible. In the summer, this town turns into a summer-resort mecca with boating, kite-surfing, and fishing. 

St Wolfgang funicular view of a red cable car ascending a steep Austrian mountain
Image from 5 Treasures

Other Towns in the Salzkammergut

The world is so big, and we just can’t see it all! However, there are over 50 towns within the Salzkammergut, and some of them are worth noting if you can fit them into your plans! 

Ebensee is located on the south end of the Traunsee lake, north of Bad Ischl. Like much of the region, there is an ancient connection to the salt industry, with beautiful hikes on steep mountains and WWII history

Gmunden is located opposite Ebensee on the far side of Traunsee Lake. Here you can summit the ‘Guardian of the Salzkammergut’, Traunstein Mountain, or stroll around the town center and explore the castle in the lake! 

Obertraun is located opposite of Hallstatt on Hallstatter See, meaning you get a unique view of the iconic mountain town, best viewed from the ‘5 Fingers‘ observation deck. Obertraun is also home to Upper Austria’s longest on-piste run at Dachstein Krippenstein for the skiers. This resort is less touristy and crowded, and a dream for free-ride enthusiasts! Find it on the map below!

Bad Ausee is located in Styria, just east of Obertraun. It is the cultural and economic center for the Styrian region, where fresh water is connected in every direction. This town has serene botanical gardens and seems relaxed and peaceful if you’re looking for a retreat. 

Transport in the Salzkammergut

For anyone staying in the region for a few days, make sure to grab your Winter Guest Card discussed above! Not only does it have awesome discounts and access to local attractions, but it gets you free public transport within the main part of the region.

Anytime the cable cars are running, you can hop on bus 542 or 543, show the driver your guest card or photo, and skip the payment! Since this is a Free Ski Bus, it is only in the areas around the Dachstein West Ski region, but that’s where most of the fun is anyway so plan accordingly! There is an extensive rail system within the Salzkammergut, mostly operated by OBB rail company. Tickets can be purchased on their website for a cheaper price than booking at the station.

No matter where you’re looking to explore, the Salzburg Verkehr website will be your best tool to help plan the journey. Learn more about everything you need to know about transportation in Austria.

Forget about renting a car! Austria's public transport system is reliable, affordable, and way more sustainable than a personal vehicle!​

How To Get To Hallstatt in Winter

From Salzburg

If you’re coming in from Salzburg, you have a few great options to get to Hallstatt in winter. Don’t forget to see the historic sites before heading to Hallstatt with the perfect 1-day itinerary in Salzburg! Check the Salzburg Verkehr website for accurate time tables.

By Bus: The cheapest and most direct option is by bus, which only takes 2-2.5 hours and costs less than €15! Although this is less scenic than other routes, it’s a great option for a quick day trip or if you’ll be exploring the area later! 

By Train & Ferry: Although there isn’t a direct route to Hallstatt, this option includes a ferry ride allowing you to come into Hallstatt across Hallstattersee Lake with an iconic view. Train routes depend on the time of day and year, but will typically cost less than €20 to get to Hallstatt Lahn station. From there, only 10 minutes and €3 and you’ll be in Hallstatt!

From Vienna

If you’re coming in from the capital city of Vienna, you have a few easy options to get to Hallstatt in winter and see the countryside. Be sure to check out the perfect 12-hour itinerary in Vienna before you leave the historic city! Check the Salzburg Verkehr website for accurate timetables.

By Bus: Although public bus isn’t an option from Vienna to Hallstatt, you can use vendors like FlixBus to book a ride to Hallstatt. The direct route may change by season, so use their website to compare options. 

By Train & Ferry: Train is the easiest option from Vienna. For less than €40 you can take a 2 hour train ride to the Attnang-Puchheim station before finding a connecting train to the east side of Hallstattersee. Be ready for an insane view of Hallstatt as you coast along the pristine waters.

View of Hallstatt Austria at dusk across the water

Summary - Top Things To Do Near Hallstatt in Winter

Hallstatt is a dreamy Austrian town tucked in the Alps. Even better is seeing Hallstatt in winter, and the rest of the region as it gets blanketed in snow and filled with holiday spirit.

The Salzkammergut is a lesser-known place in the world. Filled with picturesque alpine lakes, and surrounded by impressive mountains, it’s the quaint and elegant towns that made me fall in love. The region has a long-standing history as a cultural hub in Central Europe, with influence from every direction. 

Whether you’re an extreme sports enthusiast, a family looking for a relaxing vacation, or a solo traveler looking for an enriching experience off the beaten path, the Salzkammergut in Austria has everything for every type of traveler. There is so much to explore in this area beyond the same phone that every tourist gets while in Hallstatt in winter. 

The Salzkammergut needs to be on your travel bucket list, perfect to visit any time of year!

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Austria, Destinations, 0 comments
Navigating Transportation in Austria

Navigating Transportation in Austria

Traveling is such a freeing experience, but making all of the travel plans can be frustrating and expensive. Luckily, transportation in Austria is easy and affordable especially if you only rely on public transportation!  

The well-connected system of public buses and trains makes it easy to move around the country and cities. Even better are the cable cars, gondolas, and funiculars that bring you up the steep mountains for insane views. 

Whether you’re coming from the other side of the world (like I did), or from a neighboring country, you have plenty of options to get into Austria, and unlimited options to move around once you’re in! Check out everything you need to know about transportation in Austria! 

Red cable car in Austria ascending a steep mountain with hot air balloons in the back

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Transportation In Austria

Once you’ve made it to Austria, traveling around is super easy and affordable! Austria’s public transportation system is extremely well-connected, with great digital tools to help you plan and travel efficiently, like the Verkher website shown below.

This website shows the cross-over points, the walking distance between the journey’s legs, and every stop so you can follow the route! It is very accurate, showing cancellations and the CO2 footprint of each option.

Once in Austria, we’ve never needed anything else between this and Google Maps, so easy! Get the Verkher transport program directly on your phone with the app in the Apple Store or Google Play.

Transportation in Austria is affordable and sometimes free on local public bus routes, making it easy to fit into your Austria budget.

Screenshot of the Verkher website map navigating transportation in Austria from Salzburg to Innsbruck

Public Bus

While the Verkehr website is a great tool, it doesn’t tell you that sometimes local buses are free!

Using the local bus while exploring the Stubai region, a ride between Innsbruck and Stubai Glacier ski resort would cost around €10, but with our Tourist Guest Card, it is completely free! Typically these routes are for skiers and require a residence card or tourist guest card, but we were never asked.

This isn’t the case for everyone in every location, but Austria runs a tight ship regarding tourist documentation.  Whether you’re in a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, the host or manager will provide a Tourist Guest Card.  This card will have perks all over your local area, so be sure to check these out and cash in the benefits!

Check out the perfect one-day Salzburg itinerary to get the most out of your Austrian adventure!

Trains

Trains are the best way to get across the country in longer distances. The official state-owned company in Austria is OBB, which is clean, comfortable, and affordable. Tickets can be purchased at a station, or online with a discount! Another great company is Westbahn, with often cheaper tickets and non-stop service between major cities! There are a lot of train companies operating in Austria, so check out sites like Omio or Trainline to see the various options for your travels. Trains in Austria are easy to use, fast, and allow you to bring all of your luggage easily while you sit back and enjoy the countryside views. If you’re exploring long-term around Europe, you may want to check out the Eurail Pass. It is a bit pricier, but for frequent travelers, the cost is worth it.

Booking online before travel is almost always cheaper!

OBB red and white train in Austria with a snowy mountain in the distance

Gondolas & Funiculars

It wouldn’t be a complete Austrian trip without going on at least one cable car or funicular up a steep mountain. The views are worth it and the experience is fun to try, but not always for the faint of heart! In many towns, you will find either traditional or modern cable cars (gondolas) – a small box that holds 2-20 people, connected to a cable on a pulley system. You will also find funiculars – a steep railway that climbs up the mountain, also called a cog railway. The best experiences I had were in the Salzkammergut region near Hallstatt. The Katrin Cable Car in Bad Ischl is one of the last remaining traditional cable cars in the area and only holds 4 people as it ascends the snowy mountain. A short distance away across the valley is the steepest cog railway in all of Austria up the SchafbergBahn in St Wolfgang. The views from up here are incredible and one of the best things to do during your trip around Hallstatt!
St Wolfgang funicular view of a red cable car ascending a steep Austrian mountain
Image from 5 Treasures

Getting To Austria

From Europe

Europe is arguably one of the most well-connected areas for people, where you can get from one point to the next mainly using public transport. You can get anywhere by bus or train, most of which have free-onboard WiFi too, so you can sit back and work or just watch the sights as you travel through countries. 

A great place to start is a tool like Rome2Rio, which will show you some basic options to start looking into. From here, you’ll get an idea of what the different travel options are to look into independently!

Traveling by bus or train is affordable and convenient to move around Europe. Use platforms like FlixBus or BudBud, to check out bus routes, and Omio and Trainline for train routes. 

From Outside Europe

Getting to Austria from anywhere outside of the European Region will likely require a flight unless you have a lot of time to kill. Since traveling sustainably is a huge goal of this blog and the new generation of travelers, it’s important to reduce your travel impact as much as possible! This can be done in two main ways; travel slowly & offset your carbon footprint.

Even if you have to fly into Austria, take some time and explore Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Germany, or any of the countries around Europe! You can see the whole world without pinballing from place to place and adopt a slow travel approach.

Don’t sweat it if you need to take a flight, but think about how the rest of your actions are either adding to or subtracting from that carbon impact you’ve made. 

Sometimes flights are unavoidable, so when you have to take one, make sure you’re booking the cheapest flight with these booking tricks. 

A red plane engine flying over snowy mountains in the Austrian aps

Summary - What To Know About Transportation in Austria

Getting into and around Austria is super easy and affordable if you plan right. The central location of Austria in Europe makes it a great stopover point in any European adventure, and so beautiful to stay and explore around.

Using a mix of buses and trains, navigating around Austria is super easy.  If you use the Verkher website, you will always find the best routes to your next destination so you can travel with ease and confidence. 

Explore the other destinations waiting for you in Europe!

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Austria, 0 comments
The Best One Day Salzburg Itinerary

The Best One Day Salzburg Itinerary

While you’re exploring Europe, taking advantage of the travel days and long layovers is the best way to optimize your exploration! If Salzburg is that place for you, check out how to spend a day seeing the best parts of Salzburg with this one day Salzburg itinerary

Salzburg, Austria -translated to ‘salt-castle‘, is a well-preserved historic city in Central Europe. It is at the junction of diverse cultures from Bavaria, Hungary, with a special influence from the Catholic Church. Salzburg was constructed with an elegant Baroque style courtesy of the Church during the 10th century. Salzburg is an influential city; home of Mozart, the largest fortress in Central Europe, and a historic Catholic Cathedral.

Salzburg’s central location makes it a perfect pit stop on your European travels. If you’re passing through Salzburg, Austria, try to fit a few spare hours into your day to see what the city has to offer.

Walking down Greisdasse Street for

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Explore the other destinations waiting for you in Europe!

24-Hour Salzburg Card

Salzburg, Austria has a prime tourist card with access to museums, attractions, public transport, and more around the historical city. There are 31 included attractions, as well as the ability to skip the line if there is one!

The best part is you don’t need to make any stops at the tourist office to get these cards! They are available for purchase online, where you will immediately receive an email so you can download them straight to your Apple Wallet. Austria isn’t known as the most affordable destination, so check out how to stay within budget in Austria

If you travel in the low season, the cards are discounted even further. As a sustainable traveler, I also choose to travel in the off-season to distribute the load on an area from tourism, and the cost savings are a huge plus!

Salzburg Card Prices

  • 24-Hour / €27
  • 48-hour / €35
  • 72-Hour / €40

Arriving in Salzburg

This guide is centered around starting and ending at the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), used by most trains and long-haul buses. When you arrive, Salzburg Station has affordable luggage storage ranging from €3-4.50 for 24 hours. They have lockers ranging from personal items to 6-foot skis, so you can drop your things for the day to explore! Check out the map below at the yellow and green icons for all of the attractions you should see in a day!

Almost everything on this itinerary can be reached by foot, as it is all around the Historic City Center, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. This itinerary is dependent on purchasing the €27 Salzburg 24-Hour Card to gain access to most attractions and use FREE City Transport!

Most train stations are centrally located in the city center, as opposed to airports that are always outside the city limits. Check out transport options by train or bus to reduce your carbon footprint, save money, and explore cities more conveniently!

Free Transport = Unlimited Exploration

In general, transportation in Austria is very easy to use. As mentioned above, most of the city is accessible by walking, but the availability of free public transport adds some peace of mind that you can easily make it back to the station to catch your departure. 

With the Salzburg Card, you can hop on and off any city bus for free by simply scanning the card right from your phone! This makes city travel a breeze and saves you from walking more than you need to.

Must See - Salzburg Card

Included in Salzburg Card & Included in a 1-day itinerary

Must See

NOT included in Salzburg Card
Included in 1-day itinerary

Additional Attractions

Included in Salzburg Card, NOT included in the 1-day itinerary

1. First Stop - Mirabell Gardens

As you leave the train station, you’re just a short walk from the historic center. By heading south towards Mozart’s residence, take a walk through the public gardens at Mirabell Palace. Created with swirling designs of color, the gardens are a peaceful place to walk and a beautiful reminder to enjoy your present moment. In the winter, the statues create a beautiful contrast with the designs in the snow.

2. Mozart's Residence

When you come out on the far side of the gardens, a few more blocks and you’ll come to Mozart’s Residence beside a large Catholic Church in a plaza. This is the location where the Mozart family lived for 15 years in the late 1700’s. Although 2/3 of the building was destroyed from a bombing during WWII, the reconstruction was done to resemble the authentic construction when it was occupied by the Mozart family.  Now, it houses his fortepiano in the great hall, some original documents and portraits, and an interactive music experience.

Exterior of Mozart's residence in Salzburg, Austria
Mozart's Residence

3. Fortress Hohensalzburg

Fortress Hohensalzburg is one of the best attractions in the city for its sheer size perched above the city. Constructed in the 11th century as a means of protection for the Archbishop, it is the largest fortress in Central Europe with a 360-degree view over the old city. You definitely can’t miss the chance to check it out! The first thing you’ll notice about the fortress is that it’s up a pretty steep hill. Luckily, the 24-Hour Salzburg Card grants you access to the funicular (steep train car) located at the base of the paved trail to save you time and a steep climb. The ride takes you up in about 1 minute, whereas walking takes 20 minutes to get to the fortress gates. As you get to the top, open up your virtual card, scan it on the reader, and explore where you want! The fortress has multiple museums and showcases inside featuring authentic armory, weapons, housewares, and history of the ages. Of all of the museums, you have access to the Fortress Museum, Marionette Museum, Rainer Regimental Museum, courtyards, chapel, and staterooms. There are other things available for purchase, so if you want to see it all check out the additional ticket options.

You must enter the fortress before 11 a.m. for use with the Salzburg Card! I don't know how strict this is, especially since we traveled in the off-season with way fewer tourists, but prioritize it sooner rather than later, it's worth it!

4. Catacombs of St. Peter's Abbey

Located just left of the funicular is the Cemetery of St. Peter. Although most people glance over cemeteries as a place to visit (although they are super fascinating and a view into a culture’s relationship with life), this one is different. This cemetery is home to 12th-century catacombs, dug from the side of Monchsberg Mountain. The catacombs were created and used as a hermitage and burial site during antiquity by Christians to avoid religious persecution. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk up the steps into the various caves for worship, with great views of the central city square!
View of the Salzburg Cathedral from the Catacombs in St.Peter's Abbey
View from the Catacombs in St. Peter's Abbey

5. Salzburg Cathedral

The second-most incredible building in Salzburg is the Salzburg Cathedral. Located in the center of the historic district, it is also the center of the local culture over the past few centuries as Salzburg was the seat of the Archbishop for the Catholic Church. The Cathedral can be enjoyed from the plaza due to its incredible architecture, but once you step inside you will be transported back to the Middle Ages. 

If you time your day right and can get to the Cathedral at noon, you’ll be able to experience the domed acoustics for a 30-minute organ concert. You’ll hear 7 unique pipe organs boast their music as you get lost staring at the 137 classical paintings that cover the ceiling. It isn’t every day that you get the chance to experience the grandness of a mid-century cathedral!

Discounted with the Salzburg Card, €3.5 for entrance, €6 for the organ concert

View of the interior of the Salzburg Cathedral in Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg Cathedral

6. DomQuartier Museum

You’re able to get up close to the massive organ in the back of the Salzburg Cathedral, but only via the DomQuartier Museum. This well-preserved building was the residence of the Archbishop and religious superiors. It is connected to the Cathedral by long wings filled with historic artifacts, furniture, and information about the rise and reign of Catholicism in Salzburg. Luckily, the Salzburg Card grants free access to the museum, where you can stroll through leisurely or listen to a self-guided audio tour. 

7. Mozart's Birthplace

Since you only have a day, time to make your way to the other end of the city. On the way, you can make a stop at Mozart’s Birthplace – Salzburg’s most famous residence. This was Mozart’s family home for almost 30 years before moving across the river to Mozart’s Residence. The museum showcases some original certifications, letters, portraits, and instruments owned by the classical pianist, and is totally free with the Salzburg Card!