Tuesday, 25 March 2014

My next trip: Austria & Southern Bavaria

In April I will be attending a conference in Innsbruck, Austria. I thought that it would be nice to have a look around the area, before and/or after the 5-day conference. I've already been to both Austria and Germany, but there are many places I haven't visited in both countries, including this Alpine town famous for its ski facilities. 


One of the places I'd really like to visit in Europe, but where I doubt I would go unless I am already in the area for other reasons, is Neuschwanstein Castle, built by mad King Ludwig in the 19th century, and which has inspired Walt Disney. While researching this beauty, I realized that it is much easier to reach the castle from Munich than from Innsbruck, in spite of the fact that it's very close to the Austrian border. 

Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Bavaria (courtesy of google)

This is why I decided to spend a weekend in Munich, where I also have a friend. I was in Munich once when I was sixteen, but I only remember a rushed bus itinerary through the city, a quick visit to Marienplatz and then a long afternoon in a museum, the Alte Pinakothek. This time I intend to get a better look at this city, and to report to you of course.

A view of Munich

I always say that I'm a fan of travelling everywhere, but that I prefer southern Europe to Central Europe. In spite of that, I went to Slovenia recently, which is technically Central Europe, and I loved it! During this trip I hope to get stuffed with pretzels and weisswurst, while sipping excellent beers and looking at baroque architecture. I wonder if during the train and bus rides I will be offered beautiful landscapes. They certainly were incredible on the train ride from Venice to Vienna...

After the conference I will hop on a local train and visit Salzburg, a UNESCO world heritage site. I will spend my day exploring the town and hopefully I will be doing some couchsurfing. In Salzburg I'll also meet my friend Katarina, an Austrian girl I met during my exchange programme in Edinburgh many years ago.

Salzburg (image retrieved on google)

It will be a trip of first times:

  • First time on a night train. I have used the train a lot in my wanderings across Europe, but I've never spent a night on a train. For this trip it was cheaper and more convenient to take a night train that leaves Venice in the evening and arrives in Munich the following morning. I have booked a place in a 3-bed cabin, so I won't be spending the whole night on a hard seat. Some people told me that sleeping on a train is unconfortable, and it can be nasty depending on who is sleeping on the cabin with you, but I'm willing to add this experience to my list. After all, some people would never sleep in a hostel, and I do!
  • First time using airbnb. I usually stay in hostels or I use couchsurfing for my trips abroad. Unfortunately, hostels in Innsbruck have bad reviews, and since it seems to be a relatively expensive town, I couldn't find a suitable bed and breakfast, not expensive and still in the town centre. Moreover, since I will be attending a conference during the day, I think that using Couchsurfing could be inconvenient, because after a tiring day talking and listening about literature - and perhaps after a dinner with some of my colleagues - it is likely that I will be tired and that I will want some privacy. Don't get me wrong, I love couchsurfing and I will be doing it in Salzburg, but when you have a fixed schedule it's not the best option, since you never know what your host wants to do in the evening. Airbnb is a website that lets you book (and rent) private rooms in your flat or even a whole house if you want. It's generally cheaper than sleeping in a hotel, and you get to know some local people too.
I have a more exotic trip planned for May, but that's another story, and another post.


  1. Great plans!!! It sounds fantastic!!
    Neschwanstein Castle has been on my list since forever as well! Hopefully one day I'll get there!

  2. Looking forward to these posts! I'm visiting friends in Germany and Austria this summer and I am so excited!

    Happy travels :)

  3. Sounds like a lot of fun! Innsbruck looks beautiful. I wish I had easier access to Europe. Also, I used AirBnB before in Puerto Rico and loved it. It's a great way to get a feel for local life in a particular destination.

    1. And I wish I had better access to Northern and Central America! :-)

  4. Sounds like you have a plan. I hope you get to see the sights just the way they are on these photos :) Happy travels

  5. It all looks gorgeous! Have a fun trip !

  6. Wow, wow, wow! Now *I* want to go too. What stunning photos! Can I hide in your luggage? LOL! Can't wait to hear all about it. Enjoy!

  7. Great! Have a good time, you'll love Neuschwanstein! And Munich is amazing! Looking forward to reading your reports of Airbnb, I have never used it!

  8. Neuschwanstein is stunning indeed, a real fairytale castle. And Munich is a beautiful city as well!
    I have a plan to go to Innsbruck as well - but still don't know exactly when... so I'll be glad to read your tips about it.
    And your opinion about Airbnb too! I want to try it...

  9. Sounds like a fun trip you have planned! I used Airbnb in Rio and had a great experience! Definitely let us know how it goes!

  10. I was in this area last month, in Garmish-Partenkirchen, one of the last stops on the train from Munich to Innsbruck. I often use AirBnB, probably my No 1 go-to. I hope your experience is a good one.

  11. Looks like you'll be checking out some great places! I've been hearing a lot of good things about AirBnB too, might have to try myself sometime.

  12. Wow, gorgeous photos! Sounds like great plans :)

  13. I have yet been to Germany but I have spent some time up in Innsbruck and absolutly loved it. What a beautiful little city. I stayed with some friends of a buddy I was treaveling with. Now Ash and I have used airbnb a few times and have loved it everytime, it is worth the try. Also train are always fun adventures when you are sleeping in them. We took one from Budhapest to Bucarest. It was definitely an adventure. I think you're going to have a wonderful trip!

  14. Thanks to all my new readers, I can't wait to leave for Munich!

  15. Oh wow! i wish I could accompany you, Stefania! Great destination choices! All the best for your travels.


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