9 unforgettable day trips from Vienna

Getting there and what to see

Its proximity to Eastern Europe makes Vienna the perfect base for day trips to great European capitals such as Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, and Ljubljana. But if it’s more of Austria you want to see without switching hotels, some of the best day trips from Vienna are to beautiful Austrian destinations like Salzburg, Hallstatt, and the Wachau Valley.

Hallstatt is a popular day trip destination from Vienna. © Travel Tyrol
Hallstatt, Austria is one of the most popular day trip destinations from Vienna.

Since there are seemingly endless options for day trips from Vienna, I asked fellow travel bloggers who really took the trip to write about their experience. This way, you can be certain it’s doable. In addition, I researched all the possible transport options to help you with your planning.

Vienna to Bratislava day trip

Alex Waltner – Swedish Nomad

Bratislava is just one hour away by train from the Austrian capital, and train tickets usually cost just 10 Euro. This is a great day trip if you’re staying a couple of days extra in Vienna and want to see something different.

You can easily see the best of Bratislava in 12 hours, and some of the best spots include the Bratislava castle, Michael’s Gate, St. Martin’s Cathedral, old town, UFO bridge (for a city view), the presidential palace, street art, and the blue church.

Make sure to stop at one of the cosy cafes and restaurants in the old town and try some local food. From the train station, it’s easy to get to central parts. Most of the sightseeing spots are located within walking distance.

Street scene in Bratislava on a day trip from Vienna.
Bratislava street scene.

There is no need to buy or reserve train tickets ahead unless you travel during high-season. Trains rarely get full as there are frequent ones daily.

To make the most out of the day, make sure to take one of the earliest trains available. Usually, you can hop on a Vienna to Bratislava train after 6 or 8 o’clock in the morning. Then you have the whole day to explore the Slovakian capital. It truly is one of the best day trips from Vienna.

How to get from Vienna to Bratislava

Vienna to Bratislava train

The quickest Vienna to Bratislava train takes only 59 minutes. You can buy ordinary rail tickets or opt for the special Bratislava Ticket for €16.  It includes the return journey on regional trains between Vienna and Bratislava as well as public transport in Bratislava on the day when you first validated your ticket.

The stations to remember for a day trip from Vienna to Bratislava by train are Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna main station), Bratislava Hlavná stanica (Bratislava Central Station), and Bratislava-Petržalka, which is across the river from the old town.

Vienna boat trips to Bratislava

Not as cheap as the train, but hey, you get to cruise on the Danube on a day trip from Vienna to Bratislava by boat. Twin City Liner makes the journey from Vienna to Bratislava 3 x daily. A one-way ticket costs between €30 and €35, depending on the season. Check here for up-to-date times and prices for these Vienna boat trips to Bratislava.

By bus to Bratislava from Vienna

With tickets starting from €4,99, this is the cheapest option to travel from Vienna to Bratislava if you’re on a tight budget. Both FlixBus and Eurolines travel between the 2 cities. You can compare times and prices here

Vienna to Bratislava by car

Driving from Vienna to Bratislava takes just over an hour. There are 2 possible routes, one of 80 km and the other around 68 km. Once there, the best option is to park in one of the underground parking garages. Read this before you park in the street.

Day tours from Vienna to Bratislava

If you’d rather leave the transport arrangements to somebody else, there are quite a few organised tours from Vienna to Bratislava. One of the most attractive ones is the full day boat tour with breakfast, lunch, and dinner included. At €49 for the return journey it costs less than what you would pay just for tickets on the Twin City Liner. You can also book a guided walking tour of Bratislava on board for just €3 extra.

Another popular day tour from Vienna to Bratislava is a combination of bus and boat. This 7-hour bus and boat tour one includes the walking tour of the Slovak capital.

There are also a number of private transfers and tour options for a Bratislava day tour from Vienna.

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Vienna to Hallstatt day trip

By Cazzy Magennis from Dream Big, Travel Far

Hallstatt is one of the most iconic and picturesque places in all Austria, and it makes for one of the best day trips from Vienna. Most things to do in Hallstatt can be completed in one day, so that’s why lots of people prefer a day trip there.

There are lots of great ways to get from Vienna to Hallstatt. You can opt to rent a car as there are plenty of parking lots in Hallstatt. It would take you around 3 hours to get there. Or, you can get the train which would take around 4 hours as you must switch trains. Or finally, you could join a guided Hallstatt tour from Vienna. On my trip, we opted to drive to Hallstatt as the roads in Austria are excellent and the views are wonderful.

Hallstatt is one of the most visited villages in Austria and a good choice for a day trip from Vienna.
A wintry view of Lake Hallstatt.

Hallstatt is a beautiful place to visit in every season, but we visited in winter and enjoyed walking around the town, shopping for souvenirs, taking pictures by the lake, drinking hot chocolate in one of the cafes overlooking the lake, and much more.

The area around Hallstatt offers great hikes, unique viewing platforms and the chance to explore amazing ice caves. Arrive as early as possible to ensure you get to do as much as possible on your Hallstatt day trip from Vienna!

How to get from Vienna to Hallstatt

Vienna to Hallstatt train

This is one of the longer day trips from Vienna, with the fastest and easiest train connection taking 3 h 29 minutes. To allow for enough time to enjoy Hallstatt to the fullest, I really recommend taking the 05:55 train (yes, that early!) with Salzburg as the final destination. It requires one change at Attnang-Puchheim (before Salzburg). This way, you’ll be in Hallstatt by 09:24 – well before the crowds arriving from other destinations.

A good train for the return journey is the 16:32 from Hallstatt to Vienna via Attnang-Puchheim. It will get you back to the Austrian capital shortly after 20:00. Standard tickets for the Vienna to Hallstatt train cost €54,60 but you can get if for as little as €19,00 with the Sparschiene saver ticket if you book in advance. You can check and compare prices here.

Vienna to Hallstatt Bus

There is no direct Vienna to Hallstatt bus. If you’re dependent on cheap public transport, it, therefore, makes more sense to take the train.

Hallstatt tour from Vienna

Two guided bus or shuttle tours depart from Vienna to Hallstatt. Both cost €110.

This one travels through the scenic Salzkammergut lake region. It stops in Gmunden before continuing to Hallstatt. Here, a boat ride and trip to the Hallstatt skywalk is included in the tour price.

The second Hallstatt tour from Vienna stops at Admont Abbey before continuing through the Salzkammergut to Hallstatt. It includes entrance to the Abbey and a guided walking tour of Hallstatt.

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Vienna to Salzburg day trip

By James from Where You’re Between

Despite the distance between the two cities, a Vienna to Salzburg day trip by train can easily be done. The journey from Vienna to Salzburg takes about 2,5 hours. That means you’ll need an early start and a fairly late return train to make the most of the day in Salzburg.

If you catch one of the first trains of the morning from Vienna, you can be in Salzburg in time for a spot of breakfast. A late evening return train will have you back in Vienna by around 10.30pm. This will give you almost a whole day to explore the centre of Salzburg. Then there’s also the added bonus of passing through the spectacular Austrian countryside between Vienna and Salzburg.

A trip to Salzburg is one of the easiest day trips from Vienna by train.
Salzburg, in the foothills of the Alps.

Recognised as a World Heritage Site, the historic centre of Salzburg is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It possesses a breath-taking blend of ornate cathedrals and churches and majestic baroque architecture.

The vast Hohensalzburg Fortress dominates Salzburg’s beautiful skyline and offers jaw-dropping views of the city, as well as of the Alps, the edge of which is just a few miles away.

At the heart of the city is the magnificent Salzburg Cathedral, where the city’s most famous son, Mozart, was baptised. Mozart’s former home is now a museum dedicated to the life of the musical prodigy.

24 hours may not be enough to see all that Salzburg has to offer but it makes for one of the best day trips from Vienna.

How to get from Vienna to Salzburg

Vienna to Salzburg train

The fastest Vienna to Salzburg train takes 2 h 22 min on the Railjet Xpress which leaves the Vienna main station every hour on the half hour. This means if you take the 6:30 train from Vienna, you’ll be in Salzburg just before 09:00. That makes it one of the easiest day trips from Vienna by train.

Both the ÖBB and Westbahn run trains between Vienna and Salzburg. ÖBB Sparschiene saver tickets start at €19, while a standard Westbahn ticket costs €25,99 and a last-minute ÖBB ticket will set you back €55,60.     You can compare prices and get train tickets from Vienna to Salzburg on Trainline here.  

Vienna to Salzburg bus

Eurolines operate buses from Vienna to Salzburg. However, the trip from Vienna to Salzburg is much faster and more convenient by train. There also isn’t much of a price difference.

Vienna to Salzburg by car

The shortest driving distance from Vienna to Salzburg is just under 300 km. The route via the A1 motorway goes passed St Pölten and Linz.

Vienna to Salzburg tour

There are a number of options for a Salzburg day tour from Vienna. Some go straight to Salzburg and include The Sound of Music filming locations, while others stop in the Salzkammergut Lake District on the way. Here’s a great description of a day trip from Vienna to Salzburg including both the movie locations and a stop in St Gilgen on Lake Wolfgang. Prices start at just over €100.

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Vienna to Budapest day trip

By Ann Marie of Eco Conscious Traveller

Well, Budapest is simply one of my favourite cities ever and what’s great about it is that it only takes a few hours to get there from Vienna. It actually blew my mind when I took the early Vienna to Budapest bus to learn that two such awesome cities were so close together.

On my 6:00 bus I met a few Hungarian girls who had just spent the night in Vienna partying, had got the bus the night before and had stayed up all night to take the bus back early the next morning – hardcore! If those girls can take the bus for just one night’s party, then it’s more than feasible to have a more chilled day trip to Budapest.

Budapest is one of the great European capitals you can visit on a day trip from Vienna.
Budapest, down the Danube from Vienna.

And Budapest is such an incredible city. Everything about it feels so magical as you take in the sights of the river and the architectural masterpiece that is the Hungarian Parliament. Of course, you could spend a few days here if you really want to see it all. But if time is limited a Vienna to Budapest day trip is definitely possible. However, you should plan in advance what you want to do.

You could head to one of Budapest’s famous baths, such as Szechenyi or Gellert, or visit the beautiful Buda Castle. Hungarian food is delicious. Goulash – a Hungarian stew – is a must-try! I was also pleasantly surprised by the many vegan restaurants in Budapest.

The bus takes approximately 3 hours, meaning you’ll have to take the earliest option there and take the latest back to make the most of your day trip from Vienna. All in all, it’s well worth visiting this magical city with day tours from Vienna.

How to get from Vienna to Budapest

Vienna to Budapest train

There are direct trains from Vienna to Budapest every hour. The total journey time is 2 h 37 min. Not bad for a day trip from one European capital to another. The saver ticket price starts at €19, while a standard, flexible ticket costs €40,20. The Vienna to Budapest train departs and arrives in the main train station of both cities.

Vienna to Budapest bus

Getting the bus from Vienna to Budapest is easy and cheap. FlixBus travels to the Hungarian capital several times daily. You’ll spend just over 3 hours on the bus. Vienna to Budapest bus ticket prices start at under €10.

Vienna to Budapest tour

There are a number of private transfers and tours from Vienna to Budapest. If you’re looking for something cheaper, this 12-hour Vienna to Budapest tour takes you to all the important sites in one day. The price is around €119.

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Vienna to Graz day trip

By Corinne Vail of Reflections Enroute

Travellers looking for interesting day trips from Vienna should consider taking the 2.5-hour train ride to Graz, a UNESCO World Heritage City of Design.

Graz is a small city focused on interweaving the past and the future in art and design. This surprisingly gorgeous city boasts two World Heritage sites. One of these, the historic centre, is a fairytale destination of stunningly decorated medieval and baroque style buildings. Schloss Eggenberg, the other World Heritage site in Graz, is a little further from the centre but also a must-see for lovers of Baroque architecture and art.

Graz, Austria is a good option for a day trip from Vienna.
The rooftops of Graz, Austria.

Among the things to do in Graz, is the river walk. Basically, it’s an outdoor gallery of street art, and if you’re lucky you might spot an urban surfer catching a wave in the middle of the Mur River. Just across the street is the futuristic Kunsthaus, which seems to have been plopped down into the middle of its neighborhood by some alien race. Yet, it somehow manages to blend in as a natural part of the city.

Back on the river walk, you can walk across a bridge to a café on the Murinsel (Mur Island) built right in the middle of the river. It’s a destination in its own right. The island was built by American artist, Vitto Acconci, and is a perfect spot to sip a cappuccino as the river tumbles along merrily around you.

Whatever you get up to, you’re practically guaranteed to enjoy your time in the vibrant, youthful city of Graz on a one-day trip from Vienna.

How to get from Vienna to Graz

Vienna to Graz train
Regular direct trains from Vienna to Graz run every hour during the day. The journey with the Railjet 559 from the main train station in Vienna takes 2 h 35 mins. A standard Vienna to Graz train ticket costs around €40, while you can get a Sparschiene saver ticket for as little as €9 if you book well in advance.
Vienna to Graz bus
FlixBus travels between Vienna and Graz, with tickets also starting at €9. However, the Vienna to Graz bus takes about 30 minutes longer than the train. It’s an extra hour out of your day if you want to pack as much as possible into your one-day trip from Vienna to Graz.

Want to do something interesting while exploring Graz on your day trip from Vienna? You can join a polaroid photo walking tour with a personal photo guide. And take home the vintage Polaroid photos you took as unique souvenirs of Graz.

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Vienna to Brno day trip

By Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan

Since Brno is not in Austria, you might not immediately think of it as a day trip destination from Vienna. But it’s only 1.5 hours away by train, and, as the second largest city in the Czech Republic, Brno offers lots of things to do.

The most popular sites include Špilberk Castle, which sits high on a hill overlooking the city, and the Cabbage Market (Zelný Trh), which has been operating as a fruit and vegetable market since the 13th-century.

Seeing the ossuary in St James Church makes a Vienna to Brno day trip worthwhile.
Ossuary in St. James’ Church, Brno.

Brno also has several unusual, and even macabre, attractions. One of these is the ossuary underneath St. James’ Church. It’s the second largest ossuary in Europe and contains the mortal remains of more than 50,000 people. The skulls and bones are arranged in decorative patterns, and it’s a haunting, thought-provoking place of reflection.

Other unusual sites in Brno include the 10-Z Fallout Shelter, which is a nuclear bunker built during the Communist era. It could house up to 600 people and was intended to protect political elites in the event of a nuclear attack.

Brno is a compact city and is easily explored on foot. You’ll be able to get a good feel for the city and see many of its main sights on a one-day trip from Vienna. It sees far fewer visitors than Prague and offers a more authentic Czech experience.

The journey from Vienna to Brno is 130 km long and takes about an hour and a half each way by train. Trains leave once per hour from Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof throughout the day. Traveling by bus is not advised, as it takes much longer and is only slightly cheaper.

How to get from Vienna to Brno

Vienna to Brno train
As Wendy stated, getting from Vienna to Brno is easiest by train. Both the ÖBB Railjet and EuroCity cover this route. However, the EuroCity requires a change in Breclav. Saver tickets start at an amazing €7 for the 1 h 25-minute journey. Compare prices and availability of the Vienna to Brno train here.
Vienna to Brno bus
If for some reason, you prefer travelling by bus, FlixBus covers the route. Tickets start from €4,99.
Brno tours from Vienna
I couldn’t find any Vienna to Brno tours. However, once you’re in Brno, there are a few walking tours to join.

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Vienna to Mikulov day trip

By Liz of Little Holidays

An hour’s drive north of Vienna is the Czech Republic’s luscious wine region, South Moravia. In the middle of the rolling fields and vineyards, we headed to Mikulov, a castle town that’s an excellent base for hiking adventures and lots of great wine.

Mikulov has the distinctive beauty of a Czech castle town: rows of red terracotta roofs, meandering cobblestoned streets, and an impressive 13th-century castle set against the gorgeous backdrop of rolling hills and the outline of a distant mountain range. It’s a normally sleepy town and one of the more relaxing day trips from Vienna.

One of the best day trips from Vienna is to take the train to the Czech castle town of Mikulov.
Czech castle town Mikulov.

You can spend the day walking around the small town, hiking up the Holy Hill, and exploring the castle. If you want to be more active on this trip, you can also bring along a bike. Mikulov has plenty of bike trails that run through vineyards and rows of wine cellars, and hiking trails that bring you through castle ruins, old chapels, and stunning viewpoints.

From Mikulov, the Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape is a short 15-minute drive away. Both towns have well-preserved chateaux and gardens, as well as plenty of restaurants serving traditional Czech and Moravian dishes.

From Vienna, it’s best to visit Mikulov and its neighboring towns by driving. However, you can also reach Mikulov by train – the international train from Vienna to Breclav takes 1 hour, while the local train from Breclav to Mikulov takes less than half an hour.

Mikulov is beautiful year-round, but to fully appreciate the town, plan to go when it’s warm enough to walk around comfortably. September is a great time to visit if you love wine and festivals as this is when the towns celebrate the harvest. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, venture out into the vineyards and forest trails, and bring home a bottle of wine!

How to get from Vienna to Mikulov

Vienna to Mikulov train
If you’re dependent on public transport, the train from Vienna to Mikulov na Morave takes just under 2 hours. It requires one change in Breclav. Saver tickets can be picked up for as little as €9.
Vienna to Mikulov by car
Driving the just under 90 km from Vienna to Mikulov via the A5 motorway will take you about an hour and six minutes.

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Vienna to Eckartsau on the Danube day trip

By Pashmina from The Gone Goat

In the summer of 2018, I cycled from Vienna, Austria to Budapest, Hungary along the Danube river. The trip took me to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest alongside castles and wooded parks and the majestic Danube bend.

The highlights include visiting the lovely castle in a green village called Eckartsau, nestled in the middle of the Danube wetlands. It’s only 43 km from Vienna and can be easily visited on a day trip.

Eckartsau on the Danube is a great day trip from Vienna.
Reaching Eckartsau Castle by bike.

Eckartsau Castle has an enchanting park featuring locally grown veggies and delicacies. It will whet your appetite to just walk through the forests on your cycling break, allowing you to understand the history of this landscape circling back to the 19th century. At the same time, you’ll get some insight into the lives of the people living in the town.

Eckartsau Castle gives you a peek into the miniature masterpieces of Viennese baroque. The magnificent garden of the Palais provides ample cover to savour decadent cupcakes and Viennese food.

The bicycle ride from Vienna may take you a couple of hours. The alternative if you don’t have a car is to take the bus from Vienna to Eckartsau.

How to get from Vienna to Eckartsau

Vienna to Eckartsau bus
The bus ride from Vienna to Eckartsau takes about an hour. There are different options, starting in Vienna. The fastest, direct bus leaves once an hour from Wien Aspernstrasse.
Vienna to Eckartsau by car
Driving to Eckartsau is easy via the L5. It will take you about 50 minutes to travel the 43 km.
Vienna to Eckartsau tour
If you want to cycle from Vienna to Eckartsau as Pashmina did, one option is to join this 2-day cycle tour which takes you from Vienna passed Eckartsau to Bratislava and Budapest.  

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Vienna to Ljubljana day trip

By Leo from Safarinomad

When planning day trips from Vienna do not forget to include the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. If you keep on reading you will know it’s well worth a visit.

Ljubljana, a city you can easily see in one day, has a population of about 280,000. At the same time it is a lively city and big enough to offer everything you expect large capitals to have. It is also called European green city as it boasts nature in the heart of the city centre and other urban green areas.

Ljbuljana is not close to Vienna, but worth a day trip if you have time.
Magical Ljubljana.

The city center is marked by the work of the world-renowned architect Jože Plečnik. Visit some of his famous works, such as the Triple Bridge in the city center, the National and University Library building and the Ljubljanica river embankments and bridges. The Central Market, which is also the art of Plečnik, is not only worth a visit but also worth to shop as the food here is fresh from local farmers.

Prešeren square is the heart of the historic city centre and also where locals usually meet. There is a monument to the poet France Prešeren and the Franciscan church. Additionally, do not miss the Dragon Bridge – a symbol of Ljubljana, Metelkova alternative culture center, the Ljubljana castle and Tivoli park – a popular and relaxing spot among locals.

Along the Ljubljanica river, there are numerous charming coffee bars and restaurants where you can take a rest and enjoy some traditional local dishes.

The fastest and easiest way to travel from Vienna to Ljubljana is by road. The driving distance is about 390 km and it will take you around 4 hours.

How to get from Vienna to Ljubljana

Vienna to Ljubljana by car
Ljubljana is the furthest day trip destination from Vienna on this list. It’s also the only one where travelling by car is easier than taking the train. Here are directions for the 392 km journey via Graz.
Vienna to Ljubljana bus
GoOpti covers this route from €50 for the 5-hour journey.
Ljubljana tours
This Ljubljana and Ljubljana Castle sightseeing tour is very popular.

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That’s it. I hope you’ll find lots of inspiration here while planning your day trips from Vienna. I’ve been to most of the Austrian cities apart from Graz (luckily a friend moved there recently and I’m dying to visit 😆 ). Therefore, you’ll find more details about visiting Hallstatt on a day trip from Salzburg, or how to make the best use of the Salzburg Card, elsewhere on the blog.

All of these day trips from Vienna can easily be done with kids. Just take things along to keep them busy on the trains or buses. And if you’re back in Vienna with the kids, here is a great list of things to do for families in the Austrian capital. Also, returning from a long day trip may mean you’ll arrive back in Vienna very hungry. This is where you’ll find the best schnitzel in Vienna to take care of the hunger.

*Disclosure*

Dear Reader,

Having fun in Austria and then writing about it is hard work ?. That’s why some links in this article are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use any of them to make a purchase for your upcoming trip. It’s totally cool if you don’t use them. I love to help anyway ?. But if you do, we’ll probably blow it on another family excursion in Austria. Which really isn’t such a bad thing, because it will only result in another blog post for you to read.

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Anda

Your post came right on time for me, as I’m getting ready for a 3 week trip to Austria in May. I appreciate that you were posting distances from Vienna to all these beautiful towns around. I think I will probably end up by spending a couple of days in each one of them, rather than using Vienna as a base. Good to know that I can go to Bratislava by boat. I’d love that.

vanessa

So many options! I like the idea of a Vienna to Bratislava bus and boat tour, especially with an additional walking tour. I’d much rather leave the driving to someone else, so I can lazily gaze at the passing landscape and take photos. Excellent tips on Vienna, thank you!

Kathleen

So many amazing choices of day trips from Vienna! I would love to take any one or maybe even all of these trips. I think I will need to plan a rather long trip to Vienna. The Ossuary under St. James’ Church is quite creepy, but probably very interesting too. I really love all the castles and red roof tops in the various towns. What a great post!

Suruchi Mittal

There are multiple options for day trips from Vienna. So, the place sounds like a perfect base but at some places like Hallstatt and Salzburg, we might prefer spending a longer time. I really liked the way you have compiled this post and this is going to be super helpful for the travelers.

Rosemary

Vienna sounds like the perfect place to base oneself and explore the region. I will actually be visiting Brno later this year and since I’ve never been to Austria, this gives me the idea of taking the reverse trip given the short 1.5h train trip between the two. So many great options. This will come in handy for trip planning!!

sherianne

I’m hoping to do this trip this fall and Hallstatt is high on my list. I haven’t heard much about Graz but it looks like a city I would really like

Tami Wilcox

I’m impressed that you can get to all those cities within a day’s trip distance from Vienna. I suppose that makes Vienna a good hub for exploring. Your photos are beautiful, by the way! Now if only I had a week or two in Vienna so I could check out all of these fun day trips!

nicole
nicole

I have done Vienna to Bratslava. At only an hour and 16 euros its well worth the trip. I’ve also done Salzburg too. So many good day trips.