Exploring nearby places in summer by train

Not only me, but also the pandemic took a little break during summer, so it was also possible to travel again. Yet, still being careful, I’ve decided to don’t go somewhere that far away, but instead travel to some places I can reach easily by train as well. During summer, ÖBB – the Austrian Federal Railway – also offers a summer ticket for people under 26, which allows you to travel around Austria by train for only 69 € for 30 days.

On Friday after work, I took the train to Innsbruck to visit Emily, whom I didn’t see in a while, and spent the weekend with her in Tyrol before heading to South Tyrol Monday morning. Luckily there’s a direct train connection from Innsbruck to Bolzano, and I arrived there only about 3 hours later. It was my second time in Italy, so I was excited to explore the city and its surroundings. Yet, this time, I decided to relax and take things day by day and not stress myself too much to see everything. Most of the time, I strolled through the cute narrow streets of the city, sat down in cafés to read a book, and drank coffee or Aperol spritz. So one could say, I really embraced the Italian way of life and thereby found the best restaurant in town – Fischbänke. I’ve also enjoyed being on my own and doing whatever I was in the mood for. So one afternoon, I’ve also spontaneously decided to visit a winery and do a wine tasting there – which was pretty fun. The three days I’ve spent in Bolzano passed by quickly, so it was already time to get on the next train to Bregenz.

On the way to Bregenz, I had to switch trains in Innsbruck, but the train ride went by fast and I made it to Bregenz right in time for dinner. I was a little tired already, so I decided to explore the city only the next day. After a good sleep, I had breakfast at my hotel and then walked to the city center from there, also walking along the promenade at Lake Constance. That day, I also took the Pfänderbahn to the top of Pfänder, the most famous viewpoint of the region. From there, you can enjoy a unique panoramic view over the entire Lake Constance and 240 Alpine peaks of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. It was pretty hot while I was in Bregenz. Thus, I’ve decided to spend one entire day at the outdoor pool right next to Lake Constance, sunbathing, reading a book, and taking some dips in the lake in between. At the same time, the Bregenzer Festspiele also was taking place, so I decided I would take this chance to see one of their performance in the evening. And although the program was shorter due to the pandemic and current restrictions, it was still a great experience. The next day, I had breakfast at the hotel, packed my bags again, and hopped on the train heading East again. But before heading back to Vienna, I had two more stops planned.

On Friday afternoon, I arrived at Zell am See, where my friend Anna was already waiting for me at the train station to pick me up and take me to Saalbach. Saalbach has become a bit of my second (or third) home since my sister lived there for nearly four years, so it was also great to see some familiar faces again. And since I hadn’t seen Anna in a while, we also had a lot to catch up on before I headed on to my last stop in Upper Austria. By the time I made it to the train station in Upper Austria, Anna and Antonella were already waiting for me there to pick me up. Before heading to Anna’s place, we stopped at Attersee to go for a swim but got caught in the rain only an hour later. So, we drove to Anna’s hut on a hill overlooking Attersee and spent a cozy and fun evening there – playing games, doing our nails, and having dinner and drinks on the patio. The next day, we had breakfast together, and then Anna dropped Antonella and me off at the train station again, and we headed back to Vienna again. Although I wished that the pandemic never started, it also had something good: I finally took the time to go somewhere not that far away and even figured out that sometimes beautiful places are „just around the corner“ as well.

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