Europe is such an amazing vacation destination, with so many different countries to choose from. The first thing anyone has to do when planning any kind of European trip is to decide where to start and which other locations or countries they’d like to visit along the way. It can be a huge challenge to choose which places you’d like to visit, as there’s simply so much to see in Europe and so much to do in each and every country.

More ideas: Best Weekend Getaways, Best Day Trips

If you love beaches and sunshine, for example, places like Greece, Italy, and Croatia will have a lot of appeal. If you love fine wine and good food, France is the obvious choice. If you enjoy history, art, and cultural experiences, Italy is the place for you. If, meanwhile, you’re looking for a country that offers beautiful cities, stunning lakeside villages, amazing ski resorts, extraordinary architecture, and more, Austria might be the one.

There's a lot to be seen and done in Austria, and many visitors to the country tend to spend a lot of their time in its capital city of Vienna. Home of such iconic landmarks as the Hofburg and St Stephen's Cathedral, as well as Schonbrunn Palace and the world's oldest zoo, Vienna has played home to the likes of Mozart and Sigmund Freud over the years. It’s a gorgeous city, and it’s nicely placed for day trips and exploration too.

Vienna is nicely situated near the borders with Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, so day trips to Bratislava, Prague, and Budapest are possible from this location. You can also stay on Austrian soil and head across the country to enjoy an amazing day trip to Salzburg. There you can visit the beautiful Mirabell Palace and awe-inspiring Fortress Hohensalzburg, or stop off at Salzburg Cathedral and the Schloss Hellbrunn. Here’s how to plan your day trip from Vienna to Salzburg.

Getting to Salzburg from Vienna

If you look at a map of Austria, you’ll see that Vienna is right over in the eastern side of the country, while Salzburg is in the far west. These two cities, both beautiful and charming in their own right, are essentially at opposite sides of Austria, but they’re both definitely worth visiting on your vacation. To travel to Salzburg from Vienna for the purposes of a day trip, you can take either the train or a car.

Getting to Salzburg from Vienna by Train

The train is most often the best way to get between two big cities anywhere in Europe, as many different European nations, including Austria, have invested heavily in their rail networks over the year and can boast of super fast train connections. Trains run on a daily basis between Vienna and Salzburg, and there's always a train set to depart sometime soon, so you never have to wait around too long and can plan out your day trip to leave early in the morning and get back to Vienna late at night in order to have a full day in Salzburg.

To get to Salzburg by train from Vienna, you'll need to head to Vienna Central Station, which is easy to access from almost anywhere in the city. There, you should catch the RegioJet service to Salzburg. It will only make a few stops along the way and is by far the fastest service, arriving in Salzburg within about two and a half hours. A good tip to keep the costs of your day trip to Salzburg down is to book your train tickets in advance in order to get the best price.

Getting to Salzburg from Vienna by Car

There are plenty of advantages to hiring a rental car during your European vacation. Driving around in most European countries and cities is relatively easy and a car gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of where you go, when you go there, and what you do in each location. Having a car for your trip to Salzburg, for instance, will allow you to decide on your departure times and make some stops along the way, as needed.

The drive to Salzburg from Vienna is quite a pleasant one and will see you drive almost across the entire country. Over 180 miles separate Salzburg from Vienna, so the drive will take about three hours in total, but all you need to do is follow the E60/A1. Once you arrive at Salzburg, you should find plenty of places to park around the city.

Important Information and Things to Do in Salzburg

- Getting Around - Salzburg is quite a big city. However, it’s smaller than Vienna, so if you’ve been spending time in the Austrian capital, you’ll find Salzburg to be even easier to get around. The city has its own tram system, as well as a network of buses, and you can actually just pay a day ticket to use on both the buses and the trams, which is a very simple way to get around. You can also just rely on your own two feet to get you around Salzburg, and many of the main sights are quite close together in the Altstadt or ‘Old City’ part of town.

- Best Time to Visit Salzburg - Salzburg is a beautiful city and can be enjoyed all through the year. Like many European cities, it tends to be quite busy with tourists in the summer months, but this is also when the weather is nicest. So if you don’t mind the crowds and want lots of sunshine, visit in June or July. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, try to visit in spring or early fall. If you visit in July or August, you'll be able to enjoy the annual Salzburg Festival.

- Things to Do in Salzburg - There are lots of different things to see in Salzburg, and it’s important to differentiate between the Altstadt and Neustadt (New City). Both of these sectors have their own sites of interest. The Altstadt obviously has older architecture and more history behind it, but the Neustadt is home to some palaces and other key landmarks. Be sure to check out maps of the city before you visit, planning out the things you want to see the most and drawing up an itinerary for your day trip accordingly.