The Real Deal: Fourteen nights' accommodations, a five-day rail pass, transportation by metro in Vienna, and in-country support from English-speaking staff, from $1,576 per person—including taxes.
When: Depart April 30, May 7, 14, 21, 28, 2008
The fine print: Based on triple occupancy; add $237 for quad occupancy; $303 for double occupancy; $1,203 for single occupancy. Orientations in each location, a dinner in Salzburg , and a group activity (day trip to Wachau or a dinner) in Vienna are included as are lodging taxes. Read these before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability
Contact: Untours, 888/868-6871,
Why it's a deal: The package price represents savings of $300 per person off the typical rate—and it covers 14 nights' accommodations and a five-day rail pass for $113 per person per night. You get the convenience and reassurance of booking with a reliable operator that has English-speaking staff on hand, plus an orientation session and a group dinner.
Trip details: The package includes 14 nights' accommodations split between Vienna and Alpine towns within 30 to 60 minutes by train from Salzburg. The fully furnished apartments have kitchens and one or two bedrooms.
In Vienna, for example, you might stay in the , a bi-level apartment that sleeps three people. It has a terrace with flowers and is located right by a metro station, an indoor art deco swimming pool, and a market. Amalia C in the same building is better suited to two travelers. Included tickets for the metro make it easy and affordable to get around the sprawling capital.
In Werfen, about an hour by train from Salzburg, the Bergmüller apartment sleeps up to four people and has mountain views from the balcony and living room; it's a 10-minute walk to the train station. Seiwald A, which sleeps two, is just 30 minutes from Salzburg in the town of Kuchl in the Salzach Valley.
You'll use one day of the five-day train pass to travel between Vienna and Salzburg; the remaining days are yours for exploring the country. A few suggestions to whet your appetite: in the southeast, Graz, with a lovely Old Town and the startlingly modern Kunsthaus museum on the River Mur; in the west, the Tyrolean capital—and two-time Olympic host—Innsbruck; and the 1,000-year-old city of Krems in the Wachau-Danube Valley, also home to Melk Abbey (the model for the abbey in Umberto Eco's best-seller "The Name of the Rose").
For more tips on what to see and do, check Austria's official tourism board Web site. And before you go, check the , the , and the at .
Note that Untours has discounted several of its ; other destination pairings include and .
Getting there: A recent search on Kayak for travel to Vienna in early May yielded these lowest round-trip fares: $700 from New York City (United/Austrian Airlines), $713 from Chicago (multiple airlines), $719 from D.C. (KLM/Northwest), $758 from San Francisco (multiple airlines), and $761 from Houston (multiple).
Before booking your own airfare, you may want to do a price comparison by getting an airfare quote from Untours. They do provide an air-inclusive version of this package, but the pricing fluctuates; at press time, we found fares through Kayak—which include estimated taxes and fees—to be a better value. Compare the starting air-inclusive rate through Untours of $2,427 (based on triple occupancy, from New York City) with $2,276 through Kayak ($1,576 for land-only Untours plus $700 for airfare).