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Highlights itinerary - Wurzburg/Garmisch/Ribeauville/Mosel 19 days

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Back for a third try with this. I had a set itinerary to Dordogne and Provence, but Air france cancelled our flights and this has led me to rethink our trip (and eat some deposits). Now I have settled on our *final* itinerary rough outline. Our Dordogne trip will be pushed back to 2014 with my better understanding of the logistics.

We're an active couple with two boys, 15 and 13. We'll be staying in Alsace with friends for 5 nights, so the rest is planned around that. Trying to hit the highlights. I realize that we'll be driving right by many many worthy places , but that is the nature of a highlights itinerary.

(overnights in parenthesis).

Day 1: (Wurzburg) Arrive Dussedorf 9:30am from Miami, train to Wurzburg arrive 2pm.
Day 2: (Wurzburg) Wurzburg
Day 3: (Wurzburg) daytrip to Bamberg
Day 4: (Rothenburg ob der Tauber) pick up car, easy hiking around Rothenburg until the crowds deminish
Day 5: (Fussen area) Rothenburg through lunch, drive to Fussen with quick stop somewhere
Day 6: (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) Neuschwanstein and friends with easy hiking
Day 7: (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) easy gorge hiking and Linderhof
Day 8: (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) hiking and one other tourist destination
Day 9: (Ottobeuren) be in Ottobeuren by about 4pm,
Day 10: (Tubingen) Ulm Cathedral spire climb, Lichtenstein Castle
Days 11 -15: (Ribeauville) Hohenzollern Castle before a slow drive to Ribeauville. Visit with friends and see and eat/cook all we can.

- Rush back to Dusseldorf - not adamant about any places below, although it is just logical to spend the last day seeing Burg Eltz in the morning and the Cologne Cathedral in the afternoon. A lunch at L'Excelsior is also something I'm looking forward to.

Day 16: (??) visit Nancy during the day, lunch at L'Excelsior
Day 17: (castle hotel?) Luxembourg City
Day 18: (castle hotel?) Mosel or Rhine sights
Day 19: (Cologne), Burg Eltz, Cologne Cathedral
Day 20: train to Dusseldorf airport for am departure.

Some of the bigger things I think I'm leaving out that I wish I weren't:

Strasbourg (we'll see Colmar instead)
Schwäbisch Hall and Comburg Monastery (we'll see Bamberg instead)
Any nice monastery (maybe we can squeeze in Bebenhausen)
Saarburg looks nice, maybe a unique place to spend an evening ?

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    Cochem is a perpetual favorite with Fodors posters - incredibly cute p[icture-postcard town not far from Burg Eltz and at one of the most dramatically scenic parts of the Mosel - there are no castle-hotels on the Mosel that I have ever seen in biking up and down it between Luxembourg and Koblenz many times - lots of ruined castles but few intact ones, save for Burg Eltz. Cochem has the castle of your dreams popping out of a vineyard girdled hill in the town center but it is an Ersatz medieval castle, having been built to imitate a medieval castle in the late 1880s.

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    While you're in Rothenburg, a lovely village to visit is Dinkelsbuhl (just 30 minutes drive south approx) - many of these Romantic Road villages are small but very pretty, so don't take long to have a wander around. And on the way down to Fussen, we stopped at Landsberg am Lech, which was also pretty and had a beautiful main square in the Old Town centre & an ornately decorated church (if you feel like a small detour). Also, while in Ribeauville, your boys may enjoy the medieval castle, Haut Koenigsbourg - really atmospheric.

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    Thanks for the replies guys, I’ve been busy obsessing over, I mean researching, the route over the last week and have started making reservations. I’ve decide to save Garmisch for another trip and instead have come up with the following road-trip.

    I don’t necessarily want to rush though things, but the basis of the trip is that we will travel from Dusseldorf to Ribeauville and back, so I would like to hit a smorgasbord along the way. I’m happy with the pacing – one nighters are really OK with us and the reduced car time is worth the packing and unpacking with the kids in the car. For example the 2 nights we’re spending in Würzburg seem wasted if we spend a whole day in Bamberg. For us the main benefit of staying more than one night is the ability to relax in the hotel in the early afternoon, which we can’t do if we’re away all day. Usually this can be compensated for by seeking out wonderful parks etc to chill for an hour or two each afternoon..

    Day 1: Arrive Würzburg 2pm, stretch legs seeing castle
    Day 2: day trip to Bamberg by train (optional)
    Day 3: Visit Würzburg Residenz etc, pick up car and arrive in Rothenburg evening
    Day 4: Rothenburg
    Day 5: (Monday) overnight in Ulm for Schwörmontag celebration
    Day 6: Blaubeuren(?), Zwiefalten, Sigmaringen, overnight Zeller Horn (near Hohonzollern)
    Day 7: Hike from Zeller Horn to Hohenzollern, Burg Lichtenstein, overnight Tübingen
    Day 8: Tübingen AM, Black Forest drive through Rottweil, Schiltach, overnight Gengenbach
    Day 9: Strasbourg all day then Ribeauvillé
    Day 10 – 13: Leave ourselves in our friend’s hands in Ribeauvillé.
    Day 14: Münster Valley and a little bit of the Route des Crêtes, Château de Haroué, overnight Nancy (this day may be too busy!)
    Day 15: Nancy, overnight Metz
    Day 16: Luxembourg city, overnight (Trier or Saarburg or?)
    Day 17: Mosel Valley sights, 2 nights (Cochem or someplace larger?)
    Day 18: Rhine Valley castles
    Day 19: Burg Eltz, Cologne overnight for next day flight.

    2 nights Würzburg (Hotel Alter Kranen)
    2 nights Rothenburg (hotel Fuchsmühle)
    1 night Ulm for Schwörmontag – Oath Monday - (Comfor Hotel Frauenstrasse)
    1 night Zeller Horn (There are two hotel choices on the mountain top)
    1 night Tübingen
    1 night Gengenbach
    5 nights Ribeauvillé
    1 night Nancy
    1 night Metz
    1 night near Trier
    2 nights near Cochem (or Cochem!)
    1 night Cologne

    Has anyone visited Château de Haroué near Nancy? I would love to show the kids a “real” French Château, maybe this one is worth an hour, or is there another one nearby?

    The last 5 nights (excepting the final night in Cologne) leave me confused, and still need more work.

    There may be a better way to work this part out, but one nighters in Nancy, Metz, Trier seem easy enough. The “musts” are an evening in Nancy for the Place Stanislas light show and a day in Luxembourg. Metz is expendable but it does attract me very much especially for a nighttime stroll, and Trier is expendable save for a few hours to see the main sights since it is on the way.

    Thinking about cutting out the night in Trier, visit to see the baths or cathedral if we have time (or not) after Luxembourg, and stay 3 nights on the Mosel.

    Well, any thoughts are appreciated!

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