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Road Trip: Germany, Austria, Switzerland & France... Which route is best?

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After spending 5 days in the Bavarian Alps (later this month – July 2008), we will be traveling by car from Mittenwald, Germany to Orschwihr, France (approx. 30 minutes below Colmar, France) to meet up with relatives who reside there. We have an approximate 5 hour road trip mapped out (based on modern highways that allow quick and easy access because we will not be stopping often for sightseeing, meals or gasoline on this leg of our trip). It’s not that we’ll be rushed, but we’d like to save these parts of Europe for a future visit. So, using 2007-2008 guidebooks and maps, we came up with this plan: Leaving Mittenwald on the Am Brunnstein towards Austria. The Am Brunnstein leads to the Seefelder-Bundesstraße which leads us to the Inntal-Autobahn. This freeway will change names several times, but is mostly autobahns (from Germany to Austria to Switzerland). We’ll enter into Switzerland (passing by Sankt Gallen and Zurich) then stopping in Basel for refreshments and to stretch our legs (possibly having a meal because this will be our only experience in Switzerland this time around – any suggestions for lunch or dinner – perhaps a future post?). From Basel, we will continue on the highway (entering France) to Mulhouse. From Mulhouse it should be less than 30 km to Orschwihr.

We would like to hear feedback from experienced drivers or travelers familiar with these parts… Could you suggest a better driving route? A "better" route would include spending less time and less fuel driving from Mittenwald to Orschwihr, saving money on tollbooths, but still allow the opportunity to view beautiful scenery as we pass through. In America, sometimes the fastest, shortest route is also the ugliest and most boring. There may not be a route that meets these specific criteria, but we're hopeful. We seek your opinion because we are inexperienced with driving in these parts, and our current plan may not have any scenery at all. Hard to believe that could happen in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France, but we’re not sure!

If the need should arise, we will have GPS in our car to help with unplanned events (roadblocks or construction). We would like to stick to a 10 hour or less itinerary (leaving Mittenwald by 9 or 10 a.m. arriving in Orschwihr before 8 p.m.), so please do not suggest staying overnight in a town or village along the way. We do not want to break up our road trip into two days or take away from our time in Bavaria or Alsace. Fodor’s Travel Talk Forums are a great resource in the planning process, and we look forward to hearing your suggestions and/or recommendations!

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