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Two weeks in Germany (Bavaria + surrounding areas)

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We are getting ready to book a trip to Europe this fall and have now tentatively decided on Germany. We want to be realistic with our itinerary and enjoy our time in both large and small cities. I'm most interested in the Bavaria region and would consider adding in some Switzerland or Austria as time permits. We would certainly like to spend some time in Munich - but are also interested in seeing castles, nature, and small quaint towns.

I'd like to book the flight ASAP - which means I need to decide where to fly in and out of. We're also trying to figure out if we should rent a car or rely on trains. Any tips? It would likely be about 12 days on the ground, not including flights.

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