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1st time Europe - Germany, Czech and Austria

1st time Europe - Germany, Czech and Austria

Old Apr 10th, 2017, 09:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1
1st time Europe - Germany, Czech and Austria

Hi Fellow travelers,

Our family of 4 (my wife and I with 2 daughters - 9 and 14) just booked the air tickets from US to Frankfurt middle of June and came back from Vienna to US after 15 days later.

Our trip is about 2 MONTHS away and I haven't booked the hotel, rental cars and train tickets. Looking through the travel reports, I am from full of excitement to overwhelmed and panic. I need have basic itinerary locked down as soon as I can.

We are very flexible within these 15 days and we would like to travel slow if possible. I know that means we need to pick our battles on which places to visit this time. But the problem to me is I don't know which places are worthy staying longer. And I need help.

We are thinking about rent a car since it is easier than carrying luggage around. But looks like we have to return the car in one of Germany cities to avoid drop off fee in different country. So I am thinking rent a car at Frankfurt airport and do road trip in Germany and return the car maybe in Munich and take train to Prague. Seems to me we can skip car in Prague and nearby towns in Czech. Take train to Vienna and spend a couple of days in there.

Does this make sense to you guys? I would appreciate if someone can give my some guides especially on the routes of road trip in Germany.

Thanks in advance,

joezhou is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2017, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Europeans drive like New Yorkers on extra coffee. Avoid driving in cities. Prague used to have a sh-tty reputation as car-thievery heaven so rental agencies prohibited taking cars there. You can see if that's still true.

Your 15 days isn't much - don't fool yourself. If you're trying to see Munich, take a train or flight to Munich from Frankfurt. Traveling "slow" means you won't get to see all of "Prague and nearby towns in Czech[ia]," it means you'll see Prague and have a day trip or two if you stay in Prague for a week.

And "which places are worthy [of] staying longer" depends upon why you picked that area and those cities and what you want from your trip.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2017, 02:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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BigRuss is correct: 15 days is not a lot of time. Once upon a time we lived in the U.S., and when our children were about 9 and 14 we spent six nights on a Bavarian itinerary for their spring holiday: we flew into Frankfurt and rented a car (a minivan-type car) and drove to Wurzburg. Explored the Residenz, then headed to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (2 nights). From there, we drove to Füssen along the Romantic Road (the old Roman road) for an overnight, stopping in Dinkelsbuhl and Nordlingen. In Füssen we had a small apartment in a farmhouse where the children could play outdoors and we could have space. From Füssen we day tripped to Neuschwanstein, then followed the alpine road to Salzburg where we based (3 nights), taking in the city sights, a boat tour on Königsee, and the salt mines tour. Our return flight was out of Munich, where we dropped the car. If we had had 15 days I likely would have slowed us down in Germany for Berchtesgaden, Herrenchiemsee, and Garmisch; and split the rest of the time across Austria (more time in the Salzkammergut, driving the Großglockner, maybe Innsbruck and so forth), perhaps allowing for a day trip to Bratislava from Vienna.

Adding the travel between cities will cost your itinerary in time (Munich to Prague is ~6 hours and Prague to Vienna is ~4 hours--right there you have lost at least 1.5 days, not transit and lodging logistics once in a city.) Unless you're doing everything by train, you will have traffic and construction issues to contend with (we live in Vienna now and can attest to traffic delays; the Vienna to Prague route is slow going in many stretches due to reconstruction of the old Communist concrete slab highway segments). Even using a train there are still logistics to consider--getting to and from the station/hotel being one of them.

In a nutshell, you have much to think about. Hopefully this is a happy problem.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2017, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 968
Your route from FRA to Vienna means that you will spend nearly every minute of your time in Germany in BAVARIA. Not that this is a bad thing at all - it's a very diverse and wonderful place. But Bavaria is like its own country, and you will be hard-pressed to make choices...

One of Bavaria's biggest advantages for a family like yours is the Bavaria Ticket or "Bayern Ticket" - an inexpensive day pass for nearly unlimited travel all over Bavaria and to Salzburg Austria as well. Also in Bavaria's favor is the extensive rail system. Have a look:

Bayern Ticket:

(Note that your family has 2 children that travel for free - so the daily price for all 4 would be €31/day, no matter how far/wide you travel. Other cheaper day passes for smaller areas exist locally as well.)

Bavaria rail network map:

Let's say you have a week for Bavaria. It's hard to tell you where to go. Let's say you want a chance at seeing what most of us think of as the "real" Germany (old-world towns, medieval villages, half-timbered buildings, rolling green pastures with farms, pretty old churches, snowy Alps, etc.) You have two obstacles - major cities (bombed out in WW II) and places packed with international TOURISTS. Fortunately, these are very easy to identify and avoid:

Rothenburg and most of the Romantic Road
The "King's Castles" near Füssen
Munich (obviously) and perhaps Augsburg, Nuremberg

OTOH if you are more the landmark-museum-palace-historical site sort of traveler, you may want to focus on the above places instead.

IMO Franconia is an excellent area that can accommodate both types of visitors. And it happens to be right on the route between FRA and Prague. Some links:


The German Castle Road cuts through Franconia; pick one or two to visit?

So for Bavaria, I could see a few days in Franconia and a few days in one of the Alpine destinations (like Berchtesgaden, maybe with a day trip into Salzburg if interested.)
Fussgaenger is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2017, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,937
You car plans sort of make sense except there aren't good train connections between Munich and Prague. Bus is actually better, doesn't take as long.

No, you definitely do NOT need a car in Prague or Vienna nor should you want one to get there. First, you don't need to even use the train if you only have a couple days in Prague, not enough time to go anywhere but if you did, there are some good day trips by train or a local day tour company, those are very reasonable in Prague. Vienna I presume you'd just stay in the city.

Your idea of slow travel is pretty fast by my terms. Two weeks to tour around Germany in a car and visit two major cities in two other countries and get between all these. I'd suggest one week germany, other week split between Prague and Vienna.
Christina is online now  
Old Apr 12th, 2017, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,963
In June you can wing it with accommodation, it's not high season, and in small towns or even villages you will find rooms. Individuals rent out rooms - you'll see the magic words "Zimmer Frei" (room available), but since you probably need two rooms, you may wish to look for guesthouses or smaller hotels.

A car on a one-way rental from Frankfurt to Munich makes sense, there are lots and lots of worthwhile targets along the way - places like Seligenstadt, Würzburg, Bamberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl, Nürnberg, Ulm - to name just a few.

Ditch the car and sightsee in Munich itself where a car is only a hindrance.

From Munich you best take a bus to Prag - google the terms "Bus Munich Prague"

Then take the train to Vienna.

For your own comfort level, book accommodation in Munich and Prague and Vienna, and leave the first few days open as you gallivant towards Munich with a few overnight stays along the way.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2017, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,873
Prague and Vienna are friendly walkable cities. I would probably pick one of them plus Germany. I really liked both.

In both Munich and in either Prague/Vienna, include a full day for the girls to just meander and shop and be pre-teen/teenagers. Let them have some local cash and shop and get snacks. They will remember that as much as any museum or church.

If you follow michel's advice above, you are turning in the car before you see Munich. That gives you many more choices for lodgings since you don't need parking. Get an apartment or suite and stay a few days. We took our teens/young adults on a trip last yera, and one comment they made was that we changed rooms too many times. They wanted to relax a little more.
5alive is offline  
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