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3-4 S.Germany/N. Switz/N. Aust driving suggestions?

3-4 S.Germany/N. Switz/N. Aust driving suggestions?

Old Jul 15th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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3-4 S.Germany/N. Switz/N. Aust driving suggestions?

Hi to all of you experts out there in Fodor's land!

Party of 6: Myself, husband, my parents (in their 60's), my great aunt & uncle (in their 60's)

We have planned most of our Sept. trip (mainly in Germany for a family reunion). However, we have 3 nights and 4 days (1/2 day on each end of the 3 nights) that we are trying to plan for Sept. 23-26. For my great uncle and great aunt, we are trying to decide what is "worth it" as this is their first trip to Europe, and most likely their ONLY trip to Europe. They think they want to see part of Switzerland and Austria if time allows. (The bulk of our time will be in Germany...arriving Sept. 16.) I am not one to want to spend all of our time driving from "here to there" while missing the experiences in between destinations.

SO....I ask, if you were driving from Freiburg (?) to Salzburg, Austria during that time, what route would you take? Would you change the starting and ending points based on the time allowed? (We fly out of Munich on Sept. 27, so will spend the night in Munich on Sept. 26.)

Ideas: Black Forest, Bavaria, into top of Switzerland (?), Neuschwanstein castle tour, Salzburg, Austria.

My gut feeling is to drop the N. Switzerland and drive from Freiburg to Neuschwantstein, then on to Salzburg, Austria. Or, maybe even drop Salzburg and concentrate on S. Germany only.

Is crossing the borders to the other countries a hassle in a car?

UGH! Usually, I am MUCH better at this planning, but this one has me stumped! I think it is because I know this is a "one-time" shot for our elderly aunt and uncle.

Help please!

take_time_2_travel is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2012, 03:20 PM
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i love driving along the southern border of german, allowing you to dip into and out of countries each day.. i remember one trip when we crossed the border 17 times in one day..

i think this would satisfy everyone's desires
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Old Jul 15th, 2012, 03:21 PM
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rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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Let's take the car question first: Travelling from Germany through Switrzerland, Austria and back to Germany by car is no problem, as laong as you pick up the car in, say, Germany (Freiburg) and return it in Germnany (i.e. Munich). It gets much more exopensive, if you pick up the car in a different caountry than the one where you picked it up, becausae of the cross-border drop-off charge.

To be completely safe, get an International Drive Perit for your travel in Austria. You can get it at any AAA office in the US. It is nothing but a tranlation of your driver's license, and must be used in conjunction It costs you two pasport pix and about $US 12 if you ara an AAA member, a bit moree for non-members. Chances are, nobody will ever want to see while you drive in Austria, but may if you happen to have an accident or traffic violation. .

Autobahns in Switzerland and Germany: Each country requires a toll sticker for the use of its autobahns. You MUST have this sticker BEFORE you get on the first autobahn in either country. In Switzerland the charge is somewhere around the equivalent of $US35, and the ticke ( it is called a vignette in both CH and A)is good for one year. In Austria the vignettes come in different durations. The least expoensive is around $10, for 10 days. You can get the vignettes at the border crossing, but I recommend that you buy them before you get to the border, like in a German service station close to the border.

I personally suggest you skipSwitzerland because within your time limit you cabn't get very far into Switerzerland.

Here, roughly, is my suggested routing. If this appeals to you, let me know and I'll give you a more detailed routing.

Freiburg - Titisee - Geisingen (all three in the Black Forest area) - Stockach - Ueberlingen - Meersburg - Lindau (the last three along the Bodensee/Lake Constance) - Immenstadt - Hindelang (the latter two along the Deutsche Alpenstradsse/German Alpine Highway) - Reutte - Fuessen (Neuschwanbstein) - Garmisch-Partenkirchen(Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain) - Mittenwald - Zirl (Austria)- skip past Innsbruck on Autobahn A-12 to the Oberau exit#59), east to Koessen - Reit im Winkl (pick up section of Deutsche Alpenstrasse) to Berchtesgaden - Salzburg. Stay either in Salsburg or Berchtesgaden, they are less than 1 hour apart. As for overnights, I would pick Lindau, Garmisch Berchtesgaden or Salzburg . Return to Munich airport via Autobahn A-8, with a detrour at the Bernau Exit #106 to Prien and the Herrnchiemsee Palace of King LudwigII on the Herrenchiemsee Island in the Chiemsee. Overnight at airport to catch next day's plane
treplow is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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I too would skip trying to see Switzerland. Crossing the borders between Germany and Austria is like going from state to state here in the U.S. There are no border crossings, just a sign. Buy the Austrian Vignette (toll sticker) while in Germany. You'll see signs for them at gas stations, etc.


An IDP from AAA is a good idea. I always get one before leaving home. I've never been asked for it, but we've never been stopped by the police. Better to have it than wish you did.

Are you looking to move from one place to the next with your 3 nights? If not, I'd base in one, maybe two locations. Both Fuessen and the Garmisch/Mittenwald area's have plenty to see and do to fill your remaining days.

Fuessen is a charming old town
"Mad" King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castle's
Tegelberg cable car and luge ride (Sommerrodelbahn)
The Wieskirche
The Zugspitze (Germany's highest mountain on the German/Austria border)
(This can be done from Ehrwald, Austria, 40 min. from Fuessen OR from Garmisch)
Mittenwald is THE postcard perfect Bavarian village surrounded by mountains
Karwendelbahn cable car
"Mad" King Ludwig's Linderhof palace (better than Neuschwanstein in my opinion)
Ettal Monestary
Luge ride/Sommerrodelbahn in Garmisch

These are just a few options.

On the drive from Garmisch, Mittenwald or Fuessen, stop by Andech's Monestary for an hour or so. Well worth a visit for the beautiful church and lunch at an outdoor beer garden.

If Salzburg is a "must see", then I would probably spend my 3 nights in this area. Besdies Salzburg, visit the Salzkammergut (lakes region), Berchtesgaden area including the Konigsee and of course Salzburg itself. The Salzkammergut and Berchtesgaden are a short 30 min. from Salzburg, but different directions. We prefer staying in the Berchtesgaden area for our visits to Salzburg.

Hope this helps.

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Old Jul 15th, 2012, 05:55 PM
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Forget taking the car into Switzerland, you'll pay at the border.
When someone upthread said, "allowing you to dip into and out of countries each day.."

They couldn't have been talking about Switzerland. We took a car there once and it was about 30euro.

You must have that vignette to go to Austria, ask your rental company about it and make sure the car is equipped for Austria. They have rules.

I would concentrate on Germany. Much of the pleasure of Germany is slowing down a bit and enjoying it.
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Old Jul 15th, 2012, 07:24 PM
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Hmmm....many opinions...and many ideas. I like!

My husband will have IDP, as usual. The info about the roads and country passes is most helpful! Thanks treplow!

It sounds like there is plenty to do in the beautiful country of Germany, and the other 4 in our party have 2 extra days they can spend in Salzburg and/or Vienna (where they depart). Thank you Paul and treplow for all of the ideas.

So, I think it best to spend Sept. 23-26 in Southern Germany, maybe dipping in and out at the border on the spur of the moment IF we don't get caught up in all of the other wonderful sights. (rhkkmk)

I am going to do some more internet exploring of these ideas!

Thanks so much!
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Old Jul 16th, 2012, 01:06 AM
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Unlike LSky wrote you only pay in Switzerland if you use the motorways - avoide these, drive the smaller roads (and picturesque towns) instead - it's fun.

Ditto about Austria.

If you start in Freiburg you should cross the Black Forest, see Stein am Rhein (Switzerland), probably stay somewhere along the shores of Lake Constance (Konstanz itself if you want a central location, Meersburg e.g. for a tiny town) See the islands of Reichenau (free, monastery/churches, UNESCO world heritage) or Mainau (flowers, expensive) e.g.

On to Füssen/Neuschwanstein (if you must). Wieskirche. Schloss Linderhof, Ettal monastery.

On to Salzburg, maybe see lake Tegernsee on the way, Achensee in Austria (another lake), Berchtesgaden.
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