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3 weeks to germany, austria itinerary, comments?

3 weeks to germany, austria itinerary, comments?

Sep 3rd, 2010, 02:25 PM
  #1  
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3 weeks to germany, austria itinerary, comments?

Hi everyone, this is my first posting. We are planning 3 weeks in 2011 to germany, austria with side trips to zurich. & Vienna. We are undecided about going in July or Sept, any suggestions? Also we are thinking of booking with Umfalana Tours, they did give us a great itinerary and the price seems good, Has anyone used them before and what did you think of the hotels they put you in? Our itinerary looks something like this. Fly to Frankfurt, ICE to Cologne, stay 2 nights, pick up rental car, drive to Oberwessel, stay 2 nights in the Burghotel Auf Schonberg castle, (should we do the Rhine cruise from here or from Cologne?) then to Frieburg and stay 2 nights, then to Konstanz on the Bodensee, for 3 nights,here is where we plan to take day trip to Zurich, then drive to Fussen for 2 nights, ( here is a real issue, should we stay there or in G-P which I've heard is nicer also maybe only 1 night in Fussen??, then we will drive along alps to Salzburg and stay 2 nights, then drive to Munich for 4 nights, (my husband has family about an hour from Munich so we can see them and see Munich also, then he wants to drive to Passau (family again) for 1 or 2 nights. We would leave the car in Passau and take the train over to Vienna where we would stay for 2 nights, then we could take the train back to Frankfurt from Vienna. I know this is long but any comments would be greatly appreicated as this is our first trip to germany and we want to see as much as possible. should we bother to go on to Vienna or use those days to see more in Germany, such as rothenburg, nuremburg on the way back to Frankfort. Thanks everyone, will await your thoughts.
johncarol is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 03:05 PM
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First piece of advice to really improve your trip: fly open-jaw, into Frankfurt, and out of Vienna. Saves backtracking and is NOT more expensive.

~Liz
elberko is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 07:30 PM
  #3  
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thanks for the advise we will check that out. johncarol
johncarol is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 08:04 PM
  #4  
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Wow-I have been reading other posts about the Rhine area, Frankfurt and Mainz and Heidelburg. Did not realize they are so close time wise to each other. Would we be better to stay for 4 or 5 days in 1 location and do day trips rather than pack up and move every 2 days? Where can I find a site that gives me the time/distance between cities in Germany? I havent found a good one yet. Thanks everyone. I have enjoyed reading the other posts.
johncarol is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 08:12 PM
  #5  
 
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I personally like to book my own hotels, that way I can pick exact location and read the reviews online to make sure it looks like a place I would want to stay.

I would cruise from Oberwessel. We cruised St Goar to Boppard and heard that was the most scenic part.

I would try to stay 2 or more nights everywhere, as that limits packing/unpacking/driving. I would also fly into Frankfurt and out of Vienna if you are sure you want to see Vienna. If you go there I would recommend at least 3 days there. Also if you go there I would do Munich and Salzburg last as you don't need a car either of those places so you could drop it off when you arrived in Munich and then do Munich/Salzburg/Vienna by train.

Passau seems pretty out of the way from everything else. Is that required? If you do have to go there, I would recommend staying in Germany and seeing Nuremberg or Bamberg and flying out of Frankfurt.

Overall sounds like a good trip, we really liked the Rhine area and Munich last year when we went to Europe! The Cologne cathedral was also amazing
lindy27 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 08:33 PM
  #6  
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Thanks Llndy for the advise. I think we will leave the car in Munich and carry on to Austria via the train. Perhaps Saltzburg then Vienna.
We will defintely do the open jaw flights, thanks for that advise.
How long would you recommend to stay in Saltzburg?

Is there that much to see in Vienna for 3 days. What side trips could we do from there or would we need all that time just to see Vienna.

We were nervous about booking our own hotels as its our first trip so thats why we looked into a travel agent.

How far ahead do we need to book for next summer.What the best way to book by ourselves. On one site or each one separately?

WE do have 3 weeks total so we are still open to change the itinerary. thanks
johncarol is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 08:47 PM
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Wouldn't do a day trip to Zurich. It's just a big city. Much prettier is Stein am Rhein. I also wouldn't stay in Konstanz. I'd consider Uberlingen or Meersburg. Be sure to take the boat to Mainau Island.

There is much to see in the Salzburg area. Many beautiful lakes and lakeside villages such as Hallstatt, St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang. Vienna is a great place for music, architecture, museums, and wine. You could easily spend a week just visisting Vienna and the Salzburg area.

For driving distances, check out www.google.com (Maps - Get Directions).
bettyk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 07:09 AM
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There is so much useful hotel information on the internet I would not use a tour, but would plan my own trip. Bookings.de, hrs.de are both good sites for Germany and Austria and have lots of reviews as well as very detailed information.

We have spent weeks in Salzburg and love the city as well as the countryside. And you will find more than enough to do in Vienna for 3 days IMO depending on your interests.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 10:27 AM
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OK why not stay in Konstanz? will look into not going into Zurich. Thanks for the advise. Will look into booking on our own.
johncarol is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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definitely agree that you will find plenty to do in Salzburg and Vienna.

judging by our experience last june/july, you may get better weather [ie less wet] in September.
annhig is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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My 2 cents worth: We spent 2 weeks on separate trips in each of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and barely scratched the surface. You can approximate the times between the cities by using the Deutsche Bahn site; it could be a little different by car but will be good enough to get an idea. If at all possible, I think choosing 3-4 bases for 2 weeks and daytripping works well, less checking in and checking out. If you're traveling with children, I would even more strongly encourage this. The only caveat is that Germany is a fairly large country, so you do have to be mindful of distances. Zurich, though lovely and a great gateway city to Europe with its well organized and efficient airport, is more of an international city, not the typical vision most of us have of Switzerland. After being in the Berner Oberland and Zermatt for 2 weeks, we felt like we had left Switzerland once we got to Zurich. There is plenty to do in Vienna, including a day trip to Melk or other towns along the Danube, but check the distances. Salzburg is quite close to Munich, so that seems quite doable.
victoria_reynolds is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 12:06 PM
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for ditances and driving times, try www.viamichelin.com
annhig is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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yk
 
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Even if you have zero interest in art/museums, 3 days is about right for Vienna. If you happen to like art and art nouveau architecture/designs and/or classical music, you can spend weeks in Vienna and never run out of things to see and do.

I have spent 2 weeks in Vienna so far (in 2 trips), and I can't wait to go back and spend more time there. It's probably my favorite city in Europe.
yk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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The old town part of Konstanz is fine, but it's a bit city. Meersburg and Uberlingen are smaller and have more charm. If you have a car, then you can visit both as they are only a few miles apart. Of course, you can also take the ferry. But if you won't be using a car, then OK stay in Konstanz since there is better public transport options.

I am just partial to smaller towns and villages as opposed to big cities. Vienna is big but it has alot to offer.
bettyk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 04:19 PM
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I have not been to Salzburg or Vienna yet (have a trip in planning for next year) but Salzburg looks like a 2ish day city with multiple places for daytrips (Obersalzburg is one). For Vienna we are planning 3-4 days in the city plus daytrips to Bratsilava and Melk with a Danube River Cruise.

I use tripadvisor.com for hotel reviews and our last trip (first trip for me planning to Europe) I used it for every city and we were happy with each hotel/B&B. If possible I book hotels/B&B's with the actual owner as they generally offer the best price (especially true for B&B's and small hotels). Almost all hotels/B&B's have websites. I usually book flights about 6 months out. I watch prices on kayak.com and then book through Orbitz or the airline website if the prices are the same. After this I start booking hotels and usually do this 3-4 months out but you could do hotels 1-2 months out I would think.
lindy27 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 07:47 PM
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You've already gotten a lot of good advice. Having spent 2.5 years in Germany, here's my two cents.

I recommend you travel in September...fewer tourists, cooler weather, and possibly even some early fall color. Do not underestimate travel times in Germany. You might think two destinations are a four-hour drive apart, but if you run into a Stau (traffic jam) on the Autobahn - going around a major city, say - it could easily add an hour or two to your trip. (With that said, for instance, I would not base myself in the Rhine and try to take a day trip to Heidelburg. If you want to go to Heidelburg, include it as a stopover.)

The Auf Schoenburg is everything you've heard it will be. You won't be disappointed! Rhine cruise from Oberwesel is probably the most scenic.

I haven't been to Konstanz but Meersburg is lovely. From what I've heard Konstanz is not all that interesting and you can do some nice day trips from Meersburg - including taking the ferry across to Mainau.

Don't book through a travel agent...that is so old school! ;-) Use Trip Advisor as lindy27 says and choose places that receive consistently high ranks and have no nightmare stories. Don't be afraid to stay in small inns and B&Bs rather than chain hotels - just look at the reviews. You will have a much nicer, more authentic experience and probably be in much better locations. Contact the hotels directly - you will almost always get the best rates that way, no matter what the big booking sites say (and many of the smaller hotels won't even show up in those systems). Just email the hotel and if your German is not good, start with a German greeting and then switch politely to English. The vast majority of them should have no trouble responding to you in English. If you will be driving, check to see if they have parking. You can often lovely (and slightly cheaper) places just outside the old town (but within easy walking distance) and have guaranteed parking, which will save you a lot of headaches.

Normally I support staying at least 2 nights in each location, but with all that you are doing, 1 night in Fuessen to see the castles is probably enough. You can actually stay at the Hotel Mueller just below the castles and save yourself some trouble. They will arrange your tour tickets for you. Very nice staff and a great restaurant too.

I can't advise on whether to go to Vienna since I haven't been there yet (I know, after 2+ years you would think I'd seen it all, but I haven't), but there is so much to do in the areas of Germany that you are visiting, I don't think you would be disappointed if you skipped it on this trip. You are going to be moving around a lot and it might be better to add a couple of days to locations you have already chosen, or add a stop in Rothenburg (truly an amazing place, despite the tourists - I prefer it to Heidelberg).

For September you can probably book hotels closer to your departure, but as long as you have your dates nailed down, it is best to do it 2-3 months in advance.
hausfrau is offline  
Sep 5th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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oh my goodness, such great advise, thank you everyone!!!
-we are going to have make some major revisions now.
-we have pretty much decided to leave off Vienna this trip. I think a trip into Salzburg to get a tast of austria will have to do this trip.
-also will skip zurich and try for a smaller area to look around
-Will try for September next year, just have to arrange my holidays for then.
-All the advise has been so helpful. We are from Canada and never been to Europe before so it is all rather daunting. Our thoughts of using a travel agent was that Europe would be so unfamiliar to us that we might feel more secure if we were booked in advance
-WE travel a lot in the USA so we are familiar with the hotel, restaurants, language etc. Europe is somewhat intimidatingand We are in our early 60's so tend to be more cautious.
_ But we feel better now with your advise.I can see that staying away from thelarger cities is a good plan
--QUESTION__still stuck on Rhone/mosel area. would like to see as much as possible there, trier, mainnz, st goar, rhine cruse, lots of castles and churches. Any suggestions for a good base fror 4-5 days?
--Q We thought about travelling donw the Wine Route after that, can this be done in a day with just stop offs or would a night over be in order
WAnt to really see the Black Forest area for couple of days, any ideas to where to base there. ???
Munich- pland 4-5 days here, should we stay more downtown or a B&b a little outside the city, found a cute one near the Scholss Nymphenberg, anyone been there? Husands not fussy on buses.
look forward to your replies , talk to you all soon. johncarol
johncarol is offline  
Sep 5th, 2010, 07:46 AM
  #18  
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Pfarrkirchen--my husband was born here, came to Canada in 1953, has never been back, can we go there and back from Munich in a day. Doesnt look like there is much to see there but he wants to go back.
Passau- husband wants to see this also(???) but anyways would we need to stay over a night there and then drive back to Munich.
thanks anyone
johncarol is offline  
Sep 5th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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The Black Forest itself is not one of the prettier places in Germany IMO, but there are a few noteworthy towns that we have visited and really enjoyed. Check out Freiburg, Staufen and Gengenbach. You can do searches for them here on Fodor's and on google. Also, to go to the city's own website, type www.freiburg.de or www.staufen.de, etc. Some of the tourist information is usually in English. You can also check out hotel accommodations on these websites or find recommendations from fellow Fodorites.

As far as a base for the Rhine and Mosel, we think Bacharach on the Rhine is a lovely town and would make it easy by car to see St. Goar and Boppard as well as the castles in the area. We have stayed at the Rhein Hotel and are booked into the Bacharacher Hof in October. Other places that have received good reviews in Bacharach are Pension Lettie and Hotel am Malerwinkel.

For the Mosel, Bernkastel-Kues is really beautiful and close to Trier and the lovely Echternach, Luxembourg. We have stayed at the Hotel Binz and can recommend it for its good location and clean, reasonably priced rooms. Cochem is a larger town with lots of boat traffic but gives good access to Burg Eltz and Beilstein. We have never stayed there overnight so can't help with any recommendations.
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