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Advice on itinerary for S. Germany and Austria trip?

Advice on itinerary for S. Germany and Austria trip?

Old Jan 20th, 2008, 06:52 PM
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Advice on itinerary for S. Germany and Austria trip?

Our family of 4 (2 teenage boys) is planning a trip this June/July through parts of southern Germany and Austria at a leisurely pace for about 27 days. We've carved out a "first draft" of our itinerary and would really appreciate any advice or suggestions you have for timing, places to stay, and things to do.

We're less interested in big cities, with the exception of Vienna --more interested in smaller cities/towns, countryside, scenery, castles, etc. Our general plan is to stay in about 6 good locations along the way and take day trips around each area for several days before moving on to the next lodging.

The questions we have are:
1) Are these locations “good” locations for staying in each area, or do you have suggestions?
2) Do you recommend adjusting the number of days we spend in some of the areas – maybe less in one area and more in another?
3) Any suggestions for places and things we really shouldn’t miss?

We’d be flying into Frankfurt where we’d pick up a car; we’d drop off the car when we arrive in Vienna, and we’d fly home from there.

Days 1-4: Rhein and Mosel valleys
Stay in Bacharach 4 nights
See Rheinstein, Burg Eltz, and Marksburg castles, maybe a cruise on the Rhein, see Loreley, Trier

Days 5-8: Schwartzwald (Black Forest area)
Stay in Freiburg (3 or 4 nights – suggestions?)

Days 9-12: Rothenburg and area around the ‘Romantic Road’ --Stay in Rothenburg (4 nights?)
Spend a day in Rothenburg, then tour the towns along the Romantic Road

Days 13-16: Bavaria and Tirol area
Stay in Füssen (4 nights)
See Füssen, Neuschwanstein, Zugspitz, Oberammergau, ride the luge, day trip to Dachau
Maybe add a day here?

Days 17-21: Stay in Hallstatt (5 nights - maybe add a day if we take a day off Frieburg)
See Hallstatt, salt mine, ice caves, day trip to Salsburg, rest up before Vienna.
Any other suggestions?

Days 22-26: Vienna (5 nights)
(Drop off car upon arrival)
All the usual sights
Fly home from Vienna on morning of day 27

Thanks very much!

SBC is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2008, 03:56 AM
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Looks like a great plan! I'm very jealous of the amount of time you have available!

My only comments would be to perhaps take a day away from Rothenburg and add it to Bavaria. We stayed in Garmisch for 4 nights a few years ago and didn't get to do everything we wanted. A year later we went back and stayed in Oberammergau for 3 nights, and there are still things on my list not accomplished!

As to location, I might be tempted to base in Oberammergau for the Bavaria portion. We did the castles from there and it was very easy. It just seems a bit more charming than Füssen. But in fairness, I haven't stayed in Füssen.

Also, are you planning to visit Berchtesgaden? It might be a good stop between Füssen and Hallstatt. The boys would probably enjoy the trip up to the Eagles Nest.

We too are headed to Germany and are going to finally explore the Rhine/Mosel area in May!

Have a great trip!

phieaglefan is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2008, 04:30 AM
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Just a very generic remark on your car rental.

It may be a good idea to check if or how much your rental car company will charge as international drop-off fee.
It that amount is relevant, you could avoid it by returning your car in Bavaria, e.g. if you were staying in the Berchtesgaden area, and then take the bus to Salzburg to pick up your Austrian rental car there.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2008, 05:04 AM
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Hi SBC-- I too am envious of all the time you have for your trip!

Cowboy reminded me of something I've read-- I think you need to get some kind of a sticker for driving in Austria.

My other thoughts are that I would want to spend more time in the Mosel and the Rhine areas. I haven't gotten there yet, but they sound wonderful. There are some great trip reports here about those places.

I have been to Rothenburg with my family and it is very touristy. We spent a night there in May a few years ago, and we definitely could have lived without it. I fell for the Rick Steves hype, and I didn't realize how many tourists could cram into a small town. It is very pretty but I personally wouldn't allot so much time to it.

Same with Hallstatt-- it is beautiful and we stayed 2 nights, which again was too much time there, imho. We rented a little motor boat from a local man and puttered around the lake one day which was a high point for us.

Having a car is great because you have a lot of flexibility. I would rather base my family in a less popular town so you can relax in the evenings. But that's what we like-- your trip will be wonderful and I look forward to reading about it!!
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 05:24 AM
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Yes, you need a toll sticker for driving on Austrian motorways (A and S roads).
You can get around that if you stick to federal highways (Bundesstrassen, B roads) in Austria, but that is not really feasible when going all the way from Salzburg to Vienna.
The sticker cost € 7.70 for 10 days, and can be bought at many gas stations near the Austrian border.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2008, 06:18 AM
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You have selected some of Germany's best areas to visit - nice trip - but you could probably do better with some different base towns:

Bacharach is nice, but it's not very central to the entire Rhine/Mosel area for daytrips. Suggest you stay on the Mosel instead - there's probably more to see and do overall there - and daytrip to the Rhine. Cochem is right in the middle of the Mosel, very close to Burg Eltz, and a good deal closer to Trier than Bacharach would be. You could easily tour Bacharach, Rheinstein, and Marksburg in one day from there, and include a Rhine cruise as well. There's also more to do in Cochem during down time - chairlift ride, Reichsburg Castle and falconry show, water park (Moselbad), and many places to eat.

Freiburg is a nice, good-sized city worth visiting, but not really in the Black Forest and hardly a village. I'd suggest nearby Staufen for small-town atmosphere if you want to be in that area for access to Colmar; Gengenbach to the north is a pleasant, atmospheric walled town town with direct access to Strasbourg. But if you want to be in the mountains, look into Titisee (touristy but gorgeous lake setting) Hinterzarten, Hausach, Triberg. In many of these mountain towns you get a free train pass from your host (Konus-karte) to ride trains and buses for free during your stay - might be fun.

I would not spend 4 nights in Rothenburg. Try a smaller, less touristy place like Bad Windsheim or Neustadt an der Aisch and do daytrips from there To Rothenburg and the cities of Bamberg, Wurzburg, and Nuremberg - not all on the Romantic Road but overlooked for that reason and very visit-worthy.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 06:37 AM
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Hi S,

Very leisurely trip.

I would reduce Rothenburg to no more than 3 nights and add the time to Salzburg.

When in Fuessen, also visit Linderhof.

You might also consider taking a night from Hallstatt and adding it to Salzburg.

You will need a road tax sticker in Austria. They are available from gas stations as you approach the border.

You might find the Austria/Bavaria part of my trip report helpful:

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2008, 06:43 AM
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Nice trip, but I too think you can do better on your base locations. St. Gilgen or any village on the Wolfgangsee is a better location than Hallstatt. You must be a Rick Steves fan. A day trip into Salzburg is easy from there--not from Hallstatt. I too suggest Oberammergau as your Bavaria base---just a more convenient location.
Also, 4 nites is too long for Rothenburg and area. I would possibly reallocate your generous time and include 3 days in the Dolomites of north Italy. But, overall a great trip---you will love the area.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 06:59 AM
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since i plan on spending a week in Rothenburg next time, I don't think 4 days is too much. Just depends on the day trips you want to take.

Go check out Bavaria Ben's website.


You will find several great trip reports on the areas you want to visit. You consider the type of accommodations featured there.
bigtyke is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2008, 07:15 AM
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We are also a family of 4 (two teenage girls)that are traveling in Munich and then Austria late June 08.
One thing I wanted to mention. I do not know when you are planning to be in or near certain cities, but the European Cup is being played in Austria-Switzerland this June. The final is in Vienna on June 29. There are several other cities in Austria that will be hosting as well. You can check out dates on UEFA 2008's website. Not sure if you would want to avoid or possibly be in the mist of the soccer mayhem! We were hoping to get tickets, but have not been able to. Our girls are big soccer players. Enjoy and maybe we will bump into one another
girlonthego is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2008, 04:59 PM
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I loved Fussen. Check out the Hotel Sonne.
escrowmanager is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2008, 07:10 AM
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For your rental car, you might consider leasing (supposed to be a better deal if renting for more than 17 days) -
take a look at

bigtyke is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2008, 09:53 AM
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One night in Rothenburg was too much for us--4 nights would have me seeing tour buses, rude tour groups, and tacky tourist shops with kitchy trinkets in my nightmares for months thereafter.

BUT it is a very good town for photos and looking around for an afternoon--the old buildings, streets, and walls are well maintained and paint is usually fresh. If you do stay there, don't waste any money on their famous Schneeball pastries. A couple of bites and we threw ours into the trash.
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Old Feb 1st, 2008, 09:57 AM
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Just a note on EURO 2008 (since I have the schedule right in front of me-DH's possible "boys' trip this year)

Runs from 6/7--6/29.
Austrian Cities: Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt.
Swiss Cities: Basel, Zurich, Bern, Geneva.

Oh, and I also agree. Four nights in Rothenburg are way too much.
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Old Feb 1st, 2008, 03:14 PM
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You might look into spending 1 night in a castle hotel along the Rhine rather than all 4 nights in Bacharach. Your kids would love it.
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Old Feb 1st, 2008, 03:15 PM
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I am a fan of Rick Steves and last summer I did a similar trip. I feel he gives great suggestions and we never went wrong on our trip- lodging, food, tours, etc. I went with three teenagers. We stayed in Bacharach and took the short cruise up the Rhine and then the train to Moselkern and hiked to Burg Eltz. If we had more time we would have rented bikes to ride there along the Rhine. I talked with others who did that and they thoroughly enjoyed it. We also stayed in Freiburg, which was one of my favorite "bigger" towns. The kids enjoyed a day at Europa Park. They loved riding the rides! The town had everything to offer- sights, shopping, restaurants, and it was eco-friendly. We stayed two nights in Rothenburg. We enjoyed the town thoroughly. It is crowded during the day but we hiked along the wall and outside the wall to a small town nearby and missed the crowds. We listened to an organ concert in a church there, ate with the English Club (highlight of trip for the kids- meeting Germans who practiced their English during the meal), took the Nightwatchman's Tour, saw the Crime Museum, shopped, etc. It is lovely at night and safe. The countryside around there is beautiful. While in the southern part of Germany I chose to stay in Reutte, Austria, which was probably my favorite place. The scenery was superb! We enjoyed walking through the smaller villages and spent a night at a typical Austrian yodeling Night, joined in another night at a festival in an even smaller town, rode a luge, went up the Zugspitze and had a snowball fight, toured the castles, and swam in the lake near Reutte. It was gorgeous!!! We stayed later in Munich and then in Salzburg. I wish we had alloted more time to Salzburg to enjoy the city itself. We went to Eagle's Nest which my son and I enjoyed. We also went to see the water fountains at the Hellbrunn Castle and saw a play at the Marionette Theater. We finished our trip in Berlin. I preferred the smaller towns; my teenage daughter and her friend preferred the bigger cities. Sounds like your will have a wonderful trip also. Enjoy!
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