Austria/Bavaria itinerary. Suggestions?

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Dec 10th, 2000, 01:14 PM
  #1
Bill
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Austria/Bavaria itinerary. Suggestions?

After reviewing various suggestions on this list (and relenting a bit on our natural inclination to avoid a lot of switching of hotels), here's our preliminary itinerary on a one-week trip to Germany and Austria at the beginning of July, 2001. Please feel free to make any suggestions as to hotels or alternate strategies.

Day 1: Fly into Munich around 8:00 a.m. Get a rental car and drive to Salzburg (stopping at Chiemsee along the way). Check into a 3-star hotel or nice guesthouse in the town center (suggestions?) for a 2-night stay. Explore Salzburg.

Day 2: We will cross paths with our two sons (ages 11 and 15) who will be in the middle of their 17-day tour with their boys' choir. They have concerts at Salzburg Dome (informal 30-minute concert in the morning) and Matteseekirche (full-blown evening concert) and an afternoon trip to the salt mines and Berchtesgaden.

Day 3: Wave goodbye to the boys in the morning (they're off to Vienna, by way of Melk) and take off for Lienz, going by a scenic route that includes (perhaps) Halstatt and (definitely, weather permitting) the Grossglockner alpine road. Overnight at the Hotel Traube in Lienz.

Day 4: Drive through the Italian Dolomites, up through Brenner Pass, through Innsbruck, to the village of Brixlegg (east of Innsbruck) for a 2-night stay at Schloss Matzen - a 12th century castle that's now a B&B run by Americans.

Day 5: Explore the area, esp the Tuxertal valley around the town of Mayrhofen.

Day 6: Drive back through Innsbruck to Garmisch. (Alt: Reutten. Alt: Schwangau. Alt: Pfronten). Explore the area. Overnight at... ? (Burghotel Faulkenstein sounds fascinating!)

Day 7: Tour Neuschwanstein Castle first thing in the morning. See Oberammergau, Weis, Linderhoff. Drive to Munich. Overnight at...?

Day 8: Fly out of Munich around noon.

As I said, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

(I have SO much fun planning these trips! I've even planned trips that I'm sure we'll never take!)
 
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Dec 10th, 2000, 02:08 PM
  #2
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Bill, I love it--you have done your homework well. My only comments are these. Be sure to not miss Hallstatt,
and I would opt for any of your alternates in Bavaria rather than Garmisch. They are closer to the best
sites, and Garmisch has become a bit too
big to suit me. Have a great trip.
 
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Dec 10th, 2000, 02:12 PM
  #3
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Oh yes, why not stay at Chiemsee your last nite--it is only about 1:30 to the
airport from there--look at the back roads north--not a bad drive.
 
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Dec 10th, 2000, 09:01 PM
  #4
Paul J
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Hi Bill: Sounds like a great trip. When checking in at airport I suggest allowing enough time at the very end to gas up near the airport and check-in. We did this about 6 weeks ago and were a little close on the time. Better a little early than late for your flight. Have a great trip....Paul J
 
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Dec 10th, 2000, 09:30 PM
  #5
Sue
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We stayed at the Trumer Stubl years ago and liked it very much (are staying there again in May). It has received good reviews on this site. Do a search here to read more. It is a couple of blocks from the old town (and the Dome) and not far from Mirabell Platz. You can find description and e-mail address at http://members.eunet.at/hotel.trumer-stube.sbg/

Sounds like a wonderful trip!
 
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Dec 11th, 2000, 11:45 AM
  #6
Dan
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A great itinerary! Too bad you can't stay a bit longer and go into Switzerland for a couple days. At the suggestion of Rick Steves' guide, we chose Reutte in Austria for proximity to Ludwig's castles. We stayed at the Hotel Maximilian - very nice! A fairly easy drive to the castles (go early!)
 
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Dec 11th, 2000, 06:09 PM
  #7
Ann
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Dear Regular Guy,
You sound more like Superman! Sorry, Bill, I hate to rain on your parade, but Day 7 is next to impossible, and you certainly won't get to see/do much in any of those places. For example, the schloss at Linderhof is only one part of the tour, and you won't want to miss the outbuildings, esp. the grotto, (which involves a small walk/hike). Do you have something specific in mind to see in Garmisch? There is a lot to do/see there, but since you want to see the castles and Oberammergau and the Wieskirche all in one day, you might be better off to stay in Oberammergau or Ettal rather than in Garmisch, which would knock off one thing... Linderhof is a very short drive from there, and then you can get to Wieskirche and Neuschwanstein in the afternoon. Just a thought. Let me know if you're interested in that, and I can give you some pension or nice hotel suggestions for either place. Good luck! p.s. I agree with Bob's suggestion about Chiemsee area.
 
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Dec 11th, 2000, 06:37 PM
  #8
Bill
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Ann -

Thanks for the reality-check. Options would include tacking on another day for that corner of Bavaria, or dropping some things... or both!

Actually, I don't have any solid idea of WHY we'd be going to either Oberammergau or Garmisch, other than people on this list saying "ya gotta go!". From what I've read, I'm pretty sure we want to see Neuschwanstein and Linderhoff.
Wieskirche sounds quite cool also.

We are obviously short-changing Munich, if we show up in the evening after a full day of running around Ludwig's playhouses, and then fly out the next morning.

The great thing about this site is the feedback from people who've been to these places. Thanks!
 
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Dec 12th, 2000, 12:32 AM
  #9
Lori
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It was a number of years ago, but we really liked the Hotel Elefant in Salzburg and great central location.
 
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Dec 12th, 2000, 01:00 PM
  #10
Paulo
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I fully agree with Ann that day 7 is by far the most "delicate" one (to put it mildly).

Once this day is critical and you'd be short changing Munich anyway, I also agree that it doesn't make much sense spending the last night there. Leave Munich for another opportunity. On tghe other hand, even if it may seem inviting, I don't think it makes much sense having to use part of this critical day to drive all the way east to Chiemsee either. After you're done with your sightseeing, you'd have to drive for more than 1 1/2 hours to the lake. Also, unless you're a quite good navigator, one shouldn't rule out a chance of getting out of track in the backroads from Chiemsee to the airport.

If you follow Ann's sound advice with respect to spending the night of day 6 in Ettal/Oberammergau instead of Garmisch, you should consider staying there also the night of day 7. This would minimize packing/unpacking checking in/out and you'd be doing your sighseeing without having to worry about your luggage. The "normal" drive from there to the airport (cutting it through Munich) should read 1 1/2 hours. Allowing for traffic eventualities, time to fill the tank, car drop off, etc., I would leave at 6:45-7am.

If you feel uneasy having to drive 1 1/2 hours through Munich to the airport, an alternative would be to spend the last night somewhere west of Munich. Landsberg am Lech appears as a natural option. The drive to the airport is only 1 hour, with very little chances of stalls in the early morning (A96 to Inning, B471 past Dachau to Oberschleissheim, A92 to the airport exit). In this case, one could start with the Linderhof, continue to Füssen and Neuschwanstein and wrap it up with Wies. From Wies to Landsberg it shouldn't be more than 40-45 minutes.

Paulo
 
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Dec 12th, 2000, 01:08 PM
  #11
Ann
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Excellent suggestions from Paulo. I should have clarified that a stop in Chiemsee would be nice enroute to Salzburg from Munich after your arrival, but with your children being in Salzburg, I wouldn't imagine you want to really stop before you get there. I will be happy to talk with you about lodging in the region, or what's available to see/do if you want to email me directly. Landsberg is a very nice town and I think you might be more comfortable closer to the airport, but "Paulo knows roads" and is right on target with driving times. Luckily, you're doing your planning well in advance, so you have plenty time to wicker your itinerary. And don't forget, after the trip, please let us know about Schloss Matzen, a place I've often drooled over...
 
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Dec 12th, 2000, 01:16 PM
  #12
Paulo
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Now to the 2nd "issue", Bill. What's the maximum time you're willing to negotiate behind a driving wheel on a particular day? Would you repeat this maximum two days in a row? Particularly, would you feel confortable sitting in a car during a total of 4 1/2 hours?

Paulo
 
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Dec 12th, 2000, 01:43 PM
  #13
Bill
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Thanks for the very detailed advice, Paulo.
As to your last question... 4 1/2 hours of driving would be perfectly acceptable so long as the scenery was good and we were taking interesting stops along the way. Not having the kids along makes the prospect of longer drives much easier to envision. Here in the States, car-based vacations often involve much more behind-the-wheel time than that. One of my favorite car trips involved driving a VW Camper from the East Coast to the Canadian Rockies and back (pre-kids). Some of the days involved 12 hours of driving. But a good traveling companion and interesting things to see and do made it better than a lot of stay-put vacations.
If we wanted to cut out extra driving, we'd eliminate the southern leg to Lienz and the Dolomites.
 
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Dec 12th, 2000, 02:29 PM
  #14
Paulo
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Ok, Bill.

My estimate for the total driving time to Hallstatt and then over the Grossglockner to Lienz is 4 1/2 hours. In your shoes, I would allow for that driving time ONLY if the weather conditions are indeed perfect for doing both. From Salzburg to Hallstatt it should be 1:15 hours. From there to, say, Heiligenblut some 2:30 hrs more and about 45 min to wrap it up.

Of course, the weather will be fine (fingers crossed) and your day will be perfect ... Now, what if weather is less than perfect? I can assure you that driving in the middle of a cloud is no fun at all. If the Grossglockner isn't clear, you should be prepared for an alternative. In this case, too bad, but I would also axe Hallstatt ... The point here is that you'd be doing a lot of driving for relatively little benefit. From Hallstatt you'd either have to find your way to the A10 and than accross the two tunnels to Spittal and Lienz (relatively dull 3 hours) or to Badgasatein and through the Tauern tunnel (quite scenic drive taking 3 hours or more depending on tunnel train coincidence).

I'd prefer to visit Kitzbühel and through the Felbertauern tunnel instead. Granted I have a big bias for Kitzbühel (really love the city) but the driving time from Salzburg would be cut almost 2 hours short. There's a lot one can do in 2 hours ... for instance, a detour to Zell am See would call for only 30 minutes driving. Once in Zell am See, who knows ... there might be an opening in the sky and one may decide to go over the Grossglockner at the spur of the moment.

In short, I think that choosing Kitzbühel over Hallstatt with less than perfect weather boosts one's options. If you end up in Kitzbühel, I bet you won't be disapointed.

Later on I'll comment on the Italian piece.

Paulo
 
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Dec 12th, 2000, 03:22 PM
  #15
Paulo
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It's not clear when you're planning to pay Innsbruck a visit: enroute fro Lienz to Brixlegg or from there to the Ludwig's castles area.

Anyway, the fastest route from Lienz to Brixlegg should call for 2:30-3:00 hours total driving time, depending on the number of slow German drivers along the Pusteria valley to Franzensfeste (Fortezza) on the Autostrada. If you end up doing this route, I would recommend making a detour to Pragser Wildsee (Lago di Braies) and Sterzing (Vipiteno) just before the border at Brenner Pass. This would add no more than 30 minutes to the total driving time and both stops are well worth it. While you're at it, you may as well stop for a short visit to Brunico, my home base in Italy. At via Centrale 19 you'll find a very fine small "department" store that is run by my aunt and cousin. If you find anything you like (and I bet you will) ask them for a discount on my behalf Depending on when you'd be leaving Lienz you'd probably have time for visiting some of Innsbruck enroute.

There's something strange (weatherwise) with the North and South Tyrolean Alps. It's not rare to have it pouring in the north and not a single cloud in the south ...

Specially if you had an unlucky day driving south from Salzburg, you should consider and alternate route that is packed with "goodies". Instead of taking the Pusteria valley, continue on to Cortina. Some 13km after Toblach (Dobbiaco) take S48b to Misurina lake (much more scenic that the S51 all the way, taking only a couple of minutes longer). After stopping in Misurina and Cortina, take S48 over the Pocol, Passo Falzarego, Arabba and Passo Pordoi to Canazei. Then on S242 over Passo di Sella to Ortisei. Finally, to Chiusa and the Autostrada to Brixlegg. Total driving time about 4:30-5:00 hours through the best the Italian Dolomiti can offer. Going this route you'd have to postpone your visit to Innsbruck.

Paulo
 
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Dec 13th, 2000, 04:42 AM
  #16
Bill
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Thanks, Paulo. I'll be sure to buy something at your aunt's store.
You've been enormously helpful!
 
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Dec 13th, 2000, 04:53 PM
  #17
Rick
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Couple suggestions: think about seeing the boys again in Melk; the abbey church there is the most beautiful one in Austria.. Agree with others about too much driving planned - skip Italy & Munich this time. Just north of Innsbruck & across the border is the beautiful town of Mittenwald that's a great place to spend a night. From there you can do a morning visit at Linderhof, lunch in Oberammergau, pay an afternoon visit to the Wies Kirche & spend the night in Schwangau in a hotel with a view of the lighted Neuschwanstein Castle.(highly recommend Hotel Rubezahl). Next morning do the Neuschwanstein tour....just the valley itself is worth visiting - great for bike riding too..
 
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Dec 13th, 2000, 07:28 PM
  #18
Bill
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Hi Rick -
Thanks for the suggestions.
Yeah, we're tempted by Melk. The boys will be singing in the abbey church, which should be really nice. The reason for Munich is the airport - a direct flight instead of a connecting flight and centrally located. We weren't really planning to see much of the city except in the evening of our last night.
 
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Dec 14th, 2000, 11:46 AM
  #19
AMG
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Bill,

One additional vote not to stay in Garmisch. Unless you have time take the tram up into the Alps, it is not worth the added drive time to get to the castles. We stayed in Garmisch and saw 2 of the Ludwig castles in one day with no dilly dallying.

Aileen
 
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Dec 18th, 2000, 12:32 PM
  #20
Kt
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You should definitely not miss Hallstatt. There is a salt mine there too, but admittedly, not as good as the one in Berchtesgaden, although in Hallstatt, you have the option of hiking up through some beautiful mountains. Last I knew, the mine in Berchtesgaden gave free salt samples (Bad Reichenhaller Salz), but the tours are fairly similar.
 
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