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Austria-Germany-Switzerland 15days


Nov 29th, 2011, 03:23 PM
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Austria-Germany-Switzerland 15days

Hi- I have enjoyed reading so many great tip and itinerary ideas. Such great information I want to see it all Can someone help me narrow down the trip.
4 adults 40-50 age range- Flying in and out of Munich- May 24-June 9 2012.
Areas that look interesting.
4.Hallstatt/St Gilgen/Boat trip to Konigsee?
5. Melk
7.Some biking somewhere around Passau or somewhere along the Danube?
9.Lake Constance/Meersburg
10. Not sure we should try to fit in Black Forest area
11.Not sure we should attempt Switzerland in May or just see alot of Germany and Austria.
Thank you so much if anyone has suggestions

Any help on getting an itinerary together would be great.
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Nov 29th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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In 15 days I would pick 5 destinations. Mine would include:
Bavarian castle country
Romantic road

I would have a car. Good luck !
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Nov 29th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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Just wanted to say that Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, Chiemsee and St. Gilgen/Hallstatt are relatively close together. Konigsee is about 5 minutes from Berchtesgaden, not near St. Gilgen/Hallsatt. I'd pick a central base for a few days to see all these instead of moving around.

We based near Berchtesgaden a couple of times and did day trips to Chiemsee (1 hr away), Salzburg (20 min away), St. Gilgen (1 hour away) and Hallstatt (1:30 min away).

Just a note... Chiemsee is about halfway between Munich and Salzburg/Berchtesgaden.

We had a rental car, so I'm not sure how this would work if using public transportation.

If interested, we have 3 pages of photo's at:


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Nov 29th, 2011, 04:47 PM
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You have two potential "outliers" here - Passau and Meersburg. I state that because of geography and fewer comparative sites. If you are driving, that changes somewhat. I usually like 3 days per place, but if you can handle just 2 then I can suggest, in order;

Munich - 3 days with day trip to Chiemsee
Salzburg - 2 days day trip to either Hallstatt/St. Gilgen or Berchtesgaden/Konigsee
Vienna - 3 days with a day trip to Melk
Passau - 2 days
Rothenburg - 2 days
Meersburg - 2 days

If you lean towards 3 night stays, then you could drop Passau and spend the extra days in Salzburg or Rothenburg (or maybe Meersburg) - Salzburg and Rothenburg might have better cycling options.

If dropping Passau (my suggestion of the places you list), I would either go straight to Vienna from Munich and do Salzburg on the way back, then Rothenburg, or go straight to Salzburg on arrival, then Vienna, then Munich, then Rothenburg. That would make each leg a little more manageable, for example Option 1;

Munich - 3 days with day trip to Chiemsee
Vienna - 3 days with a day trip to Melk
Salzburg - 3 days day trip to either Hallstatt/St. Gilgen or Berchtesgaden/Konigsee
Rothenburg - 3 days
Meersburg - 2 days

Meersburg, Lindau, and Mainau are special places. I would try and make it there. It is not too far back to Munich - we have made the trip with an early afternoon flight out of Munich scheduled (driving).

I can't see the BF working with the specific pockets of interest you have already indicated, unless you drop to 2 nights everywhere.

Switzerland in may would be fine, but again, it's the BF story - a stop too far unless something else gives. Konstanz, is a nice place, is in Switzerland, and it's just a ferry ride from Meersburg making it an easy day/half day trip if you want to claim a "country". I wouldn't rate it over Lindau and Mainau, though.
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Nov 29th, 2011, 06:56 PM
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marking for later comment
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Nov 29th, 2011, 11:05 PM
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Thank you so much ! I am going to pour over your suggestions. I think I will cut out Switzerland and concentrate on seeing the must see areas of Germany and Austria. Spending 3 nights in areas and taking day trips out. Thanks to everyone so far- if you have a favorite or must see stop we are open to anything. The only "have to" is flying in and out of Munich and picking up our daughter from the University of Salzburg where she will have been on a study abroad trip. Does anyone know if it is possible to plan a day bike/hike trip when you get to Germany/Austria. We would like to see what the best weather days when we arrive. Or is it better to have everything somewhat set before we go.
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Nov 30th, 2011, 01:12 PM
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Does anyone know if it is possible to plan a day bike/hike trip when you get to Germany/Austria. We would like to see what the best weather days when we arriv>

One fab bike ride IME would be along the Wachau Valley on the Danube, the prettiest stretch of the Danube I think - cliffs, vineyards, cute wine towns like Durnstein, where in the ruined castle keep one Richard-the-Lion-Hearted was imprisoned when nabbed returning from some Crusade (or some such story) - anyway bike paths parallel the river and the Wachau is considered to be one of Europe's primo biking venues.

You can take boats between Melk (famous abbey not to be missed) and Durnstein and Krems and I believe these boats offer bikes to passengers who wish to pedal between boat docks - or do a straight up bike rental and use boat to return to starting point. Boats go often in warm weather and are not expensive. Melk has great rail service, though from Salzburg would be a few hours but real close to Vienna.
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Nov 30th, 2011, 03:44 PM
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I was going to recommend the Wachau Valley, for a cycle trip, too. I have seen them "advertised" but can't recall exactly where. Google is your friend.
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Dec 1st, 2011, 11:42 AM
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In any case the Wachau Valley is a great great day out from Vienna - the classic way takes a train to Melk, visits the great historical abbey there - winds down to the Danube, hops the boat to say Durnstein or some other unbelievably cute wine town and from Durnstein by boat or train to Krens for trains back to Vienna. You can buy a combo ticket that includes I believe abbey admission and rail and boat fares. Boats do not run all year however.
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Dec 2nd, 2011, 09:22 AM
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4.Hallstatt/St Gilgen/Boat trip to Konigsee?>

Way way too much for one day.

Hallstatt to me is fantastic - set on an idyllic lake reflecting awesome snow-girdled peaks - needs at least the whole day if not more if wanting to do famous Salt Mine tours, etc.

And the Sound of Music Country as well - St Gilgen, St Wolfgang, hopping boats on lake Wolfgang, perhaps taking the steam train up to the high peak above St Wolfgang - do at least a day in each IMO.
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Dec 2nd, 2011, 11:20 AM
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Some information regarding the Melk / Wachau area. including some corrections to dated info.

This makes for a fine and varied day trip from Vienna.

A good bargain is the Combi ticket - provides train trip Vienna to Melk - Admission to the Abbey for a good tour - scenic boat trip Melk to Dürnstein / Krems - and return train Krems to Vienna.

This available April - end of October


www. ddsg-blue-danube.at


the above 2 ship lines have very similar schedules and landings - not much difference but the DDSG ship has a larger open upper deck which is ideal in sunny warm weather

Total cost less than 50 euro-

train schedules


best to start early from Vienna - make your melk tour and catch boat about 13:50 ( 1:50 Pm )

variations on this tour with bike rental ,wine etc.

an alternative is a convenient bike rental by boat concern or a rental system found at convenient spots all along the river.


pick up a bike at one location - drop off at another

Note that train advice given above on the route Melk- Krems is no longer correct.

Regular train service has been discontinued for a long time between Melk and Krems.

A mid summer tourist train makes this trip about 3 times a day only on weekends and holidays.
Not really convenient .

Currently bus service exists daily about one each hour between Melk and Krems with numerous stops in the various villages.

More info on this beautiful area




a nice alternative for this day is to take the boat ride Melk to Dürnstein - tour Dürnstein ( not considered a cute town but rather an historic village - population less than 300 - many buildings from 14- 1500s-including the castle ruins where King Richard was held for ransom in the late 1100s.

They now make a series of exhibits along the route from the Danube to the Dürnstein ruins with posted information in german and english and also by audio stops- Danube to the ruins walk about 20- 30 minutes.

Bus service from Dürnstein directly to the Krems train station is co ordinated with trains to Vienna - this about 1 per hour.
or rent a bike and ride through the vineyards by Dürnstein, stop for a wine sample and then on to Krems about 8 kilometers .

Great abd varied day.
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Dec 5th, 2011, 09:19 PM
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Hi all- Ok I have been working "slowly" on an itinerary per the above suggestions. Here is what I have so far--possibly. Please make additions or deletion suggestions.

May 24 Munich pick up car drive to Salzburg.
3 nights at the Haus Am Moos.
During the 3 days in Salzburg see:
a.Eagles Nest
Suggestions of "Salzburg Must see"

May 27- Lv Salzburg arrive Hallstatt 1 night
Things that look interesting:
Salt Mines or Five Fingers? Depending on weather a little bike tour they have listed on Hallstatt website. Just enjoying the town.
May 28- Head to Vienna-
Suggestions on must see stop along the way?
Arrive Vienna May 28 for 3 nights-
Day trips
a.The Melk trip mentioned above
b.Vienna city tours
Not sure what else are the must see I haven't gotten that far.

May 31- Drive to-----
This is where I get stuck- I want to end in Munich for 3 days( we fly out June 9 ) so ...
Drive Vienna to Rothenberg OR Vienna to Meersburg/Lindau which one is a must see and can't do without.

What do you all think about this possible itinerary. I am trying to enjoy each stop and not rush. We want to sit in cafes/see the sights/be active but enjoy the surroundings as well.
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Dec 5th, 2011, 09:45 PM
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Just wondering: Does it make more sense to do
Rhine Area

Seems like more of a circle instead of traveling out to Vienna and back- Is Vienna a must or is the Rhine Area/Black Forest.
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Dec 6th, 2011, 12:36 AM
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You've probably seen on the map already that Vienna-Meersburg is all way back to where you came fromand beyond. You will race literally through all of Austria from East to West just to get to Lake Constance.

If Meersburg/Lake Constance is such a "must" then your 2nd itinerary which cuts out Vienna and the Wachau is surely more feasible. But, honestly, only you will know why you wish to "sacrifice" Vienna and the Wachau for Lake Constance. Unless you are totally nuts about flowers and want to see Mainau island with its famous park, Lake Constance is a "nice" region to visit, but not the most beautiful you find in or near the Alps.

But if you opt for the latter itinerary, I would go from Salzburg/Hallstatt towards Innsbruck via the regular highways through Austria (and not the faster option via motorways A8/93 back to Rosenheim and Kufstein, and stop in the Engadine valley in Switzerland (in or around Scuol, just across the border from Austria). And continue from there towards Lake Constance.

Another loop, more based on itinerary #1 would be to continue from Salzburg to Vienna (btw.. the Wachau valley is WEST of Vienna, so when you drive Salzburg-Vienna you pass it on your way.. no need to backtrack from Vienna). Then go back West but SW towards Graz and Klagenfurt through beautiful Carinthia and East Tyrol (possible sidetrip to South Tyrol), and back North to Munich. On this route you would actually drive through the Alps, and not just scratch the front range or foothills along the Munich-Salzburg-Vienna A8/A1 corridor.

Don't forget to get a toll sticker for driving on Austrian motorways and expressways already in Germany, from any rest area w/ gas station along the motorway from Munich airport to Salzburg.
(same for Switzerland, if applicable)
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Dec 6th, 2011, 10:19 AM
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Thanks Cowboy- I really don't have set reasons to see one area over another just want to make the best itinerary sense. I like the 1st itinerary better I just wasn't sure if I am really missing something if I take off the Meersburg area. I think I will keep refining the 1st option.

Munich to Salzburg
Salzburg to Vienna
Vienna to ?
? to Munich (spending 3 or so days in Munich before heading home.
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Dec 6th, 2011, 04:25 PM
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It sounds like you are leaning to not stretching yourself too far geographically, but are still willing to stay somewhere (just once?) for 1 night.

I actually count 17 nights in your trip - I think we have mostly been assuming 15 since someone responded with that number. I am not going to get into an argument of how many days that means you have to tour - I will count nights. We all know it takes time to get from one place to another

On that basis, if you leave off Vienna, you can do southern Germany. If you leave off Meersburg (and the Black Forest and the Rhine) you can do Vienna.

It is still about 5:30 hours to Rothenburg from Vienna, so I am going to throw you a curve. Have you heard of Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic? It is about 3 hours from Vienna, and a great great town.

Since Hallstatt is only 1:15 from Salzburg, I still suggest it would work better as a day trip rather than a 1 night stop on the way to Vienna, so I have added that night to Salzburg in this suggestion ;

Salzburg - 4 nights
Vienna - 3 nights
Cesky Krumlov - 2 nights
Passau or Regensburg - 2 nights
Bamberg or Rothenburg - 3 nights
Munich - 3 nights

This keeps you longest daily drive to under 3 hours and keeps you focused on SE Germany and NE Austria with a Czech surprise thrown in. You should check with the rental agency if you plan to take the car into the Czech Republic.

Do any Fodorites know to what extent they still have restrictions on taking rentals from Germany to the CR? Is it just for the higher value vehicles?

Isn't planning an itinerary such sweet sorrow?
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Dec 6th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Well I think that 11 places in 15 days won;t work. Suggest you:

Look into open jaws flights (perhaps into Vienna and out of Munich or vice versa).

Decide which 2 countries you want - seeing a bunch of places in 3 countries simply won't work in the time you have. (You can do probably 5 places - if you want to do in 3 countries fine but you MUST pick and choose.) And do an itinerary by night (where you will sleep - no more than 5 hotels) and then list what you will do by dayl. The Michelin guide books have listings that include how long you need to spend in each site.

Also, agree that for the way this trips seems to be shaping up renting a car seems like the best idea - in terms of time and convenience.
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Dec 8th, 2011, 07:04 PM
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bookmarking - thanks
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Dec 8th, 2011, 07:14 PM
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As an addendum to my bookmark -- we are flying in and out of Frankfurt and will be visiting family near Karlsruhe. Would like to do Baden-Baden, Munich, Salzburg and Rothenberg in a rough counter-clockwise circle before heading back to Frankfurt. And we would like to do it by train. Does this sound do-able? Are there places en route we shouldn't miss?
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Dec 9th, 2011, 09:13 AM
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For that much train travel in Germany check out the Germany Railpass that lets you just hop on any train practically with few exceptions you will not encounter anytime - get off at Frankfurt airport and hop on the very next train - boom - you have several travel days - the more days on this pass the cheaper per day - look at a Twin pass for two folks traveling together. Compare fares at www.bahn.de - German Railways web site with schedules and fares. Unlike the 29 oe 39 euro online discount fares, which you should also consider or the Lander Passes - the pass is valid on any train anytime - discounted tickets I believe are train-specific and to guarantee must be booked way in advance as they are sold in limited numbers.

the Fodor mantra is railpasses are always a waster of money but this is total misinformation IMO and especially in your case. But it does depend somewhat on whether you desire total flexibility to just show up at the station and hop any train anytime. And my decades of incessant rail travel in Germany makes me also adamantly recommend first class - always lots of empty seats IME - bigger seats - easier luggage storage, etc.
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