Bavaria and Austria

Old Mar 30th, 2002, 07:03 PM
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Bavaria and Austria

This family of 4 is planning a 3 week trip to Oberstaufen, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Berchtesgaden, and Salzburg area. Need information about train travel verses rental car and the related expenses. Understand gas to be about $4.00 per gallon and Eurail passes for flexible travel will cost about $1500 for 4 people. Is rail travel by the hour or by the date? How can we arrange to maximize sightseeing to include Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace? The salt mines in Berchtesgaden and Ettal Abbey are a must-see!
Old Mar 30th, 2002, 09:04 PM
Bob Brown
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I did most of that area last year, and I had a car. For 4 people, I don't think there is any contest. You cannot get to all of those places by train; you must take a bus of some description.
But for flexibility, quickness, and convenience, you cannot beat a car.
I would, however, consider where I stayed in Salzburg. Parking is expensive there, and a car in the old town and for places like Mirabell Gardens is a liability, really.
In Munich, you will find a car to be expensive to park almost anywhere.
We stayed at a little hotel in Schwabing, but the neighborhood is so full of cars, that you need a permit to park on the street. Needless to say, the hotel charged a fee to park in their small lot.

In Salzburg, I rented a room at Pension Sallerhof, in the suburb of Grödig.
Free parking, and a bus into town.
We drove to Schloss Heilbrunn because it seemed more convenient, and paid to park, as you do at almost all of the attractions.

I would get the car in Germany because it seems to be cheaper to rent there.
But, if you rent in one nation and return it in another nation, you will pay dearly for the convenience. You don't say where you are originating the trip, but if it is in Munich, then rent in Munich and return in Germany.

How can you arrange to maximuze your sightseeing? I guess you drive from one place to the other. I am not sure what you intend to read as an answer.

Old Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:18 PM
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We're heading to Germany in May and I found the folks at Kemwel (based in Maine) to be great. This became apparent when I rented the car for the wrong "pick-up" location. When I discovered the mistake (thank goodness!), I called and the woman with whom I spoke was very kind and helpful: easy to change, no extra charge. We're renting a 4-door Audi for 10 days for $326 (total). Could I have done better? Not according to some of the websites I checked. Also, I'm usually willing to pay more (within reason, mind you) for prompt friendly service. Hope this helps.
Old Apr 2nd, 2002, 02:25 PM
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Miles. You can buy a hell of alot of gas for $1500.00. We had a great time in that area two years ago that we are returning this year. There is a great little town that we found just east of Garmisch called Krun. The place is full of lovely Bavarian B&Bs. It is centrally located to most of the places you want to go. Munich 1 hour north, Innsbrook 45 min. south. If you have kids and they like to swim then Mittenwald has a great Freibad (Public Pool). Linderhof and Abbey Ettal are nice but we found that Neuschwanstein was a major tourist trap with long waits.If you have time check out the Brenner pass into Italy but use the old road not the Autostrada.
Old Apr 2nd, 2002, 02:57 PM
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Get yourself a good road atlas for Germany and Austria. Note the major attractions/cities you want to visit and the best route to accomplish this. Then check one of the online sites like or to see what the driving time/distance is between the various places. Sometimes you can do several things in one day or you might want to overnight or even spend several days in one area and do day trips. Then you can come back to this board with your tentative itinerary and ask for comments.
Old Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:14 AM
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Here's what I did last June for some of the same sites. I took the train from Frankfurt to Salzburg (you can get the train right at the airport, no need to go into Frankfurt) where I stayed for a couple of nights and then the train to Munich for a couple of nights. I then rented a car at the Munich airport and drove down the Romantic Road to the Garmisch area (and later to Rothenburg and the Rhine). This way, you don't have the car in the cities, where it can be a hindrance, but you have it for the smaller towns.
Old Apr 3rd, 2002, 07:31 AM
Bill Yost
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If you opt for the train, check out the German railway site. They have weekend and state specials that can allow up to 5 people to travel together from point to point for 21 euros total. It just depends on which days and where you are traveling.

Nova rentacar also has pretty good rates--their rates include CDW if you need it, but are still competitive; e.g., we got an Opel Vectra 4 door for 14 days for 493 euros with CDW and all taxes. 10 days would be 352 euros ($310). Automatic transmission would be a lot more.
Old Apr 3rd, 2002, 08:12 AM
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As a family of four who do a lot of driving during the year we usually like to take the train when in Europe to major areas. Just remember that depending on where you are comming from getting to Berchtesgaden is a long process because it is a slow ride through the mountains. Getting to Salzburg is easy by bus or car, and look into the Salzburg card, it gains entry into the main attractions.
Old Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:11 AM
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Miles, I am sorry but you need a car to see that region--no contest. Plan to get over and spend time in the Lake area of Austria--perhaps staying at St. Gilgen on the Wolfgangsee--and as far as Hallstatt--a magical place. Rent the car in DE--in 3 weeks you can do alot.
The Peugeot lease plan may be cheaper for you--you can do it from Munich.
Old Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:24 AM
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We do that area frequently. Car is the only way to go.

Consider staying in Berchtesgaden when you want to visit Salzburg. It is an easy drive over and back for the day. We enjoy the WATZMANN HOTEL in Berchtesgaden.

You can cover Linderhof, Ettal and Neuschwanstein in one day if you start early. Do the southern route from Garmisch to Reutte and up to Neuschwanstein. It is touristy, but worth a visit as it is pictured on about 60% of the European tour books. After doing that tour head north and see the church at WIES for a short stop then head to Oberammergau and finish at Ettal Abbey. If you have time throw in Linderhof or if not, do it the next morning as it is very close drive from Garmisch.

The Salt Mines are fun, but also try to do the tour to the Kielstein....Eagles Nest. Fantastic views and good beer. Then do the electric boats on Lake Koingsee. Great is a must.
Old Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:27 AM
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About how far a drive is it from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Berchtesgaden?
Old Apr 3rd, 2002, 11:57 AM
wes fowler
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It's about 120 miles and about 2 1/2 hours from Garmisch to Berchtesgaden via Bad Tolz. While a good part of the drive is via autobahn, the section of autobahn is part of the Deutsches Alpenstrasse as is the drive from Bad Tolz to the autobahn.
Old Apr 6th, 2002, 05:45 AM
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Miles: The car is NOT the only way. Bill Yost is right about the train deals on weekends, and on weekdays within the state of Bavaria - they provide cheap, dependable, and scenic travel without traffic hassles and are perfect for families. You can get to Garmisch, Salzburg, B'gaden, and Oberstaufen by train; Neuschwanstein is accessible by short bus ride directly from the train station in nearby Füssen. Linderhof and Ettal are not so easy - better to have a car for one day to see see these spots - but my money-saving suggestion to you is to compare car travel NOT with the Eurailpass, a ridiculous waste of many, but with the train daypass option. I just returned with my family of 5. We spent $160 total on 9 days of train travel on a route that included Frankfurt, Bamberg, Garmisch, Memmingen, Oberstdorf, Lindau, Stuttgart, and the Mosel/Rhine Valleys.
There are some rabid car enthusiasts on this board who have probably never ridden trains in the region and whose "comparisons" may be less than well-founded. I've done both and will objectively tell you that the train is a perfectly viable option which will very likely save you some money and make for a more pleasant journey. If you like to drive the whole time and don't mind traffic snarls and the extra cost associated with car travel, cars can be fine too. I'd suggest in your case using the trains mostly and then renting a car for 1-2 days to see the things that are tougher to see by train. It'll be cheaper and provide some variety to how you get around.

Train travel requires you to plan a little more, to be more conservative about how you pack, perhaps, and to learn a little more about how the train lines run before you leave. I also think it's a good idea to plan some "base camps" so that you can daytrip out and back without packing and unpacking as you visit your destinations.

You can e-mail me if you'd like some links to specific train route maps or to information on the cheap daypasses, or if you have other specific questions.


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