Bavaria in August

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Apr 30th, 2016, 11:02 PM
  #1
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Bavaria in August

Hi. We are planning at trip to Bavaria for first half of August 2016. We are two adults and a nine year old. We are active and enjoy hiking and bicycling. The adults are interested in museums and the nine year old will tolerate some museum activities, history over arts. We went to the Dolomites about five years ago and loved it. We are not big on crowds. We considered the Berchtesgaden area, but we aren't so keen to emphasize WWII history this trip. I would like to see at least one Ludwig castle. My wife would prefer to avoid them as they seem to be overly popular and crowded. But since we are in the area I think we can manage at least one.

I need some feedback on the following rough itinerary/ideas. We are flying in and out of Munich.

We'll arrive in Munich on August 3rd. We are planning to spend time in Munich on the way out. So we are thinking of driving south to Mittenwald or there abouts to see the Alps, Zugspitze, and Alpenpark. I'm thinking we'll stay two nights in Mittenwald or in that area. Do some hiking. Maybe make a day trip to Innsbruck.

On the 5th, maybe later in the day drive to Lindau at Lake Constance and stay the night.

On the 6th bike from Lindau to Rorschach (30 km) and take the ferry back. Stay another night in Lindau.

On the 7th head to the Black Forest. This part of the trip is a bit vague. I'm not sure if we should go to Strasbourg, Stuttgart, both, neither, stay in small places, etc. We'll probably do some hiking and check out scenic sites. My wife is from Eastern Europe and European forests are not so special for her. But we live in California and it may be more exotic for our son and myself.

We are planning to get back to Munich on August 10th so we can certainly spend at least one full day there on the 11th. We depart on the 12th. We could get there early on the 10th to have closer to two days. We want to see the BMW museum and factory tour. We'll probably also see some art museums and also spend time just walking the city. Or maybe we should get back on the 9th and have closer to three full days in Munich. I know this won't be enough time to do everything in and around Munich and we aren't planning or expecting to do everything in the city. We are hoping for a taste and instead intended to emphasize more of the outdoors.

Any feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks!
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May 1st, 2016, 03:03 AM
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On the northern shore of Lake Constance, I enjoyed visiting the Lake Dweller open air museum (Pfahlbauten) at Unteruhldingen. Nearby is the excellent Birnau church. In Meersburg, the old castle can be visited without a tour and is excellent.

Check out Bavaria Ben's great website www.bensbauernhof.com. Lots of great info, especially in the trip reports ( including mine !�� ).
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May 1st, 2016, 05:10 AM
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Berchtesgaden:

Berchtesgaden is more than Hitler's bunker. Much more.

The Königsee is Germany's most beautiful Alpine lake. A boat ride on the lake, shorter or longer hikes to the Obersee and to the ice caves or into the mountains belong to the most rewarding experiences in Bavaria.

If you are not interested in WWII history, just skip it. Or take an hour to go into this vast bunker which resembles a villain's lair in a 007 movie.

Black Forest:

I actually live in the Black Forest. When you are in Lindau, you are very close to the Forest's most beautiful part which is around the Feldberg, the highest mountain.

There are many beautiful trails, e.g. on top of the Feldberg and around the Feldsee, a small yet beautiful glacier lake at the foot of the Feldberg. Many scenic trails and a traditional farmhouse serving local fare, made from their own livestock.

Menzenschwand is one of the most picturesque Black Forest villages, still withs lots of wooden houses and situated in a scenic valley, again with many trails. You may hike into a valley with impressive glacial moraines and to a waterfall. After hiking you may soak in the ultra-contemporary thermal spa in town.

Also there are many scenic drives in the socalled High Black Forest, a traditional farmhouse museum (Hüsli) in Rothaus, a brewery with a traditional restaurant, beautiful historic chapels in the meadows and forests, waterfalls and streams.

If this appeals to you, I can give you more tips.

In the foothills of the Black Forest, you find several picturesque historic towns like Staufen, Freiburg, Gengenbach.

If you cross the Rhine you find yourself in Alsace with many cute wine villages as well as Colmar and Strasbourg, two historic cities.

I do not recommend Stuttgart.
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May 1st, 2016, 05:37 AM
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[I do not recommend Stuttgart]

But just south is the city of Tubingen and we had a great weeks stay.

Much, much less damage in WW2 than other German cities.
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May 1st, 2016, 06:18 AM
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You could combine hiking and visiting the smallest of Louis II. castles, which is never crowed because it can reached on foot only:

http://www.schloesser.bayern.de/engl...s/schachen.htm

Ok, this »Koenigshaus« is not a »castle« in the proper sense, rather a combination of a swiss chalet and a mauric kiosk (»turkish hall«). It is situated on the Schachen mountain at 1900 m. A few steps away there are the botanic alps garden of the Munich university and a belvedere wich offers a fine view on the Wetterstein range with the Zugspitze. With a 9 year old child i would take the easy access: take a taxi to Elmau (halfways betwen Mittenwald and Garmisch), from where you can go up on a paved way within 3 hours. There is a mountain hut nearby where you can have lunch and wich offers modest accomodation, too (http://www.schachenhaus.de/ - german only, but with a informative 360' panorama). If your prefere it to do the brutal way, you can climb up from Garmisch in 5 hours.
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May 1st, 2016, 06:59 AM
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There is a wonderful open-air museum called Freilichtmuseum Glentleiten. It is a about 1/2 hour north of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and if you have time, I highly recommend it. Our whole family, including boys aged 4 and 6, really enjoyed it two summers ago.

If you try to do the Zugspitze, make sure you ask at Tourist Information how the weather is. We attempted 3 days in a row due to cloud cover and finally went the 3rd day with the first train. It is an expensive trip just to get up there and find you see nothing due to clouds. Coming down the mountain, there was a line of people waiting to go up and it was already covered with clouds.

I am stealing traveller1959's ideas about the Black Forest and hope you ask for more tips that I can read. We will be in the Black Forest for a number of days this summer, a total of 8 days in Freiburg and 4 days about 90 minutes east of there in a tiny town. I have also heard that the open-air museum, Vogtsbauernhof, is worth visiting.

Also, if you are looking for a kid-friendly museum that you will love also, consider the Tractor Museum in Uhldingen. It was FABULOUS. We had a rainy day at the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and had seen signs for it near our apartment. We went and were all really surprised at how much we enjoyed it!

Two summers ago we spent a day in Munich....just an average weekday, so that my husband could see it. It was PACKED. If you do not like crowds, I would not spend too much time in Munich. Maybe 1/2 day and then off to other places to hike or relax. How about the Chiemsee? Nice place to relax and swim or I second Berchtesgaden/Koenigsseee as a wonderful place. There is a salt mine museum in Bad Reichenhall on the way.

Have a wonderful trip!
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May 1st, 2016, 12:37 PM
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Thanks for the comments and ideas! I will be studying them.
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May 1st, 2016, 01:03 PM
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wendy, Freiburg is not in the Black Forest. From Freiburg, you drive 45 Minutes into the Black Forest or you take a one-hour train ride.
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May 1st, 2016, 01:05 PM
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The Vogtsbauernhof is not bad, but the Hüsli in Rothaus is much better, because it is completely furnished and decorated.
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May 1st, 2016, 08:07 PM
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I am fully aware that Freiburg is not in the Black Forest, but many people use it as a base for the Black Forest.
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May 1st, 2016, 11:30 PM
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>> but many people use it as a base for the Black Forest <<

Actually not. The Black Forest is a popular destination for tourism, Freiburg is not.

Freiburg is down in the Rhine Valley. It is a charming university town with a beautiful cathedral and a lively city centre with lots of cafés, restaurants and shops, many of them geared towards students. But it is a city.

As said, you have to drive up through the Hell's Canyon into the Black Forest or take the train.

In the Black Forest, you are on an elevation of around 1,000 metres, depending on the actual town. You breath fresh mountain air, scented of firs. The sounds are not city sounds, but sounds of nature. In summer, it is significantly cooler on the heights. Often, you have bright sunshine in the Black Forest while the sky over Freiburg is covered with clouds.

You look out of your window into the landscape with meadows, forests and lakes. The architecture in the Black Forest is different - many wooden houses with half-hipped roofs. The food is different: mountain cheese, fir-smoked Black Forest ham, fresh trout from the mountain streams, local venison.
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May 2nd, 2016, 12:19 PM
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Odd, a quick google search reveals the top rated Black Forest Tour company is based in Freiburg.
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May 2nd, 2016, 12:23 PM
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apersuader65:

What kind of game are you playing here? Is it the "I-live-5000-kilometers-away-but-I-know-everything-better"-game?

I live in the Black Forest. Believe me that I know what I am talking about. I would not lecture an eskimo about snow.
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May 2nd, 2016, 04:29 PM
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Traveller1959, nobody is arguing. I live in SoCal and drive over an hour to work and back. Distances are a bit different for me. I've been lucky enough to stay in Freiburg numerous times with friends and so, we use it as a base for the Black Forest. No sense in going 40 minutes further to get closer and pay for a hotel. And I know plenty of people who have done the same. Would I insist it's the best base? No, but it certainly makes a better base for the Black Forest than for Prague or the Harz mountains or Berlin. And it's proximity to other places make it a decent choice for those wishing to do less hotel hopping.

Sorry, all I was hoping for were some tips on places to visit in the Black Forest, not a lecture on location. However, you've really taken the fun out of any planning for now.
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May 3rd, 2016, 06:55 AM
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Sorry, Wendy, I did not know that you will be staying home-hosted in Freiburg which changes everything.

I wrongly assumed you were another victim of those international guidebooks which confuse the Black Forest with the Rhein Valley. I read here too often that people want to see the Black Forest and end up in Baden-Baden.

Now, tips for the Black Forest from Freiburg. Here some of my favourites:

- Titisee (easy to reach by train from Freiburg) is still a charming little town at a scenic little lake, albeit it has become quite touristy. But certainly still a good place for a stroll and a cruise on the lake.

- Schluchsee (also on the railway from Freiburg) is quieter, with a much larger lake. There is a boat that is regularly cruising round the lake (70 minutes for one loop), so you can easily combine cruising with hiking along the lakeshore. The most beautiful walk (4 km) is between the boats stops Aha and Unterkrummenhof. The Unterkrummenhof is a restaurant in a traditional farmhouse which is very popular. Interesting church in Schluchsee, a mix of modern and old architecture.

- Feldberg, the highest mountain, can be reached by train + bus or by car. The cable car brings you to the top with easy walking and hiking trails. At the bottom of the Feldberg is the Feldsee, a most scenic glacier lake. You can reach it from the Feldberger Hof on a trail. Nice restaurant in a traditional farmhouse at the Feldsee.

- Rothaus is famous for its brewery which is worth a quick visit. Also, there is the Hüsli, the best farmhouse museum in the Black Forest, two chapels in walking distance, a small lake and a trail which is lined by sculptures carved out of dead wood.

- Todtnau has the large waterfall.

- Menzenschwand, as mentioned, is one of the most beautiful traditional villages in the Black Forest, has lovely scenery, another waterfall, a deer corral and a very beautiful thermal spa, the Radon Vital Bad.

- In Sankt Blasien you find the monastery with an impressive dome.

- The Haslachschlucht and Wutachschlucht are canyons with a very scenic hiking trail which leads along the gurgling water, through wet meadows and swampy areas and to ruins of castles and mills.

- Bernau has another farmhouse museum which is focused on wood-working.

- For scenic drives, the area around Feldberg, Bernau, Todtnau is very beautiful. You may drive down to Staufen, a picturesque historical town where Dr. Faustus went to Hell.

I hope you got back your fun for planning.
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May 3rd, 2016, 07:06 AM
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Take your kid to LegoLand. Fun for young and old.
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May 3rd, 2016, 07:07 AM
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Beginning of August is when the schools in Bavaria are out for the summer so the traffic is going to be pretty heavy.
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