Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Calling all clever travelers..Belgium and Germany and Austria..Oh My!! (

tinabina Jun 16th, 2009 01:14 AM

Calling all clever travelers..Belgium and Germany and Austria..Oh My!!
Hello fellow fabulous fodorites. I am down to just 2 weeks before DH and myself whisk off to a 2 week trip sans kids! I have poured over the sight and noted, bookmarked, highlighted and memorized a wealth of information. Thankyou to all of you who have generously shared your reports and advice on the site, I have learned alot! I am planned through to day 8 out of 13. We are sideroad secondary town travelers who enjoy the simplicity of local life and a slice of less touristy spots.Drum roll please..... now looking for the last few favorite tidbits, secret spots and favorite stops between Cologne- and Munich. We will have a car and just need to be to the Munich airport by 4pm on the 13th day! Concentrating in southern Germany and perhaps a bit of Austria. "Areas" I would like to encounter include Rhine and Mosel River Valley, I have read great things about St Goar,Trier, Bacharach, Neckar River areas. Are there any hidden gems among the jewels that anyone might share? I also would love to see the Swiss Alps...what besides Fussen or Innsbruck areas have you loved? Is Salzburg a MUST see, or is there something just as tempting, perhaps less well known? I realize I am a little dreamy at this point, but that is half the fun for me. If you have any "little known places to explore", I would love your input. Think of your most lovely time and then share. I promise to do the same in the future. tina

traveller1959 Jun 16th, 2009 02:23 AM

Tina - you said you like those hidden gems, but you have listed nothing but those very touristy destinations which are flooded by American and Japanese tourists!

Certainly I could give you some tips for "secret spots" - but this would make a different itinerary.

Okay, let's start. One of my favourites right on the way between Belgium and Köln is Aachen. Stop there in any case - and even if you have not more than two hours. See the medieval town hall and the amazing cathedral where Charlemagne was crowned 800 A.D. Have lunch (or at least a drink) in the Postwagen, right next to the town hall.

When you really want to see secret places, skip the Rhein and drive the A4 in the direction of Olpe instead. Visit Freudenberg, a most charming town consisting of half-timbered houses.

Drive southwards on A45 and stop to visit Greifenstein Castle.

Then take the A5 eastwards, stop for a stroll through Alsfeld and proceed to Eisenach, visit the Wartburg (where Luther translated the Bible).

From there, drive down to Bamberg (old town) and continue to Würzburg (spectacular palace with Tiepolo fresci). Spend some time to explore Würzburg's vicinity - there are many charming villages: Sommerhausen, Ochsenfurt, Marktbreit, Mainbernheim, Iphofen...

From there, you can drive to the Romantic Road. Rothenburg is very touristy, some equally picturesque, but quieter towns are Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen. Southwest of Nördlingen, Neresheim Abbey is a hidden gem of a fine baroque church.

From there, it is a short drive into the Alps (the German and Austrian Alps are the same as the Swiss Alps). You can indeed drive into Hohenschwangau (which has two castles - a "real" one and Neuschwanstein) and then continue to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (access to the Zugspitze). When you are in the area, you might also visit Linderhof Castle and the Wieskirche - a baroque masterpiece. See also the Walchensee for breathtaking scenery.

From there, it is just a short drive back to München.

Dukey Jun 16th, 2009 04:12 AM

All I will say is that there is a reason all those "Japanese and Amercian tourists" GO to those places and it isn't to see each other...

kleeblatt Jun 16th, 2009 04:21 AM

Dukey, I think you misinterpreted Traveller's post. He was referring to the fact that the places listed by the poster are not "off the beaten path". The poster had wished to visit less touristy spots.

traveller1959 Jun 16th, 2009 10:19 AM

Yes, Schuler, you are right. I even included a recommendation to visit Rothenburg o.d.T. and Hohenschwangau, because they are must-sees.

I tried to put an itinerary together which shows true Germany and which is certainly not on the Fodorite's beaten path (with a few exceptions).

tinabina Jun 16th, 2009 10:24 AM

Thanksyou! Traveller1959 your detailed info is very helpful and I truly appreciate the time you took to post your expertise.
Just to clarify,the reason I listed the "touristy" areas was to give posters a jumping off point for their personal suggestions. I ,obviously, have not been to this area of Europe and just wanted an "insiders" suggestion(s) of less well known or under represented location(s) similiar or nearby. We aren't opposed to the "go to" destinations of the area, I just love to give some time and to the lesser known towns and areas.
Dukey...Too true, the famous spots are that with genuine reason. Thanks for your input.

tinabina Jun 16th, 2009 10:37 AM

Again Thanks.
I will put your suggestions to work and write up of all my experiences. Appreciation and gratitude, for suggestions that would take me days of research to even find out about. That is why I love Foders. If you ever need help with San Diego, I will be here!

Zeus Jun 16th, 2009 10:55 AM

To paraphrase Freddy Mercury, "Get in your car and go!". It's pretty tough not to see something interesting driving from Cologne to Munich. Even along the Autobahn you'll see beautiful farms, churches and castles. Watch for the brown signs indicating tourist spots and get off to see them. We've been going to Germany every year for thirty plus years and always find things of interest. Even far off the beaten track we've bumped into old WWII bunkers, Cold War relics or medieval sites. Our plan is to just keep going until we get lost, then look around and become fascinated. There's just so much to see whether it be historical, cultural, ecological, industrial, agricultural or religious. We've never had a bad meal nor found a crappy place to stay all the times we've become lost.

BobbyPam Jun 16th, 2009 11:00 AM

Hi TinaBina -

Salzberg is breathtaking, a definate must see. Mozart's house is lovely, and it's so much fun to explore the charming streets. If you have time, Vienna is also worth seeing.

bettyk Jun 16th, 2009 11:09 AM

As suggested, some of the little wine towns around Wurzburg are just lovely. We have stayed in Iphofen and enjoyed it tremendously. We also strolled around Dettelbach and found it very enjoyable.

Several other lovely towns in the Wurzburg area that we have visited or stayed in are Miltenberg, Wertheim and Karlstadt am Main.

On the Romantic Road, Rothenburg is truly a "one of a kind" place and should be visited, but, as mentioned, Dinkelsbuehl and Noerdlingen are both definitely worth some time. We also stopped in Feuchtwangen and found it to be lovely as well.

I found Bad Wimpfen on the Neckar River to be a true "gem". We saw few tourists and never saw another American during the time we stayed there. We used it as a base to visit a few other towns in the area including Dinkelsbuehl and Schwaebisch Hall.

There are so many beautiful and interesting little towns in Germany. The hard part is finding time to visit them all.

tinabina Jun 16th, 2009 11:19 AM

Zeus- Quoting Freddy Mercury! Wow we must be kindred spirits. Getting lost is always my favorite thing. Kudos for the suggestions.

bettyk- I will put your ideas on my list Bad Wimpen sounds right up my alley, and so do the others.

BobbyPam- I was wondering if anyone would vote for Austria, thanks for your view point.

So much to little time...such a big big world.

bettyk Jun 16th, 2009 11:23 AM

tinabina, here is a link to our webshots photo albums. There are several for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. You will see photos of the places mentioned above.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:16 AM.