Christmas 2012 Germany/ Austria

Jul 6th, 2012, 09:36 PM
  #1  
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Christmas 2012 Germany/ Austria

We are available to leave the US on the 22nd and return by January 2nd. We don't necessarily need to travel all of those days, but basically, I am a teacher and those are the dates I have off.

Anyhow, we are a family traveling with a 1 year old and a 3 year old and are seeking a charming, magical Christmas experience. Someone on this forum described a lovely experience at the Salzburg Christmas mass. We would also love to experience Christmas markets (although we know we are limited by our dates) and maybe the romantic road to Hohenschwangau. A sleigh ride sounds lovely. Innsbruck and St Gilgen look pretty too. Wondering if we should venture to Prague? Liked the sound of Annaberg-Bucholz and the surround towns, but sounds a little far afield if we are concentrating on Bavaria/ Salzburg. My husband is keen on driving and jetting from place to place. My thoughts are to take a more leisurely pace, especially given the kids. However, we also can't just sit around and read books in a cafe, because the kids would never sit still for that sort of thing.

Help us to narrow down a nice itinerary.

Also, any tips on traveling with young children in this region?

Your ideas are appreciated!
moonininjuly is offline  
Jul 6th, 2012, 10:03 PM
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With just over a week, I would encourage you to spend the time based around Salzburg or Fussen. I personally think Prague is too far. We have stayed with children several times in Salzburg/Bavaria regions. There is so much to see & do. The Xmas market in Salzburg is lovely, as is the castle Hohensalzburg, cathedrals & just walking around. Nearby in Germany, Berchtesgaden/Konigsee & Salt Mine tours are both worthwhile. Near Fussen, Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau castles await & Fussen's walls at night are lit up. Not too far is Oberammagau, Linderhof & Weis church. Enjoy planning
SusannahT is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Thanks. Any suggestions how many days to spend in each place?

We are thinking to go to a market in Munich or Rothenberg on the 22nd or 23rd and then maybe leave for Salzburg on the 24th and spend Christmas mass there. How many days would you suggest for in and around Salzburg?

Would you suggest also seeing Innsbruck?

How many days would you suggest for Fussen area?

Also, would you recommend to drive or take trains? Remember we will likely have stroller and other baby gear.

Thanks
moonininjuly is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 06:22 PM
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You have limited time and 2 small children. To make the most of your opportunity without under stress on everyone I would stay in either one or two places. Jetting around europe with 2 little kids makes no sense - especially since the places you are talking about are too close together for flying to make sense.

I would land in Munich and then train directly to Salzburg to spend several days there. then head back to Munich for several days before returning home. Both cities are charming and have a lot to see and do - as well as a number of interesting day trips - including up into the mountains to get your sleigh ride. but do check in advance to see where they are offered - you can't drive a team of horses down the Marienplatz. (At least not since about 1890.)
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 08:30 PM
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Is Hohenschwangau considered a day trip from Munich or is it best to get accommodations there? Is that a train ride away?
moonininjuly is offline  
Jul 7th, 2012, 08:53 PM
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When we have stayed at Xmas in the Salzburg and Fussen areas on 3 occasions with children, we have rented a car & a house/apartment. This gives flexibility, places for children to play in the snow, easy access to supermarkets & ability to do lots of day trips. We've stayed at Abtenau & St Koloman each for a week for Salzburg area (including Berchtesgaden) & Reutte (Austria) for Bavaria, as it was much cheaper. I'm not sure I would want to travel in winter with small children all the time on public transport - too cold & too much waiting.
SusannahT is offline  
Jul 8th, 2012, 05:33 PM
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We probably will rent a car. Although a house/ apartment sounds great, we have Hilton and Priority Club Points, so we will probably choose hotels in the big cities of Munich and Salzburg and then one resort in Berchtesgaden - The Intercontinental. We figure with the major chain hotels, we are assured to have a portable crib in the room and not have to worry about packing that.

We aren't sure how many days to plan in the cities and how long to spend for day trips.

Will look into Abtenau and St Kolomon. Thanks for the tips.
moonininjuly is offline  
Jul 8th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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The Christmas market in Salzburg stays open until the 26th
bigtyke is offline  
Jul 8th, 2012, 06:19 PM
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My wife is a teacher and we are like you, we have to limit our travel to school holidays. I have found that most of the Christmas markets close about 2pm on the 24th. If you fly out of the US on the 22nd and arrive in Germany on the 23rd with your jet lagging behind you your time at the Christmas Markets will be very limited. Actually you could fly into Munich, take the S Bahn to Marienplatz and spend an hour at the big Christmas Market there the go to the train station by S Bahn and take the train to Salzburg.

I would go to Salzbiurg first and enjoy the Christmas market as much as I could, go to the midnight mass at the cathedral on the 24th? I seem to remember it starting about 10pm and lines forming well before that to get in and get a seat. They have a formal choir and orchestra then they finish in candlelight with a quartet and guitar singing Silent Night. As the final notes fade a huge bell right above starts to ring in Christmas. As you walk back to your hotel in the snow all the church bells in Salzburg answer the cathedral's bells.

After Christmas I would visit Ludwig country in the alps then make my way to Munich. Time permitting I would rent a car and go to Rothenburg with a stop in Dinkelsbuhl. You can check the Neuschwanstein Web site to see when they will be open.

We have spent several Christmasses in that area and it is truly magic. Enjoy your trip.
AisleSeat is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 06:48 PM
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Where exactly is the Ludwig country?
moonininjuly is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 07:56 PM
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King Ludwig is renown for building Neuschwanstein castle at Schwangau, Linderhof not far away & Herrenchiemsee near Chiemsee on an island. All are in close proximity to Munich & all are worth a visit. Google map will give you exact locations.
SusannahT is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 09:33 PM
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Well said SusannahT, don't forget Hohenschwangau, Ludwig's boyhood home next to Neuschwanstein. Just to cover all the bases Nymphenburg Palace and the Residenz in Munich were Ludwig's Wittlesbach properties too.
AisleSeat is offline  
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