driving through Germany to Lake Como

Apr 27th, 2004, 09:13 AM
  #1  
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driving through Germany to Lake Como

I fly in to Munich in early July and would like to see the sights, possibly drive through Brenners Pass and end up in Lake Como. I have 4 days to do this before heading off to Venice for a cruise. I have never driven in Euprope and am weighing the advantages of car/vs rail? I am also looking for advise on where to stay on this trip and what to see along the way.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 09:37 AM
  #2  
rex
 
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Several things: you're aware that Germany does not touch Italy at the Brenner Pass, right? You drive through through Austria for well over an hour. Unless you are comfortable with being a scofflaw, you will have to pay (the modest price) for a vignette to drive on the autobahn in Austria.

Secondly, you may have to face a hefty drop charge to leave a German car in Italy.

These are not necessarily reasons to avoid car rental, just things you should know.

You have many options for great places to visit/stay - - including just getting straight to Lake Como and spend as much of the four days there as possible.

I would rank favorably: Hall in Tirol, Bolzano, Trento, anywhere along Lake Garda from Riva on the north, Malcesine on the east or Sirmione on the south; Verona or Bergamo.

Car makes it easy to check out more than one (or several) of these; do-able by train, though not some of the less easily reached spots, of course (for example, no direct train access to Riva, Malcesine, Sirmione or Hall in Tirol as far as I know).

Best wishes,

Rex
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Apr 27th, 2004, 07:19 PM
  #3  
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Thanks Rex. Whats a cofflaw? and a vignette. I am blonde but this has me puzzled. I did realize that I had to go through Austria but thought that would be part of the charm. At this point I am not sure if I should rent a car, go by rail or bus. All I know is that my plane lands in Munich, I will have to stay somewhere in and around Munich the first night and then set out for Lake Como. I would like to see as much as I can of the country side. Someone mentioned Galmish Neuschwasstein castle, Innsbrook, Tyrolean Alps to Brenners Pass and somehow get to Lake Como. If I could get to these places by train this would be a good thing, but I do want to stop at great little Inns or B&B's (if I could get a handle on which ones to stay at) I am not a world traveler and not sure if you are telling me of places along the way or destinations in Lake Como? Can you hang in with me for a few more answers?
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Apr 27th, 2004, 07:57 PM
  #4  
rex
 
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Sure. I'll hang.

See www.dictionary.com for scofflaw - - but here's my definition: someone who thumbs his/her nose at laws judged to be petty, and knowingly breaks them, risking having to pay the penalty. One hears often of "parking meter" scofflaws.

A vignette? a windshiled decal or "license" permitting you to drive on certain roads. I have a particular anger over the vignettes in Switzerland which cost something like 40 Sfr, whether for one year or one day. And it is essentially impossible to avoid buying one. The Austrian vignette system is "on the honor" system, but in their defense, the pricing system is much more reasonable (I think there is a one week option). And yes, I have personally been a scofflaw of the Austria vignette requirement.

Maybe you can take a train from Munich to Bolzano, and then pick up a rental car from there. The places I recommend are pretty much all in Italy anyhow, and there should not be a drop-off charge for Bolzano to Venice (pick-up in Italy, drop-off in Italy).

Essentially all the places I mentioned are on the way. Use www.viamichelin.com and ask for Munich to Bolzano, or Bolzano to Trento, or Bolzano to Sirmione, etc. to find where these places are.

Oh, and a place that I truly LOVE, which is AT Lake Como is Villa Balbianiello (a place to see, not a place to stay). You can find more info on it here by searching Balbianiello.

I think there are many threads here on great little inns in which you could stay in Bolzano. Use www.venere.com for ideas in other towns.

rex is offline  
Apr 27th, 2004, 11:45 PM
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Wow, you have some driving ahead of yo, Wassy.

I'm not sure why Rex is hung up on Bolzano. In my experience it is nothing more than the gateway town to the Dolomites. However, to be fair to Rex both it and Merano get a two-star rating on a scale of 0 - * - ** so I must have missed something.

It's a pity, though, that in your determination to avoid the Swiss road tax you are going to bypass St Moritz and the surrounding area, which really do offer ample incentives for a three-day stopover.

Anyway, have a nice trip, whatever you decide on.
harzer is offline  
Apr 28th, 2004, 12:38 AM
  #6  
 
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We have discussed this route Munich - Lake Como several times on this forum. I used to recommend (and was seconded by others) that for most scenic views you should drive Munich - Garmisch - Fernpass - Landeck - St. Moritz - Chiavenna - Lake Como.

No toll roads (also not in Switzerland). Maybe an hour or two if you take photos longer than the route via Brenner, but much more scenice and cheaper. BTW, you will pay about the same or more for road fees on Italian motorways between Brenner and Lake Como than the vignette in Switzerland costs you for an entire year.

Ingo
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Apr 28th, 2004, 03:26 AM
  #7  
rex
 
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Follow-up to wassy:

Do not take my word over (or even equal to) what you read here from harzer and/or Ingo. I believe that they know the options far better than I do (although there is still the question of WHERE to originate the car rental).

I am NOT such a fan of Bolzano; in fact I have only "passed through", but it has received several favorable remarks lately - - see threads containing info from AnneO and susanna (search Bolzano). More than anything I figured it was/is the closest point in Italy from Munich - - and thus, to (possibly get an Italian car, thereby avoiding a drop-off charge in Venice. Perhaps you could STILL go there, rent the car, and (they may think this is even worse, since it will be much longer) - - then backtrack to go via St. Moritz.

I am rather out of my element on advising something like that.
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Apr 28th, 2004, 05:49 AM
  #8  
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Rez, Ingo, Harzer. Wow! thanks so much. Yhis was my very first venture into travel talk and I am impressed. Thanks so much for your advise. I welcome as much information as people are willing to give.
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Apr 28th, 2004, 07:22 AM
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From one of my earlier posts on that topic:

"I calculate ca. 45 minutes Munich - Garmisch, 1.5 hours Garmisch - Swiss border (Pfunds/Martina) - 1.5 hours to St. Moritz - 1.5 hours to Varenna.

A total of approx. 5 hours 15 minutes. Not included photo stops

There is still another advantage: Considering the high prices for gas in Europe a side trip to Samnaun, right on the Swiss border is worth it: Gas is only 1 Sfr. (= 0.65 Euro per litre) which saves you about a third of the regular price. It is duty free area. You should calculate another 30 minutes for the side trip, caution: windy mountain road with narrow parts and one-way tunnels, but it is fun and very scenic."

Since you have four days, what about spending one night in the Engadine, maybe Guarda or St. Moritz area? Would make the drive much more enjoyable.

Ingo
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Apr 28th, 2004, 11:05 AM
  #10  
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Thanks again Ingo et al......I am going to print your suggestions out and pore over them. What is the best website for great hotels or B&Bs along this route?
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Apr 28th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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Depends on the country you refer to. I could give you specific recommendations for Switzerland ...
Ingo is offline  
Apr 28th, 2004, 04:07 PM
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As usual, I agree with Ingo that the Landeck route is your best option. Coming that direction I would stay in Varenna on the east shore of Como. Look at Hotel Du Lac and Albergo Milano. If you plan to spend a nite enroute then look at Fussen in the castle country of Bavaria--it is close to your route, or at Reutte in Austria which is very near to Fussen. Good luck--that is fabulous scenery.
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May 2nd, 2004, 11:04 AM
  #13  
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Hi again to my Munich to Lake Como advisors. I was wondering if you know where I would go to find a good (easy to read) road map for my journey on the suggested route? I am meeting friends who will be staying at the Barchetta Excelsior in Lake Como is this a recommended hotel? Are there better options?
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May 3rd, 2004, 02:10 AM
  #14  
 
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I don't know about road maps available in the US, but I can recommend the ADAC maps (German Automobil Club), available anywhere in Germany.

For the meantime, what about www.viamichelin.com or www.mappy.com?

Sorry, no idea about the hotels at Lake Como.

Ingo
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May 3rd, 2004, 09:03 AM
  #15  
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Thanks again Ingo. One last question. I have looked at your suggested route from Munich to Como, it looks great and wondered if you would also recommend a stop at Innsbruck? it looks close.
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May 3rd, 2004, 10:03 AM
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No, I would not recommend a stop in Innsbruck. First, it is a detour of at least one hour driving. Second, it is not a "must see" IMO.

If you really want to squeeze something into that day of driving, do the short detour to convent Ettal a few miles before approaching Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Ingo
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