First time to Europe

Old Dec 29th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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First time to Europe

We are a family of 4 traveling to Munich for the 1st time. We will be in the area from around the 28th of March through the 6th of April. We plan to rent a car, and travel throughout the entire region. Would like to know if this is possible to do "on our own" as first timers in Europe? We are adventurous, and would like to stay in all different types of places, hotels, perhaps a hostel, maybe even a castle, and anything else fun and different. Would like suggestions of routes to take and places to stay. Thank you in advance!
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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very easy, you need to be very controled on the motorways.

They can be seriously fast and following the rules will keep you alive
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 01:44 PM
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Yes, you can do it, especially if you are confident with right-hand drive. You need to keep to the right on the roads. As bilboburgler says, the traffic is fast but extremely orderly. On the autobahn, the rightmost lane is for trucks and buses, and cars which do not travel so fast (80km/h); the centre lane is for overtaking, or for cars that are doing about 120 km/hr or a little faster, and the third lane, the leftmost, is for cars that are flying. IMO you would only want that lane if you had a Mercedes or BMW or another car able to do those sorts of speeds (>150km/h). If you get in that lane, get out again quickly because cars can come up behind you very quickly. Obviously you can use it with care to overtake the centre lane.

Having said that, you do not need to take the autobahn everywhere. You can set your GPS to use back roads (B roads), which are smaller but usually speed-limited (and just as orderly).

My husband is a confident driver on German roads, but when I am not with him I take the train. The trains in Germany are excellent, and if you don't feel you want to try the roads on your first trip I would recommend investigating the train (

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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 01:55 PM
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I was born in west Germany and we always traveled. Since you have a car I would see Munich, go down to the bavarian alps and see Berchtesgaden beautiful place and see some WWII sights like the eagles nest and go to koenigsee, the salt mines or the ice caves by werfen. See the neuschwanstein castle closeby I would take the train or drive by car the 15 miles to Salzburg. Go to and book the sound of music tour which is great. See all the Mozart places in Austria. Everyone is friendly in both countries. Have fun
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Old Dec 29th, 2013, 02:07 PM
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Yes very very easy and very very beautiful! Try to hit Salzburg Austria and the fabulous Lake District just east of it and also wonderful Hallstatt - the Alpine wonderland of your dreams which you will not see in the Bavarian Alps - do take the train up the Zugsptize from Garmisch-Partenkirchen however!
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 06:58 AM
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Transportation: A car within Munich is a nuisance; otherwise, it's alright, but trains go just about everywhere; they will likely be cheaper for a family of 4 (Bavaria Ticket daypass,) no one has to drive, navigate, park, etc., and your kids won't get stuck in the back seat like at home.
Bavarian train network map:

By train you will want to look for accommodations that are easily reached from the train stations, however. This is generally no problem unless you have some exotic location in mind (like castles or castle-hostels, which don't tend to be close to train stations.)

Here are some Bavarian hostels housed in castles and palaces:





Pullach (nr. Munich:
Russ is offline  
Old Dec 30th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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Not sure that the car is a good idea, not for the duration of your stay. As you arrive in Munich, go talk to the experts at one of the two locations of the Tourist Offices - at the main train station and at city hall.

You will find so many suggestions for excursions by train, by bus, by coach along routes that you would otherwise have to figure out yourselves and worry about parking and such - see

Then if you're convinced that for a day or so you want your own wheels, that can be arranged on the spot.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 08:51 AM
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My boyfriend and I just came back from our first trip to Europe. We did a huge road trip from Munich, to Innsbruck, to Venice, to Rome, back up north to Florence, then Innsbruck again, and back to Munich. Germany and Austria are beautiful countries to drive in and not difficult at all. Italy can be a nightmare in the big cities. We used a phone GPS/maps app that we used offline to save data and it was our savior in driving throughout the countries since we only know English. Get a good GPS, a comfy car, and do it! You can visit all the off-the-beaten path locations and come and go as you please (reason we didn't do train and dealing with time schedules).

In Munich, we stayed an apartment through Airbnb, and it was a bad experience. I would recommend a hotel that has a parking lot. Many places will charge 10 to 25 euros a day to park, so be ready for that. Not to far from there, we went to Innsbruck, which was my favorite little city. We stayed at Innsbruck Hotel which was really nice and even has an elevator for your car to go the underground parking lot. In Venice we did another Airbnb, and it was alright. You save money, but it's weird being in someone else's place in a foreign country. In Rome we stayed in a hotel. Florence we stayed in a B&B, which we loved. All in all, I would say hotels and B&Bs are the most comfortable being in a foreign place and feeling safe and having privacy.
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