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Germany and Austria, please cast an eye over our itinerary

Germany and Austria, please cast an eye over our itinerary

Old Feb 18th, 2008, 06:41 PM
  #1  
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Germany and Austria, please cast an eye over our itinerary

DH and I are in our early 50s and have decided to spend 5 weeks in Germany and Austria with a few days in Prague thrown in during April/May 2009. I know it is a long way off but I like to have a rough plan then expand on it as time goes by with all the great suggestions I read from Fodorites. We also have to organise our leave in advance.

Last year we had our first trip to Europe and now we cant wait to get back. We like to spend time walking around and enjoying the atmosphere, not so much big city people though we are happy to do and see the usual things. We do enjoy being out in the countryside, having a picnic by a lake or in a park, walking any interesting paths we come across, not big on fancy meals more into local eateries. Give us a bottle of wine, a piece of cheese, a hunk of bread, a fresh tomato and we are happy. We like to stay in smaller places and I am looking at some possibilities on Bens website www.bensbauernhof.com but open to all suggestions.

Now that you sort of know us we would appreciate any suggestions to our first draft:
I have bracketed some of the places that we would like to get to if possible.

Mon April 13- Arrive in Frankfurt early hours of the morning, train to Bacharach for 4 nights. (Burg Eltz, Trier, Cochem, Worms, Rhine Cruise)

Fri April 17- Train to Rothenburg o.d. Tauber for 2 nights. (Dinkelsbuhl & Wurzburg)

Sun April 19 -Train to Regensburg for 2 nights (Bamburg?)

Tue April 21- Train to Prague for 3 nights

Fri April 24- Bus to Cesky Krumlov for overnight

Sat April 25-Shuttle bus to Linz, train to Vienna for 4 nights (Wachau Valley, Melk)

Wed April 29-Train to Salzburg - At this point we would like to pickup a hire car, we have never driven in Europe and for us it is the wrong side of the road so that is going to take some getting used to. We then travel onto St. Gilgen for 5 nights (Salzburg, Hallstatt)

Mon May 4-Berchtesgaden for 2 nights

Wed May 6-Mittenwald for 5 nights (Fussen, Ruette, Hall in Tirol, Castles Oberammergau, Linderhof, Munich)

Mon May 11-Meersburg or Lindau for 3 nights (Titisee, Mainau, DHs choice Zeppelin Museum) return the car

Thu May 14-Train to Zurich Airport, locker our bags and have afternoon tea at Sprügli Café as it was closed for renovations when we were there last year.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and we look forward to your comments and suggestions.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 03:37 AM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi M,

Sounds good to me.

You might find the Austria/Germany part of my trip report helpful:
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=35014078

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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 03:53 AM
  #3  
JN
 
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The only suggestions I have would be: 1) to rent the car out of Freilassing, Germany--which is just across the border from Salzburg. This will save you a huge drop off fee in comparison to renting in Austria and dropping in Germany. We did that last year through Andy at Gemut.com. The Europcar outlet is right near the bus stop for busses to/from Salzburg. A cab will be less hassle, but cost around 25-30Euro.

A second recommendation would be to take in the Ettal Monastery and Wieskirche. Both are amazing--and the Ettal Dunkles Bier is among the best in Bavaria.

Have fun.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 04:52 AM
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Depends on what exactly you want to see and experience, but I think a car would be better on the first part of your trip--lots to see and do along the roadways if you are into exploring. And you might consider staying on the Mosel instead of on the Rhein--but that is personal preference. We liked the Mosel's more laid-back atmosphere, and it is not quite as tourist intensive and built up as the Rhein.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 05:18 AM
  #5  
Pinchme_iam_dreaming
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Are you from the U.K?
 
Old Feb 19th, 2008, 05:24 AM
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Ira, thank you and your trip report was what inspired us in the first place.
JN, great suggestion about the car and we will look up those places on the map, sounds good. Many thanks.
Jake, we will have to think about the car for the first part, but thanks for the suggestion.
No, Pinchme, we are Aussies.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:01 AM
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Wow, 5 weeks, what a great time you will have in this area. We did a scaled down version of this type of trip this past year during Oktoberfest in Munich and it was WONDERFUL to say the least. I think your itinerary looks great. You have done very nice job not rushing any of your destinations. I just wanted to make a couple personal suggestions....again only suggestions...

When staying in Vienna take the train to Melk, see the AWESOME Melk Abby (will have you in AWE!!!), once you have finished your visit at Melk make sure you take the "Danube River Cruise" from Melk to Krems. It is so beautiful. All the vineyards on the hillsides. If you love wine, especially a nice white wine, the Wachau Valley is great! Once you have finished at Krems you can take the train back to Vienna. (that was our approach and worked out perfectly)

I am so pleased you are fitting so much time in at Mittenwald. It is such a small town and not many people know about it. but it is truly a gem and one of our favorite places we have been to. You really get the opportunity to see what "German" every day life is like. The castles are easily accessible from here as well as some other small towns that might interest you. We took the cable car to the top of Karwendel (the giant mountain in Mittenwald). What an experience at almost 9000 feet. We can now say that we got to walk around in the Alps.

Again, sounds like you have a wonderful plan. It will be a trip you will never forget!
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:14 AM
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Is there any chance you like to bike ride? Last summer, we did an 8 day bike trip along the Danube, averaging 25 miles a day, beginning in Passau and ending in Vienna.

The experience was what you describe: small towns, atmospheric, interesting paths, countryside, meals at small local places, etc.

If you think it might interest you, I can provide more info on how we did it...
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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For all that train travel investigate the German Railpass or the Germany-austria railpass
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Since most of the sites you want to see are on the Mosel, agree that would be the best place to stay.

We have stayed in Bacharach and enjoyed it tremendously but spent our time there exploring the Rhine.

We have also stayed in Beilstein one year and Bernkastel-Kues last year on the Mosel. It's such a beautiful river and not as busy as the Rhine.

I also suggest a car would make a lot of sense for the first part of your trip. In fact, we usually rent a car for our entire vacation in Germany and Austria, but then it's not on the "wrong" side of the road for us.

I agree with the suggestion to use Gemut. Their rates are great and they are very helpful.

Our recent trip reports may also be helpful:

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34625250

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34813676

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=35079647

Also, I can highly recommend all the hotels we used on these trips.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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ira
 
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>Ira, thank you and your trip report was what inspired us in the first place.

You are welcome, M.

It will be quite expensive to pick up a car in Austria and drop it in Germany.

I suggest that you drop your Austrian car in Salzburg and pik up a German car in Berchtesgaden.

If you will be staying at the Haus Am Moos in Salzburg, I think that the Strassers will be able to arrange to get you to B. It is only 14 km.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 03:09 PM
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Thanks so much to everyone for their invaluable suggestions.
We will certainly be doing the trip to Melk Abbey as suggested by Greekgazoo (great name!).
We could probably manage a couple of days on bikes but not sure about 8 though I would love the info just in case, sounds fabulous, travelgirl2.
PalQ, yes that will have to be investigated, you were so helpful with our Swiss rail questions last year and for that I sincerely thank you.
Betty, I was hoping you would reply as you always have lots of good info and I have your trip report book marked as well. We will have to investigate staying along the Mosel, sounds like a good plan.
We will have to check out Gemut and see what we can do.
Again, thanks everyone, you all get a big pat on the back.
Maudie
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 11:30 PM
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I have been thinking about the car hire part of our trip again, which is the best (easiest to read) map of Germany & Austria to take with us?
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 07:53 AM
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On our last trip, we took our GPS with us and we will never do another trip without one. There are so many affordable ones now and you can also use them for travel in the US and Canada.

Ours is a Garmin Nuvi. There are several lower priced Nuvi models that already have the European maps preloaded which is the best way to go.
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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Sorry, Maudie, I momentarily forgot you were in Oz. I assume that you can get a GPS there with European maps preloaded like we can in the US.

However, if that's not the case and a GPS doesn't make the best sense for you, then I'll leave it to others to recommend maps. In the past, I had used point to point directions printed from viamichelin.com or mappy.com as well as a German map purchased here in the US.
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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Thanks Betty, I have been given an old map book from a friend but would not like to take it away as it would get ruined. I will visit the map shop here and see what I can find. Will have to talk to hubby about a GPS and price them.
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 05:39 PM
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JN
 
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I've thought more about your itinerary. First off, I wondered whether you wouldn't enjoy a couple nights in Salzburg and shorten the Hallstatt by that much. Perhaps you stayed there on your last trip--I don't recall from your trip report. If not, it is a marvelous city to consider. Three days seems sufficient to enjoy the lakes country.

If you do decide to stay one or more nights in Salzburg, don't rent a car until your departure day. Parking is expensive in Salzburg, not always convenient to hotels, it's easy to get lost and the public transport is great.

If you don't decide to stay in Salzburg, take the train from Vienna to Freilassing and cab it to the car rental place. It will be cheaper than renting five days in Austria, turning in the car, training or bussing to Berchtesgaden, then renting again in Germany. Also, the drive from Freilassing to Berchtesgaden goes though some lovely countryside.

If you do rent in Freilassing, ask if the car has an Austrian Vignette--permit to drive on Austrian autobahns. If not, find out where to purchase a month pass near the border. You don't want to incur a steep fine.

Enjoy
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 03:03 PM
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Hi JN, thanks so much for your great suggestions.
Still not sure about renting a car for the Rhine/Mosel area, my first choice was to stay in Cochem but Bacharach is much more convenient for trains. We will have to check the cost of renting there and again in Bavaria as against trains. We don't want a car to the Prague and Vienna sections.

Your idea of having a few days in Salzburg (no, we haven't been there) sounds good so if we went there straight from Vienna, then get
to Freilassing for a car that would work well. If you think 3 days around St Gilgen is enough then we can drive to Berchtesgaden, then onto Garmish, or we can always take a day off Garmish and add to St Gilgen either way would work.

Do you know if the roads around that area secondary or are they full of cars going at 100mph? Driving on the opposite side of the road is going to take some getting used to, its a bit of a scary thought.
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 03:55 PM
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bacharach is a fairly large town - Ok but Cochem is so exceptional

it also has great rail links - hourly trains to Koblenz that take about 25 mins so about as good as Bacharach really

Cochem on the Mosel - MUCH prettier and awesome than the Rhine and a picture postcard town - with dreamy castle protruding from a hill laced with vineyards - is my suggestion.

And if in time bind forget the Rhine and use Cochem as a base from which to hop to nearby Burg Eltz - one of europe'smost famous and fantastic castles or a boat ride to Beilstein on the extraordinary scenic Mosel River thru the deep sinous Mosel Gorge

Mosel is also a great place to have a car and drive between the pastel-hued wine towns dotting every of the dozens of bends of the Mosel River, running a hairpin like course in a vineyard carpeted valley with slopes several hundred feet up. Far far prettier than the Rhine IMO
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 04:27 PM
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I guess I'm going to be the odd man out but I found Cochem to be too crowded for my taste. Maybe because of all the boat traffic but we were there on Sunday and there were just so many people and this was in May! The town square is very nice though.

While the Mosel River area is more scenic, we certainly enjoyed our time on the Rhine. Lots of great castles.

But if you decide not to rent a car for this portion of your trip, it may make more sense to stay in Cochem for the ease of transportation.
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