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Germany and Switzerland-itinerary help needed

Germany and Switzerland-itinerary help needed

Apr 8th, 2004, 06:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 141
Germany and Switzerland-itinerary help needed

I am planning to travel to Germany and Switzerland in the mid-July with my husband and our 16-years old son.We have 14-15 days.
Here is our itinerary, would like to get opinions on it.
Day 1 ? Fly into Frankfurt,Rent a car,
Drive to Bacharah.Stop at Wiesbaden on the way?Sleep in Bacharah.
Day 2 ? boat ride to St.Goar,Rhenfels castle.Sleep in Bacharah.
Day 3 ? Burg Ertz andCochen - is it doable in one day or should I have two days? Sleep in Zell.
Day 4 ? drive to Cologne,visit Cathedal and Ludwig museum. Drive back to Zell.
Day 5 ? Bernkastel, and drive to Baden-Baden. NExt two nights sleep in BB.
Day 6 ? spa in BB.
Day 7 ? Stuttgart,Visit Porche Factory.
Drive to Black Forest,sleep in Staufen.
Day 8 - Badenweiler?
Short Black Forest drive to St. margen.
Day 9 - visit Bern, drive to sleep in Murten.
Day 10 - leave for Geneva,
Days 11,12 - explore Lake Geneva region: Chillion.
in Rick's Steve Geneva is boring and expensive. What is the best place to stay in that region?
Days 13, 14 - We may stay in Geneva region or go to Bernese Oberlands, and spend a day in the mountains. Or go to Zurich?
Day 15 - fly back. The return flight or rather best rate is from Munich so it's possible that we will drive back to Munich this day and fly in the afternoon.
This itinerary seems a lot, but we would like to spend time on Reine and Mosel and also get a taste of Switzerland. We would like to have a mix of pretty villages and nice towns. On the previous trip we've visited Munich and spent a day in Bavarian Alps.
I appreciate the patience of people who are reading this itinerary and welcome any suggestions.

kiramoli is offline  
Apr 8th, 2004, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'm sure there will be lots of folks who would say your itinerary is "too much," but we travel this way too, and we love it.

The Germany leg looks doable and enjoyable. Can't speak for Switzerland, because I haven't been there.

I hope you love Baden-Baden as much as we did!

Mary Fran
Mary_Fran is offline  
Apr 8th, 2004, 07:58 PM
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Hey, Kiramoli
We're doing a very similar trip in May! We're flying into Frankfurt, then spending the next night or 2 in Cochem to see the Mosel, then down into Switzerland.
On Day 13 and 14, I think I would skip Geneva and go to the Bernese Obderland. I agree with Rick Steves that Geneva is boring and expensive. The Bernese Oberland has some of the most breathtaking scenery you'll see. Brig is a lovely town. Zermatt is about my favorite town in the Alps. However, you can't drive there. You park your car at a town a few miles out and take a train or bus in. You might pare down your Lake Geneva exploration to one day to have more time in the Bernese Oberland. You might even skip the Geneva area altogether unless you really want to see Chillon. I'm worried you might be tight on time driving a long distance on day 15 if you fly out that day.
Anyway, sounds like a great trip!
MzPossum is offline  
Apr 8th, 2004, 08:32 PM
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Sounds like a pretty nice trip, but in Switzerland, I would not bother with Lake Geneva or Geneva itself. Boring, like Steves says. Just head to the Bernese Oberland!

It seems you've selected the "Rick Steves" towns and perhaps accommodations in Germany. I would caution you that some of his selections in Bacharach like the Kranenturm are too close to the train tracks. Bacharach is a very pleasant (but sedate) town to visit, and I prefer Boppard (nice town with a bit more activity) or St. Goar (very, very scenic, 3 castles nearby, close to Loreley cliffs, ferry across the river) as a base. There is a wine festival in Bacharach on the weekend of July 10 and 11, by the way.

On the Mosel, Zell is alright, but like Bacharach, a bit too quiet for me. I usually stay in Cochem - it's slightly larger and has a good choice of places to eat, wonderful scenery, its own castle, and a few diversions too. We often stay at Frau Mattes' B&B there near the old town center on Loehrstrasse - nice rooms with living room and balcony for 20 Euros each.

You're very wise to include a visit to Bernkastel - beautiful little town.

Even though you have a car, you might consider taking the train into Cologne. The station is right in the middle of town, and you won't have to bother with parking, etc. The three of you can ride the RE or RB (regional) trains for a total of 28 Euros on Sat or Sun with the "Happy Weekend" daypass. If staying in Zell, drive into Bullay (only a few minutes) to catch the train.
Russ is offline  
Apr 9th, 2004, 03:12 AM
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Where to stay is a personal preference. We like small and quiet, especially in an area like the Mosel where we were out day tripping all the time. It was so nice to come back to a quiet small village and just chill out with some white wine and conversation. Though even the very small village we stayed in (Beilstein) had a lively wine cellar/bar. But that is a matter of personal taste.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Apr 9th, 2004, 04:08 AM
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Hi kiramoli,

Unlike RS & lots of others, I just adore the Lake Geneva region. However, I do agree that it doesn't have the typical Swiss atmosphere that most first-time visiters are looking for; the architecture is more Edwardian & interiors are Belle Epoque. In addition, the route from Murten to Geneva to the Bernese Oberland is backtracking that wastes your time.

Having said that, if you really want to see Chillon, do it! But skip the city of Geneva and stay in Montreux, or even stay in a suburb of Montreux just a few blocks from Chillon. There is a beautiful 11-km flowered lakeside promenade linking Villeneuve, the town south of Chillon, and Territet, Montreux, and Clarens on the northern edge of Montreux. The promenade is lined with villas and cafes, but of course the main attraction is the view of the lake & distant mountains. In addition, there is a 31-km walking trail in the vineyards between Montreux & Lausanne that is just stunning, with the small, charming winegrowing villages of Chexbres, Rivaz, & St Saphorin (just to name a few). You can rent a bicycle from the train station to explore parts of each of these walks.

Some hotels to consider in the Territet/Veytaux area are: three-star Hotel Masson (www.masson.ch) or the four-star Golf Hotel (www.golf-hotel-montreux.ch). Another favorite in the center of town is the four-star Eden au Lac (www.eden-montreux.ch).

Let me know if you'd like more websites or more information. My own travel journal of the area with photos is at:


swandav2000 is online now  
Apr 9th, 2004, 04:10 AM
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--sorry, forgot to add:

If you decide to go to Montreux, continue to the Berner Oberland via Zweisimmen & Spiez. You can stop off and spend a few hours in the jetset resort of Gstaad. Check out the rail journey at www.mob.ch or www.goldenpass.ch.

swandav2000 is online now  
Apr 9th, 2004, 04:28 AM
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-- sorry again. I gave you the wrong websites. Hotel Masson is www.hotelmasson.ch, and the Eden au Lac is www.edenmontreux.ch. You may also want to consider the Ermitage at www.ermitage-montreux.com, though the popular restaurant downstairs will be noisy, and there's no ac.

Anyway, hope this helps.

swandav2000 is online now  
Apr 9th, 2004, 05:14 AM
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In the Black Forest region I suggest you visit Freiburg instead of Badenweiler. Or - since you are going in July and it might be HOT - stay in a village higher in the mountains.

Second, I am with swandav regarding the Switzerland leg of your trip. Although the Bernese Oberland is the common place for first-time Switzerland travellers I think you cannot go wrong giving the Lake Geneva region a try.

I must say I do not agree with Rick Steves (and Russ in this case). Geneva was not boring to me. Expensive - probably right. In any case you should follow swandav's advice and stay in Montreux, Vevey or a charming village by the lake. (I stayed at the Masson, it is charming, but has no A/C.)

Ingo is offline  
Apr 9th, 2004, 06:05 AM
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Not quite sure if price is a major concern for you. I am assuming that you are prepared to pay a pretty penny for the 14 day trip to Europe, especially Switzerland.

The Euro really stinks right now and it'll probably stink in July as well.

I am a big fan of splurging a bit during parts of my trip and scrimping and saving during another part of my trip. Averaging it all out, it seems to work out just fine.

I was with 7 others in October 2002. We flew into Frankfurt and headed towards the Rhine for 4 days. I had never stayed in an actual castle along the Rhine. Always wanted to. We all decided to splurge and stayed in Castle Gutenfels in Kaub for 2 nights. What a great castle that was. I am thinking that you might find a castle experience pretty interesting. There are some good ones along the Rhine. Not really familiar with all of them, but there has been plenty written about various castles in towns such as St Goar and in other towns along the Rhine.

I realize that Rick Steves gives some great advice for beginners and for some more seasoned travellers, but I have always believed that he tends to search out for the best of a bargain. Don't think that Rick will be spending 130 Euros to stay at Castle Gutenfels.

Have fun.
Winnepeg is offline  
Apr 9th, 2004, 06:32 PM
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Thank you very much for the opinions.
I started second-guessing myself and now have an idea of going into Bavarian Alps and Salzburg instead of Switzerland and flying our of Munich. I am prepared to pay for this trip, but still the difference in price is substantial.I also am afraid that we get very tired of all the driving and covering such a diversified regions. But I am not sure if that's a fair exchange. Can Bavarian Alps and Salzburg be somehow compared to Switzerland? Or I am making a mistake not including Switz in this trip? I am very confused.
Regarding Rick Steve's destinations, I like reading opinionated travel book. I may choose to follow or not, but it helps to set priorities straight. I found his recommendations on Wurzburg and Rothenburg very accurate in terms of how much time to spend there and what to see. As far as his accommodations I rarely use them. I like an idea of staying in the castles in Germany. Can I get more recommendations?
kiramoli is offline  
Apr 9th, 2004, 08:05 PM
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How about visiting Luzern and flying home from Zurich?
LeslieC is offline  
Apr 9th, 2004, 11:30 PM
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The Bavarian Alps cannot compare to the Swiss Alps. No way.
Ingo is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 05:39 AM
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Now we all know I'm as jammed on Switzerland as anyone around here, but I don't think your 'second guess' is a bad idea. Berchtesgaden and its mountains are beautiful, as are Salzburg, Mittenwald, and Halstatt (if you dip into Austria a bit farther). And Munich is a great city! You can save Switzerland for another time and really do it justice on its own. J. the Heretic.
jmw44 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 06:29 AM
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I tend to agree that Switzerland should be saved for another trip. We spend almost two weeks there and it wasn't nearly enough. Well, that was because we fell in love with Gimmewald and ended up staying there for 5 nights rather than the one night that we had originally planned for. If you like peace and quiet, hiking and some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see, then Switzerland deserves more time.

Salzburg is a very nice city and you would be able to see a lot in two full days. I would recommend renting bikes and riding to Hellbrunn along the river. You will cover a lot more ground and the ride is great.

Ahhhh, Hallstatt! What a beautiful town! A place we had not planned on visiting but we decided to drive through at the last minute. We ended up staying for two nights. It is situated right on a picture perfect lake. As you are dining out along the lake swans glide by. I highly recommend it!
eurotraveller is offline  
Apr 10th, 2004, 06:39 AM
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I would drop Baden-Baden and/or Geneva and spend those days in the Alps. The Bavarian Alps are nice, but they are not anything like what you will find in Switzerland.
Russ is offline  

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