Germany/Austria

Mar 27th, 2006, 05:36 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Germany/Austria

My family (7 adults) will be traveling to Austria and Germanny (Munich) November/December to celebrate my sister's 50th birthday! We will fly in and out of Zurich (best airfare rates). Our current plans are as follows:
Arrive Zurich - pick up rental cars and drive to Garmisch-Partenkerchen, see the sights, relax. Tour King Ludwig's castle(s) the next day then drive to Austria.
Plans are to stay between Innsbruck & Salzburg somewhere and tour each city plus the surrounding area for a few days.
On to Munich for 2 days to see various sites there before heading back to Zurich to go home.
We timed Munich at the end to take advantage of the Christkindlmarkt on December 2, 2006.
Any suggestions of "must-sees" plus driving tips would be greatly appreciated. Also ideas on a good "base" city for our Austria plans would be helpful.
Thanks!
donna_tx is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 05:55 PM
  #2  
JN
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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One thing to consider is whether your group will be able to drive 3.5 hours after presumably an all-night flight and having the jet lag most of us suffer. Adding to that what could be winter driving conditions, possible language barriers and unknown territory, I'm wondering if you might not be better off taking a train toward Austria, to say, St. Gallen (45 minutes--about 25 chf per person 2nd class) staying there for the day/night, then renting a car for the trip to Austria/Germany and back to Zurich.

JN is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 06:49 PM
  #3  
 
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I'd definitely look into flights into and out of Frankfurt. I've found they are usually about the same price as those to Zurich. Then you could drive 1-1/2 hrs to Rothenburg for the night and arrive in GP on the 2nd day as planned.

From GP you could be in Innsbruck in an hour, tour the old town and continue on to Hall in Tirol just a few miles east of Innsbruck. It's a lovely little town on the Inn River. I'd stay the night there and drive the next day to Salzburg for a night or two. I'd then head to Hallstatt for a night before heading to Munich.

It's no further to drive back to Frankfurt from Munich then it is to go on to Zurich.
bettyk is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 02:23 PM
  #4  
 
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I was born and raised in the Sound Of Music lake region just east of Salzburg. I've lived in the USA for the last 5 years and am currently overhauling my old website about Austria at www.BeautifulAustria.com I hope I will be up and running with the new site in a few weeks (lots of pictures there).

The best base for your Austria vacation is Salzburg. It's right in the center of all you want to see and is both a marvellous city and surrounded by glorious landscape.

East of Salzburg (1 hour by car):
See the towns of St.Wolfgang (codrail up the Schafberg mountain), Bad Ischl (emperor's summer residence), Hallstatt (5000 years of culture, saltmine, ice caves nearby), Gosau (on sunny days only a breathtaking view of the glacier), Bad Aussee (try to find the lake Toplitzlake)

West of Salzburg:
Hitler's eagle's nest (amazing view) and lake Koenigsee.

South of Salzburg:
If you have the time, try to make a 2 day round trip with lots of mountains. Go south to see the highest mountain in Austria, the Grossglockner. Cross over the mountain, stay overnight in a town called Heiligenblut. Next day drive to a valley called Virgental. Lovely mountain valley, try their "Schnaps" (ask for the real, local, stuff!) and stay overnight in that valley. Next day, see the "Nikolaus-chappel" on a hill over the town Matrei, then drive home over the Felbertauern mountain pass. A lovely trip that will give you more mountains than you have ever dreamt about.

For more tips contact me through my website www.BeautifulAustria.com

Enjoy your trip!
Austria is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 03:30 PM
  #5  
 
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Salzburg is beautiful, very crowded this year because of all the Mozart celebrations, and very expensive. I'd stay somewhere else and just visit the city one day.
Underhill is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 04:15 PM
  #6  
 
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I concur with all comments by the author "Austria", but not for the November/December time slot when you will be travelling. The Kehlstein (Eagle's nest), Grossglockner etc. will all be closed due to snow.

I, too found that flying into Zuerich provides good airfares, but also think that arriving in Z. and then driving on to Garmisch-Partenkirchenis pushing it a bit. The stretch between Zuerich and St.Margrethen (near where you will be entering Austria) is easy autobahn driving on the N-3 and N13. (Don't forget to get the vignette for the Swiss autobahns!) But then, if you drive across the Arlberg and on to Garmisch you have to cross two passes, and you can encounter winter road conditions.

As an alternative, I suggest you drive from St.M. to Bregenz, Lindau, Oberstaufen, Immenstadt. If the roads are bad, go to Fuessen via Wertach Pfronten. If the weather is Ok, go Immenstadt, Hindelang, Nesselwaengle, Weissenbach, Reutte, Fuessen, and stay there. With seven adults, one of you will probably be able to stay awake atany given time least some part of the way.

After Fuessen, drive on to Garmisch vis Leermoos, and do your touring there.( Zugspitze, Mittenwald, etc.)

If the weather is good, drive from GP to Innsbruck and to Salzburg. Frankly, I wouldn't spend much time in I., but the drive from GP to Salzburg vis I. is quite scenic.

After Innsbruck, you can either go the more scenic back way (Innsbruck,Autobahn A-12 to Woergl,and then on Bundestrassen to St. Johann, Lofer, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg), or the faster route Innsbruck, on the autobahn A-12 to the intersection with German Munich-Salzburg autobahn A-8 and on to Salzburg. In any event, again be sure you have the vignette for the Austrian Autobahns.

Later, from Munich you can drive the autobahn A-96 to Lindau and back to Zuerich via St. Margarethen, or from Lindau along the lake to Meersburg, take the car ferry across to Konstanz and on to Zuerich.

I have driven all the roads mentioned many times, in all kinds of conditions and am still alive to tell you my suggestions.
treplow is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 04:28 PM
  #7  
 
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The post by Austria was right on. Last June, we toured almost 75% of the area that Austria described, by car. Simply stunning. We particularly enjoyed Halstatt (including the scenic drive leading up to there too). St Wolfgang was so quaint. Lunch on a terrace overlooking the lake was fantastic. Didn't like Bad Ischl too much. Did see some topless ladies sun-bathing near the brook and a pool area.
I strongly second Austria's suggestion in picking a few of those places to sight-see.
For 7 people, I assume you will need to rent a big van (I think they call it "people mover"?). I would recommend to stay in Salzburg. Much more to see and do, and places to eat!
sfosjcoak is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 05:13 PM
  #8  
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Wow! Thanks for all of the information. I will have to get my map out and rethink our routes.

Unfortunately our tickets are already booked (we had to change our Anchorage ones - trip cancelled - so Zurich was our only option with this airline) however I appreciate the information on the roads during the winter and which ones to take.

We were hoping to see Eagle's Nest but it appears that will be out due to the weather. Is there anything else that may not be accessible during Nov 24 - Dec 2? Any information on what not to miss in Munich, Innsbruck and GP/Fussen area?

Thanks again - it is great to see so many people out there willing to help with our planning!
donna_tx is offline  
Mar 28th, 2006, 05:39 PM
  #9  
 
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I lived in Germany for seven years, and I must say that Garmisch is my favorite of all places. There's something magical, especially in the winter. My personal advice would be to fly into Munich, do you two days of sight seeing there, first, then head to Garmisch. I can recommend a wonderful place to stay, the Gasthaus Qurin. Their website is http://www.quirin-gap.de . The room we usually stayed in had a double bed and a single bed next to it (big enough for both of my girls to share), a kitchenette, and bathroom with shower. You can walk down town for dinner from there. It's the place I stayed at every visit to Garmisch. I would also suggest the Zugspitze (http://www.zugspitze.de/zugspitze/index_en.php) . It's the highest point in Germany, and you can see 4 countries from the top. You ride on a cog wheeled train, another train, and a cable car to the top. You can walk around, look out, enjoy the beautiful views, ski, or enjoy a meal at the restaurant. You can even send an e-card home from the Zugspitze, which I thought was pretty cool. It's a bit pricy at around 36 Euros per adult, but well worth it!!! You can also visit the place where the winter olympics where held there in the '30's, with ski jump and arena. If the way is clear (no snow on the road) at the Neuschwanstein, I usually ride the horse-drawn carriage up and walk down. If not, it's a good haul walking up to the castle. Salzburg has a very quaint Christkindlmarkt. Then, you could catch the markt in Munich before heading out. That's just how I might work it. If you'd like any other info, just let me know, I'd be glad to share. Have fun!!!
europeanshopper is offline  

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