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Germany/Austria - how to condense?

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Oct 29th, 2012, 10:49 AM
  #1
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Germany/Austria - how to condense?

Hi all,

Thanks for taking the time to read and offer suggestions. We, family of 4 including 2 teenage girls, were planning a 2 week trip in Austria/Germany, and hoping for a little Prague, after a one week trip in Lithuania with family. Now two things have changed:

1) The family trip dates have changed, I have no control over this, so I will have 9 full days before we meet them in Lithuania - I am not counting the day we arrive in Germany and the day we must travel to meet them in Lithuania. I will then have 3 days after Lithuania

2) We just had a German exchange student with us and she became a part of the family and she invited my daughter to stay with her after our trip - but she lives in Konstanz which geographically is way out of our way.

So, I now have to figure out how to condense the 2 week trip into the 9 full days before Lithuania...and figure out the best way to travel to Konstanz and then home.

Thanks for reading thus far.

I wanted to do Munich/Rothenburg ob der Tauber/Salzburg/Prague/Dresden/Berlin - then fly to Lithuania. But while that was ambitions in 14 days, it is now out of the question for 9.

I'd like to do the typical touristy stuff - beer, alpine slides, salt mines, a hike or two and just wandering around, so no worries about elegant meals,operas,or too many museums...just not kid friendly enough. I have been there before so this is a trip geared mainly toward the teenagers - my oldest studies German so she is thrilled at the prospects of just about anything!

Berlin is a must do, but so is Munich - both seem to be a good base for travel to other places. Just not sure how to divvy up the time that makes sense so we're not rushed but also near airports to get to and from Lithuania cheaply...I'm assuming that flying is the best way to get there.

Thanks so much for reading and I appreciate all your tips!

Jeannine
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Oct 29th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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Berlin is a must do, but so is Munich.

You have to kill a major city. I'd drop Munich and just focus on Prague, Dresden, Berlin. What is it about Munich that American's like. I've had to go there on business a few times and find it as dull as ditchwater.

Just a thought but you could also hire a bike and ride part of the Elbe river.
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Oct 29th, 2012, 11:19 AM
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I didn't find Munich dull at all - I fell in love with it right away. What made it so special, besides the lovely architecture, beautiful parks and relatively slow pace, was the air of conviviality and enjoying life that pervaded the entire city, especially in the biergartens. But, different strokes...it just depends on the other factors you name. Bavaria would offer the "typical" German atmosphere that you seek (alpine slides et al) and Berlin a more cosmopolitan experience.

Personally, I'd consider dropping Salzburg. It's a charming city, but IMO can't compete with the others you name. We felt as though one day there was more than enough.

Maybe you could book an open-jaw ticket...fly into Zurich and go from there to Konstanz > Munich > Prague > Dresden > Berlin, and leave for Lithuania from Berlin. I'm not an expert on ground travel in the region, so perhaps another route would be faster or more feasible. But that seems one way to squeeze it all in.
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Oct 29th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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If you have to do Munich (which I personally loved) and Berlin, I would consider dropping Rothenburg and Prague, both of which are out of the way. You could also consider doing Salzburg as a long daytrip from Munich. Not ideal but certainly doable. You could then concentrate on Munich, Dresden and then onto Berlin.

It sounds like you will then go to Konstanz after your Lithuania trip?
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Oct 29th, 2012, 12:05 PM
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Munich is one of my favorite places, so definitely different strokes for different folks

I agree though that a reasonable split would be Berlin/Dresden/Prague ~OR~ Munich/Rothenburg/Salzburg. Geographically this makes sense. If you wanted to drop Salzburg, there are TONS of places in southern Germany to see.
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Oct 29th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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Thanks everyone. I believe it will be easier to visit Konstanz at the end of the trip. It will be a nice, unexpected surprise since there is no way we cannot go but yet it is not where I planned to go - sometimes those are the best times.

I am greedy and want to see it all! I agree that there are tons of places to see in southern Germany, which is why I thought of making Munich a base - we definitely want to stay somewhere the sidewalks don't roll up at 6:00.
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Oct 29th, 2012, 01:35 PM
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Thanks everyone. I believe it will be easier to visit Konstanz at the end of the trip.>>

jasperdog - i beg to differ.

not sure how you're going to get to and from Lithuania, but assuming you can get there from Munich, I'd fly into Zurich, go to Konstanz, and then tour Bavaria, Salzburg, the Salzkammergut [salt-mines, mountains, sound of music] and then fly to Lithuania from Munich.

Konstanz fits very easily into this itinerary and is in fact on the way from Zurich to the other places you want to see in this region.

Then after Lithuania do Berlin.
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Oct 29th, 2012, 01:45 PM
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bilboburgler, I don't think Munich is as dull as ditchwater and a little more exciting than dishwater but it's certainly not as lively and fun as Berlin.

What is it that American's like about Munich?
I think they like the day trips.
Maybe Bavaria is much easier to not speak German.
It's a lovely city but once or twice is enough, at least for me.
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Oct 29th, 2012, 03:17 PM
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I agree with annig. Fly into Zuerich, take short train ride to Konstanz. Take one of the ferries across Lake Constance from the south shore of the lake (Switzerland) to Friedrichshafen and from there the train to Lindau and Munich. There is also a ferry from a suburb of Konstanz to Meersburg, very pretty, but you then have to take a bus to Friedrichshafen to connect with the train. Fly from Munich to Lithuania and then back to Berlin and to where you live. All this can be done with one "open jaw" plane ticket. toicket .
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Oct 29th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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Good idea. I had not thought about going to Konstanz first, but it does seem to fit better. I checked airfare and it's about the same price to Zurich - but cheaper to fly into Berlin from Vilnius than Munich was.

Munich - the ditchwater comment made me laugh. I picked it as a good starting point to recover from jet lag and for day trips. Since we might be starting from Konstanz, I'm open to suggestions for how to maximize sights and minimize packing and unpacking.


Thanks!
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Oct 30th, 2012, 07:27 AM
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jasper - you may have told us this but it hasn't registered with me - when is your trip?

whenever, the priority i would have thought is to get the flights booked, and then plan around that - you've then got plenty of time to play with your itinerary.

you've talked about having 9 days before Lithuania, so after Konstanz that leaves 6 [did I say that I'm good at maths?] but are we talking about days or nights? it makes a difference - ie 6 nights = 5 whole days.

if you are wanting to walk, visit salt-mines, go for boat trips and scenic train rides, then a stay in the Salzkammergut eg on Wolfgangsee might be the best bet for 4 nights, then move to Munich for the end of that segment of the trip. OTOH if you were dead keen on music and museums, I would suggest staying in Salzburg.

i suggest getting a few guide books to this area out of the library and start reading! - and get your DD to do some of the research too.

gute Reise!
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Oct 30th, 2012, 06:15 PM
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Thanks Annhig,

So, in essence I have roughly 21 days to spend in Europe. From Sunday June 23 until Monday July 1st when they leave at 6:00 am, we will be in Lithuania with my husband's family. So, 8 days in Lithuania and then 7/1 for travel. This is not how it was to be - we were flying into Lithuania and spending 8 days there and then I had the full, undivided remainder of time to spend as we wanted, but I had no control over this change. I cannot leave prior to June 12th due to school.

I can either split the time, before and after Lithuania - but that requires one flight in and one out since driving through Poland does not interest us. I can shorten it or I can take 13 uninterrupted days after Lithuania, but that concerns me since I sense the crowds will be heavier than the middle of June.

Complicating things is that my daughter will most likely be staying in Konstanz for a few weeks with our exchange student. So, leaving her there will have to be the last thing we do. Konstanz is new on our list in the past week!

So, what was once a relatively thoughtful plan, and one I was ready to purchase tickets for, has now become a miss-mash. If I am wrong about the crowds, then staying for the first two weeks in July - after the Lithuania portion - is easier planning wise. Any thoughts on that?
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Oct 31st, 2012, 05:28 AM
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jasper - poor you! as you say, what a mishmash.

I'm not sure about the crowds at the beginning of July to be honest - i'm not sure that they are likely to be heavier than in June, at least not substantially so.

anyway, i find it easier to set out my trips in tabular form - some people even use spreadsheets!

What you have at present is this:

June 23 - Lithuania

July 1 - leave lithuania for....

you also have the potential to have from June 12th - June 22nd on holiday in ? and then a few days in Konstanz at the end of the trip before you leave for home, leaving your DD in Konstanz.

I agree with you that it makes more sense to put the southern Germany/austria part of the trip at the end, which would give you this:

July 1 - fly to munich. hire car, spend 3 nights in Munich.

July 4 - drive to Salzkammergut - stay in St. Gilgen or similar. [though it might be easier to stay in the german alps to cut down in the driving between this base and Konstanz]

July 7 - Drive to Salzburg/? - stay one night [unnecessary if you stay in the German alps rather than the Salzkammergut]

July 8 - drive to Konstanz. Stay 3 nights. weep buckets as you leave DD behind.

July 11 - drive to Zurich - query need to stay night depending on time of flight home.

Now "all" you need to do is to decide where you want to fly into so that you can easily get to Lithuania on the 23rd. i went to skyskanner.net and looked for flights to Vilnius from germany, and it turns out that there are cheap flights from both Dortmund and Bremen, but I'm sure that you can find some more options that would fit in with your airlines in the US.

Good luck!
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