Germany/Austria Itinerary

May 14th, 2007, 10:30 AM
  #1  
Jen
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Germany/Austria Itinerary

Please give this a look. We will be going over Christmas/New Years, December 22-January 5. We will ski once, maybe twice. We enjoy seeing the sights, but also taking time to just wander, or sit with a drink for awhile and soak in the environment.

Munich-3 nights
Salzburg-3 nights
Hallstatt-2 nights
Innsbruck- 3 nights
Mittenwald- 1 night
Munich-2 nights

Questions: We will not have a car--Hallstatt is somewhat out of the way via train, but looks beautiful. Is it worth the extra hours on the train? Or, is there another comparable little town (not ski resort) more on the way between Salzburg and Innsbruck? We've also discussed using those 2 days, and maybe taking one from Munich, to dip down into Italy for 3 nights. Thoughts?
Jen is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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Jen,

This is a beautiful area you are planning to visit. Hallstatt is probably only worth a night and you can easily cut back on Innsbruck. Places to add might include Bertschesgaden, Garmish (zugspitze), Oberammergau, Fussen and even Rothenburg even though it is a bit out of the area.

The Christmas markets will be open from the 22nd through the 24th then things will be very quiet in the area on the 25th and 26th.

Salzburg is a great place to spend Christmas eve. The midnight service at the cathedral is quite memorable. You have to get there early to even get standing room. They finish it off with the lights off and candles burning and the choir sings Silent Night accompanied by a guitar. At the end of it the bells above you begin to toll and they are answered by every church bell in town.

This past year there was no snow in the area so we had to cancel our plan to take a horse drawn sleigh ride on Christmas day.
AisleSeat is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 11:02 AM
  #3  
Jen
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Aisle, thanks for the info- maybe we'll add another town in Germany and only do one night in Hallstatt. Rothenburg looks fantastic, but I think too far off our "loop." We want to be somewhat leisurely, and not spend too much time on the train.

We're pretty set on the Innsbruck portion- arrive on the 30th, ski on the 31st, then have the 1st to explore (and possibly recover, ahem).
Jen is offline  
May 14th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Zell-am-See is a lovely town on a lake surrounded by small Alps on the inland (scenic but longer) Salzburg-Innsbruck rail route (quickest link is via Korridor Zugs (sp?) between Salz and Inns actually go via Germany but the inland route thru Alpine valleys is infinitely more scenic. Along this route is gorgeous Zell (cute but no Hallstatt) and Kitzbuhel, the famous winter sports resort known for one of the world's most renown ski runs. Also a cute town in the Alps.
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May 16th, 2007, 11:34 AM
  #5  
Jen
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ttt
Jen is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 11:55 AM
  #6  
 
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Hi Jen-- your itinerary sounds great! I love Munich, and Salzburg is lovely. I spent 2 nights in Hallstatt a couple of years ago and agree that one night would be fine.
I insisted on dragging my family to Rothenburg and it was a hassle changing trains, etc. It was neat but we still laugh about it. It seemed very touristy and would be great to visit if you were in the area, but not worth a huge effort!
I wish I had some suggestions for you because I love that area but haven't explored it as much as I'd like to. The whole area around Innsbruck is nice. There are a lot of wonderful little towns all around there. My daughter has been living in Linz this year, and she loved the town of Hall.
Surie is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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Jen,
How many of you are there? Once you figure out the cost of trains it might give you more flexibility to rent a car for the week that you are NOT in Munich. Even in the winter months the Germans and Austrians have good roads that are well maintained.
AisleSeat is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 10:53 AM
  #8  
Jen
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Surie- thanks for the Rothenburg info... I had a feeling it might not be worth the effort. I've heard great things about Hall... will definitely check it out while we're in Innsbruck.

Aisle, it's just two of us. Generally, we do rent a car when we travel in Europe, as we generally have a very loose itinerary (like, read the guidebook the night before and decide where we'll end up the next day), and the car gives us more flexibility to do that. This time, given the holidays, we need advance reservations everywhere... and we are both relishing the idea of getting to enjoy the scenery in transit, not getting lost trying to get into/out of cities, dealing with parking, etc. Also, I think that the 5-day Germany/Austria rail pass for the two of us won't cost any more than a rental car, once you factor in petrol, parking fees, etc.
Jen is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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Innsbruck is a big city---I would skip it in favor of the Garmisch/Fussen area.
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 01:50 PM
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You mentioned dipping into Italy. But first, let us say you are in Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck too long, cut each be at least a day. We know we have lived in Munich. Given this you then have time to travel to Bolzano, Italy in South Tyrol and then on to Trento or even Verona. Bolzano on only 2 hours from Innsbruck, and if you go before Christmas the Christmas Market is great (better than Innsbruck’s). While in Bolzano, go to the museum that holds the 5,200 year old ice man. This is the German part of Italy; keep going South on the train to Trento (40 minutes more) or Verona (1 hour more) for real Italy.
bktport is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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Jen,
If you do dip town into the top of Italy I would love to hear a report. We have visited the Ludwig country a number of times and I keep thinking it would be nice to go down into the Tyrol and see what we find.
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Jun 15th, 2007, 06:53 AM
  #12  
Jen
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Well, I think we've got it set, and we're sticking pretty much to what we started with... no Italy this time. As I said earlier, we like to be somewhat leisurely, and have time to wander, get lost, and soak everything in. Following is my rationale, and a couple of questions:

5 total nights in Munich-- more time than we probably need to see everything, but we do have friends that live there that we want to see, and plan to day trip to see a Ludwig castle or 2 and maybe Dachau.

3 nights Salzburg--again, want to have time to wander-- we'll also arrive there on Christmas day, which means we'll lose one day of sightseeing. Recommendations for somewhere to have Christmas dinner? How far in advance will we need reservations (for dinner)?

2 nights Hallstatt-- will be a nice break right in the middle of our trip- will likely arrive late afternoon first day, then have one full day to nose around, then leave early next morning for 5 hour plus train trip to Innsbruck.

3 nights Innsbruck-- one day of skiing, will be here on New Year's Eve, and want to maybe go to Hall one day.

Mittenwald: No reservations here yet. Bob, we really want to do Innsbruck--I know it's a bigger city, and we're ok with that . But tell me about Garmisch/Fussen(I know the castles are nearby)... would you swap Mittenwald for that area? if so why?

We're planning to travel by train all the way, on a 5-day saver Germany/Austria rail pass. Does anyone have experience on the train (Munich to Salzburg) on Christmas Day? I'm thinking it might be a busy travel day. Should we pay extra to get seat reservations in advance for this trip?

This post turned into a novella--thanks for all your help!
Jen is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 07:44 AM
  #13  
 
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I do not think Christmas Day would be a busy travel day Munich-Salzburg IMO - will be trains but i suspect few folks riding long distance that day itself.
Before deciding on a pass go to www.bahn.de and www.oeb.at (? correct site for Austrian railways) and look at regular fares - it may not pay off - i'm not sure. And for passes or any questions about them i'd call BETS (www.budgeteuropetravel.com) - on their home page you can request their free European Planning & Rail Guide that has good chapters on Germany and Austrian trains - rail maps and bits about all the places you're going. These passes are not sold in Europe to my knowledge.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 09:06 AM
  #14  
Jen
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Just spent some time on the bahn and oebb sites, and you know what? Point-to-point is indeed cheaper than a pass-had looked only at schedules before, not prices.

thanks!
Jen is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 09:53 AM
  #15  
 
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And for Munich-Salzburg trains the Bavaria Pass - a bargain would cover non IC trains - regional trains that take about an hour longer but at about 29 euro for up to five folks i think you could save a bit.
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