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Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland

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Jul 30th, 2016, 08:59 AM
  #1
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Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland

I am considering a 15 day vacation in May 2017 for the above countries. I would like to self drive and ride the rails. My points of interest are: Dresden, Romantic Road, Neuschwanstein Castle, Black Forest in Germany - Halstatt, Innsbruck, and Salzburg in Austria, Valdez Castle in Liechtenstein, and Lucerne (Mt. Pilatus) in Switzerland. Is this too much for 15 Days? Is driving the route Doable? Where do I Start? Should I contact a travel Agency? I would be flying in internationally. Suggestions for overnights ? Your recommendations and suggestions are much appreciated.
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Jul 30th, 2016, 10:15 AM
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No need for a travel agency to do this. But you will need some good guidebooks to decide exactly where you want to go/what you want to see.

In general, self-drive is less practical in Europe than trains. Many towns have large pedestrian-only areas, and you will get an expensive ticket if you stray into those areas (but you won't find out until months later when the ticket arrives via your rental company). Also, parking is scarce and expensive.

I think you have too many places for your "15 days." And do you have 15 days (which would be 16 nights) on the ground in Europe? Count how many nights you have as this will give all of us a more accurate picture of your time. Remember it takes time to get from place to place. In general, it will take half a day up to most of a day each time you change locations. You have to figure from the time you check out of lodgings in one place until you are checked in at the next place. It takes three nights in a place to get two full days to do/see/experience.

Happy planning!
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Jul 30th, 2016, 10:15 AM
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IMO a itinerary like Frankfurt - Dresden - Hallstatt - Salzburg - Innsbruck - Vaduz (nothing to see, nothing to do)- Lucerne - Titisee - Meersburg - Fuessen - Romantic road - Wuerzburg - Frankfurt could make more sense.
It's a lot for 2 weeks, but feasible, if you like to drive.
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Jul 30th, 2016, 12:44 PM
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for a fast-paced trip trains may be best - driving is nice if you want to meander between places but your plate if full - probably over full. and unless you drop your car off in the same country you rent it in there is typically a horrendously high drop-off charge for so doing.

anyway trains many of those places are great- for lots of great info on trains check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Maybe do a car and train combo - car in Germany where you are going to more rural areas without great train service and trains in Austria where you are going mainly to cities where cars are problematic- Hallstatt has excellent train service.

Cut Lucerne and Switzerland from your plans and Vaduz too unless you want to go there for the novelty of it or to stash money in banks to avoid taxes.
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Jul 30th, 2016, 02:18 PM
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Is this too much for 15 Days?>

9 places not next door to each other in 15 days is well too fast even for me - a fast-paced traveler - figure in travel time between those places and you have very little time in them.

The Romantic Road sounds romantic but IME it is anything but - a busy road that skirts the dreamy old villages along it - you can get to Rothenburg - the most famed Romantic Road town easily by train though many find it way way too touristy.

The Black Forest sounds dreamy and is nice but not exceptional IME - nice if you have a few days to amble around but a quick drive thru - no IME.
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Jul 30th, 2016, 03:12 PM
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How long will you want to stay in Dresden? Start counting days from leaving home, including the transatlantic part, to keep track of your number of days.
From Dresden to the castle Neuschwanstein is quite a haul. Trains to Füssen (where you switch to a local bus) take a bit over 8 hours. See www.bahn.de. How to get to the castle is detailed at http://www.neuschwanstein.de/englisc...t/howtoget.htm

Say you spend a day going from Dresden to Füssen, you stay the night in Füssen, visit the castle first thing in the morning, take bus and trains late in the day for Innsbruck (Hallstatt takes too long by train). For example, Füssen-Innsbruck 15:35-19:23, or 16:06-20:51, or 17:13-20:53, or 18:06-22:54.

Innsbruck to Hallstatt takes 4.5 hours or more. And it’s in the wrong direction for then going on to Switzerland. Trains from Hallstatt to Lucerne (forget Vaduz in Liechtenstein) take more than nine hours!

You could save time by taking the train from Dresden only as far as Munich and renting a car from there - somewhere near the train station, because driving to Füssen and then into Austria will be quicker than taking trains and buses. The train from Füssen to Innsbruck takes 4 hours, driving takes less than two hours.

So the car would take you to Hallstatt at the end of the Neuschwanstein day - in about four hours. Driving Hallstatt-Innsbruck takes about 3 hours, and Innsbruck-Lucerne a good 6 hours.

If you found a rental deal that allows for dropping off the car in Lucerne and doesn’t cost the earth, you’d be ahead. Make sure that the car has the freeway tax sticker for Austria on the windshield, as well as the (separate and different) one for Switzerland (they are called “vignette”).

If not Lucerne, see if you can drive to Zürich airport, drop it off and take the train to Lucerne, that would not be too bad a solution.

Now add up all these travel days and add up how many days you wish to stay in each location, and see what the arithmetic says. Your call.

If you were to "do" the "Romantic Road", you'd never make it to Hallstatt let alone Lucerne. It's not about the road, it's about the many towns and castles and ruins along the way, they all take time to visit, leisurely. Just as has been said about the Black Forest - it's about some lakes where you chill and hang out, some towns where you stroll and take it easy, hike or bike and do family-style R&R stuff - your schedule doesn't allow for that and all the other targets you list.
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Jul 31st, 2016, 02:33 PM
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If going to Neuschwanstein be sure to book a ticket and time slot ASAP - or else you could wait in line for years.
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Jul 31st, 2016, 06:52 PM
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Thank you all for your inputs and suggestions. I am reducing the number of visits and mileage traveled to better enjoy and see these sites. Determining the must-see list is next. Castles and picturesque scenery are the intent of this trip.

Your experiences and suggestions for the first time in the region traveler are greatly appreciated.
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Aug 1st, 2016, 07:19 AM
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Yes less can be more!
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