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Germany/Austria/Switzerland - 14 days do-able?? Budget Trip

Germany/Austria/Switzerland - 14 days do-able?? Budget Trip

Old Jul 14th, 2010, 06:00 PM
  #1  
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Germany/Austria/Switzerland - 14 days do-able?? Budget Trip

Hello!
My friend and I are planning to visit those three countries as they are so close to one another. We have 14 days and will arrive to Frankfurt from the US. This is our first time visiting any of those countries so we are open to ideas. We are not into clubbing or shopping. More sightseeing and getting to know the culture. Is 14 days enough?? We are really struggling with this itinerary issue as we want to stick to a budget We would like to this August

Thank you so much!
daria26 is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2010, 06:23 PM
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Daria,

Doable is a relative thing. You can see some wonderful sights in 14 days, but you could also stay 14 months and not see everything of interest. You might want to include some more information in your post. How will you be getting around; rental car, train? Do you know what cities you'd like to visit? Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, Geneva, Lacerne? Munich is a good base to see a lot of things. Great place with incredible museums and parks, short trip to Salzburg, close to all the Ludwig II castles. Give me some more info on your trip and maybe I can be of more help.
agedude is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2010, 06:37 PM
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Hello! Thank you so much for responding
We particularly don't care about cities like Berlin and Frankfurt. We would like to see small quaint villages and castles (!!) in Germany/Switzerland. Innsbruck/Salzburg/Vienna in Austria. Swiss Alps, at least one lake in Switzerland, maybe Zurich and/or Lacerne
My friend and I want to travel by train
Thank you!!
PS: you sound like a very seasoned traveller, will you recommend renting a car?
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Old Jul 14th, 2010, 07:43 PM
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"We are really struggling with this itinerary issue as we want to stick to a budget."

Switzerland is very expensive. Vienna is too. You'd be smart to spend most of your time in Germany where transport and accommodations are relatively inexpensive.

In Bavaria two to five people can travel on a "Bayern Ticket" daypass all day for 28 Euros total. The pass is also good to Salzburg Austria and through Tyrolean Austria between Garmisch and Kempten (very scenic train ride.) Innsbruck would require a separate ticket.

Other places for you to look into in Bavaria:

Berchtesgaden
Herrenchiemsee (castle/palace)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Mittenwald
Rothenburg
Bamberg

Bavaria Ben has lots of good lodging tips:
http://www.bensbauernhof.com/accommodationsbavaria.html
Russ is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2010, 08:14 PM
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We had 14 days for our trip to Germany and did well with Munich, Nuremberg (with side trips), and Fuessen (alps, near the Ludwig castles). Saw a lot, not terribly rushed. We were on trains until we left Nuremberg and headed to the alps - we rented a car for that portion.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Check out Bavaria Ben's website and look at the last 2 trip reports that he posted. They detail his budget trips.

www.bensbauernhof.com
bigtyke is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2010, 02:09 PM
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You are trying to cram too much into 14 days and traveling between these places eats up both time and money.

I agree that Germany is a very good value for travelers, far better than Switzerland. And there are parts of Austria that are quite reasonable.

Are you flying into Frankfurt because of cost? If you are flexible, consider Munich. I would fly into Munich then head to Salzburg. Spend 4 nights there, making daytrips into the Salzkammergut. Beautiful scenery and accessible through public transport. Or spend your first two nights in Salzburg, rent a car (not cheap) and explore the country side on your own for 3-4 days. There are lovely spots including St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang, Koenigsee, Hallstatt, Zell am See, and more, depending on exactly you want to experience. Get a map and some guidebooks and come up with a basic plan.

On the way back, you can visit Fussen, Berchtesgaden and more, depending on how much you want to move around.

Head to Garmisch and stay there for a few nights, making a trip to Mittenwald and Innsbruck since that is on your list. It is one hour by train to Innsbruck from Garmisch and 20 minutes to Mittenwald.

We travel by train and bus so others can give better advice on which drives make the most sense.

You could also base in Nuremberg and visit Bamberg, Regensburg and more, or stay in Munich and visit them from there.

Too bad you have decided against Berlin. IMO, it is one of the most fscinating and fun cities in Europe and a bargain for a world class city.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 02:10 PM
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the train system in those 3 countries is fantastic - hourly or more departures everywhere to everywhere practically - for lots of learning about the rail systems and planning a rail trip i always highlight these Wundeerbar sites - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com - download the latter's free (and superb IMO) European Planning & Rail Guide as it has a chapter on each country by rail with suggested itineraries, maps, etc. And check on various railpasses if taking more than a few train trips.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Daria,

Personally, I'd rent a car for the type of sightseeing you are talking about. I'd also probably concentrate on the Bavaria portion of Germany. Look up the "Romantic Road" abd consider seeing the sights. They are some of the smaller towns and villages (Augsburg is fairly big) but most of the towns are intact (didn't get bombed too bad during WWII) and it will really give you a flavor of quaint old Europe. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the best preserved and most attractive towns in Europe. It is really touristy, but while the crowds are an annoyance, they don't make the place any less beautiful or magical. Try staying the night. The place is great after the day trippers have left and it is light. Look for the Night-Watchmans tour. You might also want to see Ludwig II castles; Linderhof, Neuschwanstein and its neighbor Hohenschwangau , and finally Nymphenburg in Munich, in my opinion the German Versailles. Salzburg is pretty neat but also touristy. It's a short drive on the Autobahn from Munich. I went to a salt mine close by and had a blast. You go several hundred feet underground, via tiny train and a huge slide, and there is an underground boat ride.

A couple of suggestions: Book your lodging in advance, you can budget better and know your base of operations. Stay in a place at least 2 or 3 days and make side trips. Traveling every day is a bear.

If you rent a car, look all over the internet for coupons or discount codes. RENT A GPS or spend $150 and buy one with U.S and European maps already loaded, (if your an American).

Hope this helps.
agedude is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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I prefer train travel because then everyone can relax. I'd plan a trip with that in mind from the beginning.
I can think of one reasonably priced place I know on Lac Leman in Vevey (an hours outside Geneva), Riviera Lodge. Chateau de Chillon (castle) is in Montreux, next town along the lake. I love this area and think it's very family-friendly and not horribly expensive by Swiss standards. It's the French speaking part of the country.

But you could easily do an entirely different trip, renting a car, and just staying in Germany for the two weeks.

Since you mention "budget" remember the more you move around, the more often you change hotels, the further distance you travel, the more expensive your overall trip costs are likely to be.

If you stayed in 1-2 countries, staying longer each town, you could even look into renting apartments instead of hotel rooms.
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 06:40 PM
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Vevey is 1-hour outside Geneva by train is what I meant above.
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 11:53 PM
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Train versus car is a tough question when you plan to tour the Alps.

The more you prefer small, quaint villages the harder it will be to get there by train. And you are often stuck to the valleys while the hinterland is served by buses. Buses can be included in the several rail passes that exist, but will almost certainly add relevant time your travels.

Pricewise, as a rough rule of thumb, accessibility of a town or village plays a role when you look for accomodation.
Even in historically expensive areas like the Swiss Engadin, you will find the upscale and expensive but well connected region around Davos, and the more "hidden" part around Scuol.

Prices for the same type and quality of hotel or pension can be half in the cheaper, less accessible region when compared to its ritzier twin.

For each of the expensive areas in Austria or Switzerland, you will find others which are as scenic but more "hidden" and thus much cheaper.

So even when a car should be more expensive (calculated with gas, tolls, etc.) it can cheaper when it gives you access to more remote, more affordable accomodation.
This is even more a factor when you travel in high season.

Needless to say, either type of travel needs a good deal of planning.
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Old Aug 8th, 2010, 02:02 PM
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The more you prefer small, quaint villages the harder it will be to get there by train.>

Perhaps in Austria but i know in Switzerland every little hamelt is easily accessed by public transit - the iconic Swiss postal buses fan out from train stations - they say no place in Switzerland is more than a few miles from a train station

and indeed in some of the legendary quaint villages - like Wengen, Murren, Grindelwald, Zermatt, etc you cannot even get to them by car - but must take the train or bus in.

Austria is different in Switzerland in many ways but in Switzerland i advocate train/bus travel because the system is so so comprehensive and easy to use and lets you access such dreamy places like Wengen and Murren cars do not even take you close to.
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 08:22 AM
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Renting a car in one country and return it in another could mean steep drop-off charges so check that before say picking up in Vienna and returning in say Switzerland or Germany - may be possible without a steep charge but there often is one and it can be very steep IME
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 09:59 PM
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Hi daria26,

I live in Garmisch-Partenkirchen without a car; I travel around Bavaria some, to Austria, and to Switzerland (Switzerland is my favorite destination). It's all very easy to do by public transport, so don't be dissuaded!

I do agree that you cannot see three countries in two weeks -- it would be better to have two destinations to see in depth, then your final one or two nights where you'll be leaving from.

Have fun!

s
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 11:12 AM
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It is easy to mix in rail travel with car travel - taking the train between main cities and using car for rural areas without great train systems - though in this area you can practically get to anyplace of interest by car. There are even some railpasses called 'Rail 'n Drive Passes' that let you pick up a car at a train station and drive thru the countryside or whatever and return it to another station.
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Old Jul 7th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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Thanks all for wonderful ideas!!
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Old Jul 8th, 2011, 08:29 AM
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agedude:
you DO know that Rothenburg odT sufferred extensive destruction in March of 1945 (over 306 buildings and more than 2000 feet of the wall),before German forces gave it up?
It has undergone EXTENSIVE re-building since then, so is not quite as "original" as most people believe!
Nonetheless, it is a beautifully restored small city!
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Old Jul 8th, 2011, 08:31 AM
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Wow! Just noticed that this is a YEAR-old thread!?
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Old Jul 8th, 2011, 11:11 AM
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http://www.spaetzle-schwob.de/index_eng.html Stay in Rothenburg, the walled city here. This is a guesthouse and one of the best places to eat. We did the room and board for one night and then asked to do it the second because it was fab. This village is busy during the day but slows down at night and do take the Night watchman's tour. We stay in Garmisch most of the time and you can take the train from there to anywhere. You could fly into Munich and it is an hour train ride. Great bus service. Mittenwald is another village that you would love.
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