Germany Austria Switzerland Summer 2019

Feb 15th, 2019, 03:37 PM
  #1  
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Germany Austria Switzerland Summer 2019

Hello! Looking to do a loop from Frankfurt, Germany in two weeks this summer July 4-17. Really looking forward to quaint villages, castles, history, Salzburg (Sound of Music tour), lots of hiking and mountains (Berner Oberland area) and of course trying all the local delicacies. Rough idea so far: Munich 2 nights, Salzburg 3 nights, 1 night Innsbruck, 1 Lucerne, 3/4 in either Lauterbrunnen/Interlaken/Grindelwald, maybe 2 in Heidelburg? Definitely working a budget --expecting to stay in a hostel in Switzerland and cooking lots of our own food, possibly staying in Airbnbs or even farm tourism if we can figure it out!

Too many stops?
Car and Trains? Just trains and public transit? (which is most cost/time effective for 2 or 3 people?)
Any advise welcome! Thanks!

Last edited by ajroams; Feb 15th, 2019 at 03:40 PM.
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Feb 16th, 2019, 12:46 PM
  #2  
 
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All places you are going are great by trains - cars are a waste in cities with such superb public transit - Swiss Alps don't allow cars above two base cities in Interlaken area. For lots on trains check www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com. For schedules of all European trains - www.bahn.de/en. Grndelwald has a hostel and Nature Friends' House which would be better for adults.
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Feb 16th, 2019, 01:45 PM
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Last fall, we had eight perfect days in the three countries you mention. We enjoyed the Jungfrau region of Switzerland, castles in Germany and then on to Munich and Dachau, Salzburg and the magnificent Lake Hallstatt (which I think you might enjoy more than Innsbruck). Perfect weather helped, but, for us, it was a perfect itinerary. We have been to Salzburg a couple times before and always stay with our friends who operate the real von Trapp (Sound of Music) house in the Aigen area of Salzburg; it is a great B&B and not part of the normal tourist thing. They also operate a new museum downtown that very nicely presents both the movie and actual versions of the Salzburg perspective of the von Trapp family and the Sound of Music. The prices are moderate at the B&B, but moderate in Switzerland is a lot more than a hostel.

You can see our trip report here: 3 Countries, 8 Places, 8 Nights, Awesome!

We did this entire trip on trains, and it was easy (although pricey in Switzerland).
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Feb 16th, 2019, 03:36 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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Your plan looks good to me!

I'd urge you to explore your options for Lauterbrunnen rather than Interlaken -- IMO, it's SO much nicer to be in the heart of the Bernese Oberland! I'm not sure how far your budget will stretch, but you might look at the Hotel Staubbach -- lovely place!
https://www.staubbach.com/en/summer/

I'll join the others in recommending trains rather than a rental car. I don't know the relative costs in dollars, but the costs to the driver in stress and in lost opportunities (the driver won't be able to fully appreciate the scenery) can be high.
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Feb 16th, 2019, 03:58 PM
  #5  
 
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If doing Jungfraujoch train then buy a Half-Fare Card at any station and get half off on everything that moves in Switzerland except cows! If taking just that train the card almost pays for itself then you can use it for any transportation anywhere.

Yes plan looks superb!
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Feb 16th, 2019, 07:19 PM
  #6  
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Thanks so much for all your advice!
We are now thinking of heading straight to Salzburg for 4 nights (maybe Munich the first night for a trip to Neuschwanstein castle--trying to decide if it's worth it), 1 in Halstatt, 2 in Lucerne, 4 in Lauterbrunnen, and 2 in western Germany on our way back to Frankfurt. Probably using trains/public transit for the full trip.
Now it's onto nailing down lodging, itineraries, and figuring out the best deal/plan for the trains!

Ideas on whether to head straight to Heidelburg for the final two nights or try to stay someplace closer to the castles in western Germany for a night?

Also--it is interesting that we've decreased our time in Germany even though we're flying into Frankfurt--we have vouchers through a certain airline that we have to use. (In case anybody finds it odd We are just all about hiking in those Alps!
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Feb 16th, 2019, 07:44 PM
  #7  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by ajroams View Post
Ideas on whether to head straight to Heidelburg for the final two nights or try to stay someplace closer to the castles in western Germany for a night?
I really liked Heidelberg.

If you have to fly out of Frankfurt, you might consider spending a night there before your flights. I know that I never want to take a chance of not being able to reach my departure airport.
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Feb 17th, 2019, 12:03 AM
  #8  
 
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I would rather travel through and into the Alps, like

....... - Innsbruck - Landeck - Scuol-Tarasp (thermal spa and castle) - Diavolezza Glacier or Corvatsch Glacier - medieval casltes of Bellinzona - Lucerne - Heidelberg
OR
..... - Salzburg - Zell am See/Kitzsteinhorn - Grossglockner or Felbertaurern - Lienz - Sterzing - Jaufen Pass - St. Leonhard in Passeier - Timmelsjoch - Glaciers of Oetztal - Imst - Nassereith - Reutte - Neuschwanstein - Aubsburg - Heidelberg
OR
.... - Innsbruck - Landeck - Scuol-Tarasp - Samedan - GLACIER EXPRESS - Zermatt - Basel - Heidelberg
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Mar 17th, 2019, 08:06 AM
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We have done Germany many times. Usually stay in Heidelberg for final night as it is a nice area to explore the old town and not a bad drive to the Frankfurt airport in the morning.
traveldawg is offline  
Mar 18th, 2019, 07:52 AM
  #10  
 
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Too few days in Innsbruck, too many days in Salzburg.
marct is offline  
Mar 18th, 2019, 02:08 PM
  #11  
 
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expecting to stay in a hostel in Switzerland and cooking lots of our own food, possibly staying in Airbnbs or even farm tourism if we can figure it out!>

Try the newly refurbished Nature Friend's House in Grindelwald - self catering all ages crowd:

https://translate.google.com/transla...n/&prev=search

say closes for winter in April but I've stayed there in summer so assume the re-open as many accommodations do.

Grindelwald has a hostel with self-catering I believe. But the Nature Friends House is many older folks and no young school groups.
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Mar 21st, 2019, 06:16 PM
  #12  
 
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Wengen is also a really lovely little village with a lift up to the Mannlichen right in town. Great hiking trails and the mtns just hovering over the village. Grocery right in town. Magical place for me.
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