Itinerary for Germany - too ambitious?

Old Aug 13th, 2014, 11:48 AM
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Itinerary for Germany - too ambitious?

Hello, first post. I am planning a trip to Germany/Salzburg for the spring and wonder if my itinerary is too ambitious. This will be first time overseas for husband. I have been to Germany before, but only a bus tour in high school, so I am not very familiar with getting around. We would plan to rent a car. I could potentially re-route and fly out of Munich.

Day 1: Depart Atlanta, GA
Day 2: Arrive Frankfurt
Day 3: Rhine Cruise, Cologne
Day 4: Travel to Berlin
Day 5: Berlin, Leipzig, Nuremburg
Day 6: Nuremburg, Rothenburg, to Munich
Day 7: Munich
Day 8: Munich, to Salzburg
Day 9: Salzburg
Day 10: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof
Day 11: Zugspitze,Stuttgart
Day 12: Hohenzollern, Heidelberg
Day 13: Depart Frankfurt

Any advice is welcome.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 12:13 PM
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The Rhine River Cruise from Cologne is not NEARLY as nice as the one between Rudesheim/Bingen and Koblenz - the heart of the Rhine Gorge and by far the most scenic portion of Rhine in Germany.

Cologne's environs are rather industrial along the Rhine after you get out of Cologne - where would you cruise to? The Rhine Gorge is much much closer to Frankfurt than Cologne - I suggest you take a train from the airport to a Rhine city, stay the night and after recovering from jet lag do the Rhine Gorge boat as a leisurely day trip, getting on and off at several neat riverside resort towns, castles, etc.

See www.k-d.com for schedules. Check these sources for lots of good info on K-D boats and the Rhine Gorge check these sites: www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com.

And you itinerary is unrealistic IMO - it will take several hours to get to Berlin and then the next day you are going to see Berlin, Leipzig and end up in Nurnberg? I would suggest leaving Berlin out and spending more time in the closer to the Rhine places like Leipzig and Nurnberg.

Cars are nice for exploring rural areas but with your pace you will only be able to blow along at high speed on autobahns if you want to even attempt to keep your jet-fueled itinerary - trains make more sense if doing mainly cities like you are - they can go up to near 190 mph - even faster than the autobahns.

And once in cities cars can be a liability - parking can be expensive, hotels may not offer parking, wide swaths of cities are pedestrianized, etc. If doing that by rail the German Twin Railpass would be a boon - lets you hop any train anytime with very few exceptions.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 12:15 PM
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Yes,WAY too ambitious. Most time traveling, and little chance just to explore sights. Have you checked distance/route Cologne to Berlin? Has to be uber-hefty. And seriously? Three major cities in A DAY on
days 5 & 6?
Good start (days 1-3), decent near-ending (days 7-11, no Stuttgart though)...but fully unrealistic middle.
Suggest EITHER Berlin OR Nurnberg as a single base for days 4-7, before heading to Munich.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 01:18 PM
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Day 9: Salzburg
Day 10: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof
Day 11: Zugspitze,Stuttgart

You may want to re-order that - if by car it is doable but very little time for each place.

Rather Salzburg to Garmish-Partenkirchen (Zugspitze) then drive to Fussen via Austria (Reutte the up the gap to Fussen) then head over to Stuttgart - otherwise you are backtracking it seems.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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Hello. The 'outlier' in your itinerary is Berlin, it's way to the east of your other destinations. I count the number of nights you have exclusive of the plane and it's 11.

Rothenburg - 1 night (3 hour drive from FRA incl car pickup)
suggestion: Ottobeuren - 1 night/(2 nights subtotal( Ottobeuren is a nice small town with lovely abbey, short drive from Rothenburg)

you indicate you want: Salzburg - 3/5 (thus far 6 hours of driving) and Munich - 3 nights/6 nights subtotal - Munich is close to Salzburg.
Neuschwanstein - 1/7 (thus far 9 hours of driving)

how about: Konstanz, Germany (on the Bodensee) - 1/8 n subtotal - about 3 hour drive from Neuschwanstein)

Baden-Baden or Heidelberg - 2/10 (14 hours total to Baden Baden)
last night in Frankfurt near airport - 1/11 (16 hours of driving, about 900 miles in 11 days.)

Total 8 stops, average 2 hours drive between each stop.

Fool around with options. Use Google maps to plan the number of hours each day you'll drive. Remember that construction, traffic, pit stops etc. could slow you down, so don't get too optimistic about how much you'll drive each day.

If you're determined to take the Rhine Cruise:
Depart early for FRA.
Leave your bags at your Frankfurt airport hotel.
Check the cruise schedule
http://www.bingen-ruedesheimer.com/r...ruise/lorelei/

Drive to either Bacharach or St. Goar (about an hour)
Cruise to either St. Goar or Bacharach (about 1 to 1.5 hours plus boarding deboarding)
Take train back to your car (bahn.de) (every hour, about 10 minutes)
Drive back to FRA.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 01:59 PM
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Rats, I can't count. You'll have to drop a night each from Munich and Salzburg.
Rothenburg - 1
Ottobeuren - 1/2
Salz - 2/4
Munich - 2/6
Neuschwanstein - 1/7
Konstanz - 1/8
Baden-Baden or Heidelberg - 2/10
FRA - 1/11
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 02:09 PM
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Day 4: Travel to Berlin
Day 5: Berlin, Leipzig, Nuremburg
Day 6: Nuremburg, Rothenburg, to Munich>>

Gott in Himmel! half of Germany in 2 days?

i agree with Sue. If your interest in Berlin is limited to less than 24 hours it's not worth going. I would scrub the eastern part of Germany completely [well worth another trip, IMO] and go straight from the Rhein area [Koblenz] to Wurzburg, Nuremberg etc.

i would definitely re-route and fly out of Munich - you can wander over into Austria, see Salzburg etc, and then work your way back into Germany perhaps via the Zugspitze or der Bodensee. [lake Constance - don't miss the gardens at Mainau]. if there are only two of you, you probably won't need to book and could just "wing it" - accommodation is easily found [look out for B&Bs advertising "Zimmer Frei"] and always clean and comfortable.

Germany is large country and rich in treasures both natural and cultural. We have been numerous times but there are still large parts that we have yet to see. This year we are flying into Hannover and leaving from Stuttgart 11 days later. That is only a distance of just over 500 kms which would take about 5 hours to drive point to oint but we're going to spend 10 days exploring it. slow down and smell the roses!
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 02:39 PM
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sue, I like your ideas but if the OP swaps his/her exit port to Munich, then the trip is even easier to organise:

Day 1: Depart Atlanta, GA
Day 2: Arrive Frankfurt
Day 3: Rhein cruise, Bingen-Koblenz
Day 4: Drive to Nuremberg - 4 hours.
Day 5: Nuremburg
Day 6: travel to Rothenburg,
Day 7: Rothenburg
Day 8: travel to Salzburg [400 kms, less than 4 hours drive]
Day 9: Salzburg
Day 10: travel to Fuessen, see Zugspitze &/or Neuschwanstein,
Day 11:,stay Fuessen, or travel to Munich
Day 12: Munich
Day 13: leave for home.

you could cut out Salzburg if you wanted to spend more time in southern Germany.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 03:42 PM
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Thanks all. I had originally intended to leave Berlin/Leipzig off this trip, but my husband was interested in seeing some JS Bach stuff. I'd prefer to stay in southern Germany. So I thought we could see a couple things in Berlin, and make just a "brief stop" in Leipzig on the way south. I think I'll nix that though.

Should the Rhine gorge be a priority? If I flew in and out of Munich, is it worth going up that far north? I'll rework this. The stop in Stuttgart stems from me coming from a Porsche family.

I thought about the trains - but what do you do with luggage when you're touring smaller sites while traveling between major stops? As I've only done the bus tour thing, I never had to worry about luggage.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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Annhig, Munich as an exit port - great idea. OR:

sebastian - If Berlin is important, I dunno, maybe fly straight to Berlin? You could book an 'open jaw' Air Berlin flight flying FRA to TXL (Berlin) and then TXL to MUC (Munich) for about $200 each. Each flight is just over an hour.

1. Fly into Frankfurt, train to a small Rhine town hotel, drop your bags, unwind. Do the cruise thing, or maybe a day trip to Cologne. 2 nights.
2. Fly onto Berlin from FRA. Do the JS Bach thing. 3 nights./5
3. Fly Berlin to Munich. 3 nights, maybe do a long day trip to Salzburg if you really want to do it (2 hour train ride each way, or see below). 3/8
4. Train to Stuttgart. About 2 hours. Do Porsche thing. 1/9
5. It's a 1.5 hour train from Stuttgart to FRA for your last night. 1/10

You have a night to spare. Maybe add a night to Munich and do a daytrip to Neuschwanstein.

Still a busy trip, but only 5 stops.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 05:48 PM
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Trains are a great way to see Germany; here's my trip report of all the places I trained to, alone, from Frankfurt which is a marvelous home base for day trips.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...kfurt-area.cfm

Having a car is also a great way to see Germany--but I seriously question your itinerary. To see approximate traveling times, use something like google maps, BUT double the times suggested for plenty of leeway. In our driving in the UK, France, Spain, and Germany, we think googlemaps times need to on the average be multiplied by 1.5, so doubling time leaves some wiggle room. Then there's parking, finding way around, inner city traffic, etc. So "seeing" 2 cities a day? not possible. For example, Heidelberg is at least a day. So is Nuremburg. So is the Rhine. So is Koln. (I did those--the Rhine River valley on two different days--as separate day trips from Frankfurt.)

I'd definitely reduce your number of sites. I'd think of either just curtailing where you go, trying to spend a couple nights at lease in a few places (not all one nighters) OR pick a couple bases, like Frankfurt and Munich, and take day trips via train from them--then there's no luggage issue daily.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 01:14 AM
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not sure what you mean by the "JS Bach" thing. The church where he was organist is in Leipzig and they have sung Motets on Fridays and Saturday afternoons which we were lucky enough to be able to attend with some german friends a couple of years ago. here's the schedule:

https://www.thomaskirche.org/r-events.html

otherwise there isn't much of JS around in Leipzig. It is a very historical and interesting place but you would need more than 1/2 a day to make it worthwhile, unless that 1/2 day were a saturday afternoon and you got there early enough to get seats for the motets.

If you are really set on Berlin/Leipzig/Dresden visit, [and Dresden deserves at least 3 days by itself] then i would drop Frankfurt entirely, and fly into Berlin.

this would give you a different but just as satisfactory a trip:

Day 1 - arrive Berlin - stay 3 nights
Day 4 - train/drive to Leipzig - stay 1 night [only if it's Saturday]
Day 5 - train/drive to Dresden - stay 3 nights
Day 8 - drive to Nuremberg - stay one night
Day 9 - drive to Fuessen - tour area
Day 11 - drive to Munich
Day 13 - fly home.

Still a bit busy but doable. you can do river trips both in Berlin and Dresden so you would still have that aspect covered.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 01:46 AM
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Well the original plan just looked crazy, deciding on say Southern Germnay makes some sense, but what is it with Americans that they all love Munich (maybe its the stone cherubs??) but there are so many nicer cities in the country.

If you are a member of the Porsche family I think you should ask the family office where to visit, but perhaps you mean something else.

Annhig's latest logistics looks good, but also look at flying into Zurich and then travel along the south edge, Struttgart, Lake Constance etc.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 08:00 AM
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Should the Rhine gorge be a priority? If I flew in and out of Munich, is it worth going up that far north?>

Well if in the area it's a nice boat ride (www.k-d.com) but IME many folks on the few-hour boat ride quickly become bored - the Rhine Gorge is a place you could spend a few days exploring the cute towns and castles but just a quick look at the Rhine Gorge is not IMO worth a long detour - there are many delightful things closer to your itinerary.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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I don't understand why you would not fly into one city and out of another if the cost is roughly comparable with a round trip ticket and it suits your itinerary.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 04:19 PM
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annhig, I can't be sure of sebastian's interests but in addition to the church you mention, is there not a Bach museum (Bose House) in Leipzig? Also the town hall supposedly has a portrait of him (?) Since it's only about an hour by train from Berlin to Leipzig, it's conceivable as a daytrip (?)

Can't speak for the OP, but **I'm** learning a lot from all this logistical puzzle analysis.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 05:40 PM
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I made a different thread (probably a newbie mistake) with a revised itinerary. If we ever get a 2nd trip over, we'll shoot for Berlin, Leipzig, Prague, and Vienna. Here's the new plan. I incorporated your ideas of having a couple bases to and go from there. I don't know whether we'll try to do the whole trip by train, or maybe rent a car at the outset and ditch it on the way to Salzburg.

Day 1: Depart Atlanta, GA
Day 2: Arrive Frankfurt
Day 3: Heidelberg
Day 4: Stuttgart/Hohenzollern
Day 5: Garmisch- Partenkirchen (3 nights)
Day 6: Castles
Day 7: Zugspitze
Day 8: Garmisch to Salzburg (brief stop in either Innsbruck or Chiemsee, depending on the route) (2 nights in Salzburg)
Day 9: Salzburg
Day 10: To Ingolstadt (3 nights Ingolstadt with friends)
Day 11: (Day trip to Rothenburg)
Day 12: (Day trip to Nuremburg)
Day 13: Munich
Day 14: Depart Munich

Another option would be Day 7 to leave Zugspitze and stay somewhere closer to perhaps Chiemsee to give a little more time there.
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