itinerary help

May 7th, 2002, 08:16 AM
  #1  
chris
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itinerary help

Please help...I am torn on my itinerary. I want to see as much as possible, but don't want to spend half of my vacation on the train. Here are the definites:

Sept trip for 17 days (2 adults)
Rail travel
Fly into Frankfurt/Fly out of Venice

We know we want to go to the following places:
Rothenburg
Munich
Berner Oberland
Venice

We are torn on whether to add these:
Salzburg
Luzern
Lake Geneva (Lausanne & Chateau Chillon) vs Lake Como

Love mountains, scenery, lakes, small charming cities.

Any advice would be appreciated. I have tried several times to put an itinerary together, pulled out a few hairs and I am back to the drawing board. Please help!
 
May 7th, 2002, 08:42 AM
  #2  
Russ
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Here's a tip for saving a little cash on your rail travel in Germany: Your train route through Germany takes you from Frankfurt Airport a few miles through the state of Hessen and across the Bavarian border near Hanau. From the border to Rothenburg, both of you can travel on weekdays (without using a railpass day) on the regional trains for only 21 Euros total by getting a "Bayern Ticket" daypass. For the first leg to Hanau, just buy regular point-to-point tickets; you can get the daypass from a conductor before you reach Bavaria or by stopping at the station in Hanau. If travelling from Frankfurt to Rothenburg on Sat or Sun, a single daypass for the whole route will work - just get the "Happy Weekend" pass at the airport station. The same passes will work for Rothenburg to Munich, from Munich to Salzburg, and from Munich to the Swiss border at Lindau. They'll save you a lot of $ but will require slightly more time, since you'll ride the regional trains instead of the high speed equipment. The following page as links that explain the details:

http://www.bahn.de/pv/int_guest/true/pv2_offers_national.shtml#8

I would pause for overnight or at least an afternoon in Lindau on Lake Constance at the Swiss border, if possible, just for a look around - beautiful island town with lake, alps, and great architecture.

A daytrip from Munich to Salzburg is easy and cheap with the passes mentioned above. I think Luzern duplicates your Berner Oberland experience - I'd scratch that if time's a concern. Geneva is forgettable - opt for Como.
 
May 7th, 2002, 09:13 AM
  #3  
chris
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Russ-I am trying to understand how these passes work. Are they per person or will one pass cover us both? They are basically good for one day of rail travel right?
 
May 7th, 2002, 10:23 AM
  #4  
Russ
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They are actually good for up to 5 people travelling together - 21 or 28 DM total for the group. The "Ländertickets" (weekday passes within states) are good from 9 am til 3 am the following morning on the regional trains within the state in question - Bavaria, in your case (note the 3 "pm" error in the website text!!) The "Happy Weekend" passes are also good for up to 5 people but can be used at any hour of the day anywhere in Germany on the same trains.
These deals were put in place to stimulate more regional, short-run business. This effort was successful and the passes are getting more expensive every year, but they're still a great deal. For a given itinerary, using the regional trains (RE, RB, S, SE, IRE trains) requires a bit more time and more frequent changes of train than using the high speed (IC, ICE, EC, and IR) trains. So you can't go as far as fast. But for your destinations, they are definitely worth consideration. If you want to compare travel times with the high speed trains, you have to stipulate "local traffic only" when searching for an itinerary at www.bahn.de; this gives you travel times and connections on the trains you're permitted to ride with these passes.
 
May 7th, 2002, 11:23 AM
  #5  
chris
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How does this sound for a start:

9/6 Arrive in Frankfurt early pm-transfer to Rothenburg
9/7 Rothenburg
9/8 Transfer from Rothenburg to Munich
9/9 Day trip to Neuschwanstein
9/10 Day trip to Salzburg
9/11 Transfer to Luzern
9/12 Luzern-pm transport to Berner Ob.
9/13 B.O.
9/14 B.O
9/15 B.O.
9/16 Transfer to Lake Como
9/17 Lake Como
9/18 Lake Como
9/19 Transfer to Venice
9/20 Venice
9/21 Venice
9/22 Home

Kind of want to see a swiss city, that's is why I have Luzern in there. Do you still think the German local passes would be cheaper for this itinerary or is it better to go with a Eurail Select pass for everything?
 
May 7th, 2002, 01:33 PM
  #6  
Russ
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Yes, you'll save about $150 each over the 8-day Selectpass ($378 each) by getting daypasses in Germany and buying point-to-point for Como - Venice. For Switzerland, whether you go with a 4-day Swiss pass or pay point-to-point, the cost will be about the same - check it out at ricksteves.com.

cost each

$20 airport - Rothenburg (w/tic to Kahl + Bayern tic to R'burg)

$13 R'burg - Munich (w/ Happy weekend tic)

$20 Munich - S'burg, Munich - Füssen (Bay tic)

$10 Munich - Lindau (Bay tic)

$136 Swiss pass to cover all routes

$35 Como - Venice (point-to-point)

total each: $234

There isn't a convenient morning connection on Monday 9/9 for N'stein, one that would let you use the Bayern ticket alone. An 8:51 departure requires you to pay additionally for the first stretch until you hit a town that you leave after 9 am. The best advice I've heard on N'stein is to visit in the late afternoon anyway to avoid crowds; since you've shortchanged your Munich sightseeing with this plan anyway, I suggest that you do something in Munich in the morning and leave for Füssen on the 12:51 tran, arriving 3:00. Do your tour, have dinner, come home in the late evening.

Similarly, there's train to Luzern at 8:51 that arrives at 11:56 in Lindau with one change in Buchloe; you'll need to pay a few extra Euros on top of the Bayern ticket for the first stretch. Have lunch, look around town, head out on the 14:29 for Luzern, arriving 17:28, with your Swiss pass.

That's my best advice given your plan.
 
May 7th, 2002, 05:25 PM
  #7  
chris
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Thanks Russ for all the info. Would you know the connections from Interlaken to Lake Como (specifically Varenna). I tried inputing it into bahn.de and it wasn't giving me anything. Also, would the Berner Oberland Pass be better than the Swiss Pass for my itinerary?
 
May 7th, 2002, 05:40 PM
  #8  
chris
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Forgot to ask why there is an extra fee for the Buchloe transfer. I noticed there is an 8:20am local train direct to Lindau. Wouldn't that just be better?
 
May 7th, 2002, 08:07 PM
  #9  
Russ
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Chris: far as I know, the Berner Oberland pass is only good within the Berner Oberland and costs 155 Euros (see link to the Swiss site at ricksteves.com.)Your trip encompasses a good deal more of Switzerland than just the BO. However, if you plan to travel around by train a lot within the BO, a scenario I didn't calculate into my estimate (I only figured Luzern - Interlaken and back, roughly) maybe it's a good deal for you, and you could then pay point-to-point for your Swiss tickets outside the BO. It just depends on what your exact rail plans are for within the BO.

The "extra fee" on the Munich-Lindau route is not because of your transfer in Buchloe - you have to pay extra for the travel from 8:51 until your first stop after 9 am because the Bayern Ticket is only good from 9 am on. That's all. I'm sure it's not much. But if you start at 8:20, you'll have to pay more since you'll travel 31 minutes longer before your first stop after 9:00.

You'll need to try bahn.de again for your connections to Como.
 
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