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Mosel Valley and Black forest itinerary help needed

Mosel Valley and Black forest itinerary help needed

Old Jun 20th, 2012, 08:48 PM
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Mosel Valley and Black forest itinerary help needed

Hello,

I am leaving on vacation with my family in less than 5 days. We are a couple in our mid 30s and our 3 year old boy. Would appreciate help from Fodorites.

I am putting down the details of my trip below. I am a little unsure of the Mosel valley and Blackforest part of the trip. All help appreciated..

26th June - Fly into Brussels and leave for Brugges the same day
26th - 29th June (3 nights) - Brugges (Belgium)

29th June - Leave for Ernst (5 Km from Cochem) - by train (would most likely arrive by late evening)
29 June - 2nd July - 3 nights at Ernst

2rd - 4th July (2 nights) - Plan to spend it in the Black Forest towns

4th - 6th July (2 nights) - Fussen

6th - 9th July (3 nights) - Munich

9th - 12th July (3 nights) - Zell Am See (Austria)

12 July - Leave for Vienna and fly out on 13th July

Now the help that I require:

We were initially thinking of taking the romantic road, but after reading reports of the black forest, decided to take this route.
I am looking for good scenery with an option to stop at small quaint towns. I would like to visit the Cockoo clock factory, the waterfalls and maybe take short hikes / walks (here we might be a little constrained because of our little boy).

We are looking at a 2 night stop, on our way from Cochem to Fussen.

1. I would like to avoid large towns like Baden Baden and feel we should stay at either Gengenbach or Schiltach.
Considering the driving distance, would like to take a stop before these places - any suggestions?

2. I read posts on car vs train and am still a little undecided. Do we need a car to move around in the Mosel valley? Would it be more convenient?
Also can the Black forest be enjoyed by train?

Any suggestions / comments are welcome.

Thanks a lot.. Look forward to hearing for you on this..
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 04:30 AM
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"Also can the Black forest be enjoyed by train?"

Sure. If you stay in Gengenbach you'll be just southeast of Offenburg on rail line #4 on the sketch you'll find at this page (which shows 16 other BF railway lines as well):

http://www.schwarzwald.com/karte/bahnlinien.html

Trains run all day long connecting Gengenbach with Triberg (waterfall) where you can look in on the production work at Hubert Herr's cuckoo clock shop and also catch a bus to Furtwangen (Clock Museum.) Bus 7270 runs about every hour or better.

http://www.v-s-b.de/fahrplan/pdf/7270.pdf

The Black Forest Museum in Triberg has a very nice collection of BF stuff.

Some information about the Black Forest Railway (#4):
http://www.black-forest-travel.com/p...t-railway.html

Your train and bus travel within the BF is FREE if you stay in Gengenbach, Triberg or one of 130 BF villages that participate in the KONUS program. You get a free "KONUS" card from your hosts which you flash to conductors; the same card offers discounts to the BF museum (and as I remember free admission to the waterfall.) KONUS info.: http://www.blackforest-tourism.com/konus
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 05:01 AM
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"2. I read posts on car vs train and am still a little undecided. Do we need a car to move around in the Mosel valley? Would it be more convenient?"

It depends where you are going. You'll be there a very short time, and most primary destinations can be reached by train. From Ernst there's no train but lucky bus 711 runs every hour or so into Cochem (8 min., 2.65€), maybe the best destination on the Mosel, and a place worthy of one of your 3 days.

http://www.vrminfo.de/uploads/tx_vdv...ble/711_02.pdf

Cochem sends off trains to not all but many Mosel towns and villages - Trier (a full day there isn't too much), Traben-Trarbach, Bullay/Alf, Moselkern (for walk to Burg Eltz Castle) and Treis-Karden (for Castle bus trip to Eltz.) I would not rent a car if these are the places on your short list - getting around there is convenient and cheap too with the Rheinland-Pfalz ticket (daypass, 25€/2/day) or the VRM mini-group ticket (daypass, 20€ for 2-5 people/day; 40€ for 3 days.) The choice depends on where you're going. The VRM daypass covers all buses too including the 711 into Cochem; maybe the R-P daypass will too, as many buses are covered by it as well - just buy your daypass from the bus driver, or from a ticket machine at any train station (English interface on DB ticket machines.)

http://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets-and...-pfalz-ticket/

http://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets-and...eisure-ticket/
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 05:48 AM
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There is a big wine fest, the Black Cat wine fest, 4 days long from 6/29 - 7/2, in the village of Zell. But it's going to be complicated to get there by public transport on the weekend. If interested: From Ernst, bus 711 at 9:17 takes you to the Bullay station. From there you can take bus 333 into Zell (9 min.); there are only four 333 buses on Saturday though. The 13:25 from Bullay would be a good one to catch. Return buses to Bullay from the Zell Lindenplatz stop are at 16:07 and 19:52.

http://www.vrminfo.de/uploads/tx_vdv...ble/333_01.pdf

Getting to Bullay is easy enough though. You might taxi to Zell from there - or it's only about 4 km from there to Zell along the paved riverside bike path.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 05:54 AM
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NOTE: in my previous post I suggested the 9:17 bus 711 in error. The 12:17 bus from Ernst gets you to Bullay in time for the 13:25 bus 333 into Zell.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 10:53 AM
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Russ, Thanks a lot for all the information. Its very useful.

Just wanted to clarify on your comment - "From Ernst there's no train but lucky bus 711 runs every hour or so into Cochem (8 min., 2.65€), maybe the best destination on the Mosel, and a place worthy of one of your 3 days."
Do you think Ernst is not a good base - and I should look at Cochem? Also do you think 3 nights (which effectively would be 2 full days and one evening (since we arrive from Brugges by evening), would be a lot? Should I look at cutting this short and adding some time to the Black forest region. I plan to explore the places around the Mosel valley and Rhine valley while staying here.

On the Black forest part of the itinerary, I am getting more and more inclined towards taking a train.
Would you have any idea on how I can get from Cochem to Gengenbach or Triberg by train? And how long would it take? And this part I am assuming will not be free. The Free rides start after check in into the hotel - Am I right?
In case the train journey is not very long, I can look at taking only 1 town as a base and then exploring the different areas though the rail network based in that place.

Also is there a train to Fussen or should I later look at hiring a car? In an earlier post you had indicated Frieburg - as a possible place to hire a car. Can I manage with a train to Fussen and then to Munich?

Thanks again for taking the time to give me a detailed answer..
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 12:52 PM
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Vins, in http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml you will find all the answers to your questions about trains schedule.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 05:47 PM
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"Do you think Ernst is not a good base - and I should look at Cochem? Also do you think 3 nights (which effectively would be 2 full days and one evening (since we arrive from Brugges by evening), would be a lot? Should I look at cutting this short and adding some time to the Black forest region."

I don't really know Ernst or how close your accommodations are to the bus stops. But train travelers will need a bus connection whenever they come and go. I would definitely prefer Cochem on the night you arrive in the area - better than having to catch a bus as well. Cochem is clearly preferable for train travel.

Some Cochem room options: http://www.bensbauernhof.com/accommo...hinemosel.html

2 days, 3/nights is minimal. A full day in Trier and one in Cochem and you're done. But it all depends on what you choose to do. Cochem has its own castle (Reichsburg) with a fine falconry show as well. The old town could usurp several hours. There are short river cruises you can take (1 hr. to Beilstein, for example) and a chairlift ride that provides a stunning view. Trier is stuffed with Roman and other sights. Burg Eltz (train from Cochem to Moselkern) is one of the premier castle experiences in Europe.

I would keep 3 nights on the Mosel and 2 in the BF.

The free KONUS trips only begin once you've checked in.

"Would you have any idea on how I can get from Cochem to Gengenbach or Triberg by train?"

This page is the DB (German Railways) itinerary page; use it to get schedules and prices.

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query2.exe/en

To save money: on weekdays it is also possible to use a daypass for this trip - a "Quer Durchs Land" ticket - which will cost 48€ for two. This daypass is good on weekdays and allows you to use the regional trains (not the high speed equipment.) The DB site (Marighita's) will normally give you the high speed trains; you must specify "only local transport" under "means of transport" on the above page.

QDL ticket info.: http://www.bahn.com/i/view/DEU/en/pr...d-ticket.shtml

On Sat or Sun you can use a 40€ "Happy Weekend Ticket" for 2-5 people traveling together; it's another daypass, good at any hour on the same trains:

http://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/pr...d_ticket.shtml

Buy both the QDL and the HW tickets from DB ticket machines in GErmany using the English interface.

The QDL can also be used to get to Füssen by train.

Füssen to Munich: use a Bayern ticket, another daypass for regional trains, 26€/day:

http://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/pr...r-ticket.shtml

Another Bayern Ticket gets you to Salzburg. Within Austria. the "Einfach Raus" ticket (yes, daypass) is useful:

http://www.oebb.at/en/Tickets/Groups...cket/index.jsp
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Thanks Marigighita

Thanks Russ, you have convinced me on the train travel. I was earlier looking at the Euro rail site for train connections and they seemed a lot more expensive (approx Euro 120 per person for 1 route) - I will look at the options that you mentioned and chalk out my itinerary. Thanks again..

While I thought I was set on the earlier part of my itinerary, from Belgium into Germany - I think it might be a good idea to get options on train websites that I should use. The Eurorail site offers tickers from Brussels to Cochem (with 1 or 2 stops) for EUR 120 per person. Does this seem right? A pass does'nt make sense for us as we would not be traveling many countries. All help is welcome. Thanks.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:07 AM
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120€ is an inflated price.
Bruges - Cochem on 6/29:

Go to http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

Buy 2 tickets online from Bruges(B) to Cochem(Mosel) The price is currently 59€ each for a discount ticket for the 8:58 departure (train-specific.) There's another departure at 12:58 for 74€ each.

Cochem-Gengenbach on 7/2 (alternative to the QDL ticket mentioned previously):

Go to the same site as above - a discount ticket for two + child is 69€ total for the 8:58 departure or 79€ for the 10:58 departure. A little more expensive than the QDL ticket but you can use the faster trains this way.

You can print these tickets at home. Be sure to enter your child as a passenger even if he's three and free. Don't rush through the process - if you buy the discount tickets there are penalties for refunds and it could be very complicated. And be sure you can make the departure times you select.

Also, read the details on the daypasses carefully - you can buy them in Germany, but you should feel comfortable with the travel times and how they work before you arrive.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:17 AM
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I want to point out that the trip between Gengenbach and Füssen is 6 hours + and involves 3-6 changes of train, even when you include fast train equipment. There are some discount tickets for those trains too but they won't save you much time and they're more expensive - probably just as smart to use the QDL ticket (48€.)

I would suggest changing your plan for 7/4 so that you arrive in Munich for a longer stay there - this will cut two hours or more off travel on 7/4. The QDL ticket can of course get you to Munich too. Then visit Füssen on a day trip from Munich using a Bayern ticket daypass (26€.)
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:45 AM
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I spent many hours trying to figure out the DB site and was quite confused by the end of it.. However Russ, the DB (German Railways) itinerary page that you gave me was fantastic. I cant thank you enough for that.. It made everything so simple.

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query2.exe/en

Looking at the schedules, it looks like the train journeys would be long - but doable.. Would it make sense to change by base from Gengenbach to another BF town from the train connections point of view - maybe Offenburg?

Thanks
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:51 AM
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Russ, Just saw ur other replies. Thanks again.. I saw the Gengenbach to Fussen train connections and think I would need to opt for a more expensive option of EUR 129 or EUR 79 (for 2 adults + child).
Are you suggesting that I cut out Fussen from the itinerary and go straight to Munich?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Also should I look at purchasing the tickets now or can I do it later? Do the prices go up closer to the date?
Thanks
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 07:06 AM
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2. I read posts on car vs train and am still a little undecided. Do we need a car to move around in the Mosel valley? Would it be more convenient?
Also can the Black forest be enjoyed by train?>

Yes and bus and boat as well - buses ply the riverside roads where trains do not and there are fantastic boat rides like from Cochem to Beilstein - over arguably the most scenic part of the overall tremendously scenic IMO Mosel Valley. You can take a train to Moselkern then hike up thru the forest to Burg Eltz, one of Germany's most famous castles and yes I have taken several awesomely scenic train rides thru the Black Forest - you could wind your way, literally, by rail from Freibourg to Fussen area via really scenic rail lines. If doing all from Belgium and Germany investigate the Germany-Benelux railpass - good in Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Germany - do not neglect IMO a few-hour stop in Luxembourg to see one of Europe's most visually gorgeous cities - actually divided by a deep romantic gorge - throw bags in station locker and walk to the nearby town center with views over the gorge - great sites for train travel info in these countries IMO - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id9.html; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com. The pass lets you hop on virutally any train anytime - just show up - such fully flexible tickets are often extremely costly so consider the freedom of flexibility as well as price - discounted online tickets are typically train=specific and must be booked weeks in advance often to guarantee and are non-changeable non-refundable - say if you want to get off en route at Luxembourg you may not know exactly how long you want to stay - a pass lets you return to station and hop next train - train-specific tickets lock you into a schedule booked weeks prior and not able to be changed.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 07:23 AM
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"Are you suggesting that I cut out Fussen from the itinerary and go straight to Munich?"

I'm suggesting you go to Munich and stay there for 5 nights. OR, spend 4 nights there and add one night to the BF. Spend one day taking a trip to Füssen and back by train. Personally, I'd go to Garmisch instead, for a number of reasons. But a daytrip to Füssen is possible and will shorten your trip from Gengenbach. It will not help you much at all to switch to Offenburg (modern, dull) from Gengenbach (very attractive old village!)
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 11:17 AM
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do not neglect Trier IMO - an easy day trip by train from cochem area - Trier is one of Europe's oldest cities and most historic - heck there is even an intact Roman Temple now a basilica - Trier also has what many say is the most intact Roman relic north of the Alps - besides the Temple - the Porta Negra or Black Gate, a massive stone-block city gate that was once the 'entrance to the western part of the Holy Roman Empire, Trier being the capital of one part of the Holy Roman Empire. There is also the Karl Marx House where Marx was born, now a museum and educational center to Marxism and a delightful pedestrianized shopping zone and a Roman theatre and a wine-teaching path illustrating processes in many the vaunted Mosel wines.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 11:44 AM
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Russ, PalenQ thanks for your suggestions..
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:21 AM
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I have taken two really scenic train rides in the Black Forest - one goes from Freibourg to Titsee (sp - winding up thru mountains and forests to a high-up lake that is popular to hike around. The other rail route is a mainline route from Karlsrhue to the southeast - you could take that line when heading over to Bavaria, via Ulm perhaps just to see the world-famous Ulm cathedral.
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Old Jul 19th, 2012, 09:47 AM
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Just back from my vacation.
Russ, PalenQ, thanks for your suggestions. They were really helpful. I will be posting a trip report soon..
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