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Need advice on our trip to Germany, Switzerland and Austria

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Mar 19th, 2016, 08:42 AM
  #1
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Need advice on our trip to Germany, Switzerland and Austria

Thank you to those who responded to my last post. We got our tickets! Flying into Frankfurt and out of Vienna this July. Time to plan, please help!

My husband and I (40s and 50s but really 20s at heart) and my teenage girls (17) enjoy exploring beautiful, quaint villages, enjoy nature and we love hiking, history and art. We don’t want to move too much although admittedly we will have to move to be able to see all that we want to see within 14 days). That’s not a problem if we’re traveling via train through beautiful scenery.
Can we do all the below by train and/or (if absolutely necessary) bus? Are the number of nights reasonable? Advice on this itinerary is much appreciated!

Arrive in Frankfurt and take train to Heidelberg, stay in Heidelberg (2 nights?). I’m confused where we should go first in Germany? Read about Trier but it looks like it’s Roman (been to Italy, over that) and I want to head South.

Black Forest/ Rhine Falls –is there a scenic train ride through this area?

Lucerne, Switzerland (2 nights?) – is this where we get our taste of the Alps? (please don’t laugh if this is a stupid question ;-)).

Travel to Munich via Neuschwanstein, Linderhof Palace (2 nights?)- is Neuschwanstein a day trip from Munich?

Travel to Salzburg (2 nights?)-( day trip to Eagle’s Nest?). Also want to see Hallstatt (looks so beautiful), but how?

Travel to Vienna (4 nights? Hubby went here last year and loved the city)- Melk Abbey
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Mar 19th, 2016, 09:35 AM
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I agree that Trier could be seen during a different trip. It's a bit of an outlier, compared to the other places you've mentioned.

I'd also suggest skipping Heidelberg this time and just get to where you are wanting to focus which seems to be the alps in the south starting with Munich. Your 14 days will be used up before you know it.

I have always stayed in Garmisch to see Neuschwanstein and and Linderhof but Füssen is very close to them.

Salzburg is worth a day all on its own so if you are adding day trips to the Eagle's Nest and Hallstatt you'll need more nights there. There are several things to see in that area so you might consider renting a car for a couple of days (get an international driving permit for Austria -- it's inexpensive through AAA.)

Enjoy your planning!
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Mar 19th, 2016, 10:10 AM
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Just wanted to add- Innsbruck, Austria (hiking in Tyrol) seems like it would be a better substitute for Lucerne. Confused
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Mar 19th, 2016, 10:33 AM
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>>Just wanted to add- Innsbruck, Austria (hiking in Tyrol) seems like it would be a better substitute for Lucerne.<<

Agreed. Lucerne is quite a bit off to the west compared to Munich (almost a 4 hour drive according to Google.) A nice trip would be to concentrate in Bavaria/Tyrol area then finish off with your 4 nights in Vienna. There is a lot to do and see, including many charming villages, lakes, etc.

We'll be visiting the Austrian lakes area this June!
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Mar 19th, 2016, 10:55 AM
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Really you are trying to get too many places in too little time. Two nights in a city mean you have just one day there.

So - you have two nights (one day) in Salzburg to see everything in the city and do a day trip to see Eagle's Nest and also Hallstatt. So you are tyring to fit 3 days worth of stuff into one day.

A lot of your itinerary looks like this.

You really need to focus and cut back on destinations - to avoid spending so much time just getting from one place to another rather than seeing or doing things.
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Mar 19th, 2016, 11:23 AM
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Lucerne, Switzerland (2 nights?) – is this where we get our taste of the Alps? (please don’t laugh if this is a stupid question ;-)).>

Yes, in the far distance - my favorite place to recommend for first-timers wishing a good dish of the Alpine Wonderland you may have dreamt of visiting your whole life is the Interlaken area - around it is teh Jungfrau Region - sheer cliffs lead up thousands of feet to glacier-girdled high Alps - toylike trains and thrilling aerial gondolas go off in all directions - easy hikes to take to glaciers - a dreamland - stay in a mountain village like Grindelwald and be eyeball to eyeball with the soaring Alps:

https://www.google.com/search?q=jung...w=1745&bih=868

For lots on Swiss trains and transports, including the Jungfrau area, check www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.
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Mar 19th, 2016, 05:40 PM
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Agree that I would bag Siwtzerland and see the Alps around Salzburg rather than racing to Lucerne (or Interlaken if you want to see the Jungfrau - but you need to allow at least 2 or 3 days for that) and then racing back to Austria.

IMHO you need more time everywhere - even 3 days for Vienna is not much when you are spending a day in Melk.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 08:49 AM
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Yes agree with nytraveler - Less can indeed be more!
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:12 AM
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We went to Germany, Austria, Switzerland for 2 weeks in September. One week in Germany, Austria and one week in Switzerland. One week in Germany and Austria was not enough, as we only spent 2 days in Austria including a day trip to Hallstatt. You can see the Alps in Germany and Austria. Spend the 2 weeks in Austria and Germany and save Switzerland for another time. Switzerland is very expensive, but definitely a place to put on your bucket list, especially Jungfrau region.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:40 AM
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Thank you all for your advice! We are indeed going to leave Switzerland for another trip. Will keep this trip for Germany (Romantic Road/Bavaria) and Austria. I did more research (and considered everything you all told me). Decided we should rent a car from Frankfurt for the Romantic Road and then will travel by train in Austria.

Now our itinerary looks like this:

Day #1 (7/6) Travel Day

Day #2 (7/7) Arrive in Frankfurt (8am), Rent a Car to start the Romantic Road Trip.

Days 3, 4, 5, 6 (7/8, 7/9, 7/10), 7/11) Travel along the Autobahn B3 road making stops along the way. Wurzburg [75 miles from Frankfurt]- Rothenberg ob der Tauber [medieval old town]- Nordlingen- Augsburg- Hohenschwangau [want to see Linderhoff Palace, Neuschwanstein [82 miles sw of Munich] before dropping car off in Munich]

Days 7, 8, 9 (7/12, 7/13, 7/14) Munich (English Garden Park [rent a paddle boat], Dachau Concentration Camp [10 miles from Munich], Residenzmuseum, German Museum [oldest science/technology museum], walking tour of the city: Marienplatz – Mary’s Square, Frauenkirche Church with views of Munich, German Museum). Train to Salzburg.

Days 10, 11, 12 Salzburg (7/15, 7/16, 7/17) (Day trip to Hallstatt, Visit Mozart’s house and the Old Town, Sound of Music tour (note to self: watch the movie ), visit Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest and the Salt Mines).

Days 13, 14, 15, 16 Vienna (7/18, 7/19, 7/20, 7/21) [Melk Abbey, Old Town Walk and Ringstrasse Tram & Walking Tour, Schonbrunn Palace, day trip to Liechtenstein Castle/ Hinterbrühl (underground lake)]

Day 17 (7/22) Travel Day home

Questions: 1) where should we sleep along the Romantic Road? Rothenberg sounds lovely, Fussen? Should this be 1 nights each? 2) Is parking easy to do on our stops? 3) When we train from Salzburg to Vienna, will it be possible to stop to see Melk Abbey before we continue to Vienna or should we sleep in Melk? 4) In Salzburg (or anywhere we are headed), is there a funicular/mountain lift we can go on? Daughters would like to ride one.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 12:04 PM
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Just wanted to add Zell Am See sounds lovely and like it could be a nice day trip from Salzburg. Is this too much to fit in? Wanted to do some hiking.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 01:10 PM
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You may have to decide if you want to cut back on the Romantic Road days and/or the days in Munich if you want to add a couple of overnights in the southern Bavaria/Austrian Tyrol... possibly using Berchtesgaden as a base. (I'm mentioning this because you seem to mention a lot of day trips from Salzburg and it might be easier to just base in that area to the south rather than driving back and forth.

I don't know if you can drop your car in Berchtesgaden so that you could avoid the fees for dropping off in another country or if it's worth it to you to just bite the bullet and drop it off when you're done in Salzburg and on your way to Vienna.

Choices, choices...
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Mar 20th, 2016, 01:44 PM
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Between Augsburg and Fussen you must stop at the small but famous Wieskirche - right on the romantic road - the ordinary outside yields a treasure-trove of glittering decor on the inside:

https://www.google.com/search?q=wies...w=1745&bih=868
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Mar 20th, 2016, 05:20 PM
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Do you guys think Garmish would make a better base than Fussen to visit the surrounding area with our car?
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Mar 20th, 2016, 05:33 PM
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Melk is only a half day so you can definitely see on the way to Vienna - no need to stay overnight.

But one thing you might do is to start using the local names for places. We were driving from Salzburg to Vienna once and stopped at a highway rest stop (incredible mokka mit schlag by the way) and a couple of other americans driving asked us for directions. Said they were very confused since could not find Vienna.

We pointed out the sign right by the highway that said Wien and showed the mileage - they didn't realize that is the local name of Vienna (remember pronunciation of W and V are reversed in german).
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Mar 20th, 2016, 06:08 PM
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Nytraveler.. Will do as soon as we figure out where we are going which do you think would make a better base? Fussen or Garmish?

Trophywife- too expensive to do that but Berchtesgaden looks amazing! So confused now. Any suggestions where to cut from the Romantic Road?
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Mar 21st, 2016, 11:41 AM
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Do you guys think Garmish would make a better base than Fussen to visit the surrounding area with our car?>

Yes Garmisch has many more easy day trips by car than does Fussen IME - Innsbruck, Austria very close - Mittenwald - Herrenchiemsee Palace (the Bavarian Versailles) and even Munich.
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Mar 21st, 2016, 03:12 PM
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Oops Herrenchiemsee is not that close to Garmisch - I meant Linderhof, another of Mad Ludwig's fantasy palaces though Herrenchiemsee may be not that long by car (my favorite Mad Ludwig castle/palace - lovingly set on an island in an idyllic lake - boats from Prien the only way to get there.
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Mar 22nd, 2016, 12:11 AM
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3) When we train from Salzburg to Vienna, will it be possible to stop to see Melk Abbey before we continue to Vienna or should we sleep in Melk?

Are you totally sold on doing this segment via train? With the stop in Melk you can not take advantage of the "cheap" Westbahn tickets from Salzburg to Vienna (€25 one-way per person) and will need to use ÖBB, the Austrian state railway. ÖBB offers "Sparscheine" (savings) tickets, but those must be purchased well in advance and usually for specific trains and travel times; otherwise, you'll be at the mercy of their regular fares.

In July, the vineyards of the Wachau Valley (Melk-Durnstein-Krems) will be in gorgeous full bloom. Perhaps consider keeping your rental car and dropping it in Vienna (look at drop fees, of course) in order to enjoy the ability to stop along the Wachau Valley whenever inspired for photos, lunch in the vineyards or one of the towns, etc.
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Mar 22nd, 2016, 08:43 AM
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Agree with 44travel - keep the car and drive along the Wachau Valley of which Melk is a town at the beginning of the gorgeous valley - then drive downstream to Vienna.

but taking a train to Melk is easy (but it is not on the main Salzburg to Vienna traian line)- the station is very close to the abbey and then trains Melk to Vienna go all the time and are cheap so book the longer portion Salzburg to Melk at sites 44travel mentions.
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