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Need Advice on Rhine Valley, Black Forest, Munich

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Aug 14th, 2010, 03:21 PM
  #1
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Need Advice on Rhine Valley, Black Forest, Munich

Hi All -
I'm planning a trip to Germany for about 15 days at the end of October first week of November and wanted to get some advice how long to stay in each area. Also I would like to get advise on which areas we should rent a car or use public transportation. I'm from Wyoming and haven't done a ton of city or major urban driving.... will this be an issue? I know this is a ton of questions but any advice would be greatly welcome!

I was considering 4 -5 main areas to visit:
Fly into Frankfurt
1. Rhine Valley
2. Baden-Baden/Black Forest
3. Romantic Road from Wuzburg-Fussen
4. Munich
Fly out of Munich

1st Area -RHINE VALLEY
Fly into Frankfurt 8am - Rent a car or take a train (which is better?) to the middle Rhine valley. We would like to see Rheinfels Ruins, Burt Eltz Castle and Marksburg Castle.

1. How many days and night would you commit to the area?
2. Would renting a car be better than using the train system/boat system?( Better being cheaper and faster/less hassle with getting lost )
3. Any day trips really worth the time?


2nd area - BADEN-BADEN
I love hot springs/spas and am really excited to visit Caracalla and maybe visit the concert hall and perhaps do some day hikes if the weather permits.

1. Would you drive from the Rhine Valley to Baden-Baden or take the train?
2. Are there other towns nearby that that have nice Springs/Spas to soak in?
3. How many days/night should we stay here. I've seen some plans that have people staying a week while others only have a single night.
4. Any good day hike you would suggest?


3rd Area - ROMANTIC ROAD ( I need alot of advice for this area)
These is where things get a little hazy for me. I personally love to plan down to the tiniest detail while my friend wants to be a little more free flowing. She wants to do the Romantic Road unplanned and stopping where we feel like it over a couple day period.

Can this be done? How long would you devote to seeing the highlights ie. Rothenburg, Wuzburg, and some how get down to Fussen to see the castles in a timely manner? I would like to stay the night in or near Fussen to get a good start on the castles the next day. Any suggestions for this part of the trip would be welcome. Are affordable rooms hard to get in this area without reservations? (I have to admit this part worries me.) And finally - How would you make the connection from Baden-Baden up to Wuzburg/Rothenburg- train or car?


4rd Area MUNICH
1. So I was thinking of leaving the rental car in Fussen and taking the train up to Munich. OR driving up to Munich and dropping off the rental car. Which would be faster/more convenient for someone with out a ton of inner city driving?
2. Would 3 or 4 days be enough time to enjoy Munich's galleries and historic sights?
3. When I visited England we used a card called the Heritage pass to get into Government/Historical/Museum run sites at a discount... is there anything like that in Germany/Munich.

Any and all advice is appreciated!!!!
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Aug 14th, 2010, 04:55 PM
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I spent a month in southern Germany in 1996 and it was perfect. We rented a car at the outset and had no problems driving (a few surprises but no problem). You might like to read my trip diary as we flew into Frankfurt, headed to the Rhine and on from there. It was a wonderful trip. [email protected] E-mail if you'd like some advice. Obviously you're not staying as long as I did.
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Aug 14th, 2010, 05:28 PM
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As you describe it, it is definitely a road trip (drop the car when you get to Munich). Driving in Germany is easy, roads are good, signs clearly marked.

There are just a couple of things to know.

On the highway drive in the right lane ALWAYS, unless you are passing. Unless in an area with a speed limit on the autobahn the right lane will go 70 to 80 with faster cars swinging out to pass on a regular basis. You will also be passed by Mercedes and Porsches doing 120 to 130 and Ferraris and similar going as fast as they can. You CANNOT get in their way - beside being a major traffic hazard it will kill your nerves as they speed up behind you flashing and honking.

Most of the towns are old and small and have limited parking. Often there are lots (which may have a pay machine or may be free) but you need to be able to park the car - either head in or parallel on either side, in spots barely bigger than the car.

Gas is about $8 per gallon but cars are typically much smaller than in the US and get much better mileage.

A road trip will give you the opportunity to set your own schedule (important in shoulder/of season when tours in English may be less frequent) and stop when you see something of interest - rather than watch it disappear out of view in a train window. We have done numerous road trips in europe,including quite a few at least partly in Germany, and loved them all.
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Aug 14th, 2010, 07:36 PM
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One man's (originally native of Germany):

From Frankfurt aireport, take tyrain to9 Koblenz. Recover there from jet lag (assuming you are from the US).

Take train to one of the villages between Koblenz and Bingen (see www.bahn.de for schedules and prices). Take boat downriver back to Koblenz.

Pick up car in Koblenz. (Now follow a map Koblenz along the Mosel to Trier. Trier on the Autobahn A-1 to the A-62 to the A-6, A-6 to the exit 19. Take the A-65/A35 south to the exit 56, and then the road to Baden-Baden, or the paralell road , the Weinstrasse" from Bad Duerkheim to Neustadt and the the A-35, etc..

From Koblenz to Baden-Baden, I would stay at least one night in Trier, primarily because the Mosel deserves a leisurely drive, and Trier actually is worth at least a whole day.

I'm not a "soaker", so I wouldn't stay more than three nighs n B-B.

Now you have a choice: If you have not bought your ticket, you might want to buy an "open jaw", Home - FRA - MUC - Home, or a ticket Home - FRA - Home.

Open jaw: From Baden - Baden drive to Pforzheim, via the (good) back roads Gernsbach - Bad Herrenalb, Engelsbrand (I have nmot driven thISroaD)
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Aug 14th, 2010, 08:14 PM
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Sorry, I lost the site: here goes again:

I have not driven this road, but it looks fine. From Pforzheim take the A-8 to Leonberg (exit 50), and to A-6 at Weinsberg. From there the A-6 east takes you to the A-7, and on the A-7, north you will fid Rothenburg (20km)

Now you should know, there is nothing Romantic about tne Romantic Highway. It is a secondary road that connects several pretty old towns. In fact, it is superb marketing job.

You can do Wuerzburg (where I was born) as a day trip from Rothenburg,, or stay there a few days. I like the Best Western hotel there. It's quite luxurious and has a good location to visit on foot the town center, the Residenz palace and by car, bus or taxi,the castle Marienberg.

From Rothenurg (or Wuerzburg),take the A-7 south to Fuessen (about 2 1/2hrs from Rothenburg). To get to Munich, I would go Fuessen, Reutte, Lermoos, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and on the autobahn A - 95 to Munich.

If you were to return Home from FRA, I would go from Baden-Baden to Gernsbach and thensouth on the Schwarzwald Taelertstrasse B-462)(Black Forest Valley Road) to Freudenstadt, continue on the B-294 south to Schiltach, do the detour on the B-294 to the Freilicht Museum Vogtsbauernhof (Free air Museum of a typical Black Forest community), and thencontinue on the B-33 to the B-64 and the Autobahn A-81 to the A-98, which will take you to Lake Austria and Switzerland.

Along the nort hore of the Bosdensee, go east on the B-31 to Uberlingen, Meersbrg (worth an extended stop),Lindau (another stop)and from there to Fuessen, via the B - 308, part of the German Alpine Highway (Lindau, Oberstaufen, Immentadt (I grew up there), Sonthofen, Hindelang, Oberjoch, Nesselwaengle in Austria, Weissenbach, Reutte, Fuessen). You then would cover Rothenurg on your way from Munich to Frankfurt.

I should mention that I have driven virually all the roads I referred to. They are good and , mostly scenic, roads.
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Aug 14th, 2010, 11:50 PM
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On different trips I have done the Rhine/Mosel areas from Bacharach and from Rudesheim. Both are good, though different: Rudesheim is more of a night-life town whereas Bacharach is just a nice place to be. I don't know Baden-Baden but I've spent much time in Heidelberg, on one occasion joining the Romantic Road from there via Bad Wimpfen to Rothenburg-o-d-T where we stayed the night. On another occasion we started the Romantic Road from Wurzburg and overnighted further down at Donauworth. Both were good: Donauworth is quiet, whereas Rothenburg takes on an air of magic once the tourist buses have gone and the locals come out (around mid-afternoon). Dinkelsbuhl and Nordlingen on the Romantic Road are also worth seeing, as is Landsberg-a-L and Fussen further down (in the vicinity of Neuschwanstein Castle which Disney based his on).

Looks a good trip, and as others have said, driving is a breeze.
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Aug 15th, 2010, 02:26 AM
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Thanks for all the replies! I've been able to refine my driving route quite alot. So the plan is as follows:

Day 1 - Fly from the states
Day 2 - Arrive in Frankfurt drive to Bacharach
vist St. Goar (6 miles away)
Day 3 - Marksburg Castle, cruise river or drive
Day 4 - Day trip visit Burt Ellz Castle, explore
Day 5 - Drive to Trier - visit roman ruins, day on the town
Day 6 - Drive to Baden-Baden (3 hour drive) walk around town
Day 7 - Baden-Baden Spa, concert or hike maybe visit the casino
Day 8 - Drive to Wurzburg via route treplow suggested
(2-3 hour drive) Visit the residence
Day 9 - Drive to Rothenburg (1 hour) town and night tour
Day 10- Drive along the "Romantic Road" and stop
somewhere unplanned my concession to my friend
Day 11 Castles/ Fussen drive to Munich
Day 12 Munich
Day 13 Munich
Day 14 Munich
Day 15 Fly home out of Munich

Any suggestions or comments appreciated! I added Trier after doing some research. Do you think this is doable or will we be rushed?
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Aug 15th, 2010, 05:47 AM
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Driving in Germany is OK, but I wouldn't drive your itinerary, which is served nicely by train and would no doubt be cheaper that way.

I would definitely not drive on Day 1. You may have gotten very little sleep on your flight over and may not be up to driving, especially in a new country.

I would suggest that you combine a visit to Burg Eltz with a visit to Cochem, the most charming of the Mosel villages, IMO. Great falconry show at Reichsburg Castle runs through October; see photos:

http://www.falknerei-reichsburg-cochem.de/fotobuch.htm

You and up to 4 others can ride trains all day if you wish between Bacharach and Cochem for trips to Eltz, Marksburg, etc. 20 Euros per day on a mini-group ticket. For 3 days, it's only 40 Euros:

http://www.vrminfo.de/vrm/english/si...ini-group.html

Walking to Burg Eltz:

http://www.bensbauernhof.com/burgeltzfrommoselkern.html

Baden-Baden is a spa town that really has very little to do with the Black Forest. But you can get there from Bacharach for 19 Euros each using advance purchase tix at

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

B-B to W'burg would cost 28 Euros, and W'burg to your R-R stop and to Füssen, and Munich would too. The daypass idea has caught on there.

I figure that by train, your travel costs would be around 250 Euros total. Trains are frequent and generally easy to use, and stations are well marked. Ticket machines (in English) allow you to check travel itineraries and print them, making impromptu changes a simple matter.

You might want to rent a car for a couple of days if you are sold on traveling the exact Romantic Road by car between W'burg and Füssen, as the train doesn't follow it precisely, but then I don't know how important it is for you to see those towns and to skip others that the trains serve. Bamberg and Nuremberg are two very worthwhile destinations that lie off the R-R and that many visitors bypass. But they're served by train.
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Aug 15th, 2010, 08:04 AM
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You have more than enough days in Munich. You may want to consider a day trip by train to Salzburg. The rail journey is only 1.5 hours and Salzburg is a very special place to visit. You can leave in the morning, tour the old town and fortress, have lunch, and be back in Munich late afternoon.
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Aug 15th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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I don't understand the jet lag on the way over. I have been to europe 30 times and my problem is on the way back. It took almost a week to get back to regular hrs. 2 weeks ago. jayvee
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Aug 15th, 2010, 12:02 PM
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Aug 15th, 2010, 03:10 PM
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I, too, would not rent a car for this trip. Much less stress and cost to take the trains, as Russ said.
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Aug 15th, 2010, 04:41 PM
  #13
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Thanks for all the answers!
So in the off season would you all recommend public transport or renting a car?

I guess we could combine the two... use public transport from Frankfurt to the Rhine/Mosel valley and then use a car rental from Trier to Fussen.

Russ- How does the minipass work? is it only good for a specific region? Is it just trains or does it include boats and buses as well?

Finally, would you all recommend visiting Salzburg or adding another day around the black forest ie. Freiburg
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Aug 15th, 2010, 05:55 PM
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The 20-Euro mini group ticket on the Rhine and Mosel covers trains and buses, not boats. The tickets can purchased at VRM ticket machines (the local transit authority) at stations between Bacharach and Cochem. It's only good for that particular region.

http://www.vrminfo.de/vrm/english/si...comb-plan.html

The other 28-Euro regional passes for groups are Laender tickets, valid in wider areas for trains and buses:

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