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Need help planning my itinerary: Germany in 2 Weeks

Need help planning my itinerary: Germany in 2 Weeks

Dec 13th, 2010, 04:00 PM
  #1  
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Need help planning my itinerary: Germany in 2 Weeks

This will be my first independent trip outside of North America and I'm not sure if I may be packing to much into the 2 weeks I have at my disposal. Originally, I was intending to have a 3 day stay in Paris and then travel to Germany for the rest of my trip, but now I'm leaning towards spending the whole 2 weeks in Germany (leaving Paris for another trip later in the year). Still, I have a feeling I may be too ambitious in how much I can do in Germany for my 2 weeks allotted time. Any help in this matter and also any suggestions on alternative destinations (in Germany) would be greatly appreciated.

The rough draft of my itinerary thus far:

Day 1: Arrive in Munich and travel to Garmisch. Spend day exploring the Bavarian Alps. Sleep in Garmisch.

Day 2: Travel to Fussen to visit Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Later travel back to Garmisch for sleep, stopping to visit Schloss Linderhof en route.

Day 3: Travel to Prien to visit Schloss Herrenchiemsee in Lake Chiemsee. Travel back to Garmisch for sleep.

Day 4: Travel to, explore and sleep in Munich.

Day 5: Second day exploring and sleeping in Munich.

Day 6: Travel to Stranberg to explore to eastern shore of Lake Stranbergersee. Travel to and sleep in Nuremberg (by way of Munich.)

Day 7: Spend day exploring Nuremberg and sleep.

Day 8: Travel to and explore Bamberg. Travel back to Nuremberg for sleep.

Day 9: Travel to and sleep in Dresden, stopping to explore Bayreuth en route.

Day 10: Spend day exploring Dresden and sleep.

Day 11: Travel to, explore and sleep in Berlin.

Day 12: Travel to Potsdam to visit Schloss Sanssouci and Neues Palais. Travel back to Berlin for sleep.

Day 13: Travel to, explore and sleep in Leipzig.

Day 14: Travel to, explore and sleep in Eisenach.

Day 15: Travel to, explore and sleep in Frankfurt.

Day 16: Depart from Frankfurt.

Thoughts???
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 04:59 PM
  #2  
 
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While we wait for someone to tell you not to drop Paris because you will like it better than Germany......

Are you going to be driving? I ask because I am not certain if the rail and/or bus connections across the Alps are going to be great for your days 1-3. An option is to stay in Munich the whole time (5 days) and do some day trips on the off days.
Two days in Nurnberg and Dresden on the way to Berlin makes sense.

Your time from Berlin on seems very "pressed". It will take 2.5 hours to get there from Dresden so half a day is gone. You then get an afternoon and evening in Berlin, the better part of the next day in Potsdam and one more evening back in Berlin. That is only 2 evenings and one afternoon in Berlin - the afternoon is when you arrive and when the museums would be open but you won't have your bearings. Very little time. Then, it is a 3 day race back to Frankfurt through Leipzig and Eisenach, right when you will be looking for some slower pacing.

If you have to arrive and depart from MUC and FRA, I suggest you consider dropping either Berlin or Leipzig/Eisenach.

If you dropped Berlin, you could add a day in Dresden and a day in either Leipzig or Eisenach.

If you dropped Leipzig/Eisenach, you could add 2 days to Berlin.
Aramis is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 05:06 PM
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Hi Abraxas,

I call this a "blitzkrieg" approach. I'm sure most people will tell you to slow down so that you are not spending all of your time on trains and also so you can experience more than just a few hours in each place. I will echo that but with the caveat that sometimes the blitzkrieg approach works well although I prefer to combine it with spending more significant time in some destinations on any one trip (by the way that longer time does not mean sitting around at the pool but rather seeing all of the sights in a place and not just the highlights).

One of the benefits of independent travel rather than tour groups is that if you really like a place you don't have to leave b/c your tour company makes you go. However your plan is more like a tour company's - it will force you to leave to keep on your schedule. So what I might do is start your trip with your itinerary in mind but don't prebook most of it so that when you get to destination X and like it more than just one day's worth, you can decide to stay and drop one of your other day trips. Honestly there is nothing worse than feeling like "well I'll just have to see the rest next time" - and if you feel like that about most of your destinations then you will feel like you have to do the same trip all over again!

I just got back from Germany and want to give you an example of where I mixed the blitzkrieg approach with more leisurly travel. My trip was 10 days total with the last 3 days in Nuremberg and the 3 days before that in Munich. For various reasons I had to push back my days in Munich back by one but didn't want to give up my 3 days in Nuremberg. So I decided to switch my schedule to spend a day in Nuremberg on my way to Munich as well as return there after Munich.

Unfortunately due to a huge conference there was not a single hotel in Nuremberg (nor nearby areas) to be found and I spent 2 weeks hoping something would open up and then went to Germany with the idea that I would figure it out when I got there. Nothing opened up and finally I ended up having to spend the night in Bamberg - a town I'd never heard of that was 45-60 min away from Nuremberg and which required an extra change of trains and a late night arrival just to get there. As you might expect I was not too pleased with this.

However, 1) got the last hotel room in Bamberg (literally) and 2) read about the city on the train ride and decided it sounded excellent. So I decided that since I was there I should see it - instead of spending the whole next day in Nuremberg as orginally planned. So despite my late night arrival, I got up early and did almost a full day of exploring before departing on the 4pm train to Nuremberg. Normally a 5pm arrival would be too late to see anything in Nuremberg (remember I was going to Munich that night) but I'd planned this to arrive on the day that the 2 museums by the train station were open late until 9pm (and one was free that night). So after a decent day in Bamberg (totally rushing all day but saw 80% of what I would like to see), I then checked my luggage at Nuremberg and from 5 - 9 went to these 2 museums, then got my luggage and got on the 9:30 train to Munich arriving at 11:15.

This was a blitzkrieg day - in 3 cities and sightseeing from 9am to 9pm. It was fantastic and I was so pleased that I had organized it to take advantage of the trains and late hours to give myself an efficient look at many things.

By contrast on this same trip I spent a little over 2 days in Weimar - a smaller city. During that time I got the 24 hour museum pass and saw all the museums, went to Buchenwald, went to a concert, went shopping, wandered around the market, went to great restaurants, checked out post communist development and feel I have a great feel for the city and just loved it. That was the slower approach.

Personally I really like to mix it up like that and I think you should give yourself the opportunity to do that as well.

Regarding your specific cities, I've been to about half of them. While I was saying how much I liked Bamberg in my particular story, I notice you plan to spend about the same amount of time in Bamberg, Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig and Frankfurt. All of these other cities are bigger than Bamberg (and Berlin is like New York) so spending the same amount of time in them probably does not make that much sense.

Good luck!
SusanC is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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You will be exhausted, you won't have time to do any sightseeing in te places you plan to visit and everything will just become one big blur. Besides, some of the "day trips" can't be done in one day.

At this time it is hard for me to recommend what you should include, and what to drop. I suspect, that many of the places you listed are suggestions from friends as "must sees". But they really are "can't sees all".

Take a look at Day 1: You pobably won't arrive in Munich before noon. It will take you a good 2 1/2 hours to leave the airport, take the train to Munich, and make the connection to Garmisch.

As for "exploring the Bavarian Alps" The alps stretch over several 100 miles. What you can do in Garmisch, take the train or cable carto the top of the Zugspitze. That will take up more than half a day. If the weather isn't clear, forget it. Do something else, like visting Mittenwald, or Fuessen or Linderhof. In other words, plan some felxcibility to allow for adverse weather.

Day2: Getting to Fuessen from Garmisch takes a train and bus, ditto for the return. Unless you plan to drive, Linderhof is off the beaten path. Or you can go by bus to Linderhof from Garmisch and return. I, personally, like Linderhof better than Neuschwanstein, etc.

Garmisch to Prien and just getting to the island palace will take you nearly half the day, ditto for the return to Garmisch. Makes no sense to return to Garmisch.

Do Herrenchiemsee (the name of the palace) from Munich, 1 hour train ride.

Skip Starnberg; Prien etc. is mor scenic and interesting.

Fly from Munich to Berlin, or take the ICE train. Flying will save you about 3 hours over the train, incl. getting to and from airports etc.

Spend at least 4 nights in Berlin.There is so much to see. On the first day, take a 4-hour boat sightseeing tour to get a sense of the immensity of the city and the many city centers, located widely apart. The visit some specific sites, that day and the nexy. Potsdam is certainly worth a whole day. Take a tour.

Take the train from Berlin to either Leipsig or Dresden. Spend at least 2 nights in each city. I really like Dresden, haven't been to Leipzig since WWII. If you are a Bach friend, then do Leipzig and Weimar/ Eisenach, on the return to Frankfurt. Outside of Eienach is the Wartburg, one of Germany most famlous castles. Worth a visit, will take about 1/2 a day.

If you can include a swing through Nuertnberg, Bamberg or Bayreuth on your trip to Frankfurt, fine. You won't have time to do them all.

I'll be glad to help you with your planning, so will be many others. But your have to be more realistic about what you can accomplish in 2 weeks.
treplow is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 05:25 PM
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PS, when I started my epistle, there were no other postings. Wll, I guess we all three had sort of the same reaction, with diverse advise. Take all to heart and revise your plans. Had to laught about the "Blitzkrieg" reference That was pretty "blitzig" when Germany advanced during WWII, it was almost as "blitzig" on the return.
treplow is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 05:40 PM
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Yes - wasn't sure if it was politically correct or if I was even spelling it right (on a Germany post no less) but couldn't resist.....

You haven't been to Leipzig since WWII? I went for the first time in Nov 2001 and then again last Nov when I was in Berlin/former GDR for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. I really liked it a lot although I was shocked by how much it had changed from 2001 - 9. A lot more lights for sure! Took some time to get used to since I'd kinda fallen for the the grey concrete city of 2001....
SusanC is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 06:03 PM
  #7  
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I see. Well, I have personal reasons for choosing the places I did on my itinerary. So, of course, it will be hard to edit, but I know I must.

As to your question, Aramis. I planned on traveling by train or bus, exclusively. I'd rather not have to rent a car. Your idea about staying in Munich for the whole first 5 days makes sense in light of all this new information.

I like the "blitzkrieg" analogy, Susan. And your story was very helpful and I will indeed try to mix both approaches. I realize that in the end the itinerary is only a guideline and does not have to be set-in-stone.

I figured that my itinerary was too jam-packed and I would need a vacation from my vacation when I was done, Treplow. However, I'd rather not skip any of the Ludwig II related stuff, mostly due to a personal interest in the man. I'll have to make edits elsewhere.

As for Berlin, if it appears like it is wedged into my plans (to which you all pointed out), it's because it is. I don't have a huge interest in Berlin other than seeing the museums and visiting Potsdam. This in itself leaves me in a sort of dilemma.

Any more suggestions are more than welcome and I'd gladly accept help with the planning from all you fine ladies and gentlemen. In the meantime, I'll try to come up with a revised itinerary and post it up soonish.
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 14th, 2010, 08:32 PM
  #8  
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Okay, my revised itinerary:

Day One: Arrive in Munich and travel to Garmisch via rental car. Spend afternoon taking cable car to the peak of Zugspitze Mountain and visiting Richard Strauss' villa. Sleep in Garmisch.

Day Two: Travel to Schloss Linderhof and spend day exploring. Travel to Fussen in the afternoon for sleep.

Day Three: Spend day exploring Schloss Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Travel to Munich in the afternoon for sleep. Return rental car.

Day Four: Explore Munich's Old Town in the morning - Frauenkirche, Marienplatz, Michaelskirche, Neues Rathaus and Viktualienmarkt. Spend the afternoon at the Alte Pinakothek. Sleep in Munich

Day Five: Take the Third Reich Munich walking tour in the morning. Explore Royal Munich in the afternoon - Residenz, Feldherrnhalle, Haus der Kunst and Hofbrauhaus. Sleep in Munich.

Day Six: Travel to Starnbergersee in the morning and visit the Konig Ludwig II Votivkapelle Berg. Return to Munich in the afternoon to explore the Englischer Garten and visit Oswald Spengler's grave in Nordfriedhof. Sleep in Munich.

Day Seven: Travel to Lake Chiemsee and explore Schloss Herrenchiemsee in the morning. Travel back to Munich in the afternoon and on to Nuremberg for sleep.

Day Eight: Explore Nuremberg's Old Town in the morning - Albrecht-Durer-Haus, Kaiserburg, Altes Rathaus, Frauenkirche and Hauptmarkt. Explore the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in the afternoon. Sleep in Nuremberg.

Day Nine: Travel to Dresden stopping to explore Bayreuth in the morning - Neues Schloss, Markgrafliches Opernhaus, Festspielhaus and Wahnfried. Sleep in Dresden.

Day Ten: Explore Dresden in the morning - Frauenkirche, Residenzschloss, Neues Grunes Gewolbe and Semperoper. Visit the Zwinger and Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister in the afternoon. Sleep in Dresden.

Day Eleven: Visit the Albertinum and the Galerie Neue Meister in the morning. Travel to Wernigerode in the afternoon for sleep.

Day Twelve: Take the Harzquerbahn steam train up the Brocken to the summit in the morning. Explore the Altstadt and Schloss Wernigerode in the afternoon. Sleep in Wernigerode.

Day Thirteen: Travel to Eisenach in the morning. Explore Schloss Wartburg in the afternoon. Sleep in Eisenach.

Day Fourteen: Visit the Lutherhaus, the Bachhaus and Reuter-Wagner-Museum in the morning. Travel to Frankfurt in the afternoon for sleep.

Day Fifteen: Visit the Schopenhauer-Archive at the Universitätsbibliothek and his grave at the Hauptfriedhof in the morning. Visit the Goethehaus und Goethemuseum and Alte Oper in the afternoon. Later explore the Sachsenhausen. Sleep in Frankfurt.

Day Sixteen: Depart from Frankfurt.

Am I still blitzkrieg-ing my way through Germany???
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 14th, 2010, 11:59 PM
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An ambitious itinerary, but not Blitzkrieg IMO ;-)

For the Dresden portion - Day Ten: A bit too many museums in too short time for my taste. You'll be overwhelmed by the jewelleries in the Neues Grünes Gewölbe and the other exhibits (Turkish chamber!) in the Residenzschloss that morning. (Btw, no visit of the Historic Green Vault? ;-) ) I personally would not want to add a visit of the Old Masters Gallery in the afternoon but spend a leisurely afternoon on the paddle steamer on the way to Pillnitz Palace and gardens, have a nice walk in the beautiful park there and then head back to downtown.

My suggestion is to deduct one day from the Munich area and add it to Dresden to have more time to enjoy the museums and to see at least a bit of the rest of the city - especially since the outskirts/19th century residential areas along the river are so beautiful.
Ingo is online now  
Dec 15th, 2010, 12:08 AM
  #10  
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Excellent suggestion, Ingo. Thanks!
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 15th, 2010, 12:10 AM
  #11  
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Oh, I did include the historic Green Vault but I wrote it in German.
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 15th, 2010, 12:49 AM
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No, I don't think you included the Historic Green Vault (Historisches Grünes Gewölbe), you included the NEW Green Vault (Neues Grünes Gewölbe). Huge difference!

Too see both would probably a bit too much in one day.
Ingo is online now  
Dec 15th, 2010, 12:57 AM
  #13  
 
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I don't know when you are planning your trip, but there is a Schopenhauer exhibition at the City Archives in the Karmeliter Cloister in Frankfurt until 30 Jan. The link is only in German, but you can get the dates and times. Let me know if you want more info.

The Karmeliter Cloister itself is a treat, with the largest wall paintings North of the Alps, painted in the early 1500's by Joerg Ratgeb.

http://www.stadtgeschichte-ffm.de/ve...openhauer.html
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Dec 15th, 2010, 01:22 AM
  #14  
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I revised per Ingo's suggestions by editing a day out of Munich and adding a day in Dresden:

Day One: Arrive in Munich and travel to Garmisch via rental car. Spend afternoon taking cable car to the peak of Zugspitze Mountain and visiting Richard Strauss' villa. Sleep in Garmisch.

Day Two: Travel to Schloss Linderhof and spend day exploring. Travel to Fussen in the afternoon for sleep.

Day Three: Spend day exploring Schloss Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Travel to Munich in the afternoon for sleep. Return rental car.

Day Four: Explore Munich's Old Town in the morning - Frauenkirche, Marienplatz, Michaelskirche, Neues Rathaus and Viktualienmarkt. Spend the afternoon at the Alte Pinakothek and visit Oswald Spengler's grave in Nordfriedhof. Sleep in Munich.

Day Five: Take the Third Reich Munich walking tour in the morning. Explore Royal Munich in the afternoon - Residenz, Feldherrnhalle, Haus der Kunst and Hofbrauhaus. Sleep in Munich.

Day Six: Travel to Lake Chiemsee and explore Schloss Herrenchiemsee in the morning. Return to Munich in the afternoon to explore the Englischer Garten and travel on to Nuremberg for sleep.

Day Seven: Explore Nuremberg's Old Town in the morning - Albrecht-Durer-Haus, Kaiserburg, Altes Rathaus, Frauenkirche and Hauptmarkt. Explore the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in the afternoon. Sleep in Nuremberg.

Day Eight: Travel to Dresden stopping to explore Bayreuth in the morning - Neues Schloss, Markgrafliches Opernhaus, Festspielhaus and Wahnfried. Sleep in Dresden.

Day Nine: Explore Dresden in the morning - Frauenkirche, Residenzschloss, Neues Grunes Gewolbe and Semperoper. Visit the Schloss und Park Pillnitz in the afternoon.

Day Ten: Visit the Albertinum and the Galerie Neue Meister in the morning. Explore the outskirts and residential areas of Dresden along the river Elbe in the afternoon. Sleep in Dresden.

Day Eleven: Visit the Zwinger and Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister in the morning. Travel to Wernigerode in the afternoon for sleep.

Day Twelve: Take the Harzquerbahn steam train up the Brocken to the summit in the morning. Explore the Altstadt and Schloss Wernigerode in the afternoon. Sleep in Wernigerode.

Day Thirteen: Travel to Eisenach in the morning. Explore Schloss Wartburg in the afternoon. Sleep in Eisenach.

Day Fourteen: Visit the Lutherhaus, the Bachhaus and Reuter-Wagner-Museum in the morning. Travel to Frankfurt in the afternoon for sleep.

Day Fifteen: Visit the Schopenhauer-Archive at the Universitätsbibliothek and his grave at the Hauptfriedhof in the morning. Visit the Goethehaus und Goethemuseum and Alte Oper in the afternoon. Later explore the Sachsenhausen. Sleep in Frankfurt.

Day Sixteen: Depart from Frankfurt.

Any more suggestions?
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 15th, 2010, 01:31 AM
  #15  
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Oh, I see, Ingo...

Mainhattengirl - I'm planning the trip for some time in April / May so I guess I'll be too late to catch that (what a shame!) However, if you know of any other Schopenhauer related stuff let me know, please. Also, I'm not sure exactly where the Schopenhauer-Archive is located in Frankfurt. Can you help?
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 15th, 2010, 02:04 AM
  #16  
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or any other interesting places I should consider visiting in my one day in Frankfurt. Admittedly, if it wasn't for the fact that Schopenhauer lived in Frankfurt for the last 27 years of his life I don't know if I would have bothered visiting Frankfurt at all. Perhaps just to depart from. As your user name suggests it seems to me like it is just another New York City and to quote Spengler - "The stone Colossus, "Cosmopolis," stands at the end of the life-course of every great Culture. Its image, as it appears with all its grandiose beauty in the light-world of the human eye, contains the whole noble death-symbolism of the definitive thing-become. The spirit-pervaded stone of Gothic buildings, after a millennium of style-evolution, has become the soulless material of this daemonic stone-desert."
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 15th, 2010, 05:10 AM
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I don't know most of the castles you have mentioned but have 2 comments to your Munich and Nuremberg plans (having just been there).

Day 4 Munich - you mention the Alte Pinakotek. For a total of 12 euros (just a bit more than the reg admission) you can buy a ticket that is good at 5 museums - 4 of which are right next to each other. Alte, Neue and Modern Pinakoteks, plus another contemporary one (someone's name which I can't remember) and 1 other that is further away. I would pay the few extra euros and then you can see all of them - if you visit 2 you have your money's worth and you can at least check out the others. Alternatively I think on Sundays the admission is 1 euro.

Day 7 Nuremeberg - they just reopened the Nuremberg Trials courtroom and exhibit to the public. If court is in session you won't be able to visit it (going on weekend eliminates this possibility) and there is a very interesting exhibit about how the trials came about, how it was determined what type of international law to use, the defendents and their backgrounds and what happened to them, etc. Also if you buy a ticket to the city museums (most of the attractions you listed) for 5 euros, for an additional 2.5 euros you will get admission to all the rest for free on that same day. I only made it to 2 (Dokumentation Center and Nuremberg trials - note these 2 took me the whole day) but still the 7.50 was less than separate admission to each.
SusanC is offline  
Dec 15th, 2010, 08:25 AM
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Excellent, do you think one afternoon is enough time to visit two museums in Munich? Also, I'll have to try to fit in the Nuremberg Trials courtroom and exhibit into my one full day in Nuremberg as I have an interest in the victor's justice that occurred there. I wish I had more time in Nuremberg as one day is clearly not enough. Thanks for the tips, Susan.
Abraxas is offline  
Dec 15th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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The morning of day four (Munich) is not too ambitious IMO (Marienplatz and Neues Rathaus are done in a few minutes) so you could probably fit in that morning one other museum. Or add some other sights in the centre, like another church (or will you be churched-out by then?) or a walk in the Hofgarten e.g.

I would have a closer look at the museums in Munich - I doubt you're interested in all the art they show. It ranges from medieval to contemporary. I am not a fan of the contemporary/modern art, thus didn't like the Pinakothek der Moderne at all. Highlight IMO is the Neue Pinakothek and you might want to add the more intimate, charming Sammlung Schack.
Ingo is online now  
Dec 15th, 2010, 09:15 AM
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Linderhof

As to your question, Aramis. I planned on traveling by train or bus, exclusively. I'd rather not have to rent a car>

Well if doing all of that by train and bus then by all means look at the German Railpass for 10 days of unlimited travel in a one-month period - a so-called flexipass - with a daily cost of $45 a day or about 35 euros a day and this allows you to virtually hop on any train anytime - even the express trains that the Lander (Regional) passes do not allow you to. (If traveling with someone else then a Twin Pass for 10 days p.p. drops to $35/day or about 25 euros/day p.p. The pass may be your best bet because you are traveling between regions - if you were just in say Bavaria then the Bavarian pass would be the best but trains between regions - long-distance trains can be very expensive, especially if flexibility is wished - just to show up at the station and hop any of the zillions of trains going everywhere. The alternative would be to take advantage of the Lander Cards -Regional Passes and then try to get so-called SPAR fares on www.bahn.de - the German Rail web site where you can score deep discounts if you book well in advance and cannot change trains or refund, etc. Anyway you can calculate everything at www.bahn.de and compare to the pass. But if flexibility to hop any train anytime, say when going between Erfurt and Frankfurt then these type fares are really expensive and just a few can make the pass pay off.
For great sites to help plan a German train trip I always spotlight these Wunderbar sites: www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com.

And one Mad Ludwig site you left out in OP is Linderhop, easily reached by bus from Garmisch - another Mad Ludwig castle with a surprise at every turn.
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