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Please Critique Our Prague to Stuttgart Itinerary

Please Critique Our Prague to Stuttgart Itinerary

Jun 14th, 2013, 05:02 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 138
Please Critique Our Prague to Stuttgart Itinerary

We are planning a two week trip to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic in late August. Our flights into Prague and out of Stuttgart have been booked so our start and end points are fixed, but everything in between is still subject to change. Please let us know if we have allocated the appropriate amount of time for planned activities and point out any flaws in our logistical planning. We are early risers and energetic travelers, so we are not afraid of a full agenda. We also like to have a plan, but will change it on a whim if something unplanned catches our attention.

Monday – Arrive Prague at 1:00pm via connection in Frankfurt. Not sure how long it takes to get from airport to hotel (and haven’t settled on a hotel yet, but assume we will be staying in Staré Mesto), and figure that by the time we get checked in, drop our bags and grab lunch it will be at least 3:00 before we head to Prague Castle to visit the Picture Gallery (which we understand is free on Mondays) and purchase tickets for next day’s visit. Enjoy views of the city from the castle grounds and try to orient ourselves, before heading back to the hotel.

We understand that entry onto the Prague Castle grounds is free, but that tickets are required to enter the buildings. We also understand there are two types of tickets to Prague Castle: the Long Tour and the Short Tour. We are thinking the Short Tour will work for us since it includes entry into the Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica, Golden Lane and Daliborka Tower. The short tour does not include entry into the Powder Tower, the Picture Gallery, and the Convent of Saint George, but since we can see the Picture Gallery without a ticket on Monday, we will only miss the Powder Tower and the Convent. Please let us know if you think skipping these two is a mistake.

Tuesday – Return to Prague Castle, rent the audioguide and take the Short Tour described above. We assume this will fill our morning and we will visit St. Vitus Cathedral and Charles Bridge after lunch.

Wednesday – We’ll explore Josefov in the morning and Staré Mesto in the afternoon. In the Jewish Quarter we plan to visit the Staronová, the Jewish Museum and Old Jewish Cemetery before heading to Old Town.

Thursday – Wander Malá Strana, visit St. Nicholas Church (climb the bell tower?), and see gardens. Looking for self-guided walking tour suggestions if you have any.

Friday – Take 7am shuttle to Ceský Krumlov to arrive by 10am, check in and explore the town. Wondering if we have planned enough time here and looking for hotel recommendations.

Saturday – Another early start with shuttle to arrive Vienna by 10am, check in and head to the opera to buy tickets for the 1:00 tour then follow Rick Steve’s Vienna City Walk including a visit to Kaisergruft and the St. Stephen’s Cathedral tour.

Sunday – Browse the Naschmarket and then make it to the Spanish Riding School by 11:00 for a performance by the Lipizzaner Stallions (we understand that SRO tickets go on sale at 9:00am the day of the performance). After the performance we'll have lunch (maybe a picnic in the Burggarten) and visit Hoffburg Palace in the afternoon.

Monday – still considering options for this day, but possibilities include Schonbrunn Palace, Danube Towns, or Vienna Woods. Not sure about logistics for sights out of town.

Tuesday – Depart Vienna by train to arrive Salzburg by 11:00. Check in and catch the 2:00 Sound Of Music Tour (Anyone used Bob’s Special Tours?).

Wednesday – Hallstatt, Eagles Nest tour, or just enjoy Salzburg. If visiting Hallstatt or taking the Eagles Nest tour would we be better off picking up the rental car today and driving ourselves or taking an organized tour out of Stazburg?

Thursday – pick up rental car just across the border in Freilassing, Germany and start Bavaria drive. Need recommendations on best way to get from hotel in Salzburg to rental car in Freilassing. We plan to make our way to Garmisch-Partenkirchen by 11:00 and take the train and cable car to the top of Zugspitze. After visiting the summit we’ll return to the car and drive to Schwangau and spend the night (perhaps at the Alpenhotel Allgau).

Friday – We’ll make an early visit to Neuschwanstein in hopes of beating some of the crowd, and then head to Stuttgart with perhaps a stop in Ulm along the way. (Other stops to consider?). Friday evening we will have dinner with our daughter (who is in Stuttgart on an internship).

Saturday – day trip with our daughter to either Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Burg Hohenzollern, or other nearby destination (her choice) and then drop off the rental car when we return to Stuttgart that evening.

Sunday – see Stuttgart with our daughter (we’ll let her be our guide).

Monday – Fly back home.

Thanks in advance for your input.
newesttraveler is offline  
Jun 16th, 2013, 02:01 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 173
Have you asked whether the car rental company will deliver the car to your hotel free of charge? Or alternatively pick you up from your hotel free of charge? They would be the easiest options. Alternatively just get in a taxi - both Austria and Germany are Schengen countries so there's no longer a real border, and of course no difference in currency. If the car rental company is close by Freilassing station then you could catch the train, but it hardly seems worth it.

Late August is the holiday season in Bavaria - parking in villages such as Hallstatt can be a bit of a nightmare so I'd probably take a bus tour. And of course if you drive you can't enjoy a nice cool Weissbier with your lunch...

If you like music (almost any kind of music) I'd go to a concert or a pub/bar with live music in Prague. Great jazz, great classical music. One of my fondest memories is of a Mozart concert in the St George's Chapel. The chapel is beautiful, the music was wonderful. This followed by a walk down the pathway to the Charles Bridge.
Grindeldoo is offline  
Jun 16th, 2013, 05:09 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 518
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"Need recommendations on best way to get from hotel in Salzburg to rental car in Freilassing."
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Freilassing is only 7 or 8 km from Salzburg, so indeed a taxi might be most efficient. There is regular public transit from Salzburg Hbf to Freilassing, and the ride is about 25 minutes. The problem is that the rental car station is likely to be in the commercial area about 1 km north of the train station. That's only a 10 or 15 minute walk, but you might not be up for it with all of your luggage. I'm sure there is bus service from the train station, but that's another small hassle.

Also note, by the way, that the Avis dealer is actually located in a gas station. I had a poor experience renting through this particular Avis location, but hopefully they've cleaned up their act since then. There's also a Sixt office next door.
Woyzeck is offline  
Jun 16th, 2013, 05:15 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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In Prague I would go to the town hall and pick up a walking tour of the old Town - very informative and incredibly inexpensive Out guide was a local graduate stident who knew a ton and there were only 7 of us in the group. Well worth it.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 16th, 2013, 05:21 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 518
I sense that, after Prague, you're packing a things in just a tad tight, but you seem to acknowledge this and you're ready for some long days. Go for it, but be prepared for contingencies in case you run into a snag and things don't go as planned. As you acknowledge, you've left yourself little margin for error, so you'll have to keep a positive attitude and hope things go smoothly. In some of your locations, like Vienna and Salzburg, you are talking about day trips, but really with the time you've budgeted, you're probably better off just seeing these cities for a day or two, rather than heading out of town.

Also keep in mind that the day you've budgeted for your daughter in Stuttgart is a Sunday, where you'll find a lot of the shops and other sights may be closed. At the very least, keep in mind getting your last bit of shopping done on Saturday in Rothenberg.
Woyzeck is offline  
Jun 16th, 2013, 05:29 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 518
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"Take 7am shuttle to Ceský Krumlov to arrive by 10am, check in and explore the town. Wondering if we have planned enough time here and looking for hotel recommendations."
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I think Cesky Krumlov makes a lovely stop for a day and overnight, as you are planning. It's also a nice in-between stop between Prague and Vienna. I'm sure you'll appreciate it. You'll get another chance at a nice old walled town later in the trip in Rothenburg.


Lodging, I think, can be a little tough in Cesky Krumlov, since even the nicest places are located in very old historic buildings. There is the very nice Hotel Ruze on the upper end - it's a nice location on the edge of the old town (everything is very walkable). Rick Steve's likes the Castle View Apartments right in the thick of things. I stayed at the (similarly named) Castle Apartments (http://www.zameckaapartma.cz/en/) and had a very pleasant experience. Mostly basic accommodations (with some nicer rooms), but clean and well cared for, and a great location up at the gate to the castle. The last two are more like vacation rentals rather than full-service hotels, so they may not be staffed overnight, in case that is a concern.
Woyzeck is offline  
Jun 16th, 2013, 09:01 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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While in C. Krumlov, do try to get tickets to tour the baroque theater at the castle. Limited English tours and very limited number of participants per day. One of the few remaining baroque theaters in the world.
Hallstatt is gorgeous. I'd recommend a night or two stay. Rent a car and see it and St. Wolfgang on your own.
joannyc is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 05:59 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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"While in C. Krumlov, do try to get tickets to tour the baroque theater at the castle. Limited English tours and very limited number of participants per day. One of the few remaining baroque theaters in the world."
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I second this recommendation. Tickets sell out quickly and sometimes even in advance. I was able to purchase tickets the day before, which was a relief. The presentation by the docent was subpar, but the theater speaks for itself. Remarkable and a rare opportunity.
Woyzeck is offline  

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