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Preliminary Germany/Austria Itinerary for Mom + 2 Teens in June

Preliminary Germany/Austria Itinerary for Mom + 2 Teens in June

Apr 21st, 2010, 11:39 AM
  #1  
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Preliminary Germany/Austria Itinerary for Mom + 2 Teens in June

I'm seeking input from this wonderful Forum (use it for every trip) on an itinerary that I have just started to put together for myself and my two well-traveled teenage kids (ages 13 and 15) in June. The only parameters are that we already have flights (no changes possible) into Frankfurt arriving 8 June and departing Vienna 22 June, and that we must at some point get to Berlin for a couple of days (my son's request). Here's generally what I'm starting to think about, but realize that we obviously will need to cut and condense. I welcome suggestions for doing this. I have tried to read the other posts on the forum to educate myself, but am overwhelmed since I've never been to Germany. I realize that this itinerary isn't the most logical, but I'm having trouble working it out. I also realize that we will be moving quite a bit, but that's what we like. We prefer a very solid pace and pack a lot in, trust me. Jet lag not a problem and we sleep well on trains or in cars or wherever if we need to! We do not like to stay more than a couple of days in any one place. Emphasis for us is on history, culture and adventure more than food, beer, wine or resting. Love great museums, love ruins. Physically fit. Will pay more for special/unusual accommodations (castle, cave, whatever) but generally keep it moderate. Prefer public transportation where convenient but willing to drive where that maximizes time and access (I drove in Greece, Spain, Turkey). So, please have at it:

Arrive Frankfurt by noon, drive or train to Mosel area (Cochem or Mainz?)
Assume we need a car to visit Trier, possibly Burg Eltz, Zell, Bernkastel and/or Beilstein
Possibly Rothenburg, or Heidelberg
Head towards Fussen area to visit some of the following: Ehrenberg Ruins/Mittenwald
Zugspritze, Biberweir luge, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles, Zeppelin Museum in Freidrichshafen, ride over Lake Constance (stay in Garnish or Mittenwald?)
Beretesgaden salt mine tour, stay in Ramsau?
Drop off car and take train to Salzburg
Train Salzburg to Munich
Munich for a couple of days (museums, Dachau)
Train to Berlin (2 days)
Train to Vienna (1-2 days)

I could continue to work with maps and guidebooks on my own, as I know that information is available to me about distances between these places, etc. but in my previous experiences, I have found that getting you Fodorite experts' input sooner rather than later is the best way to go. I am also behind on my planning since it is late April!

So, please give some thoughts and suggestions. All are appreciated!
TravelTrio is offline  
Apr 21st, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Arrive Frankfurt by noon, drive or train to Mosel area (Cochem or Mainz?)
Assume we need a car to visit Trier, possibly Burg Eltz, Zell, Bernkastel and/or Beilstein>

No you do not for any of those - trains go between Koblenz and Cochem and Trier at least hourly and only takes say 30 mins from Cochem (a simply fairy-tale town that makes a great base for both the Mosel Valley and the Rhine

From Cochem you can take boats on, arguably the most scenic part of the sinuous Mosel Valley to Beilstein - or you can also rent bikes at Cochem's train station (and other places) and do a nice short putz by cycle to Beilstein - the Mosel is one of Europe's favorite biking venues - bike paths pretty much parallel the river so are flat

And for Burg Eltz you can take a train from Cochem to Moselkern - just a few minutes downstream from Cochem and then either do an energetic but not that steep hike up thru forests to Burg Eltz, one of Germany's finest castles and about the only one, along with Marksburg on the Rhine, not destroyed into ruins by Napoleon or previous marauders. Mini-buses also scoot from the train station to Burg Eltz as of course do taxis.

In fact all your places are easily reached by train - Germany has one of the densest systems in the world and they go about everywhere, including to Fussen for Mad Ludwig Castles - so if you do not want to drive the train will take you everywhere. For loads on German trains i always highlight these Wunderbar sites - www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com;www.budgeteuropetravel.com - download the latter's free European Planning & Rail Guide for a good primer on trains and rail maps, etc. wwww.bahn.de - the Germany Railways web portal has all the schedules and is easy to use. I am partial to trains, having ridden them in Germany and all over Europe for decades - i have also driven and that is fine but i find it isolating whilst on trains you must mix with the locals and some of the greatest memories are doing just that.
Palenque is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 07:06 AM
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topping this thread for you in hopes others will give their opinions
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 10:54 AM
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Thank you, Palenque. Can you give any suggestions on how to allocate time between the various places I've listed? I have planned trips to more than a dozen countries and am finding Germany as overwhelming as Spain was (in terms of choosing between areas, cities, sites, etc.). We have only 2 weeks, but want to see and do as much as we can. Thanks.
TravelTrio is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 11:12 AM
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You are doing some significant back tracking to go from Salzburg to Munich to Berlin and then to Vienna. Look at maps of Germany and Austria. I think I'd do Berlin after the Mosel area, and then drive down to southern Germany, then Salzburg, and lastly Vienna. You could ditch the rental car in Munich and take the train to Salzburg, and then to Vienna.
padams421 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Very good. This is exactly the kind of help I am looking for, padams421. I have the map here and what you are suggesting does make sense.
TravelTrio is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Okay, if I revised a bit as follows, can someone comment on train routes (love overnight trains) and how much time to allot for each?

Arrive Frankfurt
Mosel Valley (Cochem)
Berlin (how best to get there -- overnight train Koln - Berlin?)
Munich area
Fussen area, Lake Constance
Beretesgaden
Salzburg
Vienna

Palenque, you appear to have such a wealth of knowledge regarding the train schedules and passes, can you give some guidance on how best to maximize efficiency, budget, etc. and still get around. I will rent a car where it enhances the experience, but prefer trains. Thanks all!
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 12:40 PM
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jgg
 
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Berchtesgaden is right near Salzburg so no need to make that a separate place to stay overnight. I also suggest you be sure and take the boys to a sommerrodelbahn (summer luge) that was one of my teens favorite things. We went to one near Salzburg.
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 02:22 PM
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There is also a luge very close to Neuschwanstein. I agree that your kids would enjoy it!
joannyc is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Okay, still plugging away at this. Here's what I'm thinking:

Arrive Frankfurt, take train to Cochem
Mosel Valley (Cochem as base?) -- 2 days, end in Trier
Trier to Berlin (overnight train through Koln)
Berlin -- 2-3 days
Train to Munich -- 2-3 days in Munich
Pick up car for Fussen area castles, Lake Konstanz (zeppelin ride), end in Berchtesgaden -- 3 days (drop off car)
Train to Salzburg 1-2 days
Train to Vienna to catch flight home

Does this make sense? I have been trying to sort through the various railpasses and timetables and am having a hard time getting a handle on what we will want to do. I will keep working, but if anyone has suggestions please post.

Munich area
Fussen area, Lake Constance
Beretesgaden
Salzburg
Vienna
TravelTrio is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2010, 05:22 PM
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I think you are on the right track.
padams421 is offline  

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