Tentative Germany Itinerary

Jul 15th, 2003, 09:28 AM
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Tentative Germany Itinerary

We will be travelling to Germany / Austria for 3 weeks in September, and have put together the following tentative itinerary:

- Fly into Frankfurt, catch train to Munich same day, 4 nights Munich

- rent car in Munich, drive to Salzburg, 4 nights in Salzburg with side trip to Berchtesgaden area and possibly Salzkammergut (if enough time)

- drive to Fussen / Garmisch / Oberammergau area, spend 4 nights here (not sure where yet - trying to decide between the above 3 locations and Reutte - suggestions on best central location for touring around this area of Bavaria are welcome!)

- drive to Rothenburg, 2 nights

- drive to Rhine, spend 4 nights in Bacharach, side trip to Mosel from here (is it reasonable to visit part of the Mosel from home base in Bacharach?)

- last day drive from Bacharach to Frankfurt, catch late afternoon flight from Frankfurt back home.

We are not "speedy" travellers and prefer not to have to pack up and move every day or two, thus we have tried to set out an itinerary where we spend several nights in one location and use it as a "home base" to visit other areas. Also, I am aware that the arrive in Frankfurt, immediately take train to Munich plan may not appear to be very sensible, but we do have our reasons for it ... Oktoberfest will be taking place during the latter half of our trip and though we want to visit Munich, we don't really want to be there during Oktoberfest (not to mention the fact that it would be next to impossible to find a hotel room during Oktoberfest, within our very limited budget, at this point). And, we want to minimize the number of days we need the rental car, to cut costs, so we decided to put the Munich stay as the first part of our trip and then rent a car for the remainder of our trip when we are leaving Munich.

Any feedback /suggestions on this itinerary would be greatly appreciated!
travelgirl2_99 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 09:39 AM
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Do you have your air tickets, yet?

You might be able to fly into Munich and out of Frankfurt for less than the train between the two.
elberko is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 09:41 AM
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Of course, I meant that an Open-jaw ticket might be cheaper than a Frankfurt round-trip PLUS the train ticket...
elberko is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 09:57 AM
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Looks like a nice trip. We did a similar one a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Some thoughts for your consideration...

You might like to visit Chiemsee (sp?) and the palace on the island in the lake there on the way from Munich to Salzburg.

While Salzburg is quite nice, so are some of the towns and villages in the mountains nearby. It depends on your preferences, but I might consider staying in one of the towns on the Salzkammergut lakes and visiting Salzburg, rather than vice-versa.

We stayed in Reutte. It's a pleasant farm town, with a variety of zimmer, but there is not much to do in town. If we were doing it again, we'd probably go with Garmisch for more variety of shops and restaraunts.

I'd be inclined to stay on the Mosel and visit the Rhine; I think you get a bit better accomodations for the cost, and it is a very pleasant area. It is worth taking one of the half-day Rhine cruises, but I wouldn't bother with a longer one.

A lot depends on your preferences. We found we really enjoyed the smaller towns and villages, driving the secondary roads. The cities have their own life, but it is too much like cities everywhere.
curmudgeon is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:26 AM
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Nice trip--you will have fun. I would spend less time in Munich, and I would stay in St. Gilgen and day trip into Salzburg--better central location with a car. I prefer to stay in Oberammergau rather than Garmisch or Reutte because of central location. However, it is hard to go wrong with this itinerary.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:28 AM
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Elberko, thanks for your reply, but we aren't paying for our plane tickets, we are flying on airline reward tickets. Our original plan was open jaw(we actually had the same trip booked previously for different dates, with open jaw reward tickets into Munich and out of Frankfurt), but unfortunately we had to cancel our prior trip ... and in order to go on reward tickets in September, all we could get was round trip Frankfurt. Thus the slightly weird beginning to our trip.

Curmudgeon, thanks for the suggestions. Will definitely consider them! Re Salzburg, we are actually considering a place on the outskirts of Salzburg rather than downtown. We do want to spend a fair bit of time in Salzburg (probably at least 2 of the 4 days), which was our reasoning for choosing Salzburg rather than B'gaden or Salzkammergut to stay. But, is there a town in the Salzkammergut you would recommend instead? As for the western Bavaria leg, we are not shoppers, so variety of shops in Garmisch doesn't matter to us, and "not much to do in town" doesn't matter so much either, since for this part of the trip our main concern is somewhere central where we will base ourselves for day trips and hikes in the surrounding area (we want to visit Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Linderhof, Ettal, Wieskirche, spend some time browsing in O'gau & Mittenwald, go up the Zugspitze, do some walking in the countryside, and hubby wants to go on a luge ride). So, somewhere central to all of that - and preferably scenic as well - is the main goal.
travelgirl2_99 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:36 AM
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Bacharach is a wonderful place but really, really small with little hotel options. If you want to stay small, I would suggest Cochem but would really encourage you to look at St. Goar. St. Goar is still small, but big enough to support more hotels and have more flexibility with the train schedules. If you do stay in Bacharach, I would not recommend the Kranen Turn,(Spelling?) I know its a R. Steves fav, but consistently the management is grumpy. Plus it is literally adjacent to the train tracks and you WILL NOT SLEEP. Have you thought about Trier for two nights and 2 for the Rhine? Trier (which you probably know is on the Mosel) is an incredible town, easily accessible from the Rhine region. It has some fascinating Roman ruins and an extensive pedestrian old town. I would at least try to make it a day trip.
McBetsy is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:39 AM
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Bob, thanks for your comments too! We were originally planning on just 3 nights in Munich, but the first day after a transatlantic flight is a write-off for me in terms of sightseeing, and since there are quite a few museums / sights we wanted to visit in Munich, we thought we should add an extra night.

St. Gilgen - I know nothing about it. What is it that you like about it? Any recommendations for accomodations in that area in the 50 - 65 euro price range?

I didn't realize Oberammergau was more central than the other locations - I've been looking at my Michelin map but it kind of looked like all of those places were kind of on the "loop" that we'd be doing. Any suggestions for accomodations in O'gau in same price range as above?
travelgirl2_99 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:39 AM
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travelgirl2 99,

I think your trip looks excellent. One poster thought 4 nights in Munich was too much. We were there for 5 nights in 2002 and didn't think we spent enough time. We also preferred the Rhein over the Mosel. Goes to show.

We also took the train from the Frankfurt Airport to Munich. Nothing special, in fact I was a little disappointed. Can't quite put my finger on the reason why, it just wasn't all that I was expecting. That said, that is the best way to go.

You have a fine itinerary and I don't think you will be disappointed.

Curious is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:51 AM
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The trip certainly is doable.

The reason that you are heading directly to Munich is a good one and I have to agree with Bob on a couple of things.

We did almost the same trip, but with a twist. We started out in Frankfurt, stayed in Assmanshausen, then on to Munich and Salzberg, then Oberammergau, Dinkelsbuhl and Rothenburg before flying out of Frankfurt.

If I could change anything, I'd allow for three days in Munich, max, and by all means visit King Ludwig's castle at Herrenchiemsee. It's on the way to Salzburg via A8, exit at Prien. You can do it in an afternoon and make Salzberg in plenty of time to have dinner up in the fortress.

Two nights in Salzberg is plenty. It's a beautiful city, but not all that big. Your choice of Bertchesgaden is a good one. We stayed at the Vier Jahrzeiten (Four Seasons), which is a lovely, reasonably priced hotel in the middle of town.

I have to agree with Bob again on Oberammergau. It is one of Germany's prettiest villages and it's central to Garmisch, Ettal, Linderhof and the Zugspitze and also close to Steingaden and the famous 'wieskirche'. We've stayed at the Hotel Alte Post, which is great family run hotel with good accommodations and good food.

Rothenburg is 'touristy', but we love it all the same. It is so unique and enjoyable. Don't miss the 'Nightwatchman's Tour' at dusk while there.

Bacharach is a cute little town on the 'Mainz side' of the Rhine and a Rick Steve's favorite. We prefer staying on the other side at Assmanshausen at the Hotel Cafe Post. It's quieter and right on the river.

Take a look at your options, and see what your choices are. Best of luck.
leesimmons is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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I think it is a toss-up in some ways in terms of the "centrality" of Oberammergau vs. Fuessen. The latter might be easier for seeing Neuschwanstein and Linderhof alkthough I think you'll find Oberammergau to be more picturesque than Fuessen. There are a lot of hotel options in Ober due to the Passion Play hotel requirements that occur every 10 years. If you really wanted to do ALL of the Ludwig castles the recommendation for Herrenchiemsee is worth considering...but you have to travel to Prien (on the way to Salzburg) first and then take the ferry across the lake from nearby Stock...the palace on the island is, in some ways, as impressive inside, if not more so than Linderhof, and much larger.
I think the itinerary is very doable. Also in Munich you might consider visiting the Nymphenberg Palace which is easy to reach by tram from the center and also the Residenze which is walkable from the center. In terms of Berchtesgaden I would definitely consider taking the tour of the Eagles Nest but space is very limited on that tour (Berchtesgaden Mini Bus Tours...sorry I don't have their website address). Also in Fuessen if you're up for a musical event the Ludwig II-Longing for Paradise plays nightly in the theatre just outside the town.
Salzburg...consider Helbrun and the wasserspiele gardens. Sounds like a great trip and hope you enjoy it!
Jul 15th, 2003, 12:39 PM
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I would reconsider four days in Salzburg. I found it to be cute and touristy beyond measure and interest. If you really want to see Austria, consider Vienna or Graz instead. Or spend more time in Munich and use that as your travel base for side trips. A day or two in Regensburg might be interesting if you are into medieval towns. I would also suggest some time in Koln to see some of the major sights and atmosphere along the Rhine. Have fun.
Bird is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 12:44 PM
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travelgirl: For places near Salzburg, we stayed at Bad Durnburg, a little place on the mountainside above Hallein; very scenic, and I think it was only about 25 minutes to Salzburg. We found it by stopping at the tourist info booth in Hallein. There were a half dozen B&Bs up there, as well as a spa hotel.

St Gilgen is one of the Salzkammergut places which is very nice; there are some other similar towns. I don't know if you could get hotel accom for 50-65 e there, but I suspect you might find B&B (zimmer) in that range via the local tourist info office.

For your purposes, there's probably not much difference between Fussen/Garmisch/Reutte etc. Each will be a bit more convenient to some locations and farther to others. We found the area a bit more expensive for lodging than most.

On a side note, you might choose to drive from Salzburg to W Bavaria via the highway farther south (I think it passes near Innsbruck) for the different scenery. We stopped at the Rhinefalls in Switzerland en route, which was interesting (I think you have to pay a Swiss highway fee these days, though).
curmudgeon is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 01:00 PM
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Just another thought, but since you are planning to drive into Austria, don't forget to purchase a vignette for that country. Austria and I believe Switzerland require them.

You can purchase it at any gas station along the German-Austrian border. Failure to display it can result in being stopped and a somewhat costly fine. It's inexpensive and you can buy one for a week, etc. should you plan to be there that long.

Have fun.
leesimmons is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 01:59 PM
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Any of those towns would be fine for Bavaria/Austria. We stayed at Pension Albrecht (64 euro double, with breakfast, parking, and modern private bath) in Hohenschwangau for 3 nights. It made a good base as well. Very quiet after the tourists leave for the day, but we like very quiet. Alpenhotel Meier on the Hohenschwangau to Schwangau road has an excellent restaurant.

Also prefer the Mosel to the Rhein as a place to stay, because towns in the Mosel tend to be quieter and have fewer tourists overall. There are still plenty of tourists and tourist-related activities, but not as much as the Rhein. We spent 3 nights in Beilstein on the Mosel, and visited the Rhein as a day trip. Beilstein is another very quiet hamlet with its own ruined castle and some nice restaurants and hotels (Hotel Haus Lippman, 82 euros, with breakfast and modern private bath).

But you can't go too far wrong staying on the Rhein either--it is also interesting and generally beautiful. As someone else mentioned, whichever river you stay on, get lodgings away from the railroad tracks and busy intersections.

We did really fine with 3 days in Munich. Nymphenburg is well worth a visit.

We visited Rothenburg as a day trip, and were content with our decision to do so.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 03:47 PM
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You are getting some good advice. My wife and I have been doing this area since 1970 and love it. My ideas:

SALZBURG: This is an easy drive to Berchtesgaden. We usually stay in Berchtesgaden and drive over, but you can do it the opposite way. Try to do the Salt Mine Tour in Berchtesgaden. This is good to save for a rainy day. Lot of fun.

GARMISCH: We use Garmisch for our HQ. Like to stay at the HILLEPRANDT HOTEL as it is small and located in a quiet neighborhood near town. Rooms 1 or 2 have patios that open to a nice back yard area. You can easily drive to all the castles and back from Garmisch.

One tip: To visit Neuschwanstein from Garmisch drive the REUTTE route going and take the WIES CHURCH route coming back. That way you do a great circle and see some good stuff. You will pass through OBERAMMERGAU on the way home. Beats back tracking.

You will see Kathe Wohlfardt shops in Oberammergau and Rothenburg. I do not get paid by her, but we have found her prices and service to be good. If you see something in one of her shops you may not see it again and if you do the price will not be much different. This has been learned after many trips with a "shopping" wife.

COCHEM: We enjoy this city on the Mosel. Stayed at the ALTE THORNDECKE HOTEL that is built into the city walls. Nice place to base to explore the Mosel. I really enjoy this river as much as the Rhine.

ASSMANNHAUSEN on the Rhine is a good spot to stay also. The KRONE HOTEL is located on the banks of the Rhine and an easy drive back to Frankfurt airport.

ROTHENBURG: We enjoy this city...tourists and all. Our two hotel favorites are the MARKUSTURM or REICHS KUTCENMEISTER. They are both well located and in the city walls...important. The Markusturm is so well located and scenic it is on many etchings of the city and was on the cover of Karen Brown's book on Germany. Great place to stay!

I applaud your idea of staying in one place for 4 nights many times. We do that and the trips are much more relaxed. The more you can eliminate the hassle of checking in and out of hotels, the better. You are doing this right!

Great area! Enjoy the trip!
Bob1 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 06:17 PM
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Just returned from 4 days on the Rhine. We stayed at Hotel Cafe Post in Assmannshausen. We drove both side of the Rhine and took a day trip to Trier. The Mosel is beautiful! A couple of suggestions: skip the boat ride and instead, walk through a castle. Also, visit a weingut... a wine maker. They'll let you taste their wines and will explain how it is that they farm on the steep hillsides.
ashcanannie is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 06:26 PM
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While you're near Linderhoff, have you thought about Innsbrook? Although there is a lot of shopping there, I had a blast white water rafting on the Inn (sp.) River! The Tyrol area is beautiful with a lot of quaint villages.
teachersue is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 05:13 AM
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We did a similar trip last year. We flew from NYC to Frankfurt on Singapore Air. (Excellent airline. Flew them the last 3 times.)

From Frankfurt we took the train to the Rhine. Stayed along the Rhine for 4 nights. Did Austria for 3 nights. Did Berchtesgaden for 4 nights. Did Tegernsee for 2 nights. Flew home from rankfurt.

We flew into Frankfurt, did our tour through Germany and Austria and ended up taking a night train from Munich back to the airport. (We ended our stay in Munich by sitting for 5 hours in the Augustiner Beer Garden after 6 hours sitting in the beer tents of the Octoberfest.)

I would suggest that you look at the schedule for the fireworks. We stayed at the Hotel Post in Assmannhausen for 2 nights and at the Castle Gutenfels in Kaub for the other 2 nights we were along the Rhine. We took a taxi from Kaub to St Goar on Saturday night to see the fireworks and ended up calling a taxi for the ride back to the castle.

The firework display is awesome. It is definitely something to consider.

From Assmannshausen we did the Rudesheim thing and left for Austria from Assmannshausen. Chair lift that runs from Assmannshausen to Rudesheim is a wonderful way to see the Rhine and the Vineyards.

Left the Rhine for Austria and ended up staying in a very small village about 45 minutes from Kufstein. Very inexpensive and no ourists in this small village of Elmau

We left Austria and took the train to Berchtesgaden. We stayed at the Hotel Bavaria for 4 nights. Did the Salzberg thing along with all of the tourist sites in Berchtesgaden, i.e. eagles Nest, saltmines, beer gardens, Hofbrauhaus, Konigsee, etc. Saltzberg is 45 minutes from Berchtesgaden.

From Berchtesgaden we left for a small town about an hour from Munich called Tegernsee. On the way to the tegernsee we stopped at the Andech's brewery. Drank a bit too much beer and ate too much of the pork and pretzels. definitely worth a stop. Some of the best beer brewed in Germany is at Andechs
We used Tegernsee as our base to travel into Munich and Garmisch.

Tegernsee is a very small town. Again not many tourists.

We stayed in Tegernsee for 2 nights. We ended our trip there. We took a 11:30 PM train from Munich directly to the Frankfurt airport. Slept the whole way. Got to the airport around 4AM, flight on Singapore Air left Frankfurt at 7AM. Flew back to New York.

Great trip. I had 6 people with me that had never visited Europe. They have all made it quite clear that we will be going back nextr year.

Have fun. It sounds like a great travel itenary.

Winnepeg is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 05:36 AM
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In St.Gilgen--on Wolfgangsee--try this family owned Garni--Hotel Schernthaler

In Ober.--either Hotel Turmwirt or Zur Rose. Good luck !
bobthenavigator is offline  
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