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Town/Region in Switzerland as daytrip from Mittenwald?

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Mar 4th, 2011, 02:12 PM
  #1
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Town/Region in Switzerland as daytrip from Mittenwald?

So my husband and I are going back to Europe next month with another couple. We have traveled to Europe many times but our friends have not. I've planned most of our itinerary and we are basing ourselves in Mittenwald for a week for the Germany portion of our trip before heading down to Rome. I've been to Bavaria several times and I've been to Switzerland, so this request for information has more to do with our friends' desire to, well, say they've been to Switzerland. I know I know and I agree with all of you who want to chime in that it's probably going to be a mistake. It's tricky because I know it's better to limit ourselves, but I also appreciate their desire to see as much as they can (within reason, which is where I come in).

So, all of that aside, I'm thinking that the closest feasible location over the Swiss border with some interest may be Appenzell? My husband and I spent a few nights there in 05 but we found out, after arrival, that there was a bank holiday and basically the town was shut down the entire time we were there. So I really liked it and wouldn't mind returning. I'm also considering maybe a town along the southern-portion of the Bodensee, but this is new territory for me and I know nothing about it

As I mentioned in my title, we are staying in an apartment pretty much in the middle of Mittenwald and we don't mind a longer drive for this daytrip, as everyone involved knows that entering Switzerland will making for a longer day.

So, any suggestions on where we can go?

Thanks!
Tracy
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Mar 4th, 2011, 04:56 PM
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Convince your friend that that the Zugspitz, the Ausrian Alps, and the Dolomites are as impressive and CH is not required. What a waste of time.
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Mar 5th, 2011, 02:08 AM
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When we stayed in Mittenwald soon after the wall came down (right next year, I think - 1990) we drove to the Engadine. Just drive via Seefeld down to the Inn valley and follow this valley via Landeck to the Swiss border.

After passing the Austrian border station but before crossing into Switzerland a road turns right up to Samnaun - narrow, windy, one-way tunnels - quite fun to drive (but some would say scary). Samnaun is tax-free, gas is cheap there also. Makes for a good first impression of Switzerland

Back down in the Inn valley follow the river to Scuol. There has been enough said here about Scuol, Guarda and surroundings, I think.

Btw, driving to Appenzell is definitely longer. Also, the part through Austria (Bregenz) is almost always slooow due to traffic jams.

I.
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Mar 5th, 2011, 05:19 AM
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Ingo is spot on.
The Engadin valley is a great day trip destination. And I would stay in the area around Scuol and Garda as Ingo suggests. Much less tourism than in the better known parts of the Engadin around Davos.


If you plan to use the A12 Inn valley motorway in Austria to get to Landeck, remember to get a toll sticker first.

But instead of going to Samnaun from Landeck (which is not more than a huge tax-free shopping resort), you could stay on B180 until you get to Nauders.

If you want to impress your friend, and instead of turning onto B185 to Switzerland and the Engadin valley, you can stay on B180 for another 10kms to visit Lago di Resia in the Vinschgau. Which would already be Italy.

So counting from Mittenwald/Germany, you would see four countries in one day trip. Not bad, huh
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Mar 5th, 2011, 06:19 AM
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I have to agree with bobthenavigator. I wouldn't bother... and I've thought about it in the past! We've entertained the idea a number of times while planning our eight trips since '01 to the Mittenwald, Fuessen or Innsbruck area. Couldn't justify the drive to basically see a sign and for my wife to be able to say she's been to Switzerland (I've been).

What are you really getting out of going to Switzerland? A photo of a sign? Siting in the car for half your day? The scenery won't be any better than closer daytrips around Mittenwald.

Do the Zugspitze, the Nordkettenbahn in Innsbruck or drive to the Dolomites. Even the Zillertal. How about Rattenburg, less than 1:30 from Mittenwald?

At least the Dolomites are closer and they're like nothing else you (or your friends) will see in the Alps. A drive over the spectacular Gardena Pass (Grödnerjoch) and/or Sella Pass (Sellajoch) is worth the trip alone.

www.zugspitze.de

www.zugspitze.at

www.nordkette.com/en/top/home.html

www.val-gardena.com

www.alpineroads.com/dolomites.php

Just my opinion. Hope this helps.

Paul
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Mar 5th, 2011, 06:36 AM
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Go for it! Ingo's idea sounds great! Switzerland is most definitely 'worth it' IMO.
(Hello Ingo... any plans to return to a BOS GTG?)
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Mar 5th, 2011, 07:17 AM
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Hello C.! No definite plans, but I'd like the idea to return to a Boston GTG ;-)

I.
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Mar 5th, 2011, 07:26 AM
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Thank you all!

Your ideas all sound lovely! I'm going to do some more research this rainy Saturday afternoon.

I admit that I'm kind of hoping that once our friends see the area we are staying in they won't feel it necessary to go to Switzerland. I guess I just don't want to completely blow off their wishes as I want them to feel like it's their trip as well, so I'm going to come up with a few ideas/possible itineraries for a daytrip and play it by ear once we get there and see how things are going. The nice thing about daytrips with a car is that they don't really need to be planned in advance.

We are already planning a daytrip to the Dolomites and I cannot wait! This is one daytrip that is a must for me, as I personally wanted to stay in the Dolomites but was outvoted.

Thank you all again for being so helpful!

Tracy
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Mar 5th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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Tracy, one of the places Paul mentioned -- Rattenberg -- is really a lovely little place to visit if you find time. They are known for their glass blowing and they have some lovely examples. There's a well located parking lot right at the top of the main street. Here are several photos from our album of September 2009:

http://travel.webshots.com/photo/205...11574650juGXXM
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Mar 5th, 2011, 10:20 AM
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I'm sorry but some folks should really try to look at a map first or brush up their European geography knowledge.

From Mittenwald, the Dolomites (when you take the "capital" Cortina as your destination) as further away than the Lower Engadin around Scuol!
Even when you go just to Val Gardena it's the same distance as the Lower Engadin. Plus you may hit some very heavy traffic going over Brenner pass when you travel in high season.
Use Google maps/ directions to get the real figures of where you want to go.

The Engadin is not a "been in Switzerland, tick off the box" destination but a picture postcard perfect region.
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Mar 5th, 2011, 10:36 AM
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Sorry, but I knew they were going into the Dolomites anyway.
And, Cortina is the extreme distance--I consider the Val Gardena to be the center.

We were in Guarda and Schuol in 2009 and enjoyed the area.
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Mar 5th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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cowboy, according to google maps, a drive from Mittenwald to the Val Gardena is less than 2 hours. I never mentioned Cortina and wasn't planning on visiting. I don't think that its too far for a daytrip. I take daytrips like that from my hometown all the time to go hiking..or at least I used to before our twins were born. I am a geography fanatic and well aware of distances...and what I don't know I look up. Each person has their own opinions as to how far they will go for a daytrip and I respect that.

Tracy
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Mar 5th, 2011, 12:06 PM
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And what that's supposed to mean?
I'm sorry if you thought that your friends' desire to go to Switzerland was too much to accomplish in a day trip, but it's simply not true.

Most people who live near/in the Alps will probably consider the area around Cortina as quintessential Dolomites, esp. the Tre Croci area. But the Val Gardena is fine as well. Just to crowded in both high seasons for my taste. But that is no objective argument.
I don't know how far you plan to drive through Val Gardena, but the "dead end" of Pragser Wildsee (between Bruneck and Toblach) is quite romantic and scenic.

You asked if there were reasonable destinations in Switzerland for a day trip, and yes, there are.
Some people argued that Val Gardena is closer than the Lower Engadin. Which is not the case. It's the identical distance.
So if you don't mind to drive to Val Gardena, it takes no more effort to do a day trip to the Lower Engadin.

As I said, the routing to Val Gardena will take you from Innsbruck south to Brixen on the motorway via the Brenner pass. That section is notorious for major backlogs in summer as it is one of the major European North-South arteries.
So the "less than 2 hours" is fiction if you go on weekends. From Friday thru Sunday, you can feel lucky if you spend less than 2 hours in traffic jams in summer.
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Mar 5th, 2011, 12:26 PM
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cowboy, I apologize if I misinterpreted your original post. It sounded like you were critizing my desire for wanting to visit the Dolomites because I didn't consult a map whioch isn't the case. My original post was based on knowledge about Appenzell, and it's distance, which is why I was looking for other suggestions. I got some great ones on here. I know nothing about the Engadine but from some of the research I did earlier it sounds fabulous. It certainly gave me some a great area to concentrate on and seems to be closer which is perfect.

I would love to visit Cortina but it seems like it's too far away? We were going to concentrate on the Val Gardena area, knowing that we have to limit ourselves a bit to make the most of our day without feeling rushed.

I only wish I had more time to spend in these areas and now I kind of wish we weren't using Mittenwald as a base and instead breaking up the trip but our deposit on our apartment has already been paid. My husband and I've never traveled with friends before and it certainly adds a level of complexity to the trip.

Thanks again everyone! Much much appreciated!
Tracy
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Mar 5th, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Hi Tracy,

The Val Gardena is less than 2 hours from Mittenwald. You're going "off season" (April), so traffic shouldn't be bad at all. Personally, I never thought of Cortina as the "capitol", but the Val Gardena and Alta Badia as the "center" of the must see area's.

Again, I think traveling to Switzerland (or anywhere) just to say I've been there isn't worth it. That's not really seeing Switzerland (or anywhere else). If there was some "must see" place they've always wanted to see, that may be another matter.

Just curious, is Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau/Fuessen and Linderhof in your plans based in Mittenwald? The Zugspitze?

Paul
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Mar 5th, 2011, 12:49 PM
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tcreath.. no need to apologize, I think the misunderstanding was mutual.. I am sure you will enjoy whatever trip you decide to make eventually.

April is not too bad to travel, unless you think about the Easter weekend and the following week. That is another peak travel time in that part of the Alps.

P.S. If you don't plan to drive on Austrian motorways except for that one trip to Val Gardena, there is an alternative to go to Innsbruck on regular highways from Mittenwald and save the (I have to admit not too expensive) 10 day toll sticker for €7.90. You don't need the sticker when you hit A13 southbound at Innsbruck-Süd/South, and leave the motorway at that exit when you come back from Italy.
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Mar 5th, 2011, 02:21 PM
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pja, I totally agree with you. The Engadine looks absolutely lovely but I know a daytrip would not do it justice. Yes, all of the castles (I have yet to visit Linderhof myself) and the Zugspitz are on our list. I think that once we get there we will find more than enough to do to fill time that hopefully our friends won't mind bypassing Switzerland and saving it for a future trip.

cowboy, thank you for the tip! We will be there around Easter (arriving on the Saturday before) so this is something that we definitely need to keep into consideration. I do enough sitting in traffic around here...I certainly don't want to do it on vacation! We may just have to leave earlier in the morning with the hopes of bypassing some of the travelers heading the same direction and hope for the best. If we do only one longer daytrip, I really want it to be the Dolomites as it's been high on my wish list for years. Otherwise I will be happy staying around Mittenwald and enjoying a more leisurely vacation that involves maybe some hiking or bike riding.

Now I'm getting excited and wish we were leaving sooner!
Tracy
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Mar 6th, 2011, 07:33 PM
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The title of the post caught my eye as we drove from Liechtenstein to Mittenwald in a day in 2009 (not a day trip, Mittenwald was our final destination). I was going to post that I would not recommend going to Switzerland for the day but it looks like you already got plenty of similar advice above. I decided to post anyway because of the recent comments about traffic.

Our drive from Liechtenstein to Mittenwald was supposed to take around 3 hours but it ended up taking all day! We got stuck in horrible construction traffic on the highway and then, on the road up to Mittenwald, we were in stopped traffic for the longest time for no apparent reason - no construction, no accident - I just think the roads were not ideal for the number of cars traveling up to Germany. And this was not during peak times - it was the first week of May. So I just want to warn you that you may hit some bad traffic in the Mittenwald area if what we experienced is normal. Also, we travel to Europe each year in late April/early May and I've noticed that this is every country's favorite time to complete road work so no matter how small the number of tourists, we end up sitting in awful traffic due to lane closures and other construction related issues. One of the many German words I learned during our last trip there was "stau" because we were always in one! Hopefully you will avoid the same fate but I would just factor in a little extra time when calculating drive times just in case.
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Mar 6th, 2011, 10:27 PM
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>hope for the best
You can hope, but you won't have a chance. Mittenwald to Gröden as a daytrip the saturday before easter is a sure way to disappoint you. Even this weekend, the roads were PACKED with holiday makers from everywhere. (actually many Dutch and Belgian). What also will happen when you exit at Innsbruck south northbound is that the traffic jam will start right there, still far away from the city. The reason is the first traffic light in Innsbruck. It can't handle the havy north and southbound traffic. At that light, turn left, then right through town and left again when the road ends to Kranebitten/Zirl. Don't go straight ahead like the sign says.
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Mar 6th, 2011, 10:40 PM
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Basically, if you stay in Mittenwald and want to go south, you'll always have to drive through Innsbruck too. (or try Axams) If you stayed in Lenggries or Achenkirch, you could enter the Autobahn at Jenbach and pass south of Innsbruck. (if there's no traffic jam on THAT Autobahn). Innsbruck on a bad day can add 2 hours to your journey. And you'd have to do it again in the evening, coming back.
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