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Trip to southern Germany - rail or drive?

Trip to southern Germany - rail or drive?

Apr 29th, 2006, 08:39 PM
  #1  
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Trip to southern Germany - rail or drive?

I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Germany with my daughter for next year. She is a German wine aficionado, so some time on the Rhine/Mosel will be desirable. Second, we have relatives who she has never met, in Lahr, which is right across the river from Strasbourg, so stopping there is required. Lastly, I love the Allgäu in southern Bavaria, so introducing here to that area is also mandatory.

My tentative itinerary is:
Day 1: arrive in Frankfurt, go to Braubach, see the Marksburg,
Day 2: day trip to Cochem and Zell
Day 3: travel to Bacharach via St. Goar. See Rheinfels and Bacharach.
Day 4: travel to Lahr to meet relatives.
Day 6: travel to Sigmaringen via Schwarzwaldbahn.
Day 7: travel to Pfronten via Lindau.
Day 8-11: sightsee around Pfronten (day trips to Füssen and Kleinwalsertal, possibly Kaufbeuren).
Day 12: travel to Munich via Reutte and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Several days of sightseeing in Munich, then fly home from Munich.

Using regional trains and Länder tickets, the projected rail fare is just under €260 (about $325).

So many people here insist on driving. If instead, I pick up a car in Mainz, and drop it in Munich on the 12th day, what would be the cost of driving?


Larryincolorado is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 12:47 AM
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Larry,

Maybe you could do the entire Mosel region by train and pick-up a car when your travels would be best done by that mode of transport.

Mark
MarkvonKramer is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 03:56 AM
  #3  
J62
 
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A car will probabably be a more than $325 for the week. Considering your itinerary, where you are moving from hotel to hotel almost every day, you should also think about what you are going to do with luggage all day long.

I don't think you want to drag your bags all around Rheinfels, Bacharach, Lindau, etc. If you have a car, you can keep your bags there, and come and go as you please. If you were staying put in one hotel I would consider taking the train around, but not with this itinerary.

my 2c
J62 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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For your itineray I'd suggest a car. We usually start shoping around by calling Avis, National, Eurocar and Sixt. Last year we rented a small Ford stick shift, (automatics are about $100 a week more) for 2 weeks, cost including all taxes was $430. Should be about the same this year. Gas is about $5.15 for a US gallon. Stay away from diesel. You might want to do a night in Garmisch as there's lots to see and do there.
arbegold is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 09:23 AM
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Larry: The answer is self-evident: Please use the train! (That way your trip will be well-planned.)

You've answered your own question in a prior thread...

Author: Larryincolorado
Date: 04/03/2006, 06:32 pm
TuckH
your posting has only proven to me what I always suspected - those who rent cars have not planned their trips very well.

But, the purpose of my previous post was to point out the error in what you said earlier.

"You say: I want a good dose of mountains and small towns. You then get a response that says, There is no reason to rent a car. The answer is self-evident: Please rent a car!"

I just showed that, contrary to your ascertation, it is just as possible to see mountains and small towns with the train.

TuckH is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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With your itinerary, I'd definitely use a car for the last half.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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I've done my share of train travel but if I'm taking a daughter wine aficionado to Germany I would definitely want to show her as much detail along the Rhine and Mosel as possible. I certainly wouldn't insist that you do so but I personally would bite the bullet and rent a car. And visiting the Allgäu and the small villages you mentioned would be so much easier and enjoyable than the train/bus routine.

The comment - 'those who rent cars have not planned their trips very well' is not close to being true for some of us. I can much more finely detail a trip using a rental car and a good Ravenstein or Falk road atlas than trying to fit train and bus schedules to my itinerary... Ben
bavariaben is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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We lived in Germany for a number of yearswith the US Army with our own car and we loved traveling with a car. This spring we revisited Germany and rode the train exclusively and loved it.

Car vs.train were different experiences.

The car gave us more flexibility on making stops along the way. We saw more small villages and rural sights.

The train gave us freedom from parking and driving the darn car. We walked more. We also had more interaction with Germans, for us the main point of the trip. Finally, learning to ride the train and get the most out of the system was fun.

Trips start in our imagination with expectations. We choose the mode of travel that best fulfills our expectations for a given trip. I am not sure anyone else can much advise you on that.

Next year we are going back with our kids, we think that we will mix train and car travel to give our almost adult "kids" a look at both.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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"With your itinerary, I'd definitely use a car for the last half."

RufusTFirefly

What about the last half of my itinerary (Pfronten & Munich) makes you think I should rent a car?
Larryincolorado is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 06:35 PM
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Well, I take it all back.

Honestly, I'll be doing a very similar trip summer of 2007 and will do it all by train but Salzburg and SE Switzerland are included in my itinerary.

Completely personal preference, I just don't want the parking headaches, me or my companions having their head buried in a map, the stress of finding what we're looking for, and having the beverage of my choice when and where I choose. There are other reasons for my choice but other folks seem comfortable driving. Maybe after multiple trips to Europe I may feel more comfortable driving but for now, I'll leave the driving to someone else.

Mark
MarkvonKramer is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 08:15 PM
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Larry--for one reason, the area you'll be in has a lot of wonderful places to explore that be reached more easily by car. Sometimes public transportation is more effective (especially for big cities); sometimes a car is more effective.

But it is a matter of personal choice--some people just don't like to drive. Others don't like the limitations of public tranportation. We usually end up using both depending on where we are going and what we want to see and do.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
May 1st, 2006, 07:09 PM
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So, I already have some wonderful places to go to from Pfronten (Füssen, Reutte, Kleinwalsertal), all of them easily accessible by train or bus. In fact, I will have to pare that list somewhat, because I want to do some hiking in Pfronten as well. Do you have any suggestions to add?
Larryincolorado is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 12:38 PM
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I did a similar trip last year in May but went by riverboat. It was wonderful. I'm surprised no one has suggested this alternative. We stopped and visited various picturesque towns along the Rhine and Moselle and did a fair bit of wine tasting. We booked through Trafalgar Tours.

Whatever you decide, you're in for a treat as that area is very picturesque.
aljo is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Aljo,

I spent four days on the middle Rhein between Koblenz and Bacharach two years ago. I particularly enjoyed Braubach. I did not get to the Mosel.

I agree, it is very picturesque, and I am expecting more from the Mosel.

But that will be only for three days. As far as I can tell, there are no riverboat cruises to Pfronten. Check out www.Pfronten.de. If you like natural beauty, you will find it is also very picturesque.
Larryincolorado is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 05:05 PM
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We had a similar decision to make regarding trains or car for our upcoming trip to Germany. We decided to use the train for the city portion of our trip and then rent a car for the more rural portion of our trip.

When we are in Munich and Nuremberg, it seems that public transportation will be more than sufficient to get us where we want to go and that parking, navigating, and driving would be more trouble than it is worth.

After that, we are going to drive the romantic road, see the Ludwig castles, and explore the alps for a few days. We want the flexibility of being able to stop at any town, lake, lookout, etc. that strikes our fancy for this section of the trip. Plus, we will be moving around more and don't want to have to schlep our luggage around all the time - just put it in the trunk of the car and let the car do the work

J_Correa is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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Believe me," schlepping" is not a problem with MY luggage.

Two near luggage disasters in the previous century taught me the wisdom of making sure my luggage is always with me on the plane, and that practice paid off for me big time already once in this century. The Lufthansa regulation 8 kg carryon limit means that my only bag, at 17 1/2#, is easy to handle. I don't need a $400 per week, hard to park, gas guzzling, portable luggage locker to keep it in. On the trip I am now planning, one of my few mid-trip excursions will be in Lindau. Luggage lockers are abundant in the Bahnhof lobby. It will be far easier to stash my luggage there than it would be to find a parking spot in that busy little town.
Larryincolorado is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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So, Larry, you weren't sincerely considering driving, you just wanted to have an opportunity to rant about us stupid idiots who sometimes choose to drive?
RufusTFirefly is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 11:07 AM
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I just love "questions" posed by people who have already made up their minds about what they are going to do.
J_Correa is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 08:24 PM
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I think Rufus nailed this one... I've never paid $400 a week for a rental car (good research and planning will get much better deals than that). I can't remember ever having a parking problem anywhere but large cities. No vehicle I've ever rented in Germany would be considered a gas guzzler by American standards (especially the diesels). I was in Lindau two years ago and didn't have any problem finding parking for my portable luggage locker. To each his own - I love trains but I love driving Germany even more... Some of us who travel Germany on a fairly regular basis prefer running the Autobahns when necessary and poking along the backroads the rest of the time (in an automobile). But it's your trip and your choice... Enjoy!
bavariaben is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 11:43 PM
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I think Ben nailed this one, yet again. Lots of nails in this post, beware!

Ben says, "Some of us who travel Germany on a fairly regular basis" may not be many of us. We are limited by our "generous" 2-3 week vacations and our (in)ability to ask for directions AND (mis)understand the replies.

I expect after several trips to Europe, a better understanding of the road signs, and an increased local vocabulary we too will venture onto the roads.

Mark
MarkvonKramer is offline  

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