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Trip to SW Germany and Alsace - 16 days itinerary


Jun 11th, 2014, 04:05 PM
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Trip to SW Germany and Alsace - 16 days itinerary

Hi all,

Here is an itinerary I've been working on. I would appreciate any feedback and suggestions please. We are two adults in our 40s and one teen and we'll be driving a rental car. We've been to Germany a few times before, but only in Bavaria (Munich - once during Oktoberfest and two other times - Nuremberg, Regensburg, Rothenburg, Garmisch, Berchtesgaden, etc). We want to go to Berlin, Dresden, Bremen on another trip. This time we're focusing on SW - Moselle, Alsace, Black Forest... We like driving and visiting sites, wine, beer - not while driving traditional German towns, of course good food, old town squares and markets, cathedrals, castles, etc. I wanted to include Cologne too on this trip but it might be too much, so we'll save it for some other time (we travel to Europe at least once a year).

So, here it is:

Day 1 - get to FRA airport in the AM, rent car, drive west for 2.5 hours to Cochem, visit Eltz Castle on the way (night in Cochem)
Day 2 - spend day in Cochem: visit castle, wine cellars and tastings, walk around
Day 3 - drive to Trier which is 1 hr away, spend evening there
Day 4 - Trier - oldest city in Germany, with roman ruins, cathedral, nice market square
Day 5 - drive to Strasbourg 2.5 hrs, spend evening there
Day 6 - Strasbourg
Day 7 - drive to Colmar 1 hr, visit chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg on the way, spend evening in Colmar, drink some Alsace wine
Day 8 - drive to Freiburg 1 hr and spend evening there, visit the cathedral, oldest inn in Germany - forgot the name -, some Baden wine tastings
Days 9 and 10 - Black Forest day trips - Gengenbach, Schiltach, Alpirsbach brewery/monastery - what else? (still spending the nights in Freiburg or area)
Day 11 - drive to Konstanz 1.5 hrs
Day 12 - Lake Constance area (Konstanz)
Day 13 - drive to Ulm 2.5 hrs, spend evening there
Day 14 - Ulm - (some trivia: this town has the highest church steeple. Einstein was born here)
Day 15 - drive to Bamberg 2.5 hrs, spend evening there
Day 16 - more Bamberg, drink lots of smoked beer
Day 17 - drive to Frankfurt airport 2 hrs, return car, hopefully catch a PM flight back to Canada (or even better to some beach destination like Tenerife to extend vacation by a week)

What do you think? Is it too much or too little? Could we squeeze Cologne somewhere, maybe instead of Konstanz? We're thinking of doing this next year in May, June or July.

Many thanks!
WFBT is offline  
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Jun 11th, 2014, 04:49 PM
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I know this is a road trip but IMHO you have too many one night stops and not enough time to really see many of these places. We were in Strasbourg 5 nights - 2 full days there (incredible cathedral, great museums, a charming old town and "little venice") then one day in Colmar and one exploring the wine towns in between.

One thing I would do is not change hotels so much to places that are very close by (Colmar too close to Strasbourg), etc.

Not sure about Ulm - all I remember is a photo my father showed me that he took during WWII - with the entire town in rubble and only one spire of the cathedral showing above about 6 feet high. So be aware that what you are looking at has been built since 1945.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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Thanks NY! In my list above, Colmar would be the only one night stop. All others are two nights, except Freiburg 3 nights. Distances between places are very short so it's not like we'll lose time travelling without seeing anything. In fact we'll be visiting sites along the way. I picked locations as to form a round-trip south of Frankfurt. We also don't mind changing hotels frequently on the go, we're quick and mobile that way. We only make longer hotel bases in larger cities, such as later this month in Paris, where we rented an apartment for 6 days in Montmartre (our 4th trip to Paris)

I'm also not so sure about Ulm anymore, as well as Konstanz.
Maybe we should stay only one night in Ulm and drop Lake Constance altogether, go for two nights to Cologne and add one night to Alsace (or Black Forest). What do you think? Would anyone comment on Cologne vs. Lake Constance? I'm sure they're both great, and there's plenty to do in either place.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 09:24 AM
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I would drop Ulm and stick with Konstanz - unless youhave a really overpowering reason for Ulm.

We have a different philosophy for road trips:

And anchor at each end (may be from 3 to 6 nights, depending on if/how many times we have been there before) than for stops on the way - 3 nights at least for the larger places and 2 for the smaller ones. Since we have a car we prefer to do a day tip to a place that is only an hour or 1.5 hours away - rather than waste time changing hotels.

Out attitude is that we can go back to any area to see new places - so even for a road trip we usually don;t do more than 4 stops (besides the 2 anchors) - even for a 3 week trip.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 12:37 PM
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Ulm down by the river survived the bombing and has been rescued from the flooding so this is a good place to visit. The old town hall has been rebuilt (so is faux) and is much of the town. I like the place.

Lake Constance is great and far nicer than Cologne, the zepplin museum, the island garden, the stilt village etc etc. Plus some great food.

The whole trip looks rushing here and there. The Vosges range and the various forts on it need at least a day, the route d'alsace needs a couple of days, Strasbourg and the WW1 forts can consume another day.

While you have found Trier (I'd go for a tasting with Peter Terges) you seem to have missed much of the Mosel. The Black forest for me is a little dull, enlivened by the odd brewery and ancient church but I understand people like it (for wandering maybe).
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Jun 12th, 2014, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for your comments.

Updated itinerary:

Cochem 2 nights
Trier 3 nights (I added one day to explore more Mosel)
Strasbourg 3 nights (one extra day added for WW1 sites)
Colmar 1 night
Freiburg 2 nights (one day Freiburg and one day Black Forest)
Konstanz 2 nights
Ulm 1 night
Bamberg 2 nights

What do you think?
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Jun 12th, 2014, 03:30 PM
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Well, I do like your town choices. Strasbourg is so close to Colmar, that I would spend 4 nights and daytrip to Colmar, instead of changing hotels. I really liked Gengenbach, the "Rothenburg for Germans." While in Freiburg, try to visit the little town of Staufen, with its famous local Schnapps outlet,the castle ruin above town, and the Faustus house on the town square. Another BF town worth a look-see is Gutach with its outdoor museum of typical BF dwellings and customs, called Vogtsbauernhof. Nice cafe with delish BF cherry torte and outdoor seating along the rushing Gutach river. And finally, Bamberg, my lovely Bamberg! You can purchase the Bierschmecker (self-guided) tour, relatively inexpensive. Includes ?6 vouchers for 1/2 liter beers at any of the towns ?8 breweries, a backpack, non-fancy stoneware mug and representative brewery coasters....ah, the beers...heaven! Click on my name for TR to Bamberg in May 2010! Have fun!
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Jun 12th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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Awesome info Mokka, thanks! I read your Bamberg TR, very nice. I can't wait to do the Bierschmecker.

We'll probably want to have a nice long dinner in Colmar, so I still want to overnight there.

I think this itinerary is now set, thanks everyone for your input.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 09:08 PM
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My suggestions (Did the fat lady sing?)----Updated itinerary:

Cochem 3 nights (I added one day to explore more Mosel/Rhine)

Trier 2 nights (I am more interested in scenery and wine stuff than Roman ruins)

Strasbourg 2 nights (3 would be better. Could steal a day from Trier. Trier could be seen as a one night stop when driving Cochem to Strasbourg.)

Colmar 2 nights ( Added one day to adequately see Colmar, Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg, the Route du Vin, and the wine villages listed in order of my favorites- Riquewihr, Equisheim, Kaysersberg,and Ribeauville)

Freiburg 2 nights (one day Freiburg and one day Black Forest)

Konstanz 2 nights ( Plenty to keep you occupied around the Bodensee}

Tubingen 1 night, replaces Ulm and its munster (Charming university town. In route you could see the Disney castles Schloss Lichtenstein and Burg Hohenzollern. Stay at the Hotel am Schloss and have the famous Maulttaschen. The Ratskeller also serves excellent food)

Bamberg 2 nights

Fly home from Frankfurt
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Jun 13th, 2014, 03:25 AM
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If you visit the Vogtsbauernhof in the BF, walk a couple of hundred yards to the sommerrodelbahn and ride a couple of times!
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Jun 13th, 2014, 07:23 AM
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Very helpful, thanks a lot! Tubingen instead of Ulm it is.
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