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Winter accommodations for family with young children in Mittenwald, G-P, or Fuessen areas?

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Feb 9th, 2006, 06:31 AM
  #1
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Winter accommodations for family with young children in Mittenwald, G-P, or Fuessen areas?

My family will be traveling in late March/early April for about a week to southern Bavaria; we'd like to visit the castles and do some simple skiing, staying in scenic areas in the mountains. Would it be better to be based in G-P, Fuessen/Hohenschwangau, and/or Mittenwald? I've been looking at various reviews of pensions and hotels but haven't come up with a definitive recommendation for where to stay. Given that we have 5 year old twins, some of the fancier, more expensive places are probably out. Also, I'm not sure if we should rent a car or if driving that time of year is dicey in these areas. Would we pay a huge surcharge for snow tires and chains? Can we get by without a car? Advice please! ;-)
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Feb 9th, 2006, 05:42 PM
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I don't know how much help I will be , but I will bump this to the top for you. All 3 towns you mentioned are fairly close together, so you will be able to see the same things no matter which you pick. I was partial to Fussen and Mittenwald - they seemed quainter to me. I can't help you much on the skiing, other than to say they were still skiing on the Zugspitze in late April the year I was there. I would guess that driving would be fine, but I am sure someone else can give a better answer to that. Fussen is very close to Neuschwanstein and is a fun little town to spend the night in. Don't sweat the choice too much, the area is beautiful and you should have a nice time.
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Feb 10th, 2006, 05:01 AM
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Thanks for the reply, Bob; it's good to know I shouldn't agonize over the choice too much. Other posts on this site seem to also suggest that Mittenwald or Fuessen would be preferable to G-P, so I'm leaning toward one of those.

The complication I didn't explain here is that for part of our trip (four days/five nights) I'll be at a conference in Landau (Rhineland-Pfalz) while my husband is with the kids in Bavaria, so I'm thinking that it's best for them to stay someplace convenient to the sights that won't require too much schlepping on foot in bad weather or moving from one hotel to another. For that reason (and also for ease of transporting luggage) a rental car makes sense, but I'm not sure how much the total cost (including snow tires parking etc) will be, and also driving conditions that time of year in mtn areas.

Some hotels I've read about online in Fuessen/Schwangau include the Mueller, Romantic Pension Albrecht, Christine, and Zum Hechten. In Mittenwald, there's the Alpenrose and the Pension Bavaria, as well as the Hotel Post Klais in Krun. In G-P, I've requested rates from the Gasthauf Fraundorfer, Berggasthof Panorama, and Garmischer Hof. Also read that the Hotel Roter-Hahn and Quellenhof are nice. If anyone out there can give us feedback on any of these, I'd be grateful!
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Feb 10th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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We stayed at Gastof Fraundorfer in G-P with our kids (they were 6 and 8). We had a suite with one bathroom, 2 bedrooms, and a little common area with a sofa and table. The owners could not have been kinder to my kids. They would bring out little toys and crayons at dinner to entertain them.

You should definitely rent a car as it will be much easier to get around with the kids. GF has a parking lot.
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Feb 10th, 2006, 05:15 AM
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Just wanted to mention that I don't think its likely that you'll have a problem driving or will need snow tires. It was several years ago, but our family once stayed in Garmisch in early April, and even drove down to Innsbruck, and had no problems whatsoever. We were in a rental van and had no special tires or anything. Heck, we just drove to Garmisch in January with nothing but our AWD and our all weather tires. There was a lot of snow on the ground but, other than a few small patches of ice, the roads were great.

The Germans do an amazing job keeping the roads clear, so I really wouldn't worry about it.
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Feb 10th, 2006, 05:34 AM
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Our family stayed at the
Apartmenthotel Seespitz winter 12 months ago and were very happy with it. We had a 2 bedroom apartment with a small kitchen.

The hotel is actually at Fuessen-Weissensee which is about 5km out of Fuessen itself. It is right on the lake and we had an absolutely fantastic view overlooking the lake with the mountains in the background, all covered in snow.

There is a children's playground area and there is also an on-site children's creche. As our kids were teenagers we of course didn't try out the creche so I can't give you any details about it.

The restaurant within the hotel was Italian and the pizzas weren't bad at all. I am sure your five year old boys would be happy with it and, of course, having your own kitchen is a big advantage. If the kids are tired out after being out all day you can cook them a simple meal and put them to bed instead of having to go out again at night for dinner every night.

Do take note that there are no shops or other restaurants within walking distance. This didn't bother us as we had a car but it might be something you need to conside.
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Feb 10th, 2006, 10:19 AM
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My family stayed in Mittenwald in late March last winter and loved it. There is a fun and easy ski school for young children at Kranzberg. The center of town is closed to cars, which makes it a pleasure to explore with children. We had a small rental car, no special tires or chains, and had no problems. Good luck!
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Feb 10th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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I always think that that area is perfect for a vacation with kids. Castles everywhere. What fun. We stayed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen last winter and enjoyed it immensely. We stayed at the Hotel Edelweiss in an upstairs room with a bedroom and a sitting room and access to a second bedroom that would seem fine for your family. See my trip report entitled Winter Wonderland (just search on that title) for more complete info about the hotel, etc. Garmisch-Part. has lots of facilities and is in the middle of things. You can take a day trip by train to Munich. Check it out.
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Feb 10th, 2006, 11:43 PM
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Wow, thanks to everyone for the quick replies! Each place sounds great, and I'm relieved to hear that driving shouldn't be a problem. A few questions to the various posts:

padams421: The GF in G-P has written me to say they're not sure if their restaurant will be open during the dates of our visit. This is a definite negative since I've heard such great things about the place. Do you mind my asking how much you paid for your room, and if you opted for half board or just breakfast?

mindylt_1: Do you live in Germany or did you rent the van with the all weather tires? Any recs for rental companies? We'll probably be picking the car up in Lindau or Konstanz since we're flying into Zurich, and will stay two nights at the Zum Baeren in Meersburg before I go to Landau and my husband and kids go east to Bavaria. We'll drop the car in Munich before flying home from there, or perhaps in Garmisch if it doesn't seem there's a need after that for it.

shandy: Did you book your apartment through them directly or some sort of online agency? Do you mind my asking what the rate was?

ScottD: Where did you stay in Mittenwald, and for how long? Just yesterday I noticed the Kranzberg link for skiing, so this is looking like a great place to be based with the kids.

JulieVikmanis: Thanks for the tip on the Edelweiss; I think I recall reading your posting earlier! Would you mind sharing the rate you paid for your apt and how long you stayed, as well as info as to how you booked the place (directly or through some vendor online perhaps?).

To all: Thanks again!

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Feb 10th, 2006, 11:51 PM
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Julie, sorry, just noticed that you'd already posted the rate for the Edelweiss in your Winter Wonderland post!
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Feb 11th, 2006, 12:52 AM
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Germantour, I can't recall the price we paid for the apartment but I do recall that it was very reasonable compared to other places we looked at the time. We were there just before Christmas, a popular time in Bavaria. By the way there is also an indoor heated swimming pool, something which can keep your little ones occupied if you should run into some rainy days.

You can check the current prices at their website at http://www.seespitz.com/index.html Follow the link for the English translation. I booked directly with the hotel and had no problems with my reservation. The posted confirmation was written in German but even though I don't speak German I could still work it out, with a little help from one of the on-line translation sites. They did not want any money up-front which is a big plus in my book. I dislike having to fork out money for places sight unseen.

I just found a short review from another Fodorite, Dorothy, who stayed there several months ago. She was obviously happy with the hotel and mentions that the childcare is free which may or may not interest you. Like us, she enjoyed the wine and chocolates waiting in the room and access to a laundry. Great when you have been travelling for a while.
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Feb 11th, 2006, 10:48 AM
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We stayed at the Alpenrose Hotel. They were very friendly and in the center of town. We stopped in last year planning to stay for a couple of nights, and ended up staying for a week. Plus, we are headed back next month for another week. There is a large indoor/outdoor swimming pool walking distance from the hotel which my daughter loved. The hotel also owns another property, the Bichlerhof, which has a small pool and spa area which is available to you. As I only have one child, we just took a room, but they also have an apartment available. Hotel website is: www.hotel-alpenrose-mittenwald.de/
A good outing in Mittenwald is the Karwendelbahn - a cablecar that goes to the top of a peak for spectacular views. Less expensive than the Zugspitze, and the kids love the ride straight up the side of a mountain.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 01:19 AM
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On our first trip, we rented a van through Sixt rent a car. We do live here, but at the time we only had a small car and were traveling with some family members. It was just a standard Ford Galaxy van, I think, and was fine.

On our trip this past Jan, we drove our own vehicle. It does have the all weather tires, but I think we would have been fine in any case. Despite a lot of snow, the roads were very good.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 06:09 AM
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Ok, now I'll confuse you even more: Why not stay in nearby Oberammergau? It's only a few miles North of Garmisch. You'd be 5 minutes from Ettal Monastery, 10 minutes from Schloss Linderhof (King Ludwig's "hunting lodge"), 20 minutes from downtown Partenkirchen, 45 minutes from Fuessen and the Royal Castles, not to mention the fact that you'd be in a very quaint Bavarian town full of woodcarving shops, cheese makers and historic sites. There is a Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas store and many shops making/selling wooden toys. The hand-carved religious statues are World-renowned.

There seems to be snow 6 months a year, but as has been mentioned earlier, the Bavarians are experts at keeping the roads clear. The locals speak perfect English since Oberammergau has been a popular recreational spot for American serviceman since WWII. The NATO officers' school is located in town.

Check out the Wellenberg indoor pool (http://www.swimmersguide.com/query/D...fm?PoolID=7868). It has plenty of stuff to entertain the kids. There are some unbelievablly gorgeous cross country ski trails just outside town. It seems like everyone is out skiing on a Sunday. The nearby alpine skiing slopes are rather tame which might be good for the kids. If you need more challenging runs Garmisch-Partenkirchen is World Class.

There are tons of nice, quaint and affordable accomodations in Oberammergau. This website has great links to most of the properties: http://www.oberammergau.de/ot_e/accomodations/index.htm. You can book online and get a response the next day.

A few weeks ago, during a major snowstorm, we stayed at the Hotel Friedenshohe (http://www.friedenshoehe.de/). Very reasonably priced, quiet, great meals and exceptional staff. Herr Schmid will bend over backwards to take care of you. In the most recent Passion Play in 2000, he played King Herod. Consider his recommendation for the horse-drawn sleigh ride.

For 75 Euro you get a 2 1/2 hour sleigh ride through a valley of pine forests and fields on your way to Linderhof Castle. Maybe the best birthday present my wife ever got! It gets cold, but the driver wraps you in blankets and fur. Only my feet were numb and that's because I wore sneakers. Bring boots and heavy socks. When you reach Linderhof all the Japanese tourists rush out to see who the VIP's are that are arriving from out of the forest in their horse-drawn sleigh. Oh yeah, the ride IS round trip. Herr Schmid will even take you to and from his hotel to the horse guy's farm. The kids will love it.

When we picked-up our rental van in Munich, Alamo asked if we wanted snow tires. They told me it would be 7.50 Euro extra per day! I said "no thanks" and when I went to the parking lot to get in the van they assigned me, it was the only one there. So either they were going to change all 4 tires while I waited or they were BS'ing me about the snow tires. The tires that were on the VW van had pretty decent tread so I suspect I had snow tires right from the start. In any case, they worked like a charm. Incidentally, they also asked if I wanted to rent the GPS system for 10 Euro per day. Mr. Cheapo said "no" again. Two days later while reading the van manual I discovered that GPS was already installed. We used it the rest of the trip and it spoiled me - absolutely incredible how it directed us to every hotel, restaurant or site we punched in.

Another thing you guys might enjoy is to drive from Oberammergau out past Linderhof Castle. Continue on the winding, narrow alpine road. Don't worry because they plow and cinder it. It'll take you into Austria past some pretty scenery. More pine forests, immense mountains, pristine lakes and sled-riding hills. I saw many families out along that road pulling their kids on wooden sleds. In other areas, trails were set up just for the kids to ride down. Methinks Herr Schmid might be able to scare up a sled or two for you for the day.

In Austria, the town of Reutte is in the middle of some decent ski facilities like the Hahnenkahm for maniacs and Reutte for beginners and intermediates. Reutte is a nice place for a stroll through the shopping district. You can also find a Lidl store (similar to Aldi) where you can stock up on candy and snacks for the kids. Buy your gas in Austria because it's a good 50 cents or more per gallon cheaper.

And my last suggestion: Definitely rent a car. The freedom of mobility it'll give you is worth the initial frustration you might encounter. Once you get used to the German traffic signs you'll find it much more logical and driver friendly than here in the States. They actually warn you in advance about dangerous curves and distance signs seem to be everywhere. Your family will have the time of your lives.

P.S. Other Fodorites might recommend the Fraundorfer in Partenkirchen as a place for dinner. It is very good and a definite fun time with the music and dancing, but you can save yourself a lot of money and be in a slightly less-crowded restaurant if you walk half a block down to the Werdenfelser Hof (http://www.werdenfelser-hof.de/). We ate in the Fraundorfer because we thought we remembered having a great meal there many years before. We enjoyed ourselves, but after dinner we spoke with some locals who recommended the Werdenfelser-Hof. When we passed by that restaurant, we took a look inside and remembered we had actually eaten there 20 years before. We could've had the same meals for 3 Euro less per person.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 12:53 PM
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These tips are all great, thanks! Zeus, I'm particularly interested in the Hotel Friedenshohe, so I've written to see about their availability. The sleigh ride sounds wonderful! I've heard that Oberammergau is touristy, but is that mostly in the summer due to large crowds?

As for car rentals, Zeus--did you go through Alamo directly from the US, or via some intermediary? GPS sounds like a wise idea, especially since I'll be gone for several days at a conference in Landau, so when he's driving with the kids in tow, the GPS can navigate rather than me!

Basic skiing (alpine or X-C), sledding, and the swim center sound like perfect entertainment for the kids! And thanks for the tip on the Wedenfelser Hof; actually the Gasthof Fraundorfer told me their restaurant might be closed during our visit, which is another reason I'm considering alternative hotels.

Incidentally, Zeus, do you speak German, or have you just spent enough time in the area to know how to get around? My husband speaks a little and can read some, but it's been a while since he studied it. But it sounds like Herr Schmid would help us with most anything we'd need!
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Feb 12th, 2006, 07:14 PM
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Zeus--a follow-up question on the Hotel Friedenshoehe reservation. They have Room 2 or 9 available; 2 has the corner balcony, but they say 9 is larger (and it appears to be on the 2F). Do you recall from the website which room you stayed in, and which you'd recommend? Most of the time it will be my husband and the kids in the room, but for a couple nights I'd be there too (after my conference in Landau), so I guess having more space might be nice. But Herr Schmid said that we'd have enough room in Room 2 also.

Thanks for all the help!
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