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Help with Christmas travel Itinerary

Cincinnati, Ohio
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Help with Christmas travel Itinerary

I'm taking my 3 teenagers and parents to Germany over Christmas Holiday and would love some feedback on tentative itinerary. Our goal are Castles, Christmas markets, WW2 sites and Skiing.

Flying into Frankfurt 12/19

2 nights in Bacharach Rhine Valley

3 nights in Rothenberg visit Wurzburg and Stuttgart and Nurnberg day trips

3 nights Oberammergau skiing and castles Xmas eve thru 27th

2 nights Salzbug

3 nights Munich day trip it Dachau

Fly out of Munich 1/1

We will be renting a car the entire time. It seemed more cost effective for 7 of us.

Any suggestions on hotels/apt are appreciated. Advice on length of stays in each place also. Traveling with teens and seniors is always a tough balance.

Thanks:)

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Chula Vista...
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1. Re: Help with Christmas travel Itinerary

Hi Family5-2010

On the whole, your trip looks generally reasonable, but may need a few adjustments.

First, realize that most German Christmas markets will close on December 23rd or the 24th in the morning and do not continue beyond Christmas, so whatever Christmas market visiting you want to do will have to be done in those first days.

I'm not sure about markets in the Rhine valley, so if there are specific markets that you want to go to, you may have to adjust your itinerary accordingly. Here's a site that lists many of the markets with their opening hours:

http://www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk/

Second, I'm not sure that I would recommend Stuttgart as a day trip from Rothenburg o.d. T. It's about a 2 hour drive each way, so you'll be consuming 4 hours of your day in the car. Remember, that you'll be there on the shortest day of the year, where the sun will rise around 8 AM and set around 4:15 PM. so you won't have much daylight to see things.

Driving in Germany in winter is akin to driving in Cincinnati or Chicago in winter (I lived in Batesville, IN for 17 years). It may be perfectly dry, or you may encounter snow and delays. No one can predict that.

You can travel on the trains quite cheaply using the Länder tickets. The Bayern Ticket, good for all destinations in Bavaria and Salzburg (Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Wurzburg, Nuremberg, Oberammergau) costs 22 € for the first person and 4€ per person up to a total of five people for a day of transit on the trains, subways, and buses in Bavaria. No reservations are needed, but the only stipulation is that you take regional trains after 9 AM on weekdays (any time on weekends).

bahn.de/i/…bavaria-ticket.shtml

Note that in the conditions section under "Discounts for Children":

"One person may bring any number of their own children or grandchildren under 15 with them free of charge."

Note there are similar Länder tickets for other German states, too.

Do not use third party ticket reselling sites like Rail Europe or Eurail to check on train costs. They have significant surcharges. Use the German Railroad (Deutsche Bahn) website instead.

http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml

Having a car in major cities can be a challenge (parking, traffic) and expensive. I think it will be a challenge to find one that will accommodate 7 people and all of your luggage, too. Gas is currently running about $8.43 per gallon based on the cost and exchange rate.

My recommendation: Given the uncertainty of the weather, rethink using rail to get around. If you must have a car, have it for the first portion of the trip (Rhine Valley). But once you get in Bavaria, turn the car in and use the trains with the Bayern Ticket. Weather, parking, and fuel will no longer be a concern. Just buy the tickets at the station, hop on the train, and go.

Enjoy your trip.

Zed

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2. Re: Help with Christmas travel Itinerary

Instead of staying in Bacharach I would recommend to stay in Mainz and do the Middle Rhine Valley only as a day trip from there. Closer to the airport and more on offer for the age range of your group.

mainz.de/WGAPublisher/…hpkr-5nkgnz.en.html

.

Renting a car might be more convenient. But it will not come cheaper.

Frankfurt Airport to Bacharach is e.g. EUR 11. Mini group (up to 5 persons) day ticket is EUR 31,80.

Bayern Ticket was already mentioned.

From Rothenburg to Nuremberg you can travel on 2 VGN TagesTicket Plus (2 x EUR 16,80). Such a ticket is good for up to 6 persons each, albeit only 2 of them bust be 18 years or older.

When renting a car you will need one of those mini buses with 9 seats as these are the only ones big enough for 7 persons plus luggage. Like Mercedes-Benz Vito, VW T5, Ford Transit, Peugeot Expert, Opel Vivaro. Such vehicles are however by German standards huge. They won't fit into all parking lots and esp. with parking garages you have to be careful (height!).

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3. Re: Help with Christmas travel Itinerary

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