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Itinerary: Bavaria, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna

USA
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Itinerary: Bavaria, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna

Hello!

Thank you in advance for any help/advice you can offer! I've done a ton of reading and research but it's hard to balance out what we want vs. what's realistic or the smartest way to travel. Through these message boards I got some monumental help and I again am asking for more help. Sorry and thank you! :)

This is for a trip I'm planning next summer for a group of four, 2 couples. My wife and I have been to Ireland once but this is everyone's first trip to the heart of Europe. We've traveled a lot in North America and from our experience in Ireland, and a ton of reading that I've done on TA, I understand that it's going to very different for travel where we want to go. With that said, we love driving to visit the out-of-the-way smaller towns and activities; we would rather spend more time in nature or small town then visit larger city for dinner. I would say we want 60% nature/small towns, 40% larger cities. That's what I'm trying to balance out.

With 15 days in Europe I am trying to construct the most efficient/logical itinerary with the few 'must-sees' that we have. I love driving, so initially I was planning on driving the entire trip and parking where necessary, but I've constructed an itinerary that offers car travel + train travel (which seems the best of both worlds to me.... Driving some which I love, taking the train some to experience what that's like). If this itinerary does not make sense to combine trains and car rental, I'm willing to rent a car the entire time and pay for parking, deal with driving in cities, etc (it's kind of a thrill to me to drive - it's on my bucket list to drive on every continent).

Day 9 is where I start to struggle (I feel); I know it would be a long day but it's the only way I can envision combining the car/train experience that I desire.

Day 11 is also hard because I don't know the train system/public transportation in Europe well enough to know whether this day makes sense or not.

Here's what I've come up with:

Tentative Itinerary 5.0

Day 1

>Arrive in Munich in AM

-Tour Munich; see a few major sights

/Stay in Munich

Day 2

>Day trip to Nuremberg (this is one 'must-see' for the couple travelling with us)

-Take train; see sights

/Stay in Munich

Day 3

>Collect car rental for 6 days with car; leave Munich - http://goo.gl/maps/oHdE6

-See Neuschwanstein Castle (a 'must-see')

-Visit Nebelhorn (take cable car up mountain; enjoy view/possibly eat dinner)

/Stay in Oberstdorf

Day 4

>Drive toward Innsbruck

-Visit Oberammergau & Mittenwald

/Stay in Innsbruck

Day 5

>Spend day in Innsbruck

-Hungerburg Funicular

--Nordpark Cable Railway

/Stay in Innsbruck

Day 6

>Drive to Salzburg

-Untersberg

-Pass through Old Town area

-Salzburg Fortress

-Salzburg Cathedral

/Stay in Salzburg

Day 7

>Day in Salzburg

-Morning in town visiting what we missed from prior day

-Afternoon visiting surrounding lakes/mountains

/Stay in Salzburg

Day 8

>Leave for Munich

-Return car

-Take train to Venice or Trieste (I'm thinking of staying in Trieste and visiting Venice from there - thoughts?)

/Stay in Venice or Trieste

Day 9

>Day in Venice

-See sights

/Stay in Venice or Trieste

Day 10

>Day in Venice

-See sights

/Stay in Venice or Trieste

Day 11

>Leave by train toward Vienna with a stop in Graz

-Visit Hochosterwitz Castle (this is a 'must-see' to an extent - but can reluctantly be skipped if it does not make sense/is inconvenient based on transportation availability. I don't know how easy it would be to get from Graz to see the castle and then get back to sleep somewhere near the train)

-If visiting this castle is too much of a hassle, we could skip Graz and go straight to Vienna

/Stay in Graz (maybe straight to Vienna and stay there)

Day 12

>Leave for Vienna in AM on train

-Depending on arrival time, try to see sights or just relax at a cafe before dinner

/Stay in Vienna

Day 13

>Day in Vienna

-Prater

-Museums (Clock, globe, wagenburg, and others)

/Stay in Vienna at

Day 14

>Day trip to Krakow, Poland (this is a must-see for the other couple; me and my wife may stay in Vienna)

-See sights in Krakow/Vienna

/Stay in Vienna at

Day 15

>Day in Vienna

-See and remaining sights that we missed or simply relax

/Stay in Vienna

Day 16

>Travel back to USA from Vienna

-Reminisce about Europe

/Stay in our own beds at home

Chula Vista...
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1. Re: Itinerary: Bavaria, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna

Hi mjconns,

Before getting into specifics about your trip, here are some general thoughts.

Driving in Germany is quite straightforward, but it is expensive. Gas is running around $8.00 per gallon with the current price and exchange rate. Driving also gives you much more flexibility than the train. If you see something along the way that you want to stop and photograph or explore, you can. You can't ask the engineer to stop the train. :-)

That said, because there is soooo much to see and explore along your route, the time required to drive from Point A to Point B will be considerably longer than you expect. If you're like me, you'll want to stop and just hang out by that beautiful Alpine lake for an hour or so before continuing on.

If you drive into Austria, you MUST have a toll vignette properly attached to your windshield. If you don't, you risk a several hundred euro fine, to be paid on the spot. You can purchase a 10-day vignette for 8,30 € at gas stations on the German side of the border.

Remember that when you arrive in Munich that first morning, you will have been in transit for the better part of 12-15 hours depending on where in the US you're coming from. Plus your flight likely leaves in the mid to late afternoon, which means that you'll have been up all day before beginning the trip. Bottom line, expect to run out of energy from jet lag mid to late afternoon in Munich. That means that you may not be all that into seeing things that first day. Push yourself to keep going till 8 PM or so to get your body adjusted to the new time zone.

Personally, I believe you are trying to do way too much in your 15 days, and will spend too much time inside a car or train and not enough time seeing the things you came to see.

Day 3 - The trip to Neuschwanstein can easily take you into mid afternoon between the drive, the tour, and just hanging out. That means that you'll get to Nebelhorn late in the afternoon when there's a good chance that by then, the summit may be clouded over. (Alpine peaks are usually best seen early in the morning when clouds are fewer.)

Day 4- The drive from Oberstdorf to Innsbruck via Oberammergau and Mittenwald will take about 4 hours of driving time (without stops to "ooo and ahh", traffic, etc.), leaving very limited time to spend in each of Oberammergau and Mittenwald.

Day 6 - The drive to Salzburg will take about 2 hours without accounting for stops. Parking in Salzburg is a bit more of a challenge, so make sure your hotel has parking available.

Day 8 - This will be a terribly long day. It's about 1.5 hours of pure driving from Salzburg back to Munich. Add on another hour to return your car, and then it's a 9-10 hour train ride from Munich to Trieste.

Day 11 - Looking at www.bahn.de, the train from Trieste to Graz will take 7 to 14 hours (depending on departure time and connections), and the train from Graz to Vienna is 2.5 hours. I don't see how you could really see anything in Graz with a stopover there unless you spent the night.

I would probably drop Venice from the trip (too much time/effort to get there and back) and do something like this:

3 Nights Munich - It's a great city that deserves to be seen out of the fog of jet lag.

4 Nights Bavarian / Austrian Alps (Neuschwanstein, Oberstdorf, Mitenwald, Berchtesgaden (not on your list, but amazing area)).

2 Nights Salzburg

1 Night Salzkammergut Region (Bad Ischl, Hallstatt, Gmunden)

1 Night Graz

4 Nights Vienna.

I don't know if that helps or causes problems. Enjoy your planning and your trip.

Zed

USA
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2. Re: Itinerary: Bavaria, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna

Thank you for your input! It helps and adds good problems :)

It does feel rushed; I'm trying to accommodate 'must-see' attractions/cities of multiple travelers... Which makes things a little difficult :)

With how long the train takes, do you think a car would be better for the entire trip? Whether or not we see venice? We do like the flexibility of stopping where we please, when we please...

I appreciate your feedback! I'll be going over what you said and trying to adjust accordingly :)

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: Itinerary: Bavaria, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna

My general impression is there's too much packed in here. Maybe you could have each person pick their "must see" and see if those 4 places could make for an itinerary?

Vienna to Krakow would only work as a day trip by flying and even then it's really not practical.

Trieste seems far for a base to see Venice. If you're looking for smaller cities/towns, there are other options. Maybe Treviso? What attracts you to Trieste as a base?

USA
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4. Re: Itinerary: Bavaria, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna

Trieste just looked pretty and I have a friend who went there and really liked it. Now that I know how far apart Trieste and Venice are now I think we'll just stay in Venice.

I'm thinking we may eliminate Salzburg to allow more time for travel between destinations... To break up the long days into more manageable days.

5. Re: Itinerary: Bavaria, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna

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