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Salzburg, Munich, Switzerland and Prague Christmas 2018 14 Days

We're staring to plan our 2018 Christmas vacation. This coming year's destination we would like to go to Salzburg, Munich, Switzerland and Prague.

We're arrive in Europe on Dec 22, 2018 and leave January 4/5, 2019. I don't know if we have enough time to cover everything since some of the dates fall on Holidays. I'm traveling with my husband and our 19 yr old daughter. I'm not exactly sure how to plan out this trip, not to mention which airport to fly in/out of from EWR. My husband wants to be able to take trains (no driving) to all destinations (maybe Eurail Pass?)

I *DO know* we want to be in Salzburg on Christmas Eve (24th) and Christmas Day (25th) due to specific tours that are only being offered on those days. From my research, it seems that Germany shuts down starting noon on Christmas Eve and not opening again until the 27th which makes it difficult to know how to plan this trip.

I haven't done a trip to this location in 35 years so I'm sure things have changed. Some of the places I would like to visit are:
Saltzburg - Christmas Eve & Christmas Day - sleigh ride tour is being booked those days
Munich - Hofbrauhaus, Rothenburg, Neuschwanstein Castle
Switzerland - Lucerne and Grindelwald
Prague - Old Town, , mostly exploring the city

We want to make this trip as cost effective as possible. Would probably stay at some Marriott using our points but open to some B&B or Hostels that offer private rooms.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Have a Happy New Year to all!

F.

Posted by
1518 posts

Sorry, but this itinerary is too ambitious. Not talking about that you will arrive jetlagged, just count the number of destinations and calculate at least a half day for travelling to get to each.

Constrain yourself to not more than three destinations, but planning the trip will be really complicated, because you are bound to Salzburg at certain days, and all other destinations are in different directions from Salzburg.

This is the best search engine for flights: https://www.kayak.com/flights
But it is too early now for Christmas 2018.

You could fly into Munich, stay one night there, visit Hofbräuhaus, skip Rothenburg and Neuschwanstein which would be a day trip each, take an evening express train to Salzburg, stay in Salzburg as long as you like, go by train to Luzern, eventually go by train to Zurich, take a flight to Prague and return home from there.

Posted by
5 posts

What if I took out Switzerland completely. Then flew into Salzburg as my starting point, then train to Munich and Prague then fly home from Prague? Would that still be too much?

Posted by
593 posts

My thoughts, if you take Switzerland out of the trip, are -- fly into Munich for one night and take the train to Salzburg. We loved the train through the mountains and it is stress-free. Stay in Salzburg and then take the train to Prague (we took it from Vienna to Prague and you're probably adding on another hour or two from Salzburg). Train back to Munich. You could arrive back in Munich a day or two before flying out and then do whatever you wish for day trips or seeing Munich.

Posted by
1518 posts

Train from Munich to Prague is 5:49 hours (no change), combination of bus/train can save you an hour.
Train from Salzburg to Prague is 5:45 hours (with one change in Linz).

Don't fly into Salzburg. It is a rather small town with a low number of flights and therefore high airfares.

Posted by
891 posts

I second not flying into Salzburg as it’s just as easy and usually cheaper to fly into Munich and take the train to Salzburg using a Bayern ticket.

If it were me I’d book a round trip in/out of Munich. Take a train to Salzburg. Fly or take a train and/or bus to Prague then finally fly/train/bus back to Munich. I’d skip Switzerland, Rotenburg, and the castles.

Even if you did open jaw into Salzburg and out of Prague you would still likely go through Munich as a hub so in my experience it’s cheaper to buy the in and out direct from the US and purchase your intra Europe flights separately. I’d recommend booking directly on the Lufthansa website especially for the intra-Europe flights.

DJ

Posted by
1518 posts

There is no direct flight between Salzburg and Prague.
A return flight to Europe is cheaper for sure as an open jaw trip.
Since the bankruptcy of Air Berlin about one month ago Lufthansa is using its position as top dog to raise air fares.
Czech Airlines should have reasonable prices for flights within Europe out of Prague.

Posted by
891 posts

That’s true, I’ve seen LH flights go up this past year.

A train back to MUC from Salzburg then a direct round trip flight from MUC to Prague and back might be your best combination of cost vs time. Flying into or out of Salzburg is always expensive. It’s probably due to the fact that you can get there easily by train from MUC so they know that the only people flying directly into Salzburg must have a really compelling reason and therefore are willing to pay higher price.

DJ

Posted by
891 posts

For a Marriott in Munich I would recommend Courtyard by Marriott Munich City East, Orleansstraße 81-83, 81667 München, Germany.

This area is much nicer than the location near the main train station while still having good connections to airport and local transportation.

Posted by
5 posts

Ok I had to rethink this whole trip, what if I did the following:
Dec 21st - Fly EWR to MUC
22nd - Arrive in MUC, spend 1 night
23rd - Train to Salzburg
24th - Salzburg
25th- Salzburg
26th- Train to Prague Travel Day
27th - Prague
28th - Prague
29th - Train to Rothenburg spend 1 night
30th - Train to Frankfurt
31st - Fly home

On this itinerary is it even worth getting a Eurail Pass? OR would it be cheaper to buy tickets as we need them?

I wish I could fly into Frankfurt because air is much cheaper but can't find flights into Salzburg without making connections or costing a lot of money.

Posted by
1518 posts

On this itinerary is it even worth getting a Eurail Pass?

Never ever. Eurail Pass is a rip-off. Buy individual tickets online. Beware: Online payments with American credit cards can get troublesome if European security features (e.g. 3D Secure) are not enabled.

I wish I could fly into Frankfurt because air is much cheaper but can't find flights into Salzburg

Austrian Airlines operates 5 flights per day from Frankfurt to Salzburg, approx $150 per person.

Alternatively you can go by train from Frankfurt Airport to Salzburg (one change in Munich), travel time about 5:30 hours (lowest bargain price €50 per person).

You must do the math what combination suits you best, i.e. weighing up costs against travel time.

Posted by
5 posts

Not sure where you're getting $150.00/pp n Austrian Air; unless I calculated the Euros wrong, 1 way is approx $300/pp

I do agree with you; I think it will be cheaper and easier to just purchase train tickets as we go.

Would I have enough time to travel by train from Rothenburg if I took a 10:00 AM train to Frankfurt to catch a 5:00 PM flight?

Posted by
1518 posts

Not sure where you're getting $150.00/pp n Austrian Air; unless I calculated the Euros wrong, 1 way is approx $300/pp

I just checked on https://book.austrian.com/app/fb.fly?l=en for Dec.22, 2018 and the price was €118.

I never had been to Rothenburg, so I am not familiar with the distances and/or public transport in that area.

Posted by
5697 posts

Regarding American credit cards --I used Chase Sapphire Reserve for SNCF and ÖBB in recent months with no problems.