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Renting a car in Prague to drive through Europe, are we crazy or should we take the train

Good morning,
We are flying into Prague at the end of May, spending 3 days in Prague and then about 2 weeks of going through Austria, Germany and the Alsace region of France then eventually flying out of Frankfurt. I already have a hertz reservation to pick up a car in Prague and drop off at Frankfurt airport, was around 1300 for 2 weeks for a Mercedes.
But with everything i am seeing about driving in Czech republic, i am wondering if it would be more wise to take a train from Prague to Salzburg and then rent the car in Salzburg or should we take a train everywhere. Our tentative timeline is below

Prague- 3 days
Bad Gastein- 1 day
Salzburg- 2 days
Munich- 2 days
Garmisch- 2 days
Rothenburg- 1 day
Heidelberg- 1 day
Alsace area- 4 days
Frankfurt- 1 day

Posted by
1585 posts

msc_mchl - Looking at your itinerary, you will need a car at some portion of your journey to cover smaller towns. I would rent the car from Munich and on and drop it off in Frankfurt. It will come in handy to cover towns like Rothenburg, Heidelberg and Alsace region. How do you plan to get to Bad Gastein from Prague. I see no public transport to there ? You can also rent a car going from Prague to Bad Gastein but once you arrive in Salzburg and Munich, you won't have any need for the car and it can be an inconvenience in those two cities.

Posted by
6788 posts

Well, crazy is in the eye of the beholder. It's your trip, so do what makes you happy.

That said, I see a number of things besides doing this all by car that would make this beholder question your sanity.

First, the pace. Your trip is almost entirely two- and one-night-stands. That's going to kill you. "One night in X" gives you zero days to spend there. "Two nights in Y" gives you one day there. You will be constantly on the move, and that gets old really quick. You are not going to "see" much of anything in all those one-night-stand stops.

Second, while some areas are best done by car IMHO, big, old cities are miserable with a car. Driving into to center of cities like Munich and Frankfurt are not exactly going to be what I'd call fun. A car in these cities is just an expensive headache.

If it were me, I'd drop some portion of this trip (probably Alsace - there's much to see there, but it seems like an odd outlier given the rest of your focus further to the east) and re-allocate those days for a more relaxed pace on your core destinations.

Posted by
1666 posts

I agree with David about the pace of your trip. You have 9 destinations in 17 nights! You will be spending most of your time traveling to your destinations and hardly any time at all AT your destinations. I haven't been to all of your destinations but since Alsace seems to be the outlier, it makes sense to drop that. Add another day to Prague and add some days to your current one-night stays. Don't forget that moving around so much takes time. You need to allocate time for checking in and out of hotels, finding parking, getting lost, getting to the train station when you take trains, etc. You will lose so much time at each destination.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the input, you guys definitely validated what has been gnawing at me for a while with this plan. Unfortunately Alsace area is a no go for removal per wife :) but i think what we are going to do is change up the amount of days and remove Heidelberg, outside of the castle its not much different than other towns and i spent almost 3 years in that area back in the 90's.

Prague- 3 days, Take train from Prague to Salzburg

Salzburg area- 3 days, Visit Bad Gastein from there, looks to be only a little more than an hour train ride to and from Salzburg

Take train from Salzburg to Munich
Munich- 2 days

Pick up car before heading to Garmisch

Garmisch- 3 days

Drive from Garmisch to Alsace area and visit Rothenburg along the way

Alscace area- 4 days

Drive from Straousburg to Frankfurt on 4th day and fly out from Frankfurt the next morning.

I think this will help to alleviate a lot of stress for us because even though right now we are dreaming of all these things we want to see and do, we will definitely need to allow downtime and if needed, can always come back to see what we missed.

Posted by
1585 posts

Excellent planning and adjustment from your original itinerary. This current itinerary is a winner. You will definitely fulfill your goals. Enjoy your trip and reach out to us if you have further questions.

Take care msc_mchl