Germany, Austria, Italy?

I have a few questions, I will give my plans then ask the questions at the end. Fly into Frankfurt then down to munich spend 1-2 days. From munich to go through Austria to Italy. In Italy we want Florence, Rome, Pompei, Then Amalfi and fly out of Rome. So now the confusing questions; 1. The first leg from Frankfurt to Munich. We want to see a few sights (Heidelberg, Dachau, Nueschwanstein) and was wondering for this leg of 1-2 days should we get a rental car and then Train the rest of the way? 2. Suggestions, Should we train it from munich to baden baden then down through zurich into Italy? or munich to Salzberg then lake Hallstatt then down to Italy? or Munich to Innsbruck to Italy? 3. We were thinking thinking Sept-Oct timeframe, but we do not want to hit Oktoberfest in munich. Would it be better to May-ish or oct-nov time? Thanks for any suggestions or ideas. Tony

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12444 posts

1. Germany has the best network of public transportation in Europe (2nd in density by only 1% to Switzerland). It's the last place you should rent a car. The train goes from FRA to Munich through Heidelberg (one route). Dachau is a suburb of Munich, easily reachable by S-Bahn and bus. You can easily do Munich to Neuschwanstein as a day trip with the train (26€ with a Bayern-Ticket for two people RT on the train including the bus from Füssen to Hohenschwangau and back). 2. I think the fastest route from Munich to Italy would be direct via Innsbruck. Unless you have an extra day to spend in Hallstatt, going through Hallstatt would be roundabout. If I were going to go via Zürich, I'd take the train via Lindau. 3. October is the driest month in Bavaria. However, I was there for two weeks last May and only encountered rain one day. Oktoberfest ends the first weekend in October.

Posted by Tony
31 posts

Do you think it possible to do Dachau and Nueschwanstein from munich in 1 day?

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

Not really, and you aren't really going to have time to "see" Heidelberg, Munich, Dachau, and Neuschwanstein in 2 days, one of those days including the morning you fly in, jet lagged. I would consider going straight to Munich, and seeing one thing or the other. It's still very rushed, consider adding another day to Munich if possible. How much time do you have total? If less than 2 weeks, you might want to focus on just Germany/Austria/Switzerland or Switzerland/Italy.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20087 posts

Tony, Some additional information would be helpful. Some thoughts and questions..... > Are you flying into Frankfurt as those are the cheapest flights? You might consider flying directly into Munich instead. > Are you planning to use open-jaw flights and return from another airport? > September and October are generally good months to travel in Europe. What is the total duration of your trip? > For touring Dachau and Neuschwanstein, your best bet is to add a day or two in Munich and do those both as day trips. You can tour both places on your own or with an organized day tour. Check the Radius Tours website for more information. > The easiest route from Munich to Italy (IMO) is via the Brenner Pass. There are frequent trains, and it's a trip I always enjoy. It's difficult to provide specific information without knowing where your first destination in Italy will be. > Are you planning to visit Hallstatt on a day trip, or stay there for a day or two? > Is this your first trip to Europe? If you could provide more details, it would be easier to provide more specific suggestions. Good luck with your planning!

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2467 posts

As usual, Ken is right. We'd like to have more details. The trip you've outlined would take around 4 weeks. If you know you're going, don't wait until the Fall. Go in May. I agree about flying into Munich. You can get to all local travel sights on public transportation. I agree that everyone needs to see Dachau. There are 3-4 days' sights in Munich. Then take a train over to Salzburg, and stay 2 nights. Augustiner Brewery beer hall is not to be missed. I'd suggest you rent a car for a few days and take in Innsbruck and Tirol. Forget Switzerland, as it looks like Tirol and is a little quiet. Turn the car in at Innsbruck, and catch a train down to Venice for 2 nights. Take a train to Florence for 2-3 nights. Rent a car and visit the hill towns of Tuscany and stay in Volterra or Siena for a couple of days. Drive down to Orvieto and spend the night. Turn in your rental car there. You are a 1 hr. train ride north of Rome. Rome is a 1 week destination, as there's as much to see in the suburbs as there is in the city. I'd say a minimum of 4 nights is needed here. A train ride down to Naples is about 150 miles. The Amalfi Coast is south of Naples, and most travel is by public transportation (bus). Go back up to Rome and book a mid day flight. It's a difficult airport to fly out of due to heavy security.
If you don't have time for this itinerary, skip Naples and the Amalfi Coast.