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Critique my first month of a 3.5/4 month trip

Hi everyone, so after some careful deliberation and planning I think my wife and I have outlined our first month of a 3.5-4 month Euro trip. I'll preface this all with the following:

-Wife and I have both travelled to Europe 5 times prior in the last 10-12 years, we are easy and like to move
-We are fully aware of the Schengen zone rules, and as such will be leaving the zone for however long we need to to "build time" back in it.
-We like trains but are not opposed to renting a car for a few days up to a few weeks
-And yes, I know much of our itinerary are "rick Steves" hot spots but at the same time they are also mostly larger, easily accessible locations which can be the basis for day trips outside those locations as well.

This trip will be beginning in Sept 2022, leaving Vancouver for Frankfurt Sept 19th. I will try to lay this out in an easy to read way

Frankfurt to Würzburg - 4 days with day trips around the area

Würzburg to Nurmberg - 2 days here

Nuremberg to Munich - 5 days here, 2-3 days at Oktoberfest, the rest seeing the city, but mostly consuming beer and pretzels

Fly from Munich to Dublin - 5 days, we have a wedding to go to outside of Dublin, its a 2 day wedding, we were just in Ireland before covid, I don't care to stay longer than I need to

Dublin to Munich - Morning flight, rent a car

Munich to Southern Bavaria for 4-5 Days, We will be going to Berchesgaden/Eagles Nest, From here we may go to Hallstatt, we will then go see Nuecshwenstien and the surrounding areas, nothing set in stone for location or accommodations.

Southern Bavaria to Munich - Drop car off, Take train into France, So some choices here.

From Munich either to say, Colmar or Dijon, 3-4 days here eating and doing a few wine tours.

Dijon to Lyon - 3-4 days, eating and drinking

From Lyon id like to go to Chamonix and Mont Blanc.

This will put us in mid to late October. From that point we are then going to be heading to Croatia. Right now we have a loose plan to make our way through Italy to Venice, and take the ferry from Venice to Pula. Where we will slow down and spend a few weeks in Croatia. Our trip will slow significantly (or at least this is the plan) here, and from Croatia we will likely fly to Portugal once we are done there.

Just looking for some thoughts regarding this initial itinerary, too much? too far? We only have accommodations booked so far up to the return to Munich from Dublin. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Posted by
143 posts

Why fly back to Munich? Are you getting a better fare round trip?

Posted by
39 posts

Direct flights are few and far between from Munich to Dublin so I’d guess anything smaller than Munich would be even less?

Although I guess we could fly into Austria or Switzerland and be closer to southern Bavaria

Edit* also we are planning on renting a car for that southern Bavaria portion and Munich seems to be the cheapest location for pickup/drop off

Posted by
143 posts

I see flying Munich to Dublin, but the return.

Why not fly Dublin to Paris, train to Colmar? Or if avoiding Paris maybe Zurich and train to Colmar? But closer to your next zone vs flying Dublin all the way back to Munich only to immediately head hours away was my thought.

Posted by
39 posts

I guess because after Dublin we’re looking to spend that 4-5 days in southern Bavaria?

Posted by
6869 posts

Salzburg and Hallstadt are southeast of Munich where Fuessen and Neuschwanstein are southwest of Munich.

Have you considered visiting Salzburg before Hallstadt, and then dropping south toward Innsbruck and taking in the incredibly beautiful Austrian Alps? I found Neuschwanstein to be somewhat of a disappointment. The region is about 2 hours south of Munich and a easy drive.

Posted by
844 posts

“Dublin to Munich - Morning flight, rent a car
Munich to Southern Bavaria for 4-5 Days, We will be going to Berchesgaden/Eagles Nest, From here we may go to Hallstatt, we will then go see Nuecshwenstien and the surrounding areas, nothing set in stone for location or accommodations.
Southern Bavaria to Munich - Drop car off, Take train into France, So some choices here.”

This section seems too short and somewhat clunky. Consider flying into Salzburg from Dublin and renting the car there. 4-5 days is not really enough for Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, Hallstatt and Neuchwanstein. Each are worthy of their own full day, and you’ll have a day of travel to Neusc, then a day to travel back. Personally, I would drop Neusc. I haven’t been there, but enough reviewers have been disappointed in the “fake” castle to lead me to believe I haven’t missed much, so I focused on different castles. To each their own, but either add more time to this area (which you could do by flying into Salzburg) or drop it.

I like to plan my trip by what I’m seeing that day and where I’m sleeping. It helps me visualize how much I css ask really do in 4-5 days. For example:

Arrive Salzburg from Dublin, half day touring old town, sleep Salzburg
Berchtesgaden/Eagles Nest, sleep Salzburg
Hallstatt, sleep Salzburg
Salzburg sites: garden, fortress, castle sleep Salzburg
(With 1 more night you could see the Werfen castle, which I highly recommend, and maybe do the ice caves)

Then take the train from Salzburg to Colmar.

Posted by
2464 posts

For your Croatian portion are you staying up north? Most of the coast closes down beginning of October and ferries are less frequent. Some running only a day or two per week. We were in Zadar last October 1 and the hotel was closing down the next day for the season. Just keep that in mind.

Posted by
736 posts

Skimming quickly, I thought it looked like a great itinerary for such a long trip. Then I realized this is all in just the first month. You have the rare luxury of such a generous amount of time, but you're planning like you're backpacking, hosteling 22-year-olds. If I moved at this pace for so long the trip would become an exhausting blur–and I'm not that old.

I'd use 3.5-4 months to move more slowly. In addition to seeing historic or natural sights, I'd look for opportunities to connect with places, people, and contemporary cultures. I'd go to concerts and the theater. I'd stroll the park or the promenades on Saturday afternoons. I'd have languid Sunday lunches. I'd have afternoon coffees in ornate cafes and beers on sunny terraces while I watched the world pass by. I'd stay places long enough to do a load of laundry or, if the mood (or a cold) struck, have a lazy sofa day. I'd stay in AirBnB's, not only for the economy, but to be in a residential setting, exploring grocery stores and markets, and not having to eat all my meals out.

I might not spend that long everywhere—I'd likely do some hotel-hopping as I made my way between longer stays. But certainly, the majority of my time would be at a pace that allowed me to be in a place, not just see its sights.

Posted by
13490 posts

Tyler, this is probably just some awkward wording but just to clarify?

We are fully aware of the Schengen zone rules, and as such will be
leaving the zone for however long we need to to "build time" back in
it.

You will have 90 days to spend within the Schengen starting the day you arrive in Frankfurt. You will not be "building back" - meaning re-starting the 180-day clock - by leaving the zone and coming back any time within your 3.5 - 4 months. You will, however, conserve any unused days of the allowed 90 when traveling outside of it. As this isn't your 1st (or 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th) rodeo in Europe, I'm thinking that's what you meant? :O)

Posted by
5468 posts

Instead of Wurzburg to Nuremberg then to Munich, I suggest a better itinerary.

Take the Romantic Road from Wurzburg to Augsburg, then Munich.
https://www.romanticroadgermany.com
The first visitors were friends and families of the American soldiers stationed in the large bases in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg but the idea of the trail from Würzburg to Füssen soon became wildly popular.

It's not too hard to see the reason for the popularity - despite the modern roots of the idea, the tour combines the historic cities of Würzburg and Augsburg with the three medieval walled towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen, and then finishes off with the tourist highlights of Neuschwanstein Castle and the Alps.

There is nothing wrong with Nuremberg, but visiting the medieval walled cities of Rothenburg, Dinkelsbuhl and Nordlingen far exceed Nuremberg, which was bombed out in WWII. Also, spend a day in Augsburg, a city founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago.

Posted by
39 posts

Kathy, yes we will just be conserving those days by being in Croatia etc. sorry for the poor wording lol..

I’m liking the idea of the Dublin - Salzburg flight. Again we are completely open to anything.

In terms of the comments above mentioning the timeline etc. it may be a bit much in that period but I feel like the way we travel it won’t be bad. I know I’m asking for help here and I fully appreciate it, however virtually every time I’ve asked for assistance with an itinerary in the last 3-4 trips I’ve been told it was too much/too quick and it was fine we are 35 and 36 and generally have a full energy reserve when travelling lol

We’ve also been to Germany twice before so those sights in the south are moreso to tick a few things off than get engrained in the local culture as we’ve spent some good time in Berlin and the north. We only stay in Hotels and Airbnbs. We’ve also been to Austria and Switzerland in the past but not extensively so again, I’m kind of feeling that Salzburg plan.

I will have to dig around a bit more about that border area and see what it looks like but I’m liking the idea! Much appreciated

Posted by
1216 posts

I have to agree with the others who said going at this pace will be tiring. For two months stops every couple of days will get old. Since you've already been in Germany, could you plan on seeing Ireland or England in the time before the wedding. Flying back and forth from Munich to Dublin just seems a waste of money and backtracking.

If it were me I'd go from the US to Dublin to Germany even if it meant going later in the month. it seems like you have the time and don't have hard dates for arrival or departing Europe.

Posted by
736 posts

Wannabe world Traveller, not just collecting stamps but attempting to immerse myself in the location

If you're happy at that pace you might want to rethink that line in your bio.

Posted by
1800 posts

Well, you already can tell that most people on the forum like to travel at a slower pace. :) In a 3-4 month trip, there are a lot of moving parts, but it looks like you have a good idea of what you want and how to do it. I agree it would be nice to NOT have to hop to Dublin and back from Germany, but it’s also not the end of the world. And waiting to begin in Germany after Ireland would delay all other destinations. So it might be the best compromise you can make. It’s all about how to make the jigsaw puzzle go together.

There are also a number of people here who don’t plan out their longer trips completely - they decide and reserve just a few days or a week ahead. So you might be thinking in those terms. Nothing wrong with that. And if you are able to slow down and stay longer at any point in your trip when you think you need it, that would be great! I would do this pace for about a month, I think, and then need some longer stays. But then I am also older than you by a bit!

So you may not really need our help on an itinerary but maybe specific locations, as you progress with your plan. I would also add to be sure to check transportation options well ahead of time, like ferry schedules if you need to rely on them. Not everything runs every day all year round.

Posted by
12884 posts

Taking the trains is what I would do too. If you go to Salzburg, not sure if you intend on doing that, then I would suggest going to Berchtesgaden from Salzburg.

I am interested in the Croatia part of the trip. Taking the ferry to Pola is the way to go.

I would suggest re: the Colmar visit afterwards take the TGV Strasbourg to Lyon, then see Dijon as a day trip or stay a couple of nights, then depart from Lyon.

Keep in mind that if you could fit a night train into your planning, that extends another travel day. I did a 6 week trip at your age, I was 37, covering London, Paris and Germany plus Berlin. This was the summer of 1987.

It's good that you have close to 4 months, bearing in mind the Schengen restrictions, How about going to North Germany and the eastern cities instead of focusing on southern Bavaria?

Posted by
5544 posts

There is a reason that many places in Croatia close for the winter in early October - the weather has usually turned cool and wet. Ferries move onto their reduced winter timetables then too and international flights stop to many destinations.

Posted by
39 posts

In terms of the Croatia trip, we had it after that France portion anticipating the weather would be nicer in France earlier on and the Croatia after

How is Lyon etc. in mid-late October? Would it be preferable to try and go to Croatia on our way out of Germany and then fly back to say Lyon and explore that region basically swapped in the itinerary?

My concern would be that I won’t want to be in Lyon when it’s raining etc. and our opportunities for wine tours and whatnot may be more limited the later into October/Nov you get?

Posted by
12884 posts

Hi,

Keep in mind that prior to Oct, the temperature in Croatia gets ca. 40 C if not over, oppressive heat and all that. That is a bit too much of a broiler. In the 30s C my tolerance is still all right, I can still handle that without AC, which may not be available, depending on the price. If you're in Croatia in Sept, presumably the temperature won't be as toasty.

Posted by
221 posts

Your pace is fine. 6 days in Wurzburg and Nuremberg, 5 days in Munich, 4-5 days in southern Bavaria is not fast-paced. 6-8 days in Colmar/Dijon and Lyon is not face-paced.

I get that you want to be in Munich for Oktoberfest, otherwise I look to start in France. The choice to return right back to Bavaria after the 5-day jaunt to Dublin is interesting, as your itinerary backtracks significantly. I note that Venice is not far from Austria.

If starting in Munich is a must, I would prefer an itinerary that heads to France right after Dublin and then make its way back to southern Bavaria and Austria via Italy. Then, hit Croatia after Bavaria and Austria. Or, depending on what you want to see in Italy, also consider to train from France directly to Bavaria and then hit the Dolomites from Austria on your way to the ferry from Venice.

Posted by
12884 posts

If you do find yourself with extra time in Colmar, having a car offers extra flexibility in that you can drive directly ie, west to east (laterally) into Germany to spend a few hours seeing Freiburg, a day trip excursion. Doing this by train is much more circuitous , ie more direct by car doing that route laterally.

Another option you have if you decide dropping Lyon and France, going from Munich to Croatia or Venice can be done by night train (OeBB) as Munich Hbf is a night train hub.