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Zurich to Munich

We need some help narrowing down a trip! We have 8 full days in July & we are flying into Zurich and out of Munich (2 active adults). Because this is pretty broad, I can't even narrow down which Rick Steves book to buy! We don't want to try to cram in too many things. Our one must-see is the Dolomites - for a couple of days. With those parameters, we would love advice and direction on a general itinerary! We love history and active adventures. We have never been to Austria (we were in Munich & Interlaken Switzerland about 15 years ago). Thanks for sharing your wisdom and love of this area with us!

Posted by
2644 posts

If you're that close to the Swiss Alps, then do return, perhaps staying IN the Alps, in Murren or Wengen for a few days?
However, 8 days isn't much time- is that eight nights actually on the ground? Why did you chose those specific airports- is this part of a longer journey? Would you pls supply more details- public transportation or car, for example.
From feedback here, Europe is going to be very busy this summer from pent-up demand, so perhaps your destinations will be guided by available lodging in your price range. Maybe do some initial research on lodging in your proposed destinations, and return here with more details.
Safe travels!

Posted by
3 posts

Hi there! We chose those airports because they were the cheapest from Oklahoma City. We knew we wanted to see the Dolomites so options on airports were Zurich, Munich, Salzburg or Milan (maybe Venice). The combo of into Zurich and out of Munich was by far the best price. We aren't picky on lodging so feeling pretty confident about finding a place to stay. We'd like to stay in less touristy areas so we are considering places like Hall in Tirol & Kastelruth on Rick's recommendation. We can use a combination of public transport, train & car. I hope that helps give more details! We have 8 full days (plus 1 day of travel on the front and back end). I know it's not a long period of time but it's all we have! Thanks for your help!

Posted by
1089 posts

One of the train routes on my wish list is the Arlberg route from Zurich to Innsbruck. Scenic from what I can tell from Seat 61 and various videos. That might get you started.

I have been on the Brenner Pass train route (check Seat 61 for more info) south to Bolzano and then north to Munich several times. Enjoyable. Pretty straightforward routes - I did the Brenner route solo in winter on my re-inauguration to European travel in 2005; route runs north/south. Salzburg is an easy trip from Innsbruck (heading northeast) and back to Munich (northwest from Salzburg to Munich), too.

There are many more folks here who can fill you in on specific things to do in Innsbruck and the Dolomites. Or check out the search bar at the top of this webpage. My contribution is that this is fairly straightforward AND beautiful train travel.

In terms of RS books, it looks like he covers Salzburg and the Tirol in his Vienna book. Of course, Munich is in the Germany book. Why not try to get these out of the library and photocopy/scan what you need - or see if your local library has an ebook version? And use this website. Lots of info here. And, if you do use trains, check out Seat 61.


Posted by
17290 posts

Under the circumstances, go straight from Zurich airport to Innsbruck when you arrive. 2 nights there, then train to Bolzano, then bus to Ortisei for 3 nights, giving you 2 full days in the Dolomites. You've now spent 5 of your 8 nights. Return to Innsbruck and change to train to Salzburg. Depending on your flight time from Munich, you could spend 3 nights there and get a train to Munich airport, or if it is an early flight, only 2 nights in Salzburg then train to Munich for your last night.

Posted by
5794 posts

We'd like to stay in less touristy areas so we are considering places
like Hall in Tirol & Kastelruth on Rick's recommendation.

When you hear that Europe will be very busy (and expensive) this summer due to pent-up demand, keep in mind that the places Rick recommends are in fact touristy places, and that just like you, other people will be buying Rick's books and sleeping in the places he promotes as well. Bolzano, Kastelruth/Castelrotto and Hall are not secrets.

When traveling in summer, we have been pleased with the places we've come across that went unmentioned in Rick's materials and in other travel guides. We had a nice stay a few years ago in Golling, Austria, which AFAIK has never appeared in an English-language guidebook to Austria. It's a small Salzach-River town, a little further from Salzburg than Hallein is, but well located for day trips by train into Salzburg and to Werfen. I only became aware of Golling by looking at the Salzburg-area railway maps. Golling photos:

One summer maybe ten years ago we booked a fine and inexpensive little B&B in the small town of Klausen/Chiusa, which we had never seen mentioned in guidebooks; it shares the railway with Bolzano but was somewhat closer than Bolzano to our chosen hiking paths in the Dolomites. Rooms in Bolzano and Castelrotto at that time were twice as expensive. We walked a couple of blocks from the B&B and rode the bus into the mountain towns from there. I'm pretty sure we found the B&B listing at the website of the local tourist office. Photo of Klausen:

If not Klausen, perhaps one of the other Brenner railway towns nearby will have both what you're looking for and availability as well: