We are a family of three flying in to Frankfurt, Germany on May 7- wanting to visit Germany, Switzerland and Austria in 10 days. Flying out of Vienna on May 15. Looking for route suggestions- best transportation suggestion and accommodations for three (20 year old son). Want to see the must see spots but also love the quaint towns off the beaten path. Rent a car in Frankfurt- drop in Vienna?
My math tells me if you subtract 7 from 15 you get 8, so I don't know where the 10 days you mentioned comes from. In actuality, you have 8 nights. The first day will be not too exiting as you will all be jet lagged and going to the first destination, and the last day will be taken up with traveling to the airport for the flight home. I'd skip Switzerland and hit the highlights between Frankfurt and Vienna. 2 nights in Nuremberg, 2 in Munich, 1 in Salzburg, and 3 in Vienna. Travel by train. You don't have time to wander the by-ways in a car.
I would start with 1 day in Frankfurt, 1 day in Mainz and then 1 day off to Heidelberg. If you like cars, stop by Stuttgart and go to the Mercedes Benz Museum and the castle in Ludwigsburg, just on the outskirts of Stuttgart. From there down to Zuerich and/or Lucerne, with 1-2 days each, depending on how much you like to explore there. Then off to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for 1 day, Munich for 2 days. Down to Neuschwanstein castle, Salzburg for 1 day including either the salt mine or the Eagle's Nest, then ending your trip for 2 nights in Vienna.
I prefer train travel, but that requires more walking and has less flexibility, if you book trains at a certain time and reserve seats. For a trip like yours I would rent a car with a GPS and don't forget the 'vignette" for highway use in Switzerland and Austria.
Wow, not much time to cover so many possibilities. I'll walk it backwards -
Vienna - 2 days, not counting the day you fly out.
Salzburg - 2 days minimum - so much to see in this beautiful location
Pick an area around Salzburg for some gorgeous small towns & mountains. Suggest staying in one for at least 1 night (preferably 2) to enjoy the ambiance.
Others can give you more detailed suggestions in Germany. I'd skip Switzerland on this trip.
This is what is happening in Frankfurt and surrounding towns on your arrival days.
* 6-8 May Jousting Tournament, Königstein
* 7-8 May Sparkling Wine Fest, Eltville & Rüdesheim
* 7-14 May Green Sauce Festival, Frankfurt Ross Markt (Grüne Soße)
Eltiville is one of my favorite towns on the Rhine and the jousting tournament in Königstein is going to be a unique fest for you. The Taunus mountains are lovely too. In the neighborhood is Hessen Park Open Air museum which is well worth a visit, especially if you like quaint.
For accommodations for 3 people in Frankfurt check out Excelsior Hotel, Hotel Monopol or Adina Apts.
Don't even bother with Switzerland in early May. Presumably you want to see the Alps (of which there are plenty in Germany and Austria), but early May is a very low yield time of year for the mountains. Not enough snow for skiing but too much snow and mud for hiking. Plus, spring weather in the mountains is usually overcast and rainy.