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Advice on itinerary

I know that itinerary questions are somewhat annoying, but I am hoping to see if anyone may have some words of advice on our upcoming trip (Sept 9 to Sept 26, 2014): Thank you in advance for taking the time to read
Sept 9 (Arrive Berlin) to Sept 14 BERLIN (with day trips to Sachenhausen and "Lutherland". 2 separate days)
Sept 14 train to Bad Durkheim
Sept 15 Durkheimer Wurstmarkt (sleep in Bad Durkheim)
Sept 16 Travel to Cochem (using rail pass day, Train to Bingen, Bingen to Koblenz (KD Rhein) then train Koblenz to Cochem
Sept 17 Berg Eltz/Mosel (sleep in Cochem)
Sept 18 Train to Frankfurt, pick up car rental and drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Sept 19 Rothenburg (sleep in Rothenburg)
Sept 20 Drive to Fussen
Sept 21 Explore region by car (sleep in Fussen)
Will the Romantic Road and Bavaria (Near Fussen, Oberammagau, etc) be especially crowded during this time (first weekend in Oktoberfest?). Also, will even more people be driving from Frankfurt to Munich the days leading up to Oktoberfest?
Sept 22 drive to Lindau to drop off car, Train to Murren.
Sept 22-24 Sleep in Murren and explore Berner Oberland.
Sept 25 Train to Zurich (Kloten) for early flight out of Zurich on the 26th

Again, Thank you for your input!

Posted by
12040 posts

"Will the Romantic Road and Bavaria (Near Fussen, Oberammagau, etc) be especially crowded during this time (first weekend in Oktoberfest?)" The castles at Füssen are probably a little busier than otherwise expected for that time of year, but that's about it. Oktoberfest has little effect outside of Munich. I can't imagine Oberammergau would be particularly crowded. Don't bother driving the Romantic Road specifically unless you plan to stop at several towns along the way. The scenery along most of the road is nothing particularly special.

."Also, will even more people be driving from Frankfurt to Munich the days leading up to Oktoberfest?" Traffic is usually pretty heavy anyway. I doubt it's heavier than the summer, when it seems every citizen of the Netherlands (with camper vans in tow) and every tracktor trailer from Romania and Bulgaria drive along the German Autobahn network to the Alps and Italy.

If you can fit it in, try visiting a spa while in Bad Dürkheim.

Posted by
20461 posts

Oops. " Travel to Cochem (using rail pass day, Train to Bingen, Bingen to Koblenz (KD Rhein) then train Koblenz to Cochem"
Rail pass day? What rail pass and what kind? With only one long haul trip (Berlin to Bad Durckheim), I don't see the point. You can travel all over Rhineland Pfalz all day (after 9 on weekdays) for one low price of 23 euro. Traveling in someone else? Add 4 euro. You can buy your long haul ticket for 85 euro with a Sparpreis nonrefundable ticket. Berlin to Lutherstadt-Witenberg with a return is 45.60 euro normal price, 29 euro Sparpreis.
In short, a rail pass is bound to cost you money. In Switzerland get a separate deal like a Swiss Card.

Posted by
19170 posts

I must agree with Tom about the Romantic Road. The drive is nothing special; the attraction is some of the towns on the Road.

In 2007, I started at noon at Wieskirche and traveled north, stopping at seven towns on the way (Schongau, Landsberg, Donauwörth, Harburg, Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl, Feuchtwangen), arriving at noon of the fourth day in Rothenburg, with three overnight stops (in bold), 2 half days, 2 full days. I spent almost a third of my time, including overnight, in one town, Nördlingen, which is kind of a less touristy version of Rothenburg. If you don't have time to stop for at least 2 hours in several towns, I wouldn't bother with the Romantic Road.

As for exploring the region around Füssen by car, there is a lot in Füssen, including two castles, a museum, the town itself, an Alpine slide, etc, all accessible by bus from town. With only one full day there, you shouldn't have need for a car.

If you take a car from Füssen towards Lindau, make sure you follow the Alpenstrasse, in particular from Oberjoch to Sonthofen, down the switchbacks on the mountain side into Bad Hindelang. Try to ditch the car in Immenstadt. You can see just as much from the train between Immenstadt and Lindau.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you for all the responses. We will definitely make some time for a spa while in Bad Durkheim.

Re: car rental and Romantic Road, We are planning on stopping in Wurzburg on way to Rothenburg. And stopping in Dinkelsbuhl, Nordlingen and Andechs Monastery on way to Fussen. I was also considering Rick Steve's sample itinerary (pg 135, Germany 2014) for our (full) day in Fussen. Is this reasonable?

I also appreciate the advice on taking the Alpenstrasse to Lindau. Unfortunately our car rental agency does not have an office in Immenstadt.
Thank you all again. Any and all information is greatly appreciated!

Posted by
19170 posts

What is "Rick Steve's sample itinerary ... for Füssen".

I've spent more than a week in the area around Füssen, including five visits to the town and the castles. I know what my itinerary would be, and it wouldn't require a car. Almost any place you stay in Füssen will give you a Königscard, which gives you, amongst other benefits, free use of the trains and buses in the area.

Posted by
16 posts

As far as RS sample itinerary (of Bavaria, starting in Fussen) on page 135 of Germany 2014:
0800 Arrive Kings Castles
0900 Tour Hohnschwangau
1100 Tour Neuschwanstein
1300 Drive to Oberammergau, tour tour for an hour or so
1500 Drive to Ettal Monestary and head to Lindhof
1600 Tour Lindhof
1800 Drive along Plansee Lake back to Fussen
Is this feasible?

Posted by
2935 posts

Hi,

First, if you prefer a car, there's nothing wrong with that. Some people here prefer the trains and buses and believe everyone else should do the same. We ourselves prefer a car.

Now, to comment on the RS Sample Itinerary of Bavaria around Fuessen. That's really optimistic, even with a car. It's doable, but you need to keep moving and hope everything goes correctly. You'd need to reserve your Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein tour tickets in advance. If you just show up and get tour tickets, there's a good chance you won't get the first tours and the rest of your day's plan's are shot.

For the rest of your itinerary, I would have a car in Cochem. Much easier and quicker to get to Berg Eltz this way. Having just 1 day on the Mosel/Cochem is too bad. Beautiful area. Same goes for Bavaria. I also feel the same about Muerren and the Berner Oberland. To go all that way and have just 2 full days is a bit risky. Rain, cloud cover would make this almost pointless. Depending on how early your flight from Zurich is, at least try to spend your last day and night in Switzerland in Lucerne.

As for Oktoberfest having any impact on your trip, it won't. We've been to Bavaria during Oktoberfest and it's no different than before or after it. If you're not in Munich, you won't even know it's going on.

Paul

Posted by
19170 posts

I don't say everyone has to travel in Germany by train and bus, but I think everyone should know the advantages before dismissing that option.

The trouble with travel in this country is that almost everywhere, you have to have a car, so people just blindly assume they have to in Europe as well. Not so. I've been to the area around Germany ten times in the last 15 years, over 150 days, and the only place I didn't get to was Burg Eltz (it was raining), but the cost to rent a car just to get there was prohibitive. So I went to the Marksburg instead, and I'm happy with that choice. For the last five or so trips I've gotten quotes on car rentals and gas cost estimates from ViaMichelin, and renting a car has always been two to three times as expensive as what I actually spent on public transportation.

A lot of car users like the freedom of not having to plan (or they don't know how to), but freedom has a price.

But cost isn't the only consideration. I appreciate the freedom that taking the train gives me. I don't have to keep my eyes on the road. I can watch the scenery far better than if I were driving. If I don't want to watch the scenery, I can read, write in my journal, study my plans for the upcoming day, do my expenses, sleep. And trains have bathrooms, so I don't have to stop for that. And with a train, I can usually predict within a few minutes when I will arrive at my destination. No delays due to traffic jams, accidents, unplanned stops, etc. Plus, no worry about finding a parking spot, damaging the car, speeding cameras, or whether gas stations or toll booths take strip cards.

But, back on track, I hate to disagree with the master, but if you are in Füssen, why spend 2½ hours in order to spend 3 hrs seeing other sites when you can spend the whole time in Füssen. Oberammergau is an interesting town, but so is Füssen. And two hours (-) is not enough time for Linderhof - unless your only objective is to brag to your friends that you "saw Linderhof". There is now another venue in Hohenschwangau, the Museum of the Bavarian Kings, which apparently wasn't there when Rick wrote his itinerary. Visit it.

Posted by
2935 posts

Lee,

I know and appreciate that you're an expert on public transportation. If someone says they're using public transportation, I don't advise them to use a car. That said, at least we agree that trying to do so much in a single day seems like just for the sake of saying they saw something. I also have to disagree with RS on this 1 day plan.

Paul

Posted by
1503 posts

I agree with both Paul and Lee. Having a car is nice, but you could easily do this trip by train.

I would add that you would spend an entire day seeing Burg Eltz. On our last trip we spent 3 nights in Cochem and absolutely loved it. Cochem has it's own castle which is quite interesting. There are also numerous wine shops open for tastings. If you are in for a splurge have a meal at Hotel-Restaurant Lohspeicher. We stayed there and ended up eating at the restaurant twice (the owner is the chef and they were 2 of the most memorable meals we have ever had.) I would highly recommend having reservations. We also biked to Bielstein from cochem which was quite fun. We have been to Burg Eltz previously and enjoyed it, but I don't think I would recommend it highly enough to spend all of your time in that area seeing just Burg Eltz

We have been to the Berner Oberland 3 times and always stayed a minimum of 4 day. I easily could have spent more time and am always sad leaving it. I hope you have good weather:)

Sounds like a great trip! Have fun!

Posted by
16 posts

Wow, I really didn't mean to stir up so much controversy ;)
I do appreciate all this helpful feedback!
Quite honestly, on my original itinerary I was not planning on renting a car and driving the Romantic Road (Rothenburg, Nordlingen, Kings Castles, etc). However, after speaking with a good friends Mom (who was born and raised in Hanau and moved to the US about 40 years ago, when she was in her 20's) highly suggested driving the Romantic Road. I can take or leave renting a car, I just thought it would provide us with more freedom to pull over anywhere we wished at any time rather than taking a coach.
You have all given me great information and I appreciate it! My Husband and I will have alot to ponder and discuss this weekend. This is truely wonderful. I had a feeling that we were trying to see too much in too little time, and I think you have confirmed that. We don't care to see anything to just have "bragging rights". I don't see any point in that. I'd rather experience things than just do "drive by's". Looks like we will have some whittling to do.
Thanks again!

Posted by
2935 posts

Hi,

No stirring up controversy :) It happens. I think the main point is to try not to do "drive by's" and trying to see too much either by car or train/bus. We also spent 4 nights based in Cochem to not only see Cochem and Berg Eltz, but Beilstein, Zell, Bernkastel and Trier. We spent 4 nights based in Wengen (BO) and wished we had more time there. Best of luck thinking about all the info this weekend.

Paul

Posted by
12040 posts

"0800 Arrive Kings Castles
0900 Tour Hohnschwangau
1100 Tour Neuschwanstein
1300 Drive to Oberammergau, tour tour for an hour or so
1500 Drive to Ettal Monestary and head to Lindhof
1600 Tour Lindhof
1800 Drive along Plansee Lake back to Fussen
Is this feasible?"

On paper, its feasible, but not realistic. I don't know if Linderhof sells tickets in advanced, but if it doesn't, it takes a minimum of 3 hours to see everything, from waiting for your tour, to exploring the extensive grounds. If they do allow advanced tickets sales...OK, maybe, but you would have to time everything precisely and have the discipline not to linger anywhere. And that's just a whole lot of touring for one day.

RE, the Romantic Road again. I've driven all over Germany, from the Alps to the Baltic Sea and nearly everywhere in between. The scenery along the Romantic Road just isn't interesting enough to justify using it as the primary north to south route from Frankfurt to the Alps. Germany has plenty of scenic drives where the view from behind your windshield can be stunning- but the Romantic Road just isn't one of them.

Posted by
328 posts

"0800 Arrive Kings Castles
0900 Tour Hohnschwangau
1100 Tour Neuschwanstein
1300 Drive to Oberammergau, tour tour for an hour or so
1500 Drive to Ettal Monestary and head to Lindhof
1600 Tour Lindhof
1800 Drive along Plansee Lake back to Fussen
Is this feasible?"

I agree with other posters that this is very ambitious and won't leave you time to do much more than just see the places you list. Although I love Oberammergau, I'd choose to drop it and Ettal from this particular day of sight seeing. That gives you more flexibility if things don't go according to plan and gives you more than 2 hours at Linderhof, which you will be very glad to have.

Posted by
19170 posts

The main palace to Linderhof is very small. The tour only takes 20 minutes (hopefully they will schedule an English tour during the short time you will be there.

However, the grounds are quite extensive, the most interesting of which is the Grotto.

When I was there, I spent 6 or 7 hours, including lunch at the Gaststätte, most of it just walking around, enjoying the grounds.