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15 days in Bavaria/Salzburg - which towns as base

I will be spending about 15 days in Bavaria/Salzburg in August and would like your input on itinerary. I plan to have a rental car.

  • 5 nights in/near Salzburg (visiting town, SOM, Hallstatt, Gosau, etc)
  • 3-5 nights in/near Berchtesgaden (visiting nearby sights)
  • 2-3 nights in/near Fussen (castle, etc)
  • 2-5 nights in/near Black Forest (Baden Baden, etc)
  • Drop off car at STR airport for departure flight

Please share your comments on which towns to select as base with preference of easy parking and length of stay in each area.

Thanks much for your help!

Posted by
12040 posts

8-10 nights for Salzburg/Berchtesgaden is a very long time. I didn't take the SOM tour, but it took me only about an afternoon to explore Salzburg. The Altstadt is very small, and compared to many other Bavarian/Austrian towns, in my opinion, kind of monochromatic. Berchtesgaden is very close by. You could conceivably just base yourself in one of the two places. With that much time devoted to this one corner, feel free to break out of the Rick Steves-approved universe. Consider daytrips to Passau, Burghausen (one of the largest castle complexes in Europe), Landshut, Chiemsee, etc. Check out some of these other towns and you might see why I wasn't blown away by Salzburg, nice as it is.

No need to go all the way to the Black Forest. It has great name recognition, but it's just one of the 50 or so forested mountain ranges that criss-cross southern and central Germany. And it's peaks pale in comparison to the Alps, of which you'll already see quite a bit. If you want to see a similar mountain range, just check out the Bavarian Forest, between Landshut and Passau.

Baden-Baden is another skipable destination. Once again, it's only one of about 100 or so officially designated spa towns in Germany, and many of us find it far from the most interesting. If you want this kind of ambiance and you want to experience a spa, look into Bad Tölz, Bad Aibling, or Bad Reichenhall, all of which are much closer to your other destinations. Or if you just want the ultimate spa experience, go to Therme Erding, which is very close to the Munich airport.

Parking is ample in all the destinations you mentioned.

Posted by
4637 posts

Salzburg and B'gaden are very near to each other. Heck, a local city bus connects the two. I'd reduce the time in that area and consider adding Seefeld or Mittenwald.

Posted by
73 posts

Tom/Emily - Thanks for the input! I'm inclined to remove Black Forest from the itinerary. The reasons for staying in Salzburg/Berchtesgaden for the length of time are personal preferences, i.e. classical music fan and purpose of going slow, getting R&R and eliminate the need to pack/unpack.

After XXX black forest, I would probably make either Fussen the next base for 5+ days or select a place between Berchtegaden and Fussen. Please comment, thanks!

Posted by
880 posts

a place between Berchtegaden and Füssen

I'd recommend Tegernsee if you want to break up your trip. It's a popular destination for locals so the tourist infrastructure is good (lots of nice pensions, hotels, spas, restaurants, a famous brewery, etc) There is also good bus transport (free for tourist), boat transportation and bike rental for the cycle paths around the lake that link the towns. All that and it's almost exactly halfway between Berchtesgaden and Füssen.

http://en.tegernsee.com/

DJ

Posted by
2712 posts

We also stayed at the Pension Mayringerlehen in Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden. 3 stays for a total of 10 nights. Maybe our favorite place to stay anywhere.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjbassplyr/albums/72157646627881107

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjbassplyr/albums/72157646958077741

I'd also base here for the Salzburg/Salzkammergut part of your trip. Close enough. We visited Hallstatt, took a cruise on the Wolfgangsee, and have visited Salzburg many times based near Berchtesgaden. Berchtesgaden to Salzburg by car is under 30 minutes drive.

IF you drop the Black Forest, I'd also recommend adding the Mittenwald/Garmisch area or better yet, the Zillertal, in it's place.

http://www.zillertal.at/en/tips/summer.html

The Zillertal is basically on the way from Berchtesgaden/Salzburg and Fuessen.

Paul

Posted by
73 posts

Paul - thanks for your suggestion! Zillertal looks like a beautiful place to stay.

Since it's my first "real" trip to Bavaria, I've been looking for a good overview of the area. Unfortunately, Rick Steve's 2016 Germany guide seems really high level yet does not provide a good overview of the region. I think I feel set for the first leg of the 15 day trip to stay in Salzburg/Bertchesgaden area.

My main question is which side of the alps to stay for a good authentic feel for the beautiful scenery and village/town feel. I always remember what they said in the WWII series "Band of Brothers" that the scenery gets better as the troops move into Austria..

Posted by
2712 posts

Maybe our pics of the Zillertal in 9/09 will be of interest. Outstanding high alpine vistas.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjbassplyr/sets/

Bavarian Alps or the Austrian Alps, either way you can't go wrong. It's all so beautiful. Mittenwald, Germany is like a picture postcard. Cute Bavarian village, painted murals on houses, alpine backdrop. Just how you would imagine the quintessential Bavarian village to look like. We stayed in 4/05 and 10/06.

Paul

Posted by
44 posts

Paul, when I imagine my future trip to Salzburg area ..this is it. The countryside with the animals. The mountains and lake. The charming little towns.. This is exactly everything I am looking for.

Posted by
2712 posts

Cunamnt,

That's why we've not only spent 10 nights at the Pension Mayringerlehen in Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden, but we've also spent 8 nights during our two Christmas Market trips (late Nov./earlyDec.) in 2010 and 2013 in Schonau am Konigssee at the Guesthouse Friedwiese, less than 5 min. from Berchtesgaden. We loved the Pension Mayringerlehen stays, but they were closed during our stays in early winter, so we stayed at the Friedwiese. We love both places, the people at both and highly recommend both.

www.mayringerlehen.de

www.friedwiese.de/enska/isl.htm

Paul

Posted by
50 posts

I'd cut the 3-5 nights in Berchtesgaden to 1-2 [or stay in Salzburg those nights and travel there as a side trip, as we've done]. 3 nights in Füssen or Reutte would be well spent--or even 4. With a car, there's a ton you can see from there (including Oberammergau, Wieskirche, Garmisch, Zugspitze, Linderhof, etc., etc.). Baden-Baden is fun--as is Staufen. Enjoyed Freiburg less. Hotels: Am Dom in Salzburg, a wonderful, ideally-located boutique hotel, Ernburg sum Dorfwirt outside of Reutte, Rathausglockel in Baden-Baden, and Die Krone in Staufen. Have fun!