Hi! In January 2015, I have three days and nights between leaving Amsterdam and needing to arrive in Lech am Arlberg (between Innsbruck & St Anton in Austria). Any ideas on what to do? I am travelling with an 11 year old who already has been to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Nuernberg, Fuessen and Munich. We were probably planning to travel by train.
Have you visited Europe in the winter before? If not and your only experiences are in the summer, keep a few things in mind. For one, the hours of daylight are quite short, all the more so farther north. Two, except for the Alps and some areas far to the north and east, temperatures are usually not bitterly cold. But the atmosphere is usually very damp. Instead of all those bright colors of the rural scenery that you see on postcards, everything usually looks like of gray and indistinct. So, what does this mean for your trip? A lot of the outdoor and especially rural sites just won't look as impressive and may even be closed for the season. I would concentrate more cities until you reach Lech. Consider Aachen, Koln, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Stuttgart and Ulm (maybe). If the 11 year old is interested in this sort of thing, Speyer (near Mannheim) and Sinsheim (between Heidelberg and Stuttgart) each have popular and very kid-friendly tech museums. Perhaps a brief stop-over in Lindau if you have a clear day.
Just so you're aware, Lech has no rail access, but I think you can probably catch a bus from the nearest train station at the small hamlet of Langen am Arlberg. Occassionally during very heavy snowstorms, the pass between Langen and Lech closes, but the crews usually clear the road pretty quickly after the snow stops falling.
I have mostly travelled in winter, so know of the short, often damp days but hadn't thought of Aachen or Ulm. nor heard of Speyer or Sinsheim, but will check them out. My daughter is particularly interested in WWII history ... any ideas? I have thought about Dachau, but not sure if it's appropriate for her age group. Thank you.
I drove from St. Anton to Amsterdam last month also with three nights to spend.
We stopped briefly in Vaduz and drove the north shore of Bodensee, through the Alsace wine country along the Rhine and north through Belgium. Early spring was nice and there are so many nice places to stop. We found lodging as we went, three great places. Winter would potentially have some bad weather but a car sets you free.
Lech has great skiing!! The White Ring is a fun ski day.
Enjoy the trip!
Actually, forget Ulm... I was thinking the driving route to Lech am Arlberg. It's worth a quick look if you're driving directly through, but probably not if you have to deviate via train. Same with Sinsheim. The only real attraction is the tech museum, and once again, it's on the direct driving route but not necessarily convenient by train.
Underway from Amsterdam to Lech you can visit Bastogne for the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. But for this you need to my opinion a car, and in January it’s hard to predict how the weather will be, so if road conditions are good and safe enough for doing the trip. Also of interest for your daughter can be Fort Hackenberg in France just south of Luxembourg. In Luxembourg itself you can think about the American Cemetery with Patton’s grave near the capital and other sites, museums in the country about the battle.
If of interest you can also think about the WOI sites around Verdun.
Glad to see you've had some good ideas to get you started. Happy planning!