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Help me be realistic please!

Hi all,
My husband, son and daughter in law are visiting in late March. The four of us have very different interests and we want to accommodate each as much as possible. We finally came up with an itinerary and I am trying to look at nights in each city. I am starting to wonder if this makes any sense. My goal was to use the Bayern card as much as possible. Is this plan unrealistic time-wise? Should we opt for faster trains for some of the legs? Thank you for any insights.

F: arrive Munich before noon
F, SA: in Munich (sleep in Munich)
SU: Dachau, rest of day in Munich (sleep in Munich)

M: Füssen and castles (Bayern ticket)
Question #1: My thought was to drop luggage at Munich station before Füssen train, reserve 2:00 tickets to castles, then get back to Munich in time to grab the bags and get to Salzburg. I don’t know how long to allow for the castles etc before getting back, including bus etc. I know we have to allow 1.5 hours to Salzburg plus time transferring and getting the luggage. Is this scenario unrealistic? I’ve done this evening travel before and it’s great to wake up in your destination straight up. Added bonus is that it would be all done for €43 for 4 people. Somehow I don’t think it will be doable, with either the high speed or the regional trains. Any ideas?

TU, W: Salzburg (sleep in Salzburg)

TH: Go to Nurnberg to stay the day, then an evening train to Rothenburg ODT, (sleep in Rothenburg ODT)
Question 2: Would the high speed trains be worth the money here? Or is the time difference not that big of a deal in terms of visiting?
Question 3: To do this we would need luggage storage in Nurnberg. I realize this is a stretch to do this and move on by night time. (I assume getting a train to Rothenburg ODT is straightforward). My daughter in law has her heart set on Rothenburg ODT and the rest of us want to see Nurnberg. (I’ve seen the complaints posted about Americans wanting to go here so much but if you are a mother in law, you will understand why making a daughter in law happy is a priority lol). I thought this was a relatively good way to see a bit of Nurnberg without having to settle there for a night. Alternaatively, we could stay one night in Nurnberg. I don’t know which one makes more sense.

F: day in Rothenburg ODT (sleep there)
SA: back to Munich (sleep in Munich) VGN card?
Question 4: It’s such a long trip that on paper it seems like going back through Nurnberg might be faster. Any other ideas?
SU: home
Thanks

Posted by
4931 posts

Some people love Nuremberg. I wasn't one of them. I was excited ahead of time about all of the Nazi stuff, as a history buff, but it was a bit underwhelming, and I wouldn't have fretted looking back over missing any of it. Nuremberg itself is an OK town but I didn't exactly fall in love with it.

On the other hand, I loved Rothenburg ob der Tauber. I was prepared for something super-touristy and crowded and wasn't even sure I would visit at all, but in April it wasn't bad at all (some tour groups in the day time but quiet at night). In March, it shouldn't be busy. I found the town charming and fun. I spent one night here and one in Nuremberg, on a quick trip.

So if ask me, I'd stay there for sure instead of in Nuremberg, but that's my personal preference. No doubt the Nuremberg fans will beg to differ. I might say that in the summer I would make a different choice. I'll bet Rothenburg ODT is crazy nuts in the summer and I wouldn't want to deal with that zoo. Nuremberg is also a town that hosts a lot of conventions and fairs so isn't nearly as touristy in my view.

Posted by
1356 posts

In general, you can research your train questions here:

https://reiseauskunft.bahn.de//bin/query.exe/en

You have to decide how hectic you want this vacation to be. I would not try to see Neuschwanstein in route from Munich to Salzburg but you can check the train schedules.

Salzburg to Nürnberg is about 3 hours by express trains and 5 hours by "local transport". Rothenburg is even longer.

With only a week+, I would focus on the Munich area. Regensburg, Landshut, Landsberg, Nördlingen (another walled town), Augsburg, etc. are just as worthy sights as Nürnberg and Rothenburg, and are much closer to Munich. I am very fond of both those towns (R&N) when they fit within a reasonable itinerary.

Posted by
16784 posts

SA: back to Munich (sleep in Munich) VGN card?

I don't believe a VGN ticket will get you back to Munich, use a Bayern Ticket.

For Neuschwanstein then Salzburg, doable with a Bayern Ticket. Leave at 9:52, get to Neuschwanstein by 12:18, then depart at 15:36 with a 50 minute change time at Munich Hbf, enough to get your bags out of the locker, and get to Salzburg at 20:42.

You could get 5 hours in Nuremberg on the way to Rothenburg and get there by 20:50 with a Bayern Ticket. Works on Nuremberg U-Bahn and trams as well.

Have done a 5 hour day in Nuremberg. Time enough for a walking tour up to the Imperial Castle, then walk back to the Hbf with a leisurely lunch on the way.

Posted by
18302 posts

with a Bayern Ticket. Leave at 9:52, get to Neuschwanstein by 12:18

First, you will get to Hohenschwangau (the bus stop at the bottom of the hill, a short walk from the ticket kiosk), not to the Schloß, at 12:13 (not 12:18, and you can't get from the bus stop to the Schloß in 5 minutes). But you need to pick up your tickets for the reserved tour at least on hour before the tour time; an hour is plenty of time to walk up the hill to Neuschwanstein. So if you reserved for a 2:00 tour, that would give you plenty of time.

But for an extra 11,20€, you can leave an hour earlier, at 8:53, and get to the Hohenschwangau bus stop at 11:18. It works this way - the 9 am limit for the Bayern-Ticket doesn't mean that you can't start traveling before 9 am, you just can't use the Bayern-Ticket before 9 am. If, in addition to the Bayern-Ticket (43€ for four), you buy four single trip tickets for the Innenraum (inner zone) @ 2,90€ per person, you can get on the regional train at the Hbf at 8:53 and ride to München Pasing station using the single trip tickets. When at 9:00, the train leaves Pasing, you will start using the Bayern-Ticket. You don't have to change trains in Pasing, just tickets.

By leaving Munich on the 8:53 train, you could get to Hohenschwangau bus stop at 11:13 and plan on a 1:00 tour.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks Andrew. My thought would be to just do Nurnberg for a few hours but we're split half and half on it. There's an Easter market that could be fun. But the getting off, luggage storage, and getting back on the train again might not be worth it.

Posted by
17 posts

Hi Gary Mc
Thanks for the link. I will go over things again using the ICE schedules, having only done it with the regional trains. I agree about your concerns about this being too hectic. I am feeling that way myself, which is why I thought I'd better talk to the experts here. The only problem is that my daughter in law really wants Rothenburg. I will look into the towns you've mentioned and see if we can change things around. Thanks

Hi Sam
I've got two Packer backers in my house. Let's hope for a better year. Thanks for your insights into my dilemma. Now I know it's doable, though based on other responses I may be switching things up. I'm happy to know that it can work if we want to go for it. thanks again

Hi Lee
This is a workaround I've never heard of. It's brilliant if you want more time in the end of the day for whatever reason. Just to make sure I understand, I take the 8:53 to München Pasing station, and there, while still on the train, I will just have to show the Bayern ticket as if I had just started the journey there? That's a great idea. Thank you

Posted by
83 posts

I'll be on the lookout for Lee's response-great suggestion! We are doing a day trip to Neuschwanstein on April 4 from Munich. We can get a S-Bahn train to Pasing from the stop near our hotel every 10 minutes. My follow-up question is: can we buy the Bayern ticket at the same time as the S-Bahn tickets and just hold on to them, or will we need to allow 20-30 minutes to get the Bayern ticket at Pasing?

Posted by
16784 posts

You can buy a Bayern ticket anytime, as long as you make sure it is for the day you are traveling. You write your names on the back of the ticket. It becomes valid the instant that 9:00 am shows up on the official clock that Deutsche Bahn runs on, which should be just about the time on an atomic clock somewhere that co-ordinates the internet (M-F). So if you are doing, as Lee suggests, get a jump start on the Bayern ticket by buying a local transport tick to go as for as the train goes to get to 9:00 am. The instant 9:00 rolls around, the Bayern ticket is now valid. Up until that time, the local transport ticket is valid, as long as you are still in its geographical range of validity.

So you could go earlier on the S-Bahn to Pasing, then wait for the train to Fuessen. This would work if you were coming from the west side of Munich. If coming from the east, you could go to the Hauptbahnhof and board that same train and use the remaining validity on the local ticket. There is a time limit on local transit tickets. Journeys must be completed in a certain amount of time with a local transit ticket, so you would not want to get too early a start. If you do, then yes going all the way to Pasing would work.

Posted by
83 posts

Thanks Sam! In looking at the MVV schedules, we can catch a S-Bahn at Leuchtenbergring at 8:20 or 8:28 that arrives at Pasing at 8:41/8:51. That gives us plenty of time to find and get on the 9:00 to the castles. I was trying to avoid the main station, thinking it would be easier to go right to Pasing with DH and 2 boys. That extra hour will be a help on that long day.

Posted by
16784 posts

Yes, that is exactly what the DB route planner suggests.

Posted by
17 posts

Hi, I was just wondering about my fourth question. Do you think the faster way back to Munich might be to go via Nurnberg, or should we go the way the guidebooks say, the 3-4 hour trip down from Rothenburg that has several transfers? I was thinking there might be an ICE train we could take, but even without, maybe the regional train might be faster via Nurnberg. Thanks

Posted by
18302 posts

The answer to that question has varied for years. Sometimes the schedule works out as faster through Nürnberg, then via ICE to Munich, other times it's faster by regional train via Treuchtlingen. Currently it's faster via Nürnberg. However, for three people the best advance purchase, train specific, Saving Fare via Nürnberg is about 60€ (or 144€ for an open ticket). On the other hand, the regional route via Treuchtlingen takes 40 minutes longer but you can use a 37€ Bayern-Ticket, and the ticket is not train specific. The Bayern-Ticket also allows you unlimited use of U-Bahns, trams, and buses in Munich when you get there.

(I assume getting a train to Rothenburg ODT is straightforward)

It takes 1:15 and three trains to get from Nürnberg to Rothenburg - one from Nürnberg to Ansbach, one from Ansbach to Steinach, one from Steinach to Rothenburg. Catching the first train in Nürnberg is straightforward.

Posted by
18302 posts

Another option for the Neuschwanstein trip would be to go on Sunday, when you can leave as early as you like and only have to come back to Munich. Then, on Monday, go to Dachau and leave for Salzburg from Munich. Use two Bayern-Ticket for 74€, vs one Bayern-Ticket plus the four local tickets @2.90€ each plus a Munich XXL Tageskarte for Dachau at 16.10€, or 64,70€ for both days. Less than 10€ more, but the day you go to Salzburg is less hectic.

Posted by
1765 posts

Question 4: It’s such a long trip that on paper it seems like going back through Nurnberg might be faster.

It depends of the departure time desired. Broadly speaking, the answer is yes if you want to leave before 9am, i.e. before the validity of the Bayern Ticket begins and a (train specific) ICE sparpreis ticket will be cheaper than a regular local transport ticket. And you will gain 30-40 min. After 9pm the route via Nürnberg is still faster but more expensive. You can compare both options by deselecting the "prefer fast connections" box on www.bahn.com.

One caveat: the Augsburg station, where you possibly would transfer from a train coming in from Treuchtlingen to the train to Munich is a huge construction site presently. There are no elevators, no escalators, no ... anything but a big mess. So if you have people with mobility issues in your company I'd avoid connections which have a transfer in Augsburg (e.g., the 2nd one of the 11:06 connections using IC 2083 from Steinach to Augsburg) or call for support the day before (01806 512 512; on arrival, look for a guy wearing a red cap with the inscription "Service").

BTW, the historical city of Augsburg is well worth a stop of several hours.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks Lee and sla019,
I'm going to set it all out and check out all your options (as well as the ones from others). Money is an issue, but overall if it's a significantly better experience we would spring for the extra. I have some work to do!

Also, thanks for the heads up about the Augsburg station, sla019. I'm assuming the construction doesn't affect the train times, or if it does it is reflected in the timetables

Thanks again to both of you!

Posted by
17 posts

Hello my friends,
I'm the OP back again with a problem. As you suggested, I've gone through the trains and everything is good except for getting to Rothenburg ODT. During the dates we planned on going to and from there (flexibly between 3/29 and 3/31), the last leg of the train trip is cancelled due to construction.

I've tried multiple permutations of times and dates, via Nurnberg or Munich, and it is all the same. As I mentioned in my original post, it is very important to my daughter in law that we go there. Our original plan was to go to Nurnberg en route but we can switch that around and substitute something else for that day, if that seems reasonable (Regensburg?)

My questions are:
1. Is this cancellation set in stone?
2. Is the drive from Munich doable for someone who is inexperienced with driving overseas? (in particular, getting out of a city). I believe the Romantic Road bus will not be available.

Posted by
4684 posts

That's weird. The German and English DB sites report all trains to Rothenburg ob der Tauber as cancelled for those dates and give no other explanation. It would be practically unheard of for engineering works to shut down a railway line with no alternative transport provided at all, but the DB website pages on engineering works don't mention any works there or bus replacement.

Posted by
4684 posts

I would suggest starting a new thread explicitly referring to engineering works to RodT in the title, and see if any of our German rail experts or local residents can find out anything.

Posted by
888 posts

I’d also suggest calling the RoT tourst office and see what they suggest. I’d be surprised if they didn’t already know about the work on the railroad and had alternative suggestion on hand. The tourist office has an interest in making sure you and your money make it to RoT

DJ

Posted by
17 posts

ok, thanks for your suggestions.
I'll start a new thread and hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this. Thanks again.