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How would you do it - Munich - Salzburg - Reutte

Hi folks - I am hoping for some recommendations from folks who are experienced with Munich and traveling in Austria. We land from the US on a Friday, and have 6 days in the region to explore before we move on to another part of Europe.

We had planned to stay in Munich for 4 days, and visit Salzburg on a day trip on of the days (via train), and then spend two days in the area of the castles, where we plan to stay in Reutte for two days. After reading more about Salzburg (sounds gorgeous, the evening concerts sound nice), I wondered if we should try to at least spend one overnight there. Instead of spending 4 nights in Munich, do 3 nights in Munich, train to Salzburg and stay overnight, then make our way to Reutte, via some combination of car and train.

What do folks recommend? I was starting to get concerned that a day trip only to Salzburg wasn't "enough" and 1.5 hours time 2 on a train is a lot of travel time for a day trip. Going against that is the I don't like to do single night stays when traveling, I prefer at least 2 night stays. :) . But an overnight in Salzburg might be just what I need.

Second question is how do folks recommend the best way to travel between Salzburg and Reutte? I want to have a car for Reutte, so we need to pick up somewhere, and we'll be dropping the car at the Munich airport Thursday mid-day.

1 edit to add: the travelers in this case are 2 middle aged parents (my wife and I) and two 12 year old boys. So 4 people total, relatively spry, traveling without too many bags. 3 carryon size bags, 1 larger suitcase that I can carry comfortably.

Thank you!
Dex

Posted by
84 posts

Unless you land in Munich after 8pm I'd rent a car at the airport, drive straight to Salzburg(it's not a long drive), spend 2 nights, drive to Reutte, and finish in Munich.

Alternatively compare the cost of renting a car in Salzburg and returning in Munich, in this case you could take the train to Salzburg.

Posted by
783 posts

I'd do the trip a little differently. I'd go to Munich, pick up a car, and then go to Reutte. I'd drop the car somewhere on the German side of the boarder (Schwangau, Garmisch, Ettal). Then I'd go to Salzburg (by train) if you still have time. You can easy catch a train from Salzburg to Munich going back. But 1-2 days in Salzburg is barely enough to get your feet wet. It's not a day trip town. I know Salzburg, and I'd never plan to stop for less than 3 nights, and Munich is pretty much the same.

You're going to want to consider seeing Hanger 7 and possibly the Red Bull pro soccer team play if you're around Salzburg. And in Munich the boys will like the Deutsches Museum, Therme Erding, and the Porsche Museum.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you both for the replies! I guess thinking we should do just 1 day in Salzburg is not enough!

Posted by
5504 posts

The advice to pick up a car after a long red-eye flight across 9 time zones is misguided (jet-lag, drowsiness = impaired driving in unfamiliar environments) If you choose to go to Salzburg or the Reutte area first, take the train. It's €32 for a couple from MUC airport to Salzburg on a Bayern Ticket day pass. Kids are free. It's safe. And you can just relax.

" I know Salzburg, and I'd never plan to stop for less than 3 nights, and Munich is pretty much the same. "

This spot-on comment should guide your overnight stays. Salzburg isn't just Salzburg (which is nice enough already) but it's what surrounds Salzburg:

Berchtesgaden (Germany)
Königssee (near B'gaden)
Jennerbahn and other cable car lifts
Hohenwerfen Castle in Werfen, Austria - a piece of medieval history - with tour and falconry show
Werfen Ice Cave experience
Herrenchiemsee Palace (King Ludwig II palace, right on the way from Munich to Salzburg in the town of Prien.) MORE.

Lots of folks do the salt mine tours, Hitler's Eagles Nest, and the Documentation Center, all in Berchtesgaden as well.

I would drop the extremely droppable Reutte and the also very droppable Neuschwanstein "Castle" (30 minute tour of a big late 19th-century home with a fake castle exterior - but not a genuine castle.)

The car would possibly be handy to have for outings from Salzburg but public transport might work too - just depends on which of the things you choose to do. Some of the places are not accessible by car alone.

Posted by
18240 posts

I completely agree with Russ about not driving after a long flight from the US. I once feel asleep on the train in the same situation. If I had been driving I probably wouldn't be writing this.

Ditto on Reutte. I stopped in Reutte once for lunch and was appalled at how unattractive the town is. I would instead stop in Oberammergau. Stay here; it's only about a block from the train/bus station, reasonably priced, and Frau Richter speaks good English and can be a big help. It's about 1½ hours closer timewise from Salzburg. It's about 1H20 bus trip from Oberammergau to the ticket kiosk in Hohenschwangau. Buses leave Oberammergau at 8:30 and 10:25.

As for Neuschwanstein, go if you want to see it. True, it's not an authentic castle. It was built at the same time as the Eifel Tower, but people go to see it, too. As long as you understand that's not a real castle, it's a beautiful building, built like a castle, and an interesting insight into an eccentric king. I've been there three times, and always enjoy seeing it.

I'd never spend 3 nights in Salzburg. I made a day trip to Salzburg and left feeling I had seen everything of Salzburg I would want to see. Berchtesgaden - now that's a different subject. I've spent two full days in Berchtesgaden on three occasions and will go back.

As for luggage, you would need to rent a pretty big car ($$) to get a trunk big enough for what you are planning to take - unless the boys hold their bags on their laps the whole way. On the other hand, trains have plenty of space for luggage, and there is no charge for your boys on the train.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks folks for the continued feedback.

I am surprised on the opinions about Reutte, given what I've read about it Rick's guidebook. Thank you for sharing your opinions - we'll take a look at Reutte again. I had read something in the forums here where someone said they preferred Reutte to Fussen because Reutte further into the mountains, meaning that the surroundings were prettier. That, and better room availability, influenced me.

We've usually been able to get the bags in to cars we rent in Europe, so I'm less concerned there. But yes we usually rent a slightly larger vehicle. A previous trip to Europe with 4 adults and 1 child and 4 large bags plus random other things didn't go very well in terms of space. I thought I would have to hold some stuff on top of the car. Luckily we got it all to work. Since then we mainly use carry on bags.

Dex

Posted by
5504 posts

FYI I sort of agree with Lee about staying right in Salzburg for 3 nights. There might be other options nearby that work well. Some visitors base in Berchtesgaden - a daytrip from there to Salzburg is quite easy. Last year we had an apartment in tiny Golling (in between Salzburg and Werfen on the Salzach River.) It was very nice there and very handy to the other places I listed in Austria. Lots of places you might find an apartment in this area - like this one, a little outside of Golling.

The thing about N'stein to me is that it would be fine to visit if you have the €s they ask for the short, crowded tour (and in unintelligible English IME) and you were in the area for a few days (like maybe Oberammergau) and you had time for some mountain walks and other sightseeing (like Mittenwald, Garmisch/Zugspitze/Partnachklamm, Ettal Monastery, the Wieskirche, etc.) But for me the long journey, with the short stay, does not seem warranted in light of the other real castle and palace options that are closer in (which, besides the ones I mentioned, reminds me also of Nymphenburg Palace in Munich - much more to see/do there.)

Posted by
783 posts

If all you're going to do is stay in Reutte because it's close to the "castles" don't. Go to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The 12 year olds will be much happier there. First, it's a prettier town, second everyone in the area speaks English (because it was, and still is, a major resort area for the American military since 1945), and because it's an easy trip to the castles, but has a lot more stuff the kids will enjoy. I guarantee a trip to the top of the Zugspitz will be a better time for the boys than any castle.

Posted by
18240 posts

Pfronten, at the other end of the Ausserfernbahn rail line from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Germany, just over the border from Reutte, would IMO be a much nicer base for a trip to the castles. I've done that twice, staying here both times. There are 25 minute bus connections to Füssen each weekday morning (at 9:05, 10:25, & 11:25), and they are free (along with the bus to Hohenschwangau) with the guest card you get with your accommodations.

Posted by
27 posts

Hi Dex,
We stayed in 2 nights in Ruette based on the guide books recommendation. I do think there our better picturesque town's to stay in. That said, it wasn't bad at all.
It is close to the castles. We had a car and did the earliest castle tour. We did the combo ticket for both castles. After one castle all the tour buses arrived. We were ahead but not by much.

We had our 17 year old with us and the hubby absolutely loves all kinds of castles....The second day we all enjoyed Ehrenberg Castle ruin. It was a hike to get up to but so worth it! You can walk all over it. They even have a sword in the stone you can try to pull out.
Alpenblich had one of the best schnitzels we have ever had! Literally bigger then the plate. You could here "Oma" beating them flat in the kitchen. It was so good that after a not so good dinner at a different place, my husband and son went back. They were closing but made them schnitzel anyway. They also brought back a dunkel beer for me!😁
Looks like this has become more popular than when we went...
https://www.ehrenberg.at/en/ehrenberg-castle-ruins.html