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Itinerary and Questions for the Experienced

Two semi-old :-) GIs and their wives will be making a 2 week visit to some old memories and hopefully making some new ones in Germany/Switzerland - with a side trip to Salzburg in May, please tell me what you think:

Friday : Arrive at Frankfurt in the morning, rent a car and drive to St Goar, end up at Bacharach for the night.

Saturday : Train to Bingen, take a K-D cruise to Braubach, tour Marksburg, train down to St Goarhausen, cross the Rhine, train back to Bacharach for the night.

Sunday : Drive to Heilbronn and visit some old memories, then on to Schwabisch Hall for the night (it had the only B&B that looked interesting).

Monday : Drive back to Heidelberg and visit, Schwabisch Hall for the night.

Tuesday : Drive to Rothenburg and be all touristy for the day, Schwabisch Hall for the night.

Wednesday: Drive to Interlaken, , Interlaken for the night.

Thursday : If the weather is good, take the cable cars up to the Schilthorn, lunch in Murren, Interlaken for the night.

Friday : If the weather is good, and nobody got altitude sickness the day before it's up to the Jungfraujoch! Interlaken for the night.

Saturday : Drive to Fussen, have lunch in Vaduz? Visit Lindau along the way. Fussen for the night

Sunday : Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein early, then up the road to the WeisKirche. Fussen for the night.

Monday : Drive to Salzburg, visit Etal Abbey, Linderhof and takes some snapshots in Garmisch along the way. Overnight in Salzburg.

Tuesday : Sound of Music Tour (seriously - Bob's is the best???) early, afternoon - Mirabelle Palace/Grounds. Mozart Dinner in the cathedral cellar. Overnight in Salzburg.

Wednesday: Hohensalzburg castle, Mozart's Residence, Old Town, etc. Overnight in Salzburg

Thursday : Drive to Gunzburg - LEGOLAND (don't ask, we're having a second childhood) - drive to Esslingen for the night.

Friday : Turn in the car at the airport and fly out of Stuttgart mid-morning.

I'm hoping you can tell the night before if the weather will be clear enough to make the high cost of 'ascending' the Alps worth it. Making it all the way to the Jungfraujoch and not being able to get some pictures (I've got an ultra-wide angle ready to capture it all) that will make the folks back home drop their jaws will really make me grumpy.

The last time I visited Germany ('91) the number of cars on the Autobahn had increased so much from during my original 2 year 'visit' ('72-'74) that the effective speed limit was in the 75 mile an hour range. I can't imagine that there are any fewer cars now - after 20 more years of economic growth. Are the roads looking like Los Angeles freeways these days?

If I ask the rental folks for a diesel I wonder what the odds are there will be one available?

Is the Currywurst in Heilbronn still as good as it was in 1974? :-)


Posted by
12040 posts

Because you're going back and forth around Heilbronn, Schwabisch Hall and Heidelberg, I assume you'll be driving through the Neckar valley at some point?

Don't count on the weather around Interlaken making things easy for you in May. Weather can change vastly in little more than an hour.

"Are the roads looking like Los Angeles freeways these days?" I've never driven in Los Angeles, but I can't imagine worse traffic than what you see in and around Stuttgart. Other areas aren't so bad, some just get bad around rush-hour. But Stuttgart always seems to be painful, no matter the time of day.

"If I ask the rental folks for a diesel I wonder what the odds are there will be one available?" Widely available. You almost have to specifically request anything else.

Posted by
5319 posts

I have been to Legoland Deutschland three times. Nice park, but isn't that a really long drive from Salzburg? Many of the rides are water-based, so bring a change of clothes or a poncho. And then you'll drive again in the evening? We always stay in Gunzburg which has a cute town center.

Posted by
139 posts

Thanks for the observations.

Tom - I'm not familiar with the Neckar - The plan has us visiting Heilbronn for 2-3 hours during our 're-positioning' from Bacharach to Schwabisch Hall so that one member of our group can relive his memories. That leaves the rest of the day for other opportunities. Looking at Google Maps - it appears that we could leave the Autobahn at Heidelberg and take the road(s) along the Neckar and end up in Heilbronn without adding too much time to the drive. So that would give us 4 hours or so for stops along the Neckar (and an hour for lunch somewhere). Thanks for the suggestion.

I'm glad to hear that a diesel is normal - I find it easier to drive a standard shift diesel (given that I'm a spoiled American and drive automatics all the time here at home).

Stuttgart traffic sounds like it's trying to emulate Los Angeles...I have left Disneyland at midnight after the fireworks and found that I needed to use the 'high-occupancy' lanes to avoid the traffic in the normal lanes...

Emily - Basically we are driving from Salzburg to near Stuttgart on Thursday so that we will be close to the airport Friday morning when our flight leaves. I thought about staying in Gunzburg, but that would leave us with a one and a half hour trip to the airport the next day. We probably won't be riding many rides in Legoland, just walking around and comparing Legoland Deutschland to Legoland California and Legoland Florida (and someday I'll make the trip to 'The Holy Land' Legoland Denmark. :-)

Thanks all.

Posted by
12040 posts

I think you will find the Neckar River valley between Heidelberg and Heilbronn (well, actually a little shy of there, to Bad Wimpfen specifically) one of the most scenic drives in the country. Very similar to the more famous Mittelrhein and Mosel river valleys, but it probably has more castles than the Mosel. Consider at least a short stop in Bad Wimpfen.

You were stationed in Heilbronn and never made that drive?

Posted by
6515 posts

Your entire trip sounds like too much driving (and riding in the back seat for the others) and traffic and vignette fees and environmental sticker fees and parking fees and all the rest that goes with an extensive road trip but then I'm partial to letting trains do all that work for me. Rant over.)

"Friday : Arrive at Frankfurt in the morning, rent a car and drive to St Goar, end up at Bacharach for the night... Saturday : Train to Bingen, take a K-D cruise to Braubach, tour Marksburg, train down to St Goarshausen, cross the Rhine, train back to Bacharach for the night... Sunday : Drive to Heilbronn and visit some old memories..."

For the Saturday train rides you'll want the Rheinland-Pfalz ticket (daypass, €35 for 4 adults, good at any hour on the regional trains, good on that ferry ride too.) Show the R-P ticket at the KD kiosk to get a 20% cruise discount.
R-P ticket

You aren't using the car at all on Saturday. On Friday, you'll probably pay an extra airport-pick-up fee for the privilege of driving on a workday after an intercontinental red-eye flight that will probably leave you driving a bit groggy in unfamiliar territory. I'd play it a bit safer and just hop on the train at FRA for Bacharach on Friday morning. Drop bags at the hotel and continue to St. Goar by train for your visit there. The train from FRA will take you to Bacharach via Mainz. For the FRA-Mainz part, it's €4.25 each from FRA's Regionalbahnhof station. For the Mainz-Bacharach-St. Goar-Bacharach part, also get a daypass at FRA's Regionalbahnhof (Rheinland-Pfalz ticket, €35 for 4 adults.)

Sunday: Get your car. No pick-up options in Bacharach but you can pick up in Koblenz, Bad Kreuznach, Mainz. Mainz is an especially nice little city that you seem to be skipping over and might be a good place to check out on the way anyway. OR all 4 of you can hop on a southbound train all the way to Mannheim or Heidelberg or even Heilbronn (€44 for all of you with the Happy Weekend daypass to any of these places, which is probably only a few cents more than the gas alone would cost) and pick up the car there. Alternatively, pick up the car on Saturday afternoon in Koblenz after touring Marksburg. The train ride into Koblenz from Marksburg takes 11 minutes.

Posted by
139 posts

Tom - I was actually stationed in Augsburg - the 'other guy' was in Heilbronn. For whatever reason I never ventured north of Bavaria during my time auf Deutschland (there was a couple of trips to Heidelberg). I look forward to the Neckar - Bad Wimpfen for lunch it is.

Russ - I totally understand your observations. If I were going by myself I would undoubtedly be taking the train more (and not doing some of the stops), but that's the price I pay for being married (and having another couple along). 'She who must be obeyed' does not tote her own luggage so a car is de rigueur on our trips - even if on occasion it sits patiently waiting (I consider it my contribution to the redistribution of wealth in the world :-)

Thanks for the information.

Posted by
139 posts

Tom - thanks again for guiding me toward the Neckar - especially Bad Wimpfen. In looking at the town on the map I ran across a small hotel called Hotel Neckarblick which gets great reviews on Tripadvisor. I'm going to suggest to my traveling partners that we switch to staying there rather than Schwabisch Hall. It will give us more time to spend on stops along the drive through the Neckar Valley on the day we are re-positioning, and it will give us more time in Heidelberg which needs it compared to Rothenburg IMHO.


Posted by
57 posts

My only suggestion would be to drive to Lauterbrunnen and stay there for the Berner Oberland portion of the trip, instead of staying in Interlaken. Lauterbrunnen is much more cozy than Interlaken and staying there will save you several train trips if you're planning on going up to the Schilthorn and the Jungfraujoch. I would definitely only go up to the Jungfraujoch if the day is clear. Luckily there are many other things to do in the region if it's cloudy.

Posted by
139 posts

Erica, thanks for the suggestion, I'll take a look at Lauterbrunnen.

I have read about the Trummelbach Falls - what other ideas do you suggest?


Posted by
57 posts

Hi Bruce,

Visiting the Trümmelbach falls is a good rainy day option, although there is a fair bit of stair-climbing involved. In Mürren, riding the funicular up to the Allmendhubel is quite fun. The views might be good there even if it's cloudy. Otherwise, I would suggest a lake cruise on either Lake Thun or Lake Brienz to be good rainy-day options. We took a Lake Brienz cruise and stopped at Giessbach Hotel and Falls and had a lovely lunch on a cloudy day. Hopefully you'll have clear, sunny days for your Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch excursions!

Posted by
19 posts

You have a fun vacation planned. We liked Marksburg. Be sure to have good walking shoes at Marksburg. The surfaces are very uneven and we saw elderly people struggle walking around. Rheinfels Castle/ruin was very interesting in St Goar. I actually liked the ruin better than Marksburg. But they are both very good.
We took the Bob's Sound of Music tour. There were 10 in our group and only half liked the tour. If you are a big fan of the movie you might enjoy it. It was mostly the ladies that liked the tour. I think the best part was the church where the wedding tok place. Very beautiful.

Have fun! Jackie.