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Need HELP on Itinerary

My husband and I plan on traveling for 6-8 weeks mid August-end of September in '15. We are 65, so not spring chicks...we are planing on flying in/out of Frankfurt, want to hit Munich at the end of the trip for Octoberfest. We want to see some highlights of Germany: Berlin,Heidelberg,Black Forest-travel to Austria:Vienna,Innsbruck,Vienna,Salsburg- Switzerland:Geneva,Lucerne--then go to Milan in Italy to visit relatives with some side trips,which we figure will take 2of the weeks. My ? is we would like to take trains, if possible, any advice on where we should go in what order, and what are we missing? The more I look at maps the more I get confused!! Also any hints on where to stay would be TERRIFIC!!!!!!

Posted by
6795 posts

Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Heidelberg, Black Forest, Vienna, Innsbruck, Vienna, Salzburg, Geneva, Lucerne, Milan with some side trips... You can do this by train over several weeks for sure, but you are missing a lot as well. What you see and what you skip depends a lot on your interests - if you could talk more about those things that you like to see and do, it would be far easier to say whether these places are right for you and what additional places you might consider.

Also - do you have any mobility problems? Those are not uncommon at 66.

Posted by
4 posts

Yes, we both have arthritis ( who doesn't at our age), I threw those cities out there as they seem to come up when looking at tours. We want to see where " the sound of music" area, Eagles Nest, the salt mines, , I know we won't see half of what there is to offer, that's why I threw it out there. We love history, culture, site seeing ...I am of German/ Austrian descent..but since my father was born in 1899 and my Grandfather was in the Spanish American war it has been impossible to find out what city, even with hours on " ancestry". ( unlike my husband who knows the street in Sicily his family is from). Stating that, we want to make the most out of our trip, and any suggestions will be welcome!!!!

Posted by
16894 posts

Choosing your destinations is the first step. Try to connect them in a logical path, not necessarily circular. For instance, you might fly into Berlin and out from Milan.

For a general overview of train travel time between cities, see Rick's Cost & Time Map. Rick's guidebooks for each country will give you lots of sightseeing and time management ideas and also summarize transportation options at the end of each chapter.

When you're ready for more specific schedules, How to Look Up Train Schedules Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it, but you don't really need to get into those details for a while.

If you do some research and still want advice for planning your time, consider our paid Trip Consulting service.

Posted by
6795 posts

"We love history, culture, site seeing ...we are planing on flying in/out of Frankfurt..."
OK, sounds pretty general. If you're using FRA for sure, even if only on one end of your trip, then I'd strongly suggest several days in the nearby Rhine/Mosel region, where you can explore history of all sorts - Roman ruins, knights' castles, WW II sites, old-world half-timbered villages - and of course lots of wineries and some gorgeous scenery.

From there, there are different ways of hitting these destinations. One plan might involve a few days in Heidelberg and the Black Forest (separate stopovers of 1-3 nights each; Gengenbach is a great BF base town and handy for train outings) before heading to Switzerland for a few days. Then east to Innsbruck. Then onward to Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, etc., a fairly compact area that you can probably explore from a single base town in 3-4 days. Vienna after that. I would look into flights from Vienna to Milan and fly home from Milan. If you're thinking about a railpass, a flight to Milan could save you some ground time and would also mean you need only a 3-country railpass instead of a 4-country pass.

Posted by
4 posts

I thought that a " rail pass" should never be purchased, read that it was a " rip- off"? That is the reason I'm trying to do the train route! We definitely want to go to Munich at the end of the trip for Octoberfest, so always can fly out of there or Frankfurt, maybe fly into Vienna- open jaw. Am just not sure what cities to go to to see important sites. Obviously we want to see the Berlin Wall , a few castles in Germany, I would love to stay there for the entire 6 weeks, but can't so that's why Austria, Switzerland are in the mix. Have to please husband and go to Milan where we will travel with family to Lake Como. Just trying to get the most out of the trip, as flights have gotten so very expensive, so once we are in Europe, trying to " do the most we can". Thanks for all and any suggestions, as I haven't booked anything yet, just trying to map things out with " picking" people's minds !!!!

Posted by
31 posts

You such book a tour for Octoberfest, which will confirmed that you will get to seat in the tent! And by doing so, you'll get to avoid the madness of the queue outside the tent. It can be hundreds of people! if not! make sure you go EArly! i was there since, 10am to late night! ;)

Posted by
6795 posts

"I thought that a " rail pass" should never be purchased, read that it was a " rip- off"? That is the reason I'm trying to do the train route!"

Words like "never" and "always" usually indicate you've heard some bad advice. Whether a rail pass is a good value or not depends a lot on the alternatives. Your destinations will mean traveling long distances through some expensive territory - so a pass might make sense - or it might not. It depends in part on the cost of the journeys involved. So you are "doing the train route" because you have to have a train route, whether you use a railpass, or whether you buy individual tickets, and because your choice should be made in part on which is more economical - and there's no way to know that without getting specific about your train journeys.

"Am just not sure what cities to go to to see important sites." You have a lot of time to bone up on what's important TO YOU - that's really the only thing that matters since it's your trip. I suggest you pluck a couple of guidebooks from the local library shelf, learn some more about what you might see and do in these countries, and figure out what tugs at you. THEN you can prioritize and start planning your journeys and making ticket/rail pass choices.

Posted by
7075 posts

Is there any way you can visit your relatives at the beginning of the trip? I would fly into Milan and out of Munich (since you want to end with Oktoberfest). Fly to Milan, spend some time with relatives, then fly to Vienna and start your train journey through Austria, Switzerland, and Germany from there, ending in Munich. After you decide which places you really want to see, then you can plan your rail route and research the point-to-point ticket prices vs a rail pass and see which makes more sense. It's a lot of research work but worth the effort in the end.