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12-day driving Munich to Bernese-Oberland to Wachau Valley

Celebrating my wife’s 60th, we are planning a first-time visit to Central Europe - a 12 day drive with some extended time in Bernese Oberland, Wachau Valley and Munich. We enjoy scenery, photography, moderate hiking, beer and wine, small towns, local food/music and socializing. We enjoy small hotels or inns but would consider larger hotels in Munich if its central location would add to convenience.
Arriving in Munich late on June 20th AM we plan to rent a car at the airport and hope to take a scenic drive ending the first night in Bregenz or Lindau (1). Then on to Bernese Oberland - perhaps staying in Zurich, Lucerne or Brienz (2) and then we've reserved (2) nights in Lauterbrunnen. During the 6th and 7th days we would like to be driving thru the Bavarian or Austrian Alps - perhaps one night near Innsbruck (1) and ending-up in Melk/Krems area (3). Finally a few days back in Munich area (3)
Looking for itinerary recommendations: general plan, car rental, scenic routes, sightseeing, accommodations and restaurants. thanks

Posted by
7209 posts

You don't need a car for any of this itinerary. Munich airport is well served by the train which will take you right to downtown historical Munich. You don't need an "airport shuttle" from your hotel. Just choose a hotel in downtown Munich.

To get to Dachau you will ride a bus. It's very very easy.

As far as Switzerland - it has one of the best public transport systems in the world: trains, gondolas, boats, funiculars, buses all seamlessly integrated to get you to wherever you want to go. Zurich is an OK place, but don't waste a night there. Lucerne is much more attractive and only 1 hour away.

Posted by
12040 posts

A few comments...

1) Normally, Munich to the Bodensee is a very feasible drive of several hours, but I'm not sure I would recommend this right off the plane. Think jet-lag. Given the choice between Bregenz and Lindau, Lindau wins hands-down. Driving through Bregenz, it looked to me like a very ordinary town that happens to sit on a lake. Plus, quite crucial for site-seeing, Lindau looks over the lake towards the Alps (a stunning view on a clear day), whereas the Alps are behind you in Bregenz.

2) Just make sure you return your rental car before staying in Munich. A car here is a complete hastle. Perhaps consider returning it at the airport or main rail station.

Other than that, looks pretty good to me.

Posted by
59 posts

I agree with Tom as far as driving in Munich. The streets change names often and many are one way which did not show up on my street map. Public transportation there is excellent and driving a car and finding parking is a hassle. The only way I will ever drive again in a major European city is with a GPS system. Driving in the countryside of Germany Austria and Switzerland is absolutely fun and I would do it again. When you see a little paved road heading off towards a forest or set of hills take it sometimes and you will find beautiful spots to picnic,hike and take great photos.But I agree with Tom ,once you get back to Munich turn in the car and spend fun days in Munich before you leave. You will also save lots of money that way. Have a great trip,it sounds fun.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for tip on car in Munich. We did plan to keep the car in there but only for a trip to Dachau and then final transport to the airport. We could venture a Dachau visit right off the plane - hmm. What are the airport to munich hotel shuttle options?

Posted by
12040 posts

You can just as easily take public transit to Dachau.

Posted by
386 posts

I will be happy to help you with the Wachau part of your travel, as I am a Native. I am thrilled to see you have three days scheduled for it, if I read your post right.
Let me know what you have planned so far, or if you need help finding lodging or such.