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Critique of Germany-Austria Itinerary Requested - Sanity Check Please!

I'd like to solicit suggestions on my proposed itinerary. I'll be traveling by rail. Thanks in advance for your assistance. Day 1: Wiesbaden-Bacharach(Wiesbaden center); Day 2: Bacharach-St.Goar-Bacharach(Rhine River Cruise); Day 3: Bacharach-Darmstadt(Residenz-Schloss Museum, Mathildenhohe, & Russian Chapel); Day 4: Darmstadt(Porzellansammlung, Hessisches Landesmuseum); Day 5: Darmstadt-Heidelberg-Speyer-Herxheim(Heidelberg Castle & Speyer Dom); Day 6: Herxheim-Karlsruhe-Herxheim(wine country & Karlsruhe Palace); Day 7: Herxheim-Stuttgart/Ludwigsburg-Ulm-Munich(Ludwigsburg Palace, Stuttgart center & Ulm Dom); Day 8: Munich(Marienplatz, Paläontologisches Museum, Alte Pinakothek, & Glyptothek); Day 9: Munich(Residenz, Schatzkammer, Hofgarten, Maximilianeum, & the Englischer Garten); Day 10: Munich(Schleissheim palaces & the Nymphenburg Palace); Day 11: Day trip to Fussen(Hohenschwangau & Neuschwanstein); Day 12: Day trip to Oberammergau, Ettal Abbey & Linderhof; Day 13: Munich-Prien-Salzburg(Herrenchiemsee Palace); Day 14: Salzburg(Getreidegasse, Dom, Residenz, Mirabell Palace, Hohensalzburg); Day 15: Salzburg-Bad Ischl-Vienna(Kaiservilla); Day 16: Vienna(Stephansdom, Kapuzinerkirche, Hofburg, Schatzkammer, & Albertina Museum); Day 17: Vienna(Schoenbrunn); Day 18: Vienna(Staatsoper, Belvedere Palace, Kunsthistorisches Museum); Day 19: Day trip to Melk & Krems; Day 20: Vienna-Regensburg(Stone Bridge, Dom, Porta Praetoria); Day 21: Regensburg(Walhalla, Thurn & Taxis Palace); Day 22: Regensburg-Bayreuth(Margraves Opera House, Neues Palace); Day 23: Bayreuth(Eremitage & Festspielhaus); Day 24: Bayreuth-Coburg(Schloss Ehrenburg, Goebel Porcelain Museum); Day 25: Coburg(Callenberg, & Schloss Rosenau); Day 26: Coburg-Bamberg-Wuerzburg-Frankfurt(Bamberg center & Wuerzburg Residenz); Day 27: Frankfurt & depart for home. Is this doable?

Posted by
12172 posts

Add Reinfels Castle ruins on the Rhine Day 2. Take the cruise one direction only (upriver takes a little longer than downriver) and catch the train for the other direction. Don't use a day on your rail pass though, just pay for the 14km local train ride.

Day 9 seems too crowded, I might plan Residenz in the morning and the English Garden in the Afternoon. You are only giving yourself time for brief visits.

In Salzburg, walk Northwest along the river, then out on one of the bridges and look back at the Old City. When lit at night, it's one of the most beautiful views anywhere.

Posted by
2779 posts

Shawn, what's with your very first day of arrival? Flights from the US get in early in the morning. Are you going to spend that entire first day in Wiesbaden? Wiesbaden is a nice-to-see city, not a must-see city. Mainz might not be as elegant as Wiesbaden but has got a lot of sights to offer including the Gutenberg muesum that even your president visited when he was in Germany. Train connections between Mainz and Bacharach are shorter than from Wiesbaden as both cities/towns are located on the same side of the river.Make sure you really limit your stay at Heidelberg to half a day as the downtown/old town of Speyer just outside is such a gem and is really worth exploring. And there are many good restaurants in town as well.Karlsruhe and wine country? Which wine country do you have in mind? What towns? The Palatinate wine country along the Wine Road only a few miles from Speyer is much more scenic than the Badian one. The area is also referred to as the Tuscany of the North. Bad Dürkheim is a tourist trap but the section between Deidesheim and Roth unter Riedburg really make one of the most beautiful areas in Germany. And of course there is wine sampling everywhere...Depsite some rumors out there there are a lot of sights worth discovering in Frankfurt so you should make sure you get at least half a day for it. If that's impossible then at least have dinner on the medieval market square of Frankfurt Höchst or walk up Berger St. in Frankfurt-Bornheim (in that case have dinner in the 500+ years old restaurant Zur Sonne).

Posted by
655 posts

Shawn....I would view this as a marathon. For instance; Salzburg in approx 1.5 - 2 days. We all travel at different paces so if this is desirable to you that's all that matters. Have a great trip.

Posted by
74 posts

I appreciate all of the suggestions. This is my first trip to Europe and I want to make sure it is one to remember. I've enjoyed putting this trip together so much I'm all ready picking locations to include in my next trip. I've been debating whether or not to include Wiesbaden but I think I'll drop it. Instead I'll take your advice and spend 2 days in the Rhine Valley. Burg Rheinfels and Burg Eltz look like they'd be more interesting. I planned for half a day in Heidelberg and half a day in Speyer arriving early evening in Herxheim. Herxheim bei Landau is near the Wine Road area. Herxhiem is where my mother's family originated. My plan was to spend half a day in and around Herxheim & Landau and then half a day in Karlsruhe.

Posted by
74 posts

I'm staying overnight in Frankfurt at the end of my trip so I can tour the Roemerberg area. I've booked a room at Hotel Victoria which is close to this area. My thanks for the dining tip, I'll look up Zur Sonne on line and map out a route to get there from the hotel. If they've been in business for 500 years they must be doing something right. On Day 9 I was going to devote about six hours to touring the Residenz, Schatzkammer & the Hofgarten then spend the remainder of the daylight hours seeing the other sights & walking through the Englisch Garten before settling in at a beer garden. Since I'll be there during the summer I figured the sun wouldn't set before 20:00. I'll have to play it by ear. Thanks again for all your help!

Posted by
189 posts

My only concern would be if you are giving yourself enough time to see the natural beauty around you vs. just museums. If that's what you are looking for, great, but how about time for a bike ride, walk or short hike or just to hang out with locals as you stroll.

PS: Your itinerary resembles mine in that we have a lot crammed into three weeks.I'm envious of your 27 days vs. our 21. I'm glad no one has tried to talk you out of it. Enjoy!! SOunds like a great trip.

Posted by
74 posts

In doing my research I've found that the stop in Prien to see the Herrenchiemsee Palace requires a connection to the port of Stock and a boat ride out to an island where the palace lies. It looks like this could possibly eat up most of a day. Would it make sense to drop this stop in order to spend more time in Salzburg? Or do you all feel that the Herrenchiemsee Palace is a must see?

Posted by
2920 posts

Hi Shawn,

Since Salzburg really only needs a full day (IMO) to see, I'd see Herrenchiemsee. Prien and Stock are very close to each other and the boat trip takes 15 minutes. We did this last October. Herrenchiemsee (Neues Schloss) is our favorite of Ludwig's castles/palaces. The entire trip (boat, walk to the palace, tour and back) took us about 3 hours.

Paul

Posted by
74 posts

Thanks Paul. I'll leave Prien in my itinerary. I'm glad there are so many folks who are veteran travellers willing to help those of just starting out. I'm using the Deutsche Bahn website to plan my rail connections. I saw a posting on other e-mail strings from Lee and Andreas that suggested it. I'm having trouble determining whether there is public transit available between Stuttgart's Hauptbahnhof and Schloss Solitude. I found information for travel between Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg but nothing on Schloss Solitude. Are buses available? If not, I'll have to rely on a taxi. Have any of you been there?

Posted by
1633 posts

Shawn, I checked out the website www.schloss-solitude.de Under "tourism" on this site, there is a phone number you can call for local transport info. Unfortunately, I didn't see the directions listed in detail. On the subject of train travel: what helps me to plan our train trips, is to go to the deutsche.bahn website, input the pertinent info and print out the train schedules to take with me. I usually enter several times and days I might want to travel so as to know all of my options just in case my plans change. When checking out the train schedules, it helps to show "details for all". I print this detailed schedule out so that when we are on the train, I know when to switch cars/stations and what train stop is before ours. I think your itinerary looks great. On Day 12, it may be hard to do all 3--Linderhof is not easy to get to. You do have a lot planned on every day which is good and very adventurous. Don't get upset if you can't pull it off. Just enjoy and take it all in. When are you going?

Posted by
74 posts

Hey Denise. I'm planning on going next May and June. I'm going with a couple of friends and my sister. We're waiting for my sister to get back to the States. She's currently stationed over in Okinawa, Japan with the Navy. By the way, thanks for the website for Schloss Solitude. I found one related to a school that currently uses the facility but the one you provided had an e-mail link. I wrote them and got an answer. There is a bus that services Schloss Solitude from the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof. It's Bus No. 92 and takes about 25 minutes. I've been using the Deutsche Bahn website and I love it. I'm sure the schedules will change between now and next May but at least I can get an idea of travel times and the number of daily trains between cities. I'll firm up my exact schedules the closer I get to departure. Thanks again!

Posted by
74 posts

I'm pretty close to wrapping up the arrangements for my upcoming trip in the April-May 2009 timeframe. I've made all of my hotel reservations with the exception of my stop in Herxheim bei Landau. I've e-mailed and faxed several different hotels in the village of Herxheim and the nearby town of Landau over a month ago and have yet to get a response from any of them. I received prompt responses from hotels at the other locations I'm going to visit. Has anyone else run into a similar problem with getting a hotel in Germany to respond to their reservation request? Any suggestions?

Posted by
10344 posts

Shawn: Re your last question, when you don't get replies to your reservation request, it's usually because they don't have a vacancy; many of the small establishments don't have the staff to reply when they don't have a vacancy--this is common. The fact that you're not getting any replies from one town is a bit odd, but it may be that there's a local festival that week, or who knows. It's been a month so you're not going to hear from them, the only other thing to do is phone them--but you probably want to be prepared to conduct the conversation, or at least open up, in German.

Posted by
1499 posts

Hotel.de is a reputable hotel reservation service and they have a Hotel Krone on their list. You would have to check specific dates. The hotel is expensive.

Regards, Gary

Posted by
192 posts

Hi Shawn,
I know others have already responded about Herrenchiemsee and I agree that it really is a must see. I have been there 3X, the last time I took my kids/husband there and they thought it was a very cool castle. The setting is beautiful also. As far as getting there we walked from Prien to the docks and it took us 15-20 minutes.There is also a private train that can take you there from the train depot. Have fun!!
Mary

Posted by
19151 posts

If you use the German Rail schedule website, you will find that you can not only input stations, but "Points of Interest" (POI) and addresses. Schloss Solitude has the address "Solitude 1, Stuttgart". If you use that as the destination (or POI "Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart"), you will find the route. It is a 30 minute bus ride (Bus 92) from the Hbf and a 2 min walk.

Posted by
19151 posts

Shawn, is this your first trip? You seem to be doing the typical "first-timer" thing of trying to see too much. It takes more time to see each of these places than it takes to write them down.

After 6 two week trips to Germany, I consider myself an experienced traveler, but I wouldn't even attempt this itinerary.

Last October I made a two week trip around Bavaria, including a weeks on the Romantic Road. I stayed in 10 places in thirteen nights. I didn't try to see the number of things you are trying to see, but it was very hectic. Two nights per venue is just not enough time, and the pressure of having to move every two days is intense. You might be better off to reduce the number of places.

See as much as you can with as little travel time as possible. Forget Vienna. Save it for another trip. You can do Salzburg easily as a day trip from Munich without having to relocate.

Posted by
74 posts

Kent, I took your advice and contacted the hotel in Landau via phone and found that they were indeed booked up during the time I wanted. They were very nice and gave me the number of a couple of other establishments and I was able to finalize my reservations for accomodations. Thanks!

Posted by
8996 posts

Just wondering if you had set aside any time to see Frankfurt. It doesn't look like it. But you have 2 days in Darmstadt?? Do you not want to see the Frankfurt Dom where the Emperors were crowned? Come to mass and hear one of the largest organs in Germany played? We do have some fabulous museums all along the river together with our wonderful Städel art gallery. Would you want to miss the Holocaust Memorial Wall, or our magnificent Opera House? Wouldnt you like to see St. Leonards, which has the only example of a "hanging vault" anywhere in the world (as far as I know)? You seem to like Porcelain collections and our "Applied Arts Museum" has not only the Tsars porcelain collection on display right now, but also separate Asian and Moslem collections on permanent display. This is only a tiny sample of the many, various things there are to see and do in this city, but I wanted to just give you an idea. I know RS doesn't praise Frankfurt too much, but I think he must have had a crappy tour guide, as he missed the best stuff this city has to offer.

Posted by
74 posts

Hey Lee, I appreciate the suggestion. I relooked at my itinerary earlier this summer and made some adjustments. I added an additional 5 days to my trip so I could stay at least 3 nights in most of the homebase locations I've selected. I'm a history buff and I just couldn't bear to drop anymore locations. I think the changes I made will allow me to travel at a more leisurely pace.

Posted by
74 posts

Hey Jo: In my last reply to Lee I mentioned I added some extra days to my trip. One of those was to give me two nights in Frankfurt. I'm looking forward to seeing your city. Thanks for the suggestions of places to visit.

Posted by
65 posts

I sure would try to get Hallstadt in this trip. Lots of history there, plus the beauty of the area. Might fit in if just for a few hour stopover between Salzburg and Vienna.

Posted by
90 posts

Hey Shawn,
You have a great trip planned. It is apparent that you have have done your research. Make sure that you make time to stop and smell the roses a little. Some of our best times in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been when we "stumbled" on an event, a special celebration or found a restaurant in a village square with great outside seating to people watch. This is as much a part of the traveling experience as visiting museums, castles and art galleries. Enjoy.

Posted by
74 posts

Hey Jo! I've been doing some research on the sights you suggested in Frankfurt and just want to say how much I appreciate you. I know I'm going to love the Staedel Museum. I can't wait to see Jan van Eyck's Lucca Madonna in person. The museum also has paintings by Degas, Monet, Picasso and Rembrandt among its collection. I noticed on the museum website that its open until 9pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It will be a great way to wind down an evening.

Posted by
74 posts

Thanks Harry! The websites you shared are proving to be most helpful in my research, especially for Bamberg.

Posted by
8996 posts

Yes, I really, really, like this one Monet there. It is a very large one, called "little breakfast" in French, or something like that. I find the white tablecloths so amazing in this picture. Call me odd, but I like it. The Staedel is a wonderful gallery. It is almost a days worth of looking.

Oh, they are building a reproduction of the Thurn and Taxis palace that used to be here in Frankfurt. Supposed to be done in Feb.

When will you be here?

Posted by
74 posts

I'll be winding up my trip in Frankfurt for three nights in May 2009. So, I'll definitely be interested in the Thurn und Taxis Palace. Is the princely House of Thurn und Taxis involved in the project to build the replica palace? I've read the present head of the family is one of the wealthiest men in Europe. His net worth being over $2 billion the last I heard. I've also read somewhere that his mother agreed to place a number of the family's art treasures on permanent public display in order to get a break on paying taxes. In fact, as I've been doing research for my trip I've found that many of Germany's high noble families are doing pretty well for themselves despite being out of power for nearly a hundred years.