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Germany, Austria and Swtizerland

My 16 year old son and I are planning a trip for early next Fall. I wanted some advice on how best to tackle this part of the world. My thought is to fly into Munich, spend a couple of days. I then thought we could take a train to Salzburg, do the Sound of Music tour, Mozart etc. We also thought it would be nice to hit Neuschwanstein castle and maybe Lucerne Switzerland. How hard is it to take a train from Salzburg to Fussen then to Lucerne and back to Munich. I would prefer not to drive.

Posted by
12040 posts

If you don't want to drive, consider taking a tour bus to Schwangau as a day trip from Munich. I can't comment specifically, but the most direct rail link from Salzburg to Fussen probably goes through Munich anyway... or does anybody out there have different information?

Posted by
13875 posts

You can indeed do the whole thing by train. Trains from Salzburg to Füssen do pass through Munich; the whole journey is under 4 hours. From Füssen to Luzern is a 6.5 to 7+ hour journey with 3 to 5 train changes. You can see the routes and schedules at www.bahn.de (or use the Swiss rail site, www.rail.ch, which is easier, I think).

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks! I will definitely check the train schedules. Is there something else we should consider doing or instead of what we were thinking?

Posted by
12040 posts

Your trip sounds fine, although I would consider going to Neuschwanstein as a day-trip from Munich. It may make sense to stop there as a half-way point if you drove from Salzburg to Lucerne, but if you go by rail, you'll probably have to back-track through Munich anyway. There's so much to see in this area of Europe (personally, my favorite) that I couldn't even begin to recommend other sites and activities... I'd just keep going on and on! Try researching the area through a good guidebook. Although I usually think Rick's books are a good place to start, his guide to Germany leaves too many gaps for Bavaria and southern Baden-Wurttemburg. I found the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet editions of Germany more helpful.

Posted by
31679 posts

Susan, for touring Neuschwanstein, you might also consider taking a tour of the site. I used Radius Tours (mentioned in Rick's book I believe), and found them to be excellent. They also offer Walking tours of Munich and Dachau tours. They take care of all the transportation arrangements (including short Bus trip from the Rail station in Fussen to the Castles). However the tour of the Castle is provided by Staff there (Radius arranges the ticket reservations, etc.). Check their web site for details.

You might find a stop in Hallstatt worthwhile as well. Check Rick's Guidebooks for travel and lodging info (the route to Hallstatt is via a "spur" line from Attnang Puchheim, and then boat to the actual village).

Cheers!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Susan. Your travel plan looks good. You can travel between all those places in trains. Millions of people have done that. I recommend be at Munich 3 nights, Salzburg 3 nights, Fussen 2 nights, Lucerne 2 nights (minimum). In your day in the Fussen area I recommend visit Neuschwanstein in the morning (reserve tickets for that before you leave home), and in the afternoon ride in a gondola up the Tegelberg mountain (near Neuschwanstein). When you visit Neuschwanstein, ride up toward the castle in a carriage pulled by horses, uphill and downhill.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks again for the helpful information. This helps in the planning process so much!

Susan

Posted by
281 posts

Susan:

Could you give us an idea of how long you will be traveling. My advice on this question would be different depending on the length of your stay.

Just reply to your post with the total number of days, and note if that includes the days flying to and from Europe.

I have a number of suggestions, and I will make them as soon as I can put a time frame on them.

Kevin

Posted by
4 posts

Kevin-

We are somewhat flexible. I was thinking about being away from home around 10 days. We had considered flying into London and spending a couple of days there or just flying into the Munich and spending the whole time in that area.

I appreciate any/all suggestions.

Susan

Posted by
281 posts

OK Susan, now that I have your time frame, here it goes:

Day 1-fly from IND to Munich. You would depart in the afternoon and arrive mid-morning the next day.

Day 2-arrive in Munich, spend two nights

Day 3-Munich

Day 4-AM train to Salzburg, 2 nights, wander Salzburg

Day 5-Sound of Music or other tour of the area

Day 6-Train to Innsbruck and Postbus to Reutte in Tirol, 2 nights

Day 7-Castles, Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, etc

Day 8-Trains from Reutte to Appenzell. Appenzell is closer, and is about as quintessential Swiss as you can get. Or if you go to Luzern, I would go actually go to Zug, which is a beautiful mix of old and modern on a lake.

Day 9-Appenzell, take the lift up Santis if the weather is good, then a late afternoon train to Zurich. Or if you go to Zug, take the train up Rigi hike down to Vitznau take the boat on the lake and the train back to Zug, stay in Zug.

Day 10-AM train to Airport (40 min) and Fly Home.

If you have?'s Ask.
Kevin

Posted by
2768 posts

Hi Susan,
For me, Bavaria, Austria and Switzerland in 10 days is too much travelling. You're tentative plan... are you flying into/out of Munich? My opinion would go like this:
1 - Leave home
2 - Arrive Munich and head straight to Salzburg.
3 - Salzburg
4 - train to Innsbruck area (base in Hall in Tirol)
5 - Innsbruck and Hall in Tirol area (possibly take the funicular to Hungerburg and up to Hafelekar)
6 - train to Fuessen (see Fuessen)
7 - Fuessen (Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau castles, luge ride, cable car)
8 - train to Munich
9 - Munich
10 - train to Munich airport to fly home

Just an opinion.

Paul

Posted by
408 posts

Susan,
I love Germany, Austria and Switzerland and have traveled to all three of them several times. Have you considered a Rick Steve's tour? My husband and I did the Best of Europe for 21 days a few years ago and loved it. It is a great way to travel and to see a lot of sights without any worries. The Germany, Austria and Switzerland tour sounds great. If I was doing a 10 day trip I would fly to Munich 3 nights and do day trips to castles, Dachau and Rothenburg. I would rent a car because it is easy driving in these countries. Rothenberg is fun to spend a night and do the night watchman tour. Salzburg two nights and do Sound of Music tour and lake area sights. Switzerland is our favorite country. We like the Lauterbrunnen area the best. Lots of day hikes and high mountain lifts. Take a lot of money for Switzerland it is costly to do the high mountain lifts and the food is expensive. It is so beautiful it is worth the cost. I hope this helps. Have a great trip.

Posted by
31 posts

I have done 2 nights in Salzburg, by train through Innsbruck (worth a least a short stop and then to Reutte. Garmish can be nice depending on time of year. Going to the castles can be frustrating by train if you don't plan right. We stayed in Reutte and had trouble getting there because there is not a full schedule on Sundays. We then went to Rothenburg for 2 nights, then to Bacharach and the Rhine River for 2 nights. Munich is easy to do from there as well. I would skip Lucerne and save it for another trip. Vienna would be a good stop and is great history for a 16 yr old. My son was 16 when we did the trip. He wanted to go to Berlin.