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Help welcomed in planning Germany trip for Oktoberfest

I am planning to take my husband to Oktoberfest in Sept. My initial plan is to fly into Frankfort, drive to Rothenburg to spend 2 nights. Drive south on the Romantic Road to Fussen for 2 nights, then to Munich on the 19th for three nights during Oktoberfest with possibly a side trip to Salzburg.

My questions are: car or trains...which is more affordable?

Does it make more sense to fly into Munich and drive to Rothenburg or fly into Frankfort and drive to Rothenburg?

Any other tips for a great trip would be welcome.

Posted by
18228 posts

I agree that public transportion in that area would be less expensive, but from Rothenburg to Nördlingen, if you want to be on the actual road and see the towns along the way (Feuchtwangen, Dinkelsbühl), then the bus is the only way, there is no train connecting all those towns. From Nördlingen to Landsberg am Lech (Donauwörth, Augsburg) can be done by train. From Landsberg south to Füssen is only accessible by bus, but I didn't find much there worth seeing. I would go directly to Füssen from Landsberg by train.

I did the Romantic Road the opposite direction last year (see here) and spent about 3½ days from Oberammergau (I had already seen Füssen three times) to Rothenburg, saving several hundred € using public transportation vs. a car.

Posted by
11798 posts

Romantic road can be done by train but is easier by car. Everything else the train works fine. For two the train will be cheaper.

I like the parade in town on opening day of Oktoberfest. The fest is fun but closes early each night (by 10:30pm).

Posted by
107 posts

For when you go to Oktoberfest itself, go in the early afternoon midweek, it is easier to get a seat at that time.

Posted by
18228 posts

A Bayern-Ticket is a pass valid for unlimited travel in 2nd class on regional trains all day long (after 9 AM weekdays) throughout Bavaria and costs just €28 for up to five people all day. You can use it for train and bus travel on the Romantic Road, Füssen to Munich, and Munich to Salzburg and back if you do it in one day. Further, you can use it, along with two €6,95 RMV (Frankfurt metro) tickets from the airport to Kahl am Main (just outside of Frankfurt metro, but in Bavaria), to Rothenburg. Thus, if you spend two days on the Romantic Road, you will need 5 Bayern-Tickets and 2 RMV tickets of just under €154.

Last year, I spent €13,10 for one person from Nördlingen to Rothenburg, so if you plan to go only from Rothenburg to Nördlingen the first day, you'll save a few Euro with point to point bus ticket versus the Bayern-Ticket, but if you go further than Nördlingen the first day, the Bayern-Ticket is better.

When you are in Munich, as long as you stay in the inner zone (which contains everything normally seen by people except Dachau), a Partner Tageskarte (day pass for up to five people) is €9,00.

Posted by
5496 posts

The trains would undoubtedly be cheaper if you use the Bayern Ticket as Lee has instructed. The hassle of driving in and out of Munich, should there be bad traffic, something that could easily occur during O'fest, should not be underestimated. The trains will run on time.

And of course, it's perfectly legit to start your own little O'fest on the train, if you like. If you're caught driving while intoxicated in Germany - or are victimized by someone else who is - you'll deeply regret it.

Posted by
2712 posts

Hi Donna,

I like the plan you have. My view... Check with www.gemut.com (we used them last Oct., we called the toll free phone #) about the cost of a car from Frankfurt and returning in Munich. From Frankfurt, drive to Rothenburg, then on to Fuessen and then to Munich. Drop the car upon arrival in Munich and use the train for your trip to Salzburg. That's my opinion, but we like having a car.

Paul

Posted by
2712 posts

Harry, your response to the OP's question was right on topic. Good job! I'm sure that helped the poster.

Just curious, isn't this a board/forum for ideas, suggestions and sharing experiences? Maybe the Rick Steves' "Travelers' Helpline" has become the "If you don't use public transportation, don't post your opinions" board.
Thanks for making us all who don't travel YOUR WAY feel welcome Harry.

Sorry Donna, this happens all too frequently on Travelers Helpline.

Paul

Posted by
2712 posts

Harry,

Are you really going to "hi jack" Donna's thread to become a soap box for you to preach to us all that your way is the best way for everyone?

How dare you claim to know me by saying I have an "obsession with cars". You don't know me at all. What is your problem?

Harry, PLEASE answer this one question... Why is it that I am not allowed to post my opinions and my way of travel without you dismissing them?

Who made you the "travel god" anyway?

Paul

Posted by
588 posts

Do you have hotel reservations in Munich for your dates? If not, do that first. Ask them about parking if you are driving.

Posted by
18228 posts

Paul, you are a long time and repected poster on this board, but I cannot condon that last exchange. The question was, "car or trains...which is more affordable." That is an objective question; I don't think there is much room for discussion. Public transportation (not necessarily trains) IS more affordable, in almost every case. "but we like having a car" is subjective. And I would have to agree with Harry (I can't believe I said that) that liking to have a car is synonymous with not appreciating (understanding) the very well developed public transportation system in Germany.

As for the quotes from Gemut. I have a problem with them. Each time I go to Germany I get a quote from them and compare it with public transportation. I always find that public transportation is much less expensive than their quote. But even their quote is not comparing apples to apples. They quote a price without any damage coverage, assuming that your credit card will cover it. Some people have expessed complete satisfaction with their credit card coverage, others have expressed frustration with their credit card company trying to deny their claim and their having to get documentation via expensive international calls and unfamiliar languages. In short, it's an iffy proposition, but not nearly the same liablity exposure (none) of taking the train.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all for your help. After reading your posts, I am not sure whether we will drive or take the public transportation.

If we did drive, I would just use the car from Munich or Frankfort (whichever I decide to fly in to)to Rothenburg, drive the Romantic Road to Fuessen, and drop the car back off in Munich when we arrive. Then take the public transport in Munich.

Any suggestions on which airport would be best to fly in, Frankfort or Munich (we would then immediately be driving or taking transport to Rothenburg.)

I did find and book an afforable hotel in Munich!

Posted by
2712 posts

Herry,

Give me instance where I say "I cannot stand people who actually say it is senseless to drive in Germany while on holiday." Also, why can't you grasp a simple question...

"Why is it that I am not allowed to post my opinions and my way of travel without YOU dismissing them?"

I truly enjoy this forum but people like Harry and Lee make it very hard to bother anymore. Their unprovoked, condescending and critical remarks are SO uncalled for. Free exchange of ideas, experiences and opinions. Not while they are around.

To see for yourself, check Lee's "Is Germay inexpensive" thread. At least I'm not the only one he is this way towards.

Sorry Donna, I guess I'm the only one willing to apologize to you for taking up your space here. Take care all and best of luck on your trip Donna. It does sound great.

Paul

Posted by
8064 posts

Donna, could you please spell Frankfurt properly? Frankfort is in Kentucky. As to which airport to fly into, I would go with the one that offers the cheaper flight for that time period. This can vary widely, especially during fall vacation time as each state in Germany has their fall vacation at a different time. Play with the arrival airports and see what you come up with. Which city is closer to Rothenburg (dont have my map out right now :-)) Of course I would love it if you flew into Frankfurt and decided to stay at least a day to see the sights here. Compare the costs of the car versus train, think about the gas price here too as it is nowhere close to $2.00 a gallon, more like quadruple that. My vote goes towards the train as the driver then gets to look at the scenery too and does not have the stress of having to drive. There are actually very few towns in Germany that are not accessable by public transport. It may not always be a train, but might be a bus of course. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide and no elses business. We all tend to have our favorite things and then root for them til the cows come home. We humans are quirky that way. Just some of us are more determined than others.

Posted by
5496 posts

"My questions are: car or trains...which is more affordable?"

The answer is usually the train. But there are other important and often overlooked considerations as well.

With just 7 nights and the large amount of territory they are covering, Donna and her DH have some time considerations.

How long does it take to pick up, inspect, and later drop off the car?

Do they want to spend time planning their road routes, navigating, looking for parking, reading parking regulations in German, and paying parking fees?

Do they mind spending time waiting in traffic, getting lost, and pulling off for refreshments and a pee, or to take a rest?

And do they want to spend time doing driving/car tasks, or just sitting on the train and enjoying each other's company, perhaps with a bottle of Franconian wine?

There are certain unpredictable financial and safety considerations as well. These and other boards are full of stories of unscrupulous rental agencies who try to ding drivers for dings that weren't theirs. Radar guns all over the country will catch you if your foot is a little heavy and send you a pricey souvenir.

If jet-lagged, do Donna and DH want to be driving drowsy in unfamiliar territory? A nap on the train might be a much better choice.

Even if you're wide awake, it's important to remember that over half a million people are injured in car crashes every year in Germany.

I've actually driven a good bit in Germany on separate occasions, but each time, I wished I had used the trains.

If I were disabled or couldn't manage my own luggage easily, I might consider a car in Germany. But for a short trip like Donna's with specific destinations that are well served by an efficient and less expensive public transport system, it's hard to see any advantage at all for the car.

Visitors who choose to drive at current rental rates and with gas at around $7/gal. can reasonably be called auto enthusiasts.

Posted by
18228 posts

As for Frankfurt vs Munich, the German Rail website has schedule information.

If you use regional trains, for which the low cost passes (Länder-Tickets) apply, it takes about ½ hour longer (4-1/4 vs 3-3/4 hr) to Rothenburg from Munich vs from Frankfurt - not much difference. Both can be done with a €28 Bayern-Ticket but from Frankfurt would require two addition €6,95 local tickets. A half hours time vs. about €14.

I would think that the biggest considerations might be the cost and convenience difference between getting to the two airports. At Oktoberfest time, it might be easier to get lower cost seats to Frankfurt.