What is your favorite southern Germany/Austria village??

We are seasoned travelers going from Venice to Frankfurt with "first timers". 1. We are taking the train from Venice to Innsbruck OR Rosenheim to get our rental car for Germany. 2. Our friends like the outdoors.
3. We want them to fall in love with Germany and Austria ! What are your favorite towns in southern Germany/Austria ?? Carla

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9084 posts

In Austria, I like Ehrwald and Lech am Arlberg. The second is particularly isolated and peaceful, but a little pricey. I'm a big fan of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but I wouldn't call it a village. But as a fairly large town, it has a good collection of restaurants and hotels. A little further west, I also like Oberstdorf. Similar to Garmisch but smaller. Whereas you can meet someone from almost anywhere in the world in Garmisch, the Germans seem to keep Oberstdorf largely to themselves. I have never visited Rosenheim in person, but in a sense, I go there every Tuesday at 7.30 in the evening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD_gOB9wryM Try getting that theme music out of your head!

Posted by Carla
Lafayette, CO, US
161 posts

Thanks! We went to Garmisch and Salzburg 5 years ago and really enjoyed it. Are we crazy to try to go to the Garmisch area AND Salzburg/Hallstatt ?
Are these two areas too similar?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17716 posts

Carla, It would help to know what time of year you plan on travelling there? Recommendations will vary depending on time-of-year. I haven't been to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, so can't comment on that. However, a few places that come to mind would be: > Salzburg - beautiful town on a small river, impressive Castle above the town, lots of history from Mozart to Sound of Music and a good home base for touring nearby spots. For those that are inclined, it's an easy hike back down from the Castle. > Hallstatt - one of the most beautiful small towns I've seen in that part of Europe, incredible history which is older than Rome, an interesting Salt Mine tour and fantastic views from Rudolsturm, the large fortress at the top of the Funicular. > Berchtesgaden - a beautiful small alpine town, again with significant history for those that are interested. Sites there include a Dokumentation Centre and Bunkers which extend into the mountain and of course the famous Eagle's Nest. > Munich - one of my favourite cities in Europe. There's a lot to see and do, some interesting day trips and also more interesting history. Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by Carla
Lafayette, CO, US
161 posts

Thank you all for the advice ! I would like our friends to enjoy all of the areas we visit, so I wanted to make sure that the "not great" towns would stay off my list !!

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9084 posts

My experiences in Austria go no further east than Innsbruck, so I can't comment too much on Salzburg and Hallstatt. But from what I know, GaP and Hallstatt are very different. GaP is a large resort town that caters primarily to outdoor enthusiasts. From what I understand about Hallstatt, I believe it's more of a small town that sells itself on scenery, rather than outdoor activities.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

Our favorite small town in southern Germany is Bad Urach. You can reach it from Ulm or Tubingen.

Posted by Carla
Lafayette, CO, US
161 posts

We will be in Germany in May 2013. Posters here have noted that they were not impressed with Reutte and we were considering Reutte/Pinswang as one base ! Is this NOT a great idea ?

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9084 posts

Reutte looks like they airlifted a suburb of some modern industrial German or Austrian city and dropped it in the middle of the Tyrolian Alps. There's a small number of traditional Alpine buildings, but the majority of the town looks like it could be from any non-descript postwar European suburb. I can think of far worse places to spend my time in Europe, but I can also think of many much better ones in the Alps. Pinswang is little more than a collection of a few scattered houses and farms.

Posted by Carla
Lafayette, CO, US
161 posts

Salzburg and Hallstatt areas will definitely be on our list, and Munich. If we also stayed in Garmisch, would Mittenwald be on the list to explore? What other towns would be on the GO SEE list in the area?
Are there "hikes" in this area? I am taking Reutte off our list !

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11254 posts

IMO, a far nicer place to stay near Füssen is Pfronten, which is in Germany, about 10-15 mi up the Ausserfernbahn from Reutte. Actually, Pfronten is not a single town, but a collection of a dozen or so small villages (Steinach, Ried, Weissbach, etc) that grew together.

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1427 posts

Hi Carla, To accomplish #2 and #3: 2. Our friends like the outdoors. 3. We want them to fall in love with Germany and Austria ! Stay in: 1)Mittenwald instead of Garmisch 2)Fuessen 3)Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden if in the Berchtesgaden area.
4)Stay somewhere in the Zillertal. We stayed in Finkenberg, which sits above Mayrhofen. Paul

Posted by Lane
Mansfield, GA
847 posts

We enjoyed driving the Grossglockner Pass and a close up view of the Grossglockner, Austria's highest, and the Pasterze glacier. You can enjoy a great view while enjoying lunch at the Panorama Restaurant. Leave there and drive on down to Heiligenblut for a nice relaxing overnight visit. A beautiful little town with a small church set against the Grossglockner peak makes for a wonderful view and many great photo ops.

Posted by Tim
Ojai, CA
591 posts

Between Salzburg and Hallstatt is the pretty little town of St. Gilgen on the Wolfgangsee.
In Bavaria, Mittenwald and Oberstdorf are great, and if you get to the Black Forest check out Oberkirch.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

I know that Mittenwald is much loved by many, but it is hard to beat the Garmisch-PartenkirchenHi area for fantastic hiking, from exciting hikes through gorges to peak ascents. The PartenkirchenHi side has retained more its charm than touristyGarmisch ( but we like Garmisch too). Take a look at Hotel Schattenin in Partenkirchen, where you will awaken to the sound of cowbells as the cows go down the street to pasture each morning. We are going back for a fourth visit next summer.

Posted by Stephen
Manchester, UK
6 posts

Carla, You could consider Bayerisch Eisenstein. It's a quiet little German village at the north end of the Bavarian Forest, right on the Czech border. The surrounding scenery is beautiful, summer or winter. It's about 225 miles from Innsbruck. Tripadvisor gives more details.

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
800 posts

From Innsbruck you should head directly west, stopping in Lech or Ischgl for hiking and great mountain views. From there continue west to the Bodensee (Lake Constance). You can bike around the lake/towns of Lindau and Meersburg. Then head north on the 81 towards Frankfurt. You can stop in Tuebingen and Heidelberg on your way. This is all many times better than Reutte or dare I say Garmisch (and I like Garmisch, but think you find better scenery at Ischgl and an awesome castle at Meersburg).

Posted by Craig
Wynnewood, PA, USA
49 posts

Carla, Salzburg is a "no brainier", and Melk is an absolute charmer on the Danube (grab a bike). While Rottenberg OT is a bit touristy, but I wouldn't miss it. A real gem that few RS fans chat about is Bamberg. Hands down it's my fav; OBTW it's an UNESCO World Heritage site. And, the beers - OMG, Bamberg is #1.
Have fun!

Posted by Carla
Lafayette, CO, US
161 posts

Thank you for ALL of the suggestions !
Now we have to take all of these great ideas and weave a route to take !!!

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
677 posts

I agree with all the places Paul mentioned but would also add Hall in Tyrol near Innsbruck. We love all the cute little villages. Mittenwald and Hall are our favorites.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

Carla: I went to a summer school program at the University of Innsbruck, so I'm somewhat prejudiced. As you can tell by the different replies that there are dozens and dozens of incredible small towns to stay in Tirol. You honestly couldn't go wrong with any of them. I especially like the cities up and down the valley outside Innsbruck. I also adore the people and the brewery in Salzburg. After April 1st, I like to take a rental car and just ramble through the mountains. By then, the weather's changed into Spring. One suggestion would to be to look at Rick Steves' B&B section and look for names that are very highly rated. Another suggestion is to go into Innsbruck's local travel bureau website and filter for rooms village by village.
Last 2 trips, we stayed Kranebitter on the north side of the Innsbruck Airport. There, I can drink beer and watch the hang gliders land at dark. And, we're just 2-3 miles from my favorite restaurants in the city.

Posted by Carla
Lafayette, CO, US
161 posts

Thank you for all of your advice ! If we stay a few days around Salzburg, would anyone suggest lodging around the Berchtesgadener area over Hallstatt ??

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1427 posts

Hi Carla, I'll say first that we never stayed overnight in Hallstatt. We visited as a day trip from the Berchtesgaden area. We found Hallstatt a bit too quiet and small to spend much time there, although it's very picturesque. After our day there, we had no desire to revisit. That's just our take on it. We also wouldn't care to stay in Berchtesgaden itself, although do love staying in the Berchtesgaden area. We've stayed in the small village of Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden (10 min from Berchtesgaden) 3 times (10/06, 10/07 and 9/09) for a total of 10 nights and plan on another visit next year. We also stayed in nearby Schonau am Konigsee (5 minutes from Berchtesgaden) for 4 nights in 11/10. We can highly recommend both the Pension Mayringerlehen in Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden and the Guesthouse Friedwiese in Schonau am Konigsee. We stayed at the Friedwiese in 11/10 due to the Mayringerlehen being closed in late November. While we loved our stay, we still prefer the Mayringerlehen (but it's close). They're both fantastic places to stay. www.mayringerlehen.de www.friedwiese.de/enska/isl.htm I really don't see the similarity of Berchtesgaden and Hallstatt. Both are quite different. From Ramsau, we took a day trip to Hallstatt. Driving time was about 1:30 each way. The scenery along the way was very nice, so we didn't mind the drive at all. Hope this helps. Paul

Posted by Carla
Lafayette, CO, US
161 posts

I am off to my corner with my maps and notes to process all of the advice ! Thank you !