We leave Hallstatt for Germany on July 2. We have to be in Gimmelwald on July 5. What should we do in Germany on July 2, 3, 4?
Here is our story:
It'll be just 2 of us traveling (my Wife and I). This is our honeymoon and she has never been to Europe before. We will be traveling by train. I'd like to find very unique places to stay (rustic b&b's, cottages, farmhouses...).
We are interested in Nazi sites/history, castles (I saw Rick Steves' picture of Burg Eltz and I was hooked). We really appreciate easy-moderate hikes through forests and scenic regions. Although we will certainly get to do some of that before and after our time in Germany (we'll be in Hallstatt and Gimmelwald).
Let me know your ideas for Germany, I'm up for anything...
Speaking of being up for anything... here is the rest of our itinerary for our whole trip. Should we make any changes? Too much? Not enough time?
June 19 arrive in Rome-Cinque Terre-Florence-Venice-Salzburg/Hallstatt-Germany Somewhere-Gimmelwald-Paris (arriving in Paris on July 7th/8th)
Our Eurail pass if for 8days/2months, 5 countries: Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France.
What are your thoughts on the rest of our itinerary?
I'll leave the rustic b&b's, etc. for another trip then. That's no problem...
Given proximity to Salzburg, Bavaria is an obvious choice. You may wish to consider Munich as a logical next visit. From there, you can head southwest to Fussen and the castles before leaving for Switzerland. As for Bed & Breakfast lodging, I can recommend Helga Lenz's home in Hallstatt (from Rick's book). Very clean, very cheap, private, and best view of lake and mountains. Another great B&B is Chalet Fontana in Murren, but you're going to Gimmelwald (probably not helpful, but I'll throw it out there anyway).
Just returned from trip a few weeks ago that included southern Germany with my grandson and did a 'Castle tour'.
Drove the Romantic road and stayed in a wonderful town of Dinkelsbuhl. I can't imagine not driving the wonderful countryside and being able to stop and picnic whenever we wanted. Also Heidelberg, Munich, and everywhere in between. The poppy fields should be in bloom...they weren't yet when we were there but I have seen them in the past and they are glorious. Have a great time... and enjoy the white spargle(asparagus) if still in season.
Much as I have enjoyed the Rhein-Mosel area (spent over a week there since 2004), I wouldn't advise trying to go there. You only have 3 days and it takes about 5 hrs by train (20 min less by car) from Munich to Koblenz and Burg Eltz is a ways beyond Koblenz. Why spend all of your time traveling.
There is a lot to see in Bavaria, and three days won't even begin to scratch the surface.
Since you want to see some "Nazi stuff", I would suggest going to Salzburg, spending a little time there, then going on to Berchtesgaden. In Berchtesgaden you can go up to Kehlsteinhaus (Hitler's Eagles' Nest), then take in the Dokumentation Center at the base of the mountain. At the Dok Center they have displays chronicling the Nazi raise to power. You can also see some of the bunkers that connected the vacation homes of the top Nazis there in Obersalzberg.
There is a bus, the Watzmann Express, that will take you from the Salzburg Hbf to the Berchtesgaden Hbf, then up to the base of Kehlstein and back, all for an €8,50 day-ticket. Berchtesgaden isn't exactly "rustic", but it sure isn't big city, either.
Then I would go to Munich. There are some "Nazi" points of interest there, in particular Dachau.
From Munich, if you act now, you might be able to find some Europa-Spezial Ticket at very discounted prices all the way to Interlaken. The best prices I see right now for 5 Jul is €59 pP for two.
I have spent over 13 weeks in So. Germany in the last nine years, 8 +/- weeks in Bavaria, all of it traveling by train and bus. In Oct 2007 I toured the Romantic Road using only public transportation. I can't imagine paying more to rent a car, going through the time and hassle of finding the rental place, filling out the paperwork, worrying about damaging it, having to constantly watch the map with one eye and the traffic with the other, instead of the scenery, looking for places to make "potty stops", then having to find a convenient place to drop off the car. I prefer instead sit in the relative comfort of a bus or train, looking out at all that wonderful scenery, and I always spend far less for the trains than I would have renting a car.
Lee's suggested destinations of Berchtesgaden and Munich/Dachau are right on. Spend 7/2 in B'gaden. If the goal is smaller villages, then you could bypass Munich; on 7/3 get an early start from B'gaden, see Dachau, then take the train south and spend 2 nights in the extremely picturesque village of Mittenwald, right near Garmisch and the Austrian border. The Partnach Gorge is only one of several walking venues in the area. You might also enjoy a "Bavarian Evening" with traditional food and dancing at the Fraundorfer Inn in Garmisch - easy to reach from the train station.
From Mittenwald, you're quite close to Innsbruck and the main train line heading west into Switzerland.