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To Eurorail or not?

We are a family of 4 traveling through Europe for 17 days. We have kids ages 10 and 11 and plan to cover London, Paris, Germany (Bavaria area) and then Rome. We have been pricing out transportation for the trip and keep circling back to the Eurorail pass. I know typically this isn't the best value. However with the kids being under 12 they will be free.

We know we will need to train from London to Paris, then Paris to Colmar and perhaps Munich to Rome. The difference between a Eurorail and no Eurorail for those 3 trips is $928 which is about $400 less than the Eurorail pass. Daily trips (Colmar to Strasbourg, Colmar to Offenburg, Paris to Rouen, and perhaps Paris to Mont St Michel) could easily surpass that $400 because we have to purchase 4 tickets every time we ride.

What am I missing? In this instance the Eurorail seems the better deal. What is the catch? We have read over and over that the Eurorail isn't worth the price.

Thanks!

Posted by
11288 posts

Are you looking at prices on the official websites, so see available discounts for advance purchase?

London to Paris: https://www.eurostar.com/us-en/?
Paris to Colmar, and all other trips within France: https://en.oui.sncf/en/
Munich to Rome: https://reiseauskunft.bahn.de//bin/query.exe/en

Be sure to put in all travelers and their ages, to see the price for everyone traveling together (often much cheaper than 4 single adult fares).

If you are looking at prices on Rick's estimator maps, realize these are for last minute purchase; you can do much better with advance purchase, as long as you can commit to non-refundable and non-exchangeable tickets. If you are looking at prices on Rail Europe, they do not show all trains and can mark up prices on tickets they do sell (sometimes substantially).

Posted by
1117 posts

The Eurail pass constantly gets a beating on this forum from some all the time. The fact is that it can be a better deal depending on your itinerary. It is also more convenient to use especially when you decide to change plans or you make a lot of day trips at the last minute. A couple hundred dollars either way compared to the expense to get to Europe for four of you is rather inconsequential. You have done some of the math and don't forget day trips are round trip costs!!! Enjoy your family vacation.

Posted by
3270 posts

Also don't forget that with a Eurail pass there are additional reservation fees for any train that requires a booked seat, like the TGVs. These can be limited in number per train.

Posted by
18310 posts

Some of us here do "beat on" rail passes, but maybe it is because we've analyzed the comparison many times and haven't found a rail pass to be cost effective very often. Yes, it is possible for a rail pass to pay for itself, but I think that would be pretty rare. Most of the times, those who think they saved money with a rail pass just didn't know how to find the best fares.

Almost 18 years ago, I made my last trip to Europe with a German Rail Pass. I bought it for the same knee-jerk reason that a lot of people buy rail passes; I didn't know any better. When I came home I looked up the fares for the trains I had actually used, and I had just about broken even, but there were some other trains I could have taken and saved money. In those days, there was only, as I remember, the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket on weekends. No Länder tickets; no regional passes.

Since that time (10 trips) I have always compared Saving Fare tickets, Länder-Tickets, and point-point tickets for short trips to a pass, and a pass has never even come close to being competitive.

Case in point, three weeks last October in Germany. We went from FRA -> St. Goar -> Pfronten -> Lindau -> Rothenburg odT -> Lohr am Main -> FRA, six changes of venue plus a Rhein Cruise. stuck in there. Those were the only places we could have used a German Rail Pass. We spent 265,90€ ($326.47 at today's conversion) for our seven trips. A seven day German Rail Twin Pass would have cost us $576. - quite a lot more. For the long day from St. Goar to Pfronten, we used an IC at an advance purchase fare, so we were constrained to that one train, although it was the best fit, timewise. The other rail trips were either Länder-Tickets, regional passes, or point-point tickets so we were no more inconvenienced than we would have been with a rail pass.

But yes, it did take some understanding of the rail system and some advance planning, so maybe that is the advantage of a rail pass - you don't have to know anything to use it.

Posted by
2395 posts

We used a Saver Flexi France and Italy Pass in 2014, and even though there were some things I didn't like about it, I think it was a good deal for us because:

  • We like to travel in First Class on trains (another not-so-popular choice on this forum).
  • We received a discounted fare on Standard Premier tickets on the Eurostar from London to Paris with the Pass - Nowadays, I believe this fare is covered by an applicable Eurail Pass.
  • We went from London to Paris; Paris to Avignon; Avignon to Torino; Torino to Florence; RT Florence/Bologna; Florence to Verona; and Verona to Milan. I couldn't have told you the cost in 2014, let alone today, but I had no misgivings about either the price or if I was getting ripped off by not buying point to point tickets.

What I didn't like:

  • Having to keep track of both the reservations and the Pass for two and a half weeks.
  • The stress of finding where to validate the Pass before getting on our first train.
  • Conductors telling me that we paid too much for our tickets.
  • Filling out the daily travel itinerary as soon as we found our seats on the train - this is my truth - I know it shouldn't have been that big of a deal.

BUT - Make any required reservations as soon as you buy the Passes. RailEurope can set up reminders in their system to contact you when reservations become available if it's too early for that when you buy the Passes.

Posted by
1353 posts

Our very first long trip was done with a consecutive day Eurail pass. I felt it made the trip very easy in general. As previous posters have said you would need to buy a supplemental pass holder ticket for the Eurostar from London to Paris, and if on TGV from Paris to Colmar you may require a reservation for that. I've found the best site for figuring out if a reservation is required is the DB site. I believe there are two advantages to traveling with a pass. 1. It offers flexibility to travel, however that will be mitigated by the reservations required for your first 2 trips. 2. You will get to travel in 1st Class which Is generally a little nicer and less crowded then 2nd. Like Lee said - it's possible but not probable that a pass would actually save money, but you have to factor in how much you value the convenience. (we've actually taken a couple of trips since then with select passes and I've never found it difficult to get the pass validated)

I would also suggest you read up on what the man in https://www.seat61.com has to say.

Posted by
7205 posts

Several years ago we traveled on a train from Munich to Fuessen to see the castles on a day trip. We met a very nice elderly couple who told us what a good deal they got on their Eurail Pass and were using a day of their pass for this trip. We, on the other hand, used the super cheap Bavarian Pass for family which totaled about 25Euro. They used an ENTIRE day of their Eurail Pass on what COULD have been a super cheap trip.

If it makes you feel better to have a Eurail Pass in your hand then by all means go for it. But just know that 99% of the time you're wasting your money.

Posted by
12891 posts

All the Passes I have had were activated with no problem or stress at all. I go to any ticket counter, except the one indicated as 1st class. The first time in 1971 it was done in Sweden, ie, Malmö, all the other Pass validations were done in Germany or Paris. In Germany I use German to tell the DB person at the counter, in France. In Paris I use English...regardless of the country, they get the picture. I've never had a conductor say to me that I paid too much for a ticket. Depending on the tone used, if that had happened in Germany, my reply would have been..."na, und?"

Posted by
2395 posts

Well, I must be one of the slower-witted people to have ever tried to validate a Eurail Pass! It was stressful because we were trying to find the correct window with not much time before the first train departed.

Once in France and once in Italy, the person checking our reservations and passes (conductor?) told me that I had paid too much for the reservations.

Posted by
16883 posts

The TGVs should no longer have any artificial limit on pass holder reservations on the domestic routes, which are the type you'd use. These cost about $11 per person (including kids) or the price rises to about $27 as a particular train fills up. The Munich-Rome route (via Austria) also requires seat reservations, although the DB web site may not currently spell that out.

I assume you're looking at the Eurail Select Pass to cover 4 countries: France-Germany-Austria-Italy. That will probably be a 1st class pass, unless they decide to bring back the 2nd-class adult rates that they tested in the past two months.

Posted by
5563 posts

I think you are getting a lot of general chit-chat with your question about rail passes here - not specific itinerary advice; that's not because we don't want to be helpful but because you haven't provided any itinerary specifics to speak of. Below I've tried to piece together my guesses about your trip of 17 days:

  • London

  • London to Paris

  • Paris to Rouen and back

  • Paris to Mont St Michel and back

  • Paris to Colmar

  • Colmar to Strasbourg and back

  • Colmar to Offenburg (and back??)

  • Offenburg to Germany (Bavaria area) - and in another post you mentioned driving from this area to the Black Forest, Füssen, the Zugspitze, the Romantic Road, and Munich.

  • Germany (Bavaria area) to Rome

So... is this your trip? Are you still planning to drive across Germany and hit those destinations?

How many nights are you spending in your overnight stops, and where will they be? A rule of thumb for London, Paris and Rome is to spend at least 4 days in each (which typically means a fifth night as well.) But with so many additional destinations (10 or so?) to cover in the remaining time, it's just not adding up. I must be missing something. And what are your travel dates? That matters a lot when we're looking at point-to-point fares.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks for all of the responses!

Yes sorry to be vague but we are still working on the details. My husband and I travel by the seat of our pants typically and figure it out as we go. However this is our first time in Europe with the kids so I think we need to be a bit more organized. This is what we have so far - Russ you were pretty spot on!

London was not originally on our itinerary but flights were cheapest into there. We plan on a return trip to that whole region to give it the proper attention it deserves. But since we will be there we will take in the highlights to get a taste. I have been to Paris but no one else has so we are giving that city a bit more time. My husband and I did a big trip to Italy before kids so we have been to Rome. We plan on hitting highlights there as well. We gave the kids some input and my daughter asked for the Eiffel Tower and my son asked for the Colosseum. This gave us the basic framework but my husband and I really wanted to explore Germany. Based on the advice we have recieved thus far we have modified the trip to skip Switzerland. That was on the itinerary too at first. So with all of that being said here is where we stand at the moment.

  • London - 2 nights (airbnb booked)
  • London to Paris ( thinking train for time and speed purposes. however we were debating the ferry overnight.)
  • Paris - 4 nights (airbnb booked)
  • day trips from Paris to potentially include (train to Rouen and rent a car to drive to Normandy and Utah beaches. there are national parks in there from what I can see but haven't researched much more on that. Also train to Mont St Michel - again not booked and still researching that as option) - pretty sure these would be separate trips??
  • Paris to colmar (train appears to be best option) - 1 night in Colmar (nothing booked yet)
  • Colmar to Strasbourg (kind of a day exploration of the area and then head into Germany)
  • Germany - this is where we have not worked out details yet. We are deciding on finding a central location to stay and then day trips from there? We are leaning towards the Fussen area. I am struggling with either spending another random night closer to the border/Black Forrest area or driving through straight to wherever we stay and go back if we want. Still figuring this out. However we have allocated approx 6 days to this area.
  • Munich to Rome - train or flight? - we picked munich thinking a big city would give us the most options. Rome - 3 nights Then home.
Posted by
21071 posts

If you want to see both Normandy and Mont-St-Michel, it really makes sense to combine the two in a single loop out of Paris, since you're willing to rent a car. If you try to see those areas on two separate day-trips, you won't get the most out of either one, and you'll burn two whole days in the process.

For Normandy, I urge you to spring for a one-day van trip rather than just driving around by yourselves. A van tour will allow you to see a great deal more. Without the assistance of a guide, it won't be all that meaningful. Most of the tours leave from Bayeux, so the easiest thing to do is spend the night before the tour in Bayeux. I think my tour (which was with Overlord Tours) ended between 6 and 6:30, but I'm not sure. If you don't have time for other stuff in Normandy, you could then drive over to or near Mont-St-Michel and spend the night. That would give you the late evening and early morning to see the Mont when the day-trippers aren't present. (I haven't done this myself, but the somewhat-optimistic ViaMichelin pegs the driving time at less than 2 hours.)

There are two charming Breton towns south of Mont-St-Michel that aren't wildly off the direct route to Paris: Fougeres or Vitre. I think you'd enjoy stopping at one of them on your way back to Paris.

Posted by
16883 posts

From London to Paris, I'd stick with the Eurostar. If your London and Paris dates are already set, you can probably get a fine price now on Eurostar, with advance discount instead of the pass holder rate.

From Munich to Rome, daytime trains take 9 hours and a connection, or there's an overnight (13-hour) NightJet with 4-bunk compartment. Either of those options work for me, but not for everyone. Nonstop flights (1.5 hours plus easy airport trains) can often cost only $50 per person if booked ahead; see www.skyscanner.com. If dates on this end are also set, maybe you want to book a flight and then work out the middle of the trip.

Depending on how much of the trip is by car or flight, you might narrow the Eurail pass down to just France. Decide the destinations, then a preferred mode of transport, then how to pay for it.

Posted by
5563 posts

With the French rail strike unresolved (no rail pass can fix that) and your travel dates unstated, it doesn't feel right to guide you much at all, other than to say you may have to book a car for Paris - Normandy - Brittany - Colmar/Strasbourg (drop it in Strasbourg.)

"Neither side appears ready to back down, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warning that the government would not be deterred despite union pledges for three months of rolling stoppages, and possibly more."

http://www.france24.com/en/20180409-france-sncf-rail-strikes-resume-government

After Strasbourg do Germany by train (which has much better rail service on the whole anyway.) Six nights...

If you stay in the Black Forest at all, you don't need a rail pass OR tickets - train travel on all the regional lines in the Black Forest is both unlimited and free during your stay with the KONUS program. I think I previously suggested a visit/stay in Gutach (where you can get the free KONUS card from your innkeeper; there are 100+ other small towns that also hand out this free travel pass.) Since you prefer more spontaneous travel, this might be just the place for a couple of nights - see the Black Forest Open-Air Museum, ride the summer bobsled, then head out on the scenic Black Forest Railway and other connecting lines to explore old-world, half-timbered towns like Gengenbach, Schiltach, and Triberg at your own pace. Or take the train into Freiburg for a visit.

Then head to Bavaria for whatever for the rest of your time Your whole family can get there on a day pass using the regional trains - it's good for all of Germany and costs you €52 on a weekday or €50 on Sat or Sun (called the weekend ticket.) The price is so low in part because your kids travel for free (just like they do on the overpriced Eurailpass.) Again, you don't have to keep a tight schedule or a tight route - it's a day pass - and you don't have to pre-purchase this ticket or get reservations... just buy it at the station.

Once you're in Bavaria, you can travel around on the even cheaper Bavaria Ticket day pass (€31/day for all of you) or on similar, even cheaper passes for smaller passes. Buy it at the station too.

So where are we? You had a car in France, you had to pay a few Euros to get to the Black Forest from Strasbourg, you had free train travel for 2 days in the Black Forest, you paid €50 to get to Bavaria and then maybe you traveled for 3 more straight days within Bavaria and spent €93 more... about €150 total for the whole family for all that train travel, and you didn't have to pre-purchase a single ticket or pass.

Of course you still have to buy the Zugspitze fares (just as you would with the rail pass.)

Now you have to get to Rome. I'd fly.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks for all of the information.

Russ your advice is amazing! Thanks! Our travels start when we land in London on May 28 so I think you might be right about the trains being a problem in France. You have given us so much to work with. Thank you!

Posted by
5563 posts

You'll need another tip or two for using trains in Germany.

At the German Railways itinerary search page, be sure to click on "only local transport" to find train schedules for use with the KONUS card and the day passes. On weekends the day passes are valid at any hour but only from 9 am on weekdays.

You wanted to locate a travel base for "Bavaria" but that's a tall order - it really depends on your destinations there. If you'll do this part by train as suggested, you could be withing day trip distance of Munich, Füssen and Garmisch if you stay in Augsburg (Romantic Road town and train hub.) It could perhaps be a good base for 3-4 days prior to departure for Rome.

If you will be heading straight to Füssen (as I fear you might) it's a fairly long trip and there are several routes on which the DB site might send you. I suggest breaking up the trip in Lindau (island town on Lake Constance.) The train goes to the island. Schedule a stopover of 3 hours or so so you can have a nice lunch and see the town on foot. (Lindau station has lockers.) Let's say your Black Forest town is Gengenbach... I see that on June 6 (sample date) the 8:06 departure from Gengenbach (Black Forest) arrives at around 18:00 in Füssen if you schedule that 3-hr. stopover in Lindau.

Note that your KONUS card is still valid on the day of your departure; the KONUS card permits you to travel prior to 9 am on a weekday, which is why that 8:06 departure time is OK. By the time your train exits the Black Forest "border", it will be after 9 am, and the day pass I suggested will be valid for the rest of your journey to Lindau and Füssen.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks again for the great suggestions. You have a ton of great ideas and obviously know the area well.

I am going to admit that I haven't done enough research yet to really say much of where we might head in Germany. I have a quick checklist of things but as I learn more that list grows and something is going to have to give. Right now we are trying to get logistics set for getting out of Germany to Rome and that is going to help firm things up. It appears our best bets on flights are out of either Nuremberg or Munich (cost wise). We plan to leave Germany on June 10 or 11.

I really loved your idea about Gutach. The town's you have links to were just what we pictured when choosing this destination. It also solved my dilemma of having to get all the way to fussen area as soon as we crossed the border....i admit it wasn't adding up but didn't have a good alternative. So we are loving that idea. Head from colmar and then stay in Gutach for maybe 2 nights and explore that area.

I go back to wanting to stay near fussen just for the proximity to the stops we had in mind. Someone on here recommended staying on a farm and that sounded really amazing. I don't know if a stay in fussen or the close surroundings is the best or not.

With us leaving out of Munich or Nuremberg...most likely Munich makes me think we will stay that last night there. I hear Munich is awesome and worth more time. But we will have had a good fill of big cities and heading to another....

Posted by
5563 posts

If you aren't seeing Munich that will of course save you some time. For local flavor like you won't get at an airport hotel, you can overnight in the small town of Freising near MUC prior to your flight and get to the airport fairly easily in the morning - the shuttle to the airport terminal runs frequently and takes 15 minutes.

Posted by
5563 posts

"Head from colmar and then stay in Gutach for maybe 2 nights and explore that area."

From Colmar? Your previous idea seemed much better:

"Colmar to Strasbourg (kind of a day exploration of the area and then head into Germany)" - that to me meant you'd check out of your Colmar hotel, drive to Strasbourg, drop the French car there in the pm, and head (by train) from Strasbourg into Germany (Gengenbach, Gutach) for the night - all of which makes a lot more sense than backtracking south to Colmar after Strasbourg, then backtracking again to the north for the Black Forest the next day.

AND... there's a special day pass to get you from Strasbourg to Gengenbach or Gutach by train; it's called the EUROPASS-Family 24h - You would drop the car at the Strasbourg train station, walk inside, buy this day pass from a ticket machine, and board the next regional train to Offenburg and beyond. The pass covers your whole family for €14.00, no matter whether your new base town is Gengenbach or Gutach or somewhere in between. The train ride from Strasbourg to Gengenbach takes 45 minutes; to Gutach Freilichtmuseum (the Gutach train stop name) it's a little longer, 1.25 hours. (A train ride from Colmar to these places would take much more of your time, cost more, and could also mean an additional bus connection.)

The EUROPASS-Family 24h day pass is a cooperative effort between local French and German transit associations; it is not sold at DB and AFAIK it's not described online in English - so I will give you a link below in German to verify its existence:

http://www.ortenaulinie.de/,Lde/Startseite/Fahrkarten/Europass_24h.html

And then once you've settled into your Black Forest base town, your innkeeper will issue the KONUS card for getting around the Black Forest.

Map of the Black Forest Railway line (Offenburg - Gengenbach - Gutach) - Gutach isn't shown but it's near Hausach.

Hausach is a rail junction for the Kinzig Valley Railway (trains to Schiltach, Alpirsbach, Freudenstadt) which is also accessible with your KONUS Card.

Posted by
16 posts

Yes sorry. The original plan was still in play. I was just abbreviating for the sake of start and end destinations. We definitely plan for 1 night in colmar. Wake up the next day maybe brealfast in colmar then head to Strasbourg. Ultimate destination for the evening would be our stay in Germany but definite exploration in between. We hate back tracking and that is what I loved about your suggestions. It fixed my back tracking problem by finding a good spot to stay on that side of Germany before heading over to the Munich/fussen side.

Great tips on the train. We hadn't worked out the logistics of it all yet. I come up with the Grand plans and find a spot to stay, my husband figures out logistics. So he is extremely appreciative of your advice .

After a quick look at train schedules it looks like a better option from Gutach to wherever we end up staying...fussen, the other hub town you mentioned or neighboring town, might be renting a car and driving. I don't have a good concept of the train system but it appears the ride is long if you train but you can make better time (according to the train schedules and google maps) by driving. When i looked i was tracking the time from gutach to fussen for example. That also would give us more control on stops along the way and exploration. Any thoughts pro or con to This?

Also do you have any experience with renting a room on a farm or something along those lines? One poster had given me a link to some options. We are trying to avoid hotels as they seem to be unable to accommodate arrangements for 4 people without a great increase in price. I have been looking through airbnb primarily but I don't know if there is some better option for accommodations out there that I am overlooking.

Posted by
5563 posts

Black Forest rooms/apartments: They may or may not be easy to find with the normal booking engines. Here is the Black Forest Tourist Office website - it's got the most complete set of listings.

This apartment (see link below) in Gengenbach is roomy and close-in - not far from the station - comes recommended by one of the RS forum regulars (stephen) and looks as though it may be available for your travel dates:

https://www.blackforest-tourism.com/stg/ukv/house/FIT00020070044543653

Posted by
5563 posts

Farm stay: We stayed 3 nights at a great little farm in the Black Forest (Steinach) operated by the Schöner family a few years ago. The upstairs apartment has a nice view of the farm and surrounding countryside from its back deck. Mr. Schöner speaks English and is very friendly - you should browse the photos below at his German-language webpage; the availability calendar there shows vacancy throughout June:

https://www.traum-ferienwohnungen.de/13558/

Steinach has a grocery store and bakery and a restaurant or two as well. We walked about 5-10 minutes to the Steinach train station from the farm to do our outings - Steinach is a stop near Haslach on the Black Forest Railway - and it was very easy to get to all the other Black Forest Railway towns from there - and free with our KONUS card. If you wish to book I have 2 email addresses - you can book directly with him. Ask to receive an "offer" first - he'll give you the full price for your stay (possibly including a short-stay fee if you only want 2 nights) but it will still be quite reasonable, I think. I have two email addresses:

Klaus Schöner:

schoener-steinach@web.de
info@ferienhof-schoener.de

He has parking space for cars too of course.

I've done a lot of driving in Germany and of course you could rent a car - lots of people do.

The actual transit time for the train journey I suggested is 6 hours (that excludes the 3.5-hour break in Lindau; you could arrive earlier in Füssen if you wish by making your stopover in Lindau shorter, of course - just leave on an earlier train from Lindau station (which your day pass allows.) Viamichelin shows a driving time of 4 hours between Hausach and Füssen; that of course does not include restroom stops, fuel stops, traffic delays, detours of your own or someone else's doing, or car pick-up time at the rental outlet - none of which are needed with the train ride. So while you might save SOME time, it likely will NOT be 2 hours.

I picked Lindau as a stopover as it's the most scenic and interesting place I can think of to stop over en route and near the middle of your journey. If you wish, you could stop over by train elsewhere as well - Radolfzell is a nice town, also has lockers for bags, and is right on your route.

I pretty much refuse to drive in Germany unless it's completely necessary. Driving is a lot of work, responsibility, and expense. Riding the train is simple and involves no contracts, no insurance, and virtually no risk of an accident or injury. You get comfortable and enjoy the scenery, people-watch, read, break out a picnic, play cards, get up and stretch your legs, do whatever you like. The roads are are lined with radar speed traps all over (lots of us have gotten tickets in the mail back home afterward) and there are lots of complaints online about shady German rental outlets that trump up repair costs for minor scratches and dings that the driver was not aware of (yes, they send those bills too.) And of course you will already have been driving all over France. The train in Germany will be a nice change of pace and probably a real diversion for the kids, if not the adults as well.

Map of all Bavarian train lines: Lindau is at the bottom left:
http://www.bayerwald-ticket.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Streckennetz_Bayern_2012.pdf

Posted by
5563 posts

Füssen to the Zugspitze without a car:

By train: There's a direct, scenic train ride from Reutte Austria (near Füssen) through the Tyrolean part of Austria - takes about 30 minutes to the Ehrwald Zugspitzbahn stop. Very worthwhile.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ausserfern_Railway#/media/File:Au%C3%9Ferfernbahn.png
http://www.diesellokguru.de/images/D2014/D2014-4/D965-111-027-2014-04-17-23.jpg

To reach Reutte there's a shuttle bus from Füssen.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you again for all of your help. We have accomplished so much now!

I have a quick question though as I assess our further options . I am trying to not spread ourselves too thin as you (russ and others) recommended. We are opting to stay for 2 nights in black forest region. I am still working on accommodations there. I think I might actually have to call. We were trying to secure that apartment that you linked (one that Stephen recommended). But haven t received a response. There isn't an email address only the webform and I don't think that gets checked.

Anyway taking your advice on transport from there to fussen area. We are not going to do Augsburg and will keep our exploration to the very southern Germany area and parts of Austria. So my next question....bavaria Ben's website has been down so I have been relegated to my trusty airbnb options with a family of 4. I am looking at a place in fussen (pricier - is it worth it), hohenschwangau (cute place with a view of the castle that my daughter will flip over and cheaper, by half) or reutte (because it's just across the border and is cheaper than fussen but more than hohenschwangau). Thoughts? I am open to feedback here because I really don't know the area.

Thanks!!

Posted by
5563 posts

Try the following for inquiring about that Gengenbach apartment...

Send a private message to stephen - he may have an email address:
https://community.ricksteves.com/users/35213

Gengenbach tourism office: They might be willing to place a call in German on your behalf; many TI offices do this when hosts don't have email or don't speak English:
tourist-info@stadt-gengenbach.de
Telefon +49 7803 930143
Fax +49 7803 930142

BF tourism office:
https://www.blackforest-tourism.com/info/about-us

Posted by
5563 posts

I think it's possible that Rick recommends Reutte as a travel base NOT because it's so charming but because both the Zugspitze (using the Ehrwald Zugspitzbahn access) AND Füssen/Neuschwanstein are within quick, relatively easy reach from Reutte.

Reutte - Ehrwald Zugspitzbahn = 1 (scenic) train ride
Reutte - Füssen = 1 bus ride
Füssen - N'stein stop = 1 bus ride

If you stay at Neuschwanstein, a round-trip outing to the Zugspitze gets more complicated and substantially longer... 2-3 changes of bus or bus + train) to one of the Zugspitze access points and around 2 - 2+ hours each way.

So for N'stein and the Zugspitze only, Reutte looks pretty good.

I don't know exactly WHAT ELSE you think you want to do in this area - that might make a difference as well. If you will toss more of the Garmisch-area things on your plate, then it might make sense to spend the first night at N'stein or Füssen, then the subsequent nights in the G-P area.