Here are some suggested itineraries that members have done. They are in the form of Day 1 - Day X where Day X includes your flight back to the 'States.
(August 2009 -- Notice to readers: We have moved the sections that focus more on tourist information rather than on driving itineraries to a new main section on "Popular Destinations". If you do not find what you are looking for in this section, please look here.)
General introductory comments
Comments that apply to all of the multi-day itineraries.
You should possibly start by thinking about two rather separate issues:
(1) What mix of driving and other tourism makes sense for you, both overall and day-by-day.
(2) Is this your only (or one of only a few trips) to Germany and surrounding countries, or have you had or do you expect several visits. If this is your only trip, you will probably want to focus on the major tourist cities or locales. If you will have experienced many trips, there are smaller cities and lesser-known regions that can be quite interesting.
A few lists:
Major tourist cities (by country, working outward from Bavaria)--
- Rest of Germany: Berlin, Hamburg, Heidelburg, Baden-Baden;
- Austria: Salzburg, Vienna;
- Switzerland: Lucerne, Zurich, Geneva;
- Northern Italy: Milan, Venice;
- Czech Republic: Prague;
- France: Paris, Lyon, Nice.
Major tourist locales (i.e., not cities)--
- Bavarian alps; Bavarian lakes; Bavarian castles;
- Bodensee (Lake Constance); German Alpenroad; German Romantic road;
- Rhine & Mosel valleys;
- Austrian alps & lakes;
- Swiss alps & lakes;
- Northern Italy lakes -- Como, Garda, Maggiore, etc.;
- Adriatic coast of Italy;
- Adriatic coast of Slovenia;
(Note for 2008-9 - Adriatic coast of Croatia is not a permitted destination);
- Julian alps in Slovenia;
- Danube river towns in Austria;
- French Riviera; Italian Riviera
Several Festers have written short introductions on how to start planning your itinerary. Possibly the best collection of these is in a June 2009 thread here.
Find out what places you can and and can not (or should not) go with a ED car
(Thanks to Stonehauler for this approach to building an itinerary.)
Unless everywhere you want to go accepts ED cars, do the following order.
- Go places where you can not/should not take ED cars
- Pick up car,
- Break in car on side trips, distance driving while not doing excessive speeds
- Once the car is broken in, do some of the more intense things such as those listed above (the ring, autobahn, etc)
An easy way to start thinking of things to do is think of themes, such as:
- WWI/WWII historical sites (Anne Frank house, Eagle's nest, etc)
- Wine tasting
- Beer halls
- The Glockenspiel (downtown Munich)
- Castle/Palace Tours
- See the sights of "The Sound of Music" (this is what my parents did on their trip)
- River Tours (the canal tours in Amsterdam are good, as is a cruise down the Rhine) You might also want to see if there is a cruise on the Danube.
- Roman Sites
- Automotive conquests (autobahn, the ring, etc)
Drives based on Frommers: Germany's Best Scenic Drives
- Munich -- Spitzingsee - Tagernasse - Mittenwald - Garmish P - got to do the Alpenstrasse from Tagernasse to Mittenwald.(B305)
- Munich - Eichstatt - Nurnburg - Landsberg
- Munich - Salzburg - Berchtesgaden - then take Alpenstrasse (B305) back to A8 to come to Munich.
Berchtesgaden is beautiful drive from Munich if you stay off the Autobahn; Highway 305 from Reit im Winkle to Berchtesgaden is spectacular. Berchtesgaden and the surrounding region is place with beautiful nature and historical sites. Details are now in the Popular Destinations section.
Castles and Mountains: Füssen and Garmish-Partenkirchen
Castles: Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, Linderhof.
Mountain: Zugspitze. Highest mountain in Germany (Tip: there are fewer crowds, more hiking options, and 30% cheaper if you go up from the Austrian side – either way the top of the mountain is the same. The drive to Austria's cable car is a 10 minute longer drive from Garmish area).
Towns to visit: Oberammergau, Ettal (Monastery, Brewery, and cheese making), Mittenwald (violin making museum), Garmish, Füssen. Hike the gorge of: Partnachklamm (best done with a cable car ride to the top and a hike down – includes the 1936 Winter Olympic ski jump and arena)
Reutte is a nice town to stay in or visit for something that doesn’t cater to tourists as much as the towns above.
Area Hotel Recommendations moved to Popular Destinations section.
Beer lovers pilgrimage to Andechs
Take a trip to Andechs (45 minutes from Munich) and visit the Brewery, Church, and Monastery.
Day 1 -> Pick up car at the Welt, tour factory, night out in Munich
Day 2 -> Drive from Munich to Landsberg, then take the Romantic Road down to Hohenschwangau to visit Neuschwanstein. Continue to Fussen then drive back to Munich possibly via Garmisch.
Day 3 -> Munich to Prague. Explore Prague.
Day 4 -> Prague
Day 5 -> Prague to Berlin. Explore Berlin.
Day 6 -> Berlin
Day 7 -> Berlin to Amsterdam. Some possible side trips here.
Day 8 -> Check out the flower auction and tulip fields in the Spring. Drop off car. Explore Amsterdam.
Day 9 -> Amsterdam
Day 10 -> Return
Note: as of July 1, 2009, the London and Madrid drop off locations will no longer be accepting drop offs for the BMW European Delivery program any more
In general, things are more expensive in Europe than in the USA. However, bimmerfest posters reported FoxTown to be a good shopping mall.
Trips Arranged by Destination--Mostly Longer trips (up to two weeks)
Alpine driving: The Alps and passes of Germany, Austria, Italy.
The first priority for this route is the incredible driving available in the heart of the alps (including Gross Glockner, Dolomites, and with optional side trip to Stelvio). There is also much to see and do in the area as the route incluldes the natural beauty of Berchtesgaden (or optionally Salzburg), Mountain tops (Zugspitze), and Castles (Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Linderhof) between Füssen and Garmish (see Berchtesgaden and Garmish-Partenkirchen above). This route also includes a taste of Italy and Austria even though it remains in German speaking territory.
Route for Munich; ruhpolding; Berchtesgaden; Zell am See; Lienz (Tyrol, Austria); cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy; Passo Pordoi; Selva di val Gardena; Bressanone, Italy; San Leonardo in Passiria, Italy; Solden, Austria; partenkirchen, Germany; Linderhof (Ettal, Bavaria, Germany); Füssen; Munich.
Italy: Venice and Lake Como (Optional Grossglockner and Stelvio pass)
Route: Munich – Salzburg (and/or Berchtesgaden) to Gross Glockner, to Venice, to Lake Como, through Stelvio pass, to Füssen (for Neuschwanstein and Zugspitze Mountain), to Munich. Note – Stelvio pass is likely to be closed in Non-summer months.
Note that Grossglockner route does not map on Google:
Route for Munich DE, Salzburg AT, Venice IT, Como IT, Füssen DE, Munich DE.
Grossglockner does map on ViaMichelin. Force a stopover at 9844 Heiligenblutt (Austria).
Details on a "Castle Route" through Tuscany are here.
Switzerland and Italy
Munich to Interlaken (spend a few days in mountain side towns of Mürren Wengen and take a trip to the top of the Jungfraujoch or Schlithorn (with the James Bond restaurant at the top). Pass through Zürich and Luzern on the way. Then on to Lake Como and finish as above (through Stelvio pass, to Füssen (for Neuschwanstein and Zugspitze Mountain), to Munich).
If you have the time between Interlaken and Como, take highway 6 south then 19 towards Andermatt for some breathtaking alpine driving (passing through Grimsel pass and Furka pass)
Route for Munich, Zurich, Luzern, Interlaken, Como Italy, Stelvio pass, Füssen Germany, Munich Germany.
Other interesting towns in Switzerland:
- Appenzell (in the North East)
- Sankt Moriz (near Stelvio)
- Andermatt (in the mountains between Luzern and Como)
Germany tourist drives (Ferienstraße)
There are over 150 “Ferienstraße “ (tourist routes) in Germany. Fortunately, 3 of the best Ferienstraße are also easily accessible for a European Delivery trip:
Alpine Straße (Deutsche Alpenstraße):
A beautiful drive along Germany’s southern boarder, but misses some of the more dramatic alpine passes south of the boarder:
Black Forest Straße (Schwarzwald Straße)
Southern part is in a valley, Northern part (Panorama way) is at the top (with many dramatic and lightly traveled roads off the mountain to either side. This can be a nice diversion on the way to the Nürburgring Ring. With no stops or detours, you could probably do this drive in 4 hours. It’s a nice diversion on the way to Frankfurt or the Nürburgring (Frieburg is worth a stopover).
The Black forest route follows B500 from Waldshut to Triberg (southern part) and then Freudenstadt to Baden Baden (Northern part) This northern part is also known as the „ Schwarzwaldhochstraße “ as it runs along the ridge of the mountain providing many scenic vistas (up to 1000m over sea level). However, the best driving is often exploring the small side roads that lead to and from the Schwartz Wald strassse.
Here is an interesting little detour if you are in the area. Great rest stop and beautiful side roads to get there: Hexenloch.
Romantic Road (Romantische Straße):
More of a cultural trip than a driving adventure, but worth it for the medieval towns, castles, and churches. Like France’s Provence, or Italy’s Tuscany, this route will appeal to those who like a taste of ancient Europe, but with a bit of German style.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most photographed towns in Germany. It can be delightful off season, or even off hours – but will be full of tour buses during summer days. Options for hotels and restaurants are in the "Popular Destinations" section of the Wiki here.
5-10 day Itinerary: Würzburg (Visit Residenz) Bad Mergentheim Rothenburg ob der Tauber (picturesque medieval town) Dinkelsbühl Nördlingen Augsburg Füssen (From Füssen, you can visit castles of Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau. If you have time before heading back to Munich, visit the top of the Zugspitze mountain and castle Linderhof)
Driving in the Alps - Bimmerfest's favorite passes
Note that these roads will be closed seasonally based on weather conditions! Search the European Delivery forum for more details.
Toll road south from Munich Google Maps doesn’t go over this pass for some reason, but it is open seasonably. The route over the pass is the short distance from A to B on the google map, NOT as google maps shows it. (The route is from Zell am See, through Heiligenblut, and on to Lienz (or vise versa). Grossglockner does map on ViaMichelin. Force a stopover at 9844 Heiligenblutt (Austria).
Amazing winding road through dramatic mountain valleys and several passes in Northern Italy (German speaking region). Passes are typically not as high as the Großglockner or Stelvio (which are basically one hairpin after another going straight up & over a mountain), but more interesting driving as you are following the contours of the mountains rather than just climbing a single pass. Allow a couple of days for this drive as the going is slow on these twisty roads (which is why we are here, right?). Very popular for hiking; attracts a lot of Motorcycles and Bicycles too.
An alternative heading back to Austria/Munich and adding in San Leornarda Pass, and Timmlesjoch Pass.
This pass is often used on the way to Lake Como. Similar to the Gross Glockner, but free.
Several 'Fest members are willing to share their experiences and/or help plan customized trips for your ED. A few of these are described below. Ask for suggestions--you never know what someone will recommend.
Munich northeast to Prague then west to Paris
Hayden recommended this route from Munich to Prague and on to Dresden-Leipzig-the Harz Mountains-Hanau (near Frankfurt)-the Saar-Metz-Reims and ending in Paris.
Südtirol, Italian Lakes, Bergamo, Switzerland & Rothenburg odT
b-y found this to be an interesting route with sunny October days in the north of Italy combined with Lucerne and Zurich. It returns to Munich via Rothenburg odT. (Approx. 1500 km; 17.5 hrs total driving time not including side trips.)
Zig-zagging through Mitteleuropa
This route combines lots of Austria with Friuli in NE Italy, and two parts of Slovenia. Major cities included several days in Ljubljana and Vienna. As plotted there is some doubling back, but the route can easily be modified to include Innsbruck, the Südtirol, Istria (Piran & Portoroz), the Grossglockner, etc. (Approx. 2100 km; 22 hrs total driving time, again not including side trips.) Side trips included Grado, Gorizia & Trieste (in Italy), Salzburg & Berchtesgaden, Lipica & the Julian Alps (in Slovenia), the Wachau & Eisenstadt (Austria), and Bratislava. (The Google Map plot also shows how to start a route at the Welt and end in Garching.)
Giant loop of Munich to Vienna to Tuscany to Monaco to a Geneva drop-off
FrankAZ took a two-week trip that starts heading east, then turns SW toward Venice and several cities in Italy, continuing further west to Monaco and Provence, ending in Geneva. This route covers approx. 3700 km and 37 hrs driving time.
Almost perfect loop of Munich to Florence and back
jel014 followed this itinerary: Munich to Lenno (on Lake Como) to Milan to Florence to Venice to Salzberg and back to Garching. The Googlemaps version shows the start at the Welt and the drop-off at Vikase. Driving time approx. 20 hrs for just under 1900 km, not counting side trips. Read the write-up at this thread.
Putting your car on a train
Normal passenger trains don't carry cars or motorbikes, just passengers and their luggage and perhaps bicycles. However, there are special 'Motorail' trains which will also carry your car or motorbike. These run on selected holiday routes, usually on certain days of the week, and usually summer-only. For more info, click here.