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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Even though I've read a few guidebooks cover-to-cover, perused this board & tripadvisor, I still feel lost when attempting to create a relaxing & memorable vacation itinerary.

My ED has been delayed due to job concerns, but now I feel comfortable planning this trip, and am really excited about the trip to Germany (our first). Compounding the decision is if my wife and I do a short (5-6 days) trip to Munich in January, with the idea of doing another more relaxing vacation in late spring/early summer, or try to plan a 10 day trip to Germany in April.

Background
- This will be our first trip to Germany
- We want to sightsee at a relaxed pace
- We have a variety of interests (history, wine, art, classical music, outdoors, food..), the key in planning the attractions we want to see is to avoid overdosing on castles & churches or spending the entire time in museums.
- Weather is not a huge concern to us, although I am unsure of driving a brand new vehicle in snow even with winter tires.
- On Itinerary #2 & #3, we will probably add in one or two additional days, but won't add any additional locations.

Itinerary #1 - Janaury
Primarily tour Munich, take day trips to Dachau & Fussen as weather allows.

Itinerary #2 - April
(see attachment)
-will add day to Munich &/or berchtesgaden

Itinerary #3 - April
(see attachment)
-will add day to Munich &/or Rhine Valley

Questions for 'Festers
- Will I be able to do the BMW Museum/Plant Tour before the date of pickup?
- Do I need winter tires for mid-April?
- Which Itinerary is best for a first-timer (of #2 or #3)
- Intercontinental Berchtesgaden - The room rates don't seem to expensive, however does the cost of staying there (parking, resort fees, meals) make it much more expensive? Does the location restrict dining options to those offered by the hotel?

Thanks in advance for the advice. This board has been a great resource while I plan my European Delivery.
 

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Okay for starters, If you do the Jan. trip to Munich you will not need your car. Stay somewhere in central Munich my choices are either the Konigshof, or the Bayischer Hof as I have stayed in both and they were great, others here will recommend the MO and I am sure that is equally good or better I just do not have any personal experience. There are less costly hotels in the area, but I would stay close to MarienPlatz. You can spend the whole short visit in Munich and still not cover it all. In April you should not need snow tires, if you wish to see the Mosel and Rhine areas that can use up several days. I would plan on a 2 nights and one full day in Trier, then drive toward Koblenz following the river, stopping for pictures and checking out the local wines, Burg Eltz will take at least 2 hours for touring and will come close to the end of the day if you started in Trier. Next if you want to attempt or just see the Nurburgring it is almost straight north on mostly 2 lane roads. GPS is a must for travel. From Nurburg on to Koblenz and then drive down the Rhine on one side and then back on the other ferries cross the river and make for an interesting way to cross over. Finally turn the car in in Frankfurt as it is close to the airport and there are good hotels in the area with shuttle service to the airport. You do not have to travel back to Munich to turn in the car, and this gives more flexibility in your planning.
 

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I checked in and did the factory tour the day before pickup. The factory tour is quite a bit of walking so plan the BMW museum tour another day.

I agree with M FUNF on the January trip. The Welt will even arrange for the car to be taken by flatbed to the drop off location for 60 euros. So no need to worry about winter driving.

The Munich railway map included in the BMW welcome package makes using the railways very easy. I caught the S1 right in the airport changed to the U3 at Marienplatz to Olympiapark. The BMW Welt is the large building right in front of the railway station.

I stayed at the Four Points Hotel in Olympiapark as it is within walking distance to the Welt. A round trip Munich rail pass was 10 Euro for the day.

Norm
 

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Freude am Fahren
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- Intercontinental Berchtesgaden - The room rates don't seem to expensive, however does the cost of staying there (parking, resort fees, meals) make it much more expensive? Does the location restrict dining options to those offered by the hotel?
See my review of the hotel at http://www.executiveroadwarrior.com/2006/01/intercontinental-hotel-and-resort-berchtesgaden/

I was away during most of each day, driving as much as 787 km in one day roundtrip. The drive up to the hotel at 1000 m was an added bonus each day!
 

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Vienna is filled with music, and they have a famous Opera House and is a world class city, with museums, culture, restaurants, history, and everything.

Going another way, Switzerland is beautiful. The Italian Lake district and the Cinque Terre and Florence are all great and doable from Munchen with your new car.

Beating your way north, you get to drive the autobahn for longer, can see Rothenburg, the Rhine and/or Moselle wine country, and head on up to Amsterdam.


There are all kinds of ways to go, so give us some more clues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for answering some of my questions and offering some very helpful tips for trip planning.

My wife & I have decided upon an mid-April pick-up date (after Easter). The problem I am having more than anything is that there is so many itinerary options (esp. after reading Rick Steve's book), I'm overwhelmed on choosing what would be the best options for our first trip to Germany.

Here are the specifics on timeframe, interests, & travel style:
- We will be there for 9-10 days. If I subtract the day our flight arrives, the date of pick-up at the Welt and the date of drop off, we've got about 6-7 solid travel days.
- The key in our vacations is variety. We want to visit art museums, see a few castles, enjoy some good food, maybe take a few leisurely hikes, maybe even see a concert.
- A relaxing pace is very important, it's not a mad rush to fit everything in, we want a day or two where we can just relax and enjoy spa treatments, play a round of golf, etc..
- We plan to exclusively tour in Germany, although we're open to traveling to Lake Como for our non-sightseeing, relaxation time.
- We don't enjoy overly touristy or kitschy sights.

Definite To-Do List
- Dachau
- BMW Welt/Musuem/Factory Tour
- Rothenburg ODT
- Alte Pinakothek
- Relaxation in the Berchtesgaden area (although open to other locations (Lake Como or Baden-Baden)).
- Munich (Marienplatz, Englischer Garten)

Questionable List:
- Neuschwanstein Castle or Burg Eltz. It appears that most 'festers go to Neuschwantstein. Personally, I find Neuschwanstein too touristy & Burg Eltz is more alluring from the authentic fuedal history. Rick Steve likes both, however I believe I can honestly only do one or the other. Is Neuchwanstein really touristy..or am I just guessing that based upon it's popularity?
- Nurnburg Nazi Rally Grounds & Documentation Center or Obersalzburg Documentation Center Even though the Eagles nest won't be open during my visit, I'm leaning more towards Obersalzburg because it's near Berchtesgaden. Rick Steve seems both are worthwhile, has anyone here toured both, which was the better museum?
- Golf in April in Berchtesgaden Am I crazy, is this too early in the year to expect to play? Would I have better luck in the Lake Como region?
 

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Here is a tentative April itinerary. I have not checked for days certain sites might be closed as I don't know which day of the week is which. The order is easily modified, and I tried to be make definite choices so you could at any point say: "Not for me" and someone here can suggest alternatives.

Day 1 - If morning arrival, head to hotel, take factory tour, have medium-priced Bavarian food for dinner.
Nite 1 - Munich
Day 2 - [Can be swapped with Day 3 as these trips can be done by car or S-Bahn]
Morning - tour Dachau
Lunch in or around Dachau or Schliessheim
Afternoon - tour either Schloss Schleissheim or the Deutsches Museum Flugweft at Schliesheim
[Alternative if you won't be spending any time in Munich at the end: lunch and walking tour of central Munich in the afternoon.]
Nite 2 - in Munich
Day 3 - Pick up car at the Welt in the morning. (Two options: (a) early pick-up, then have lunch in a small town on the way to the mountains; or (b) mid-morning pick-up, have lunch at Do & Co at the Welt, head off toward the mountains.
Nite 3 - at the IC in Berchtesgaten
Day 4 - (either order) half-day walking around old town Salzburg and tour Documentation Center. (To answer your question--this is the better Nazi-era museum/locale than Nuremburg.)
Nite 4 - still at the IC
Day 5 - depending on the weather and preference in castles, drive to Rothenburg odT via Neuschwanstein or Linderhof. (Burg Eltz is too far for this trip, in my opinion.)
Nite 5 - Gerberhaus in Rothenburg odT; watchman's tour if it isn't too cold and it is on for the season.
Day 6 - back to Munich via Würzburg (north) or Dinkelsbühl (south). [Note: if you take the loop N to Würzburg and then E, you are returning to Munich via Nuremburg & Ingolstadt. Either are possible additional stops.]
Nite 6 - in Munich
Day 7 - turn in car (if not done late on Day 6) then visit either the Alte Pinokotek or the Pinokotek des Moderne

This itinerary has less driving than most, but as first-time tourists you get a chance to spend time in some of the most interesting parts of Bavaria and neighboring Germany. (And even a half-day in Salzburg, which is about right for the first trip unless you are Mozart or TSOM fanatics.) It covers about 1000 km, not including the day trips. I plotted one version of the route on Googlemaps here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
b-y. Thank you so very much. Your post was extremely helpful, I appreciate your insight on the documentation centers. I switched your itinerary around slightly, as I really wanted to visit Berchtesgaden last, as it'll probably be the nicest hotel & the most relaxing time. I've also paid attention to when sites are open during this time of the year, according to Rick Steve's..everything should be open on the dates I've calculated.

As with my original post, I've attached the itinerary below.

Two quick questions:
1.) Am I correct that I'd be able to park the BMW overnight at the Welt? I'd think I'd rather do this than park in the city center.
2.) Any idea's for additional day trips? These can be driving trips to see a significant site, or just to travel down an interesting road. I don't want to make it a 200+ mile drive, but a 100 mile or so trek w/ a nice stop would be worthwhile (I'd most likely leave the U.S. one day sooner in order to avoild having to return the car on a Saturday to accomodate this extra vacation day). If nothing really comes up, I'll just shorten the trip to the attached or spend an extra day in Berchtesgaden/Salzburg or Munich. I'm thinking the Wachau region of Austria, however struggling to find the appeal other than natural beauty.
 

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b-y. Thank you so very much. Your post was extremely helpful, I appreciate your insight on the documentation centers. I switched your itinerary around slightly, as I really wanted to visit Berchtesgaden last, as it'll probably be the nicest hotel & the most relaxing time. I've also paid attention to when sites are open during this time of the year, according to Rick Steve's..everything should be open on the dates I've calculated.

As with my original post, I've attached the itinerary below.

Two quick questions:
1.) Am I correct that I'd be able to park the BMW overnight at the Welt? I'd think I'd rather do this than park in the city center.
2.) Any idea's for additional day trips? These can be driving trips to see a significant site, or just to travel down an interesting road. I don't want to make it a 200+ mile drive, but a 100 mile or so trek w/ a nice stop would be worthwhile (I'd most likely leave the U.S. one day sooner in order to avoild having to return the car on a Saturday to accomodate this extra vacation day). If nothing really comes up, I'll just shorten the trip to the attached or spend an extra day in Berchtesgaden/Salzburg or Munich. I'm thinking the Wachau region of Austria, however struggling to find the appeal other than natural beauty.
Happy to help. I find writing out options helps force the planning, and your approach seems quite reasonable to me.

Search this board for "Munich day trips" or something similar. You'll get lots of options. Some of the obvious ones include Regensburg, Nuremburg, one or more of the lakes (Funfseeland), etc. I think several are also covered in the Wiki.

About parking: just ask at the Welt. But also ask at the Charles. The convenience of having someone there help load the car and leaving from there directly might offset any cost problem.
 
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