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weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

oklahoma city
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weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

We are going to be in Europe for three weeks from April 23rd to May 14th. It will be me, my husband, an 18 month old toddler, a three year old, and my mother. Here is our planned itinerary. Does this look manageable? Are we missing out on something?

Cost is a factor (keeping it very low budget - the entire three weeks under $6000 would be great). We will be using all public transportation and traveling between cities by train. We plan to pack as light as possible and are pretty efficient travelers (though this long and far with two kids in tow will be a first).

Paris - 7 nights

Zurich Switzerland - 2 nights (is this the right choice in Switzerland)

Lindau - 2 nights

Fussen - 2 nights

Heidelburg - 4 nights

Boppard (or general area) - 3 nights (too long here?)

Frankfurt - 1 nights (we fly home from here)

I'd love to do some agritourism, perhaps staying on a farm, but I haven't really found any that are accessible by public transit.

With two kids, I don't want to spend too much time in transit, which is why we are breaking the trip between cities. Is there a better or more efficient route (for example, if there is a better city that, while father on the map, is actually shorter in time) - knowing we need to start in Paris and end in Frankfurt. I love seeing the world and, other than Paris all of these spots are new to me. We are completely flexible on the route right now (we are pretty set on the neuschwanstein castle).

I'm very interested in seeing quaint areas and beautiful castles, especially after a week in the hustle and bustle of Paris. A Rhine cruise looks like a lot of fun, so that's why we are closing the trip near Boppard.

Thanks in advance for all your help and insight! I've been poring over the forums for months now, planning all the details and picking our just the right itinerary. Hope I picked the right choices for my family.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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1. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

For farms stays in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg ( www.baden-wuerttemberg.de ; www.tourismus-bw.de ; and www.schloesser-magazin.de/en for the excellent castles, palaces, monasteries and gardens operated by them) in which Heidelberg lies, have a look at www.urlaub-bauernhof.de .

Cologne, Germany
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2. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

Although I absolutely adore Paris, I find 7 days too much there. 4 to 5 days should be enough. I would use Munich as a base for daytrip to Füssen and explore Munich too. 4 days in Hedelberg would also be too much by my standards but not, if you try to visit other cities like Schwetzingen, Speyer Worms from there. 3 nights in Boppard however are not too much if you include a boat trip and maybe some hiking. You could for instance rent a bike and cycle up the Rhine valley until Bingen, passing many other nice little towns like St. Goar, Bacharach, Oberwesel or do a walking tour over the "Rheinsteig" including many castles (http://www.rheinsteig.de/en/) When in Boppard, don't miss taking the chair lift to Gedeonseck, where you have one of the best views on the Rhine:

www.va-r.de/gigapixel/gedeonseck

Paradise, California
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3. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

3 days is not too much for Boppard. The Mosel River towns are quite close as well.

There really is no such thing as a budget trip to Switzerland. Zurich would not be a priority for me at all

Sounds like a nice trip, mostly.

If you'd like to see more of the alps than you can see in Germany, I suggest that you rent a car and do a one-day outing to the Luzern area from somewhere in Germany. This would be a direct shot and would take about one hour each way from somewhere like the Basel Bad train station on the German border.

Heidelberg: 4 nights here sounds like an eternity to me. It isn't that special, more of a half-day stop, IMO.

So you might consider instead a stop there on your way to the Rhine; leave bags in station lockers and see the town - and in its place a 3-4-day stay in the Black Forest region (between Heidelberg and Switzerland, roughly.) The BF is a particularly budget-friendly place. A family can rent an apartment for very little cash, and train travel to different villages there or to cities like Freiburg is FREE because of the Konus program. If you stayed in Staufen, just for example, a small town outside Freiburg... you could take free train outings to Freiburg and beyond along the scenic Hell's Valley Railway the daytrip into Switzerland by car would be very doable.

http://www.blackforest-tourism.com/konus

The BF Railway is also very scenic, free with the Konus card, and also has a number of attractive villages and sights: black-forest-travel.com/places-of-interest/b…

How to organize this?

Paris - Heidelberg - BF and Switz. daytrip - Lindau - (Füssen?) - Boppard - FRA

It's possible to get a direct train to FRA from Boppard, so maybe staying at FRA is unnecessary.

I would also say that I never recommend a trip to Füssen, a real outlier on your itinerary, just to see Neuschwanstein. It is not at all worth the 35-minute tour. There are dozens of castles (real ones) and palaces that you can visit on the western side of Germany instead.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

I would say 4 nights in Paris is enough. The day you fly in doesn't count to me. So that's 3 full days to see Paris, then leave the next day. I suggest Luzern instead of Zurich, you'll get the mountain, Alps feel without wasting travel time going too far south. 3 days there would be good. It also seems like a waste of time to travel just another 2 hours to Lindau just to check into another hotel, get settled, etc. to see Lindau. It's great, but maybe add a day onto Luzern and do it and Meersburg (awesome castle here) as a day trip. Since you're set on Neuschwanstein, stay in Fuessen, then two nights in Heidelberg and on to Boppard for the remainder of your trip. If you're willing to give up on Neuschwanstein (which I would recommend, but I get you want to go), head north from Lake Constance area through Tubingen, see castles Hohenzollern and Lichtenstein, stay in Stuttgart (see the Mercedes and Porsche museums, which are fascinating even for non-car people), see Ludwigsburg palace (which has awesome gardens for kids all year round), then on to Heidelberg, etc. Also highly recommend the backpack for the 18mo if not too big. It's easier to navigate the museums, stairs at train stations, etc.

oklahoma city
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5. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

this is really great feedback, thanks you all.

We will look into a backpack for the little one - I have one, but I'm not sure it's the right fit for a long trip.

You're comments are also making me second guess the Neuschwanstein castle. I'm going to look over the other areas recommended here.

I was thinking that 4 days might be long in Heidelburg, so I am glad Russ recommended the black forest area. I wasn't really sure what would be a good stop to break up the two.

KathyNYNY - are you saying we can day trip to Lindau from Luzerne? I would be up for a day trip to Lindau (or the general lake constance area) from another destination that might have more to offer.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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6. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

To add to what KathyNYNY said, have a look at what I wrote in #1 of tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187276-i703-k5059… .

greeley, CO
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7. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

No one has discussed your budget. I think you are going to have a hard time keeping under the $6000. I think it will be very hard with so much time in Paris and then only Zurich (I agree Luzern would be a better choice) between Paris and southern Germany.

I would save Paris for a different trip if you can and spend the time in southern Germany, Austria (Salzburg area). If you want to go to Switzerland for the mountains, then there are places in Austrai and Germany that would suffice.

The Lander tickets are a great bargain - all day for around 30 euro.

Colorado Springs...
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8. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

I agree with bigtyke on budget. If the $6000limit includes plane travel, I can't see how 3 adults and 2 small children can do the trip, especially with the stay in Paris and possibly Switzerland, within that budget.

Stuttgart, Germany
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9. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

I don't find Paris as expensive as Switzerland, so maybe do the day trip from Germany where prices are much lower.

Paradise, California
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10. Re: weigh in on my planned itinerary in Bavaria and Rhineland

Budget suggestion: Break your Germany visit into three 5-day apartment stays (a typical German family choice) in smaller towns where prices are low.

Example: Stay 5 days in St. Goar (Rhine) the Rhine View apt. with 5 people goes for 69€/night (345€ for 5 nights):

loreley-apartments.de/die_4_wohnungen_en.php

Other St. Goar apartments: http://www.st-goar.de/586-1-.html

Daytrip in the immediate area, to Trier and Cochem on the Mosel river, to Mainz, Wiesbaden, Bonn, Cologne, maybe even as far as Heidelberg if you wish by train. Even if you traveled every day, a 3-day train pass for the immediate area and two additional daypasses for broader travel will set you back no more than 120€ total for 5.

So you've spent 465€ ($625) for this segment. Two more similar stays, maybe one in Bavaria (add $800 just to be cautious) and one in the Black Forest ( where train travel is free, add $550 to be cautious) bring your total to $1975.

An apartment gives you more control over food expenses, obviously.

A Black Forest apartment example: A couple of years ago I had a room for 5 nights in Löffingen in the Black Forest. Friendly Mrs. Liebermann has since remodeled her place into two apartments - you could rent both of them for 70€/night total. Photos here:

http://www.haus-liebermann.de/index.htm

www.haus-liebermann.de/ferienwohnung%202.htm

www.haus-liebermann.de/ferienwohnung%201.htm

Bavaria Ben has a report:

bensbauernhof.com/hausliebermannloeffingen.h…

Some other BF options:

bensbauernhof.com/accommodationsschwarzwald.…

Travel between your three regions: Go on Sat or Sun and you pay only 40€ on a "Happy Weekend Ticket" daypass for 5 people on regional trains.

Check discount advance-sale ticket alternatives at the German railways site:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

Travel to Paris: The same site shows availability of discount tickets from Germany to Paris for a total somewhere between 87€ and 177€ for your group, depending on day and travel hour. (I used Gengenbach as a "start" town and a sample date of May 7 but the price should be roughly the same from other BF towns too.)