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Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

San Diego...
8 posts
Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

My girlfriend and i are flying out to bavaria germany in mid december. We will be landing in munich on the morning of the 16th. We will be staying at a hotel for 3 nights, then my girlfriends family will be driving down from Mantel, Germany to meet up with us. We will regroup at another hotel (still in munich) and enjoy our first night together. The following morning we will take a day trip to salzburg. We will come back to the hotel in munich that night. The next morning we will take a day trip to fussen. That evening, we will drive back together with girlfriends family to Mantel.

From that point on, i have no idea what to do or where to visit. I have interest in nuremburg, pilzen, and Czech. The problem is that while we are in mantel, there will be no great means of transportation. For instance, the nearest large train/bus station is in nuremburg. If we wanted to go to prague from nuremburg, we would have to take a bus 1.5hrs west (the opposite of the direction we would want to go) and then from nuremburg back east for another 4 hrs (backtracking). I am trying to sacrafice as little daylight/vacation time as possible. How are car rentals in central europe? What about crossing the border with cars?

Do you think That im trying to fit too much into my itenerary by trying to get to pilsen and prague on top of our time in bavaria? We land the 16th and depart on the morning of the 29th.

Mainz, Germany
Level Contributor
11,927 posts
65 reviews
1. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

With a car many interesting places would be within easy reach - the mentioned Nuremberg, Pilsen and Prague as well as Bamberg, Coburg and Regensburg. Can't you take your girl-friend's family's car for sidetrips from Mantel? If not you may want to pick-up a rental in Nuremberg. Quite a few people in this forum recommend gemut.com as reliable broker specialized in rentals in Germany for everyone not too familiar with insurances and what not.

Note that life will be rather slow in Germany from the afternoon of the 24th till the morning of the 28th as all shops will be closed and people spend time with their families. Sightseeing will be possible throughout the holidays though, most museums etc will be open.

But maybe you'd appreciate a couple quieter days after your busy schedule in southern Bavaria and would be fine just doing one or two more excursions together with your hosts during the 2nd week. In that case it may not be worth to rent a car.

Munich, Germany
Destination Expert
for Munich
Level Contributor
4,085 posts
36 reviews
2. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

where you are staying I'd seriously consider renting a car.

As for renting, most of the companies are american, so you know them already (Herz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise etc). and you can book them through the companys website. A good comparison site is http://www.autoeurope.com/ . Its worth noting that pickup at rail stations and airports normally comes with a charge, so if you can avoid this it sometimes can bring a big saving.

For cross border travel you cant take a premium model, so if you go for a standard car and state in the comments you are looking to go to Czech republic they will ensure you get the right car.

Karlsruhe, Germany
Destination Expert
for Baden-Wurttemberg, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
11,382 posts
3. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

You will be staying with your girlfriend's family, if I did the maths right, over the Christmas holidays. Christmas in Germany is a family affair. Being invited is a honour. They will surely have plans. So I doubt you will have much time for your own travelling (and it would be extremely unpolite to be away all the time).

4. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

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Edited: 2:16 pm, November 17, 2015
San Diego...
8 posts
5. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

When i mentioned that we would be meeting up with my girlfriends family- i was not clear enough. We will be meeting with a single family member, that family member's husband, and their infant son. The family member is my girlfriends cousin. She is the one that suggested that we take the trip out to Germany, and she is the one who booked the tickets at an awesome discounted price (military discount), She is very excited to see my girlfriend; though, she also acknowledges the fact that we are not going to Europe just to spend time with them. She recognizes that this, as our first trip to Europe, will involve a lot of exploring and sightseeing. Because my girlfriends cousin and family have an upcoming vacation to Italy (Spring 2016), they will not be accompanying us for a lot of our adventure- they have to save money for their own Vacation.

We will not have access to their car. It is their only car and they will need it for transportation to and from work. The cousin will be willing to drive us to the small train station that is 10 minutes from their house (for day trips), but, im fairly certain that that train station mainly goes to and from nuremburg. Basically, that means that if we rely on public transportation, we will always have to add an hour and a half to our journey by having to go to nuremburg first. This is fairly inconvinient. We WOULD like to see nuremburg, but we wont want to spend all that time every day taking a rail/bus to nuremburg just to backtrack east/northeast.

Im going to look into the suggestions for car rentals- primarily the ones that will be allowed to cross the border. What is the deal with pickups and drop offs? Do they have to be dropped off at the same place that they were picked up? Also, being a Californian i have never driven in the snow/ice. I have heard rumors that this winter could be pretty bad because of predicted storm patterns. Have you heard anything about this? And what is the average daily cost of a rental (basic package).

I didnt even consider that things will be closed some of the days. I imagine that big name stores like tesco will still be open some of those days(24-28th)? Im trying to picture how big of a problem this might be for us as far as experiencing cities, eating out, and getting from point to point.

I dont know how much we will be able to spend time with our hosts because of the fact that they have an infant child, and the husband is in the military and works every weekday.

Mainz, Germany
Level Contributor
11,927 posts
65 reviews
6. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

No, in Germany ALL shops close on holidays (Dec 25 & 26) and Sundays (27) regardless of their size. The only exception are gas stations and stores within airports and large train stations. Restaurants in larger towns and cities tend to be open - and very busy - except for the evening of the 24th when they are closed as well.

Mainz, Germany
Level Contributor
11,927 posts
65 reviews
7. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

Snow and ice could be an issue or not. You never know. The last few Christmas' were very mild but there was snow right thereafter last year.

Maybe consider staying in Nuremberg instead of at your friends' village. Plenty of things to do there, good restaurants and pubs, great beer and the perfect transportation hub for the region.

San Diego...
8 posts
8. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

Thank you, i might not have found that out if you didn't tell me. With that in mind, im going to get in contact with the girlfriends cousin and plan to Be with them the 25th-27th, seeing as that will be the best time to spend with them. Is it every sunday that all the stores around germany are closed?

Like i mentioned earlier, the 16th-18th will be spent solely in Munich. The 19th will be a daytrip to salzburg, the 20th will be a day trip to fussen, we will be back to mantel by 22:00 of the 20th. I understand that everyone has different interests, but, imagine yourself being a first time visitor to this part of the world. Personally, what would you recommend (cities, towns, museums, retaurants, experiences, etc.) now that you know my schedule? The first 5 days i mentioned above are set in stone. The 21st-29th are open to ideas, aside from the 25th, where im 99% sure that we will be going with the girlfriends family on a day trip to prague.

Because i am full czech (but born in the USA), and have only seen czech once when i was a child (too young to remember). I would have liked to spend more time in Czech. Because of the transportation issue, i feel that it would be a lot cheaper to go with the girlfriends family to Czech for that day trip and leave it at that (it would eliminate the cost+time of transportation and hotels), though, Prague is a huge city and i doubt we would get our fill with only half-a-days worth of play time.

Maybe we can save the real Czech experience for when (and if) we can make it back to Europe in the future.

So yeah, You being more educated on central Europe, what would you recommend?

Mainz, Germany
Level Contributor
11,927 posts
65 reviews
9. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

Well, my recommendation is always to minimize travel time to maximize the time you have to enjoy places. So: Fewer destinations on the bucket-list means more to see, not less. The more so in a region full of gems like Franconia where my favorite out of many worthwhile places is Bamberg. Nobody can see everything in one trip.

And, yes, stores are closed EVERY Sunday except for some odd special occasions once in a while.

Edited: 3:37 pm, November 17, 2015
San Diego...
8 posts
10. Re: Help with itinerary, landing in Munich.

Thank you very much for your input, it has been very helpful.