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Alpine road trip in Tirol and (perhaps) Southern Bavaria

Palo Alto...
Level Contributor
1,690 posts
87 reviews
Alpine road trip in Tirol and (perhaps) Southern Bavaria

I am planning an Alpine road trip in early July 11 (starting and flying out from Zurich) in the lower Bavaria, Austrian Tyrol, and Italian Sudtirol region. We are healthy, but can only do day hiking trips. We also enjoy great scenery, spas, and awesome food, of course.

My tentative itinerary should cover:

- (Maybe) Germany: Neuschwanstein Castle (trying to figure out how to avoid the crowd!!)

- (Maybe) Germany: Garmisch-Partenkirchen + Eibsee + Höllentalklamm

-(Must-go) Austria: area around Innsbruck (Wolfsklamm, Acquadome spa, Stubai--Grawa Waterfall)

-(Must-go) Italy: Sudtirol region of Italy

(1) What do you think of this itinerary? We are seasoned travelers in Europe. However, our only driving experience outside the US was in Greece (island). So, we don't have any city driving experience.

(2) Will I lose anything for skipping Garmisch-Partenkirchen + Eibsee + Höllentalklamm? I do like mountains, cute Alpine villages, waterfalls, and lakes. I wonder if this German region is necessary, given that I will continue to Austria and Sudtirol.

(3) Where I should start/end my car rental? We cannot drive a manual car. I understand that automatics are expensive and difficult to find. I can start/end in Zurich, or take a train/bus to elsewhere (e.g., Munich) to start my rental.

Rental charges are lowest from Germany. I have National's Emerald Executive membership, but they have very limited rental locations (Zurich--city and Airport and Munich Airport).

Thanks a million!

4 replies to this topic
Naples, Italy
Level Contributor
2,627 posts
32 reviews
1. Re: Alpine road trip in Tirol and (perhaps) Southern Bavaria

Hi, first of all how many days for this trips? You haven't specified that, but it's an important detail. Also I find a bit ironic that you have mentioned specific places for "maybe" destinations in Germany but nothing specific about South Tyrol, which you consider a "must-go" destination.

I would focus on Tyrol (both Austrian and Italian) only. I haven't been to Bavaria yet, but living in one of the most touristy areas of Europe, I know that touristy destinations, like that part of Baviaria you're interested in, need long stays in order to go off the beaten path and avoid the touristy crowds. All the places you've mentioned - at least for what concerns Bavaria - are highly touristy and imho need a trip of its own to be properly enjoyed.

Also, no destination is "necessary". You have to do what you want to do. Also you know that Neuschwanstein is a late-XIX century architectural folly and not an original Medieval castle? And actually both in Northern Tyrol and in South Tyrol you have plenty of preserved, original castles which - unfortunately - only a few people visit. Check for instance Schloss Runkelstein, Churburg, Castel Trostburg or Schloss Proesels, all of them in South Tyrol. Also - it's not subjective, it's the Nature - nothing is quite like the Dolomites. Because of their unique geological composition they have peculiar colours and shapes hard to find anywhere else along the whole Alpine range. Of course keep in mind that Dolomites are not only those belonging to South Tyrol, there are Dolomite mountains in Trentino, Friuli and also in a small portion of the Austrian territory as well.

Not that other mountains are not worth a visit, but I don't think you would actually miss something favouring South Tyrol against Bavaria.

For what concerns the car: I don't know how does it work if you want to rent a car in a country and drop it off in another one, since I've never done anything similar. Let's wait for further responses and opinions. Have you considered relying on public transport? We're talking about one of the best-connected areas in the whole of Europe, after all. You won't need a rental car at all, unless a car is really a must for you. Be also aware there are many hairpin turns along Alpine roads, if you're not used to this kind of roads driving there is not that pleasant.

Hope I've been helpful.

Edited: 6:57 am, June 10, 2018
Augsburg
Level Contributor
274 posts
206 reviews
2. Re: Alpine road trip in Tirol and (perhaps) Southern Bavaria

(Maybe) Germany: Neuschwanstein Castle (trying to figure out how to avoid the crowd!!)

"When you can figure out how to avoid the crowd, let other TA-Users know. Not possible. You only can/must buy tickets online for you timetable. Accept the other tourists or let it.

- (Maybe) Germany: Garmisch-Partenkirchen + Eibsee + Höllentalklamm

Nice to see, including Zugspitze. But when in northern Tyrol, you have nearly the same.

-(Must-go) Austria: area around Innsbruck (Wolfsklamm, Acquadome spa, Stubai--Grawa Waterfall)

So skip Bavaria as your maybe and take a train from Zürich to Innsbruck. It is about 3,5 hours ride, no train change, nice landscape. Rent a car in Innsbruck or use public transports.

-(Must-go) Italy: Sudtirol region of Italy

Do not know where you like to go exactly. Also an easy trainride from Innsbruck to Sterzing/Bozen etc.

So give back car in Austria.

For all other, read Kuroneko.

Palo Alto...
Level Contributor
1,690 posts
87 reviews
3. Re: Alpine road trip in Tirol and (perhaps) Southern Bavaria

Thanks very much!!!

I look forward to this trip, but haven't had much time to plan it (or anything else for my non-work life, in general...sigh). I am tagging this trip to the back end of a business trip in Zurich.

I will have about 7-8 full days for travel. Yet, I need to budget some "buffer time" in case of rain. I understand that Alpine weather is unpredictable. There's no point in going to the countryside/mountains if the weather isn't nice.

Driving--this is something that I need to be concerned about. I am used to suburban Californian driving in the US. Never driven in snow. I want to rent a car so that I can avoid dragging big bags on/off buses. Also, I would like to stay small Alpine inns/spa resorts outside city boundaries.

Danke!

Naples, Italy
Level Contributor
2,627 posts
32 reviews
4. Re: Alpine road trip in Tirol and (perhaps) Southern Bavaria

Hi again, imho 7-8 full days is quite a limited time for such an ambitious itinerary. You would need two full weeks - at least - to decently cover the whole Tyrolean region. I would focus even on a smaller area. Just Northern Tyrol (Innsbruck + surrounding sights) or South Tyrol (you can do a mix of historical towns, like Bozen/Meran/Brixen/Bruneck + Dolomite valleys, like Groednertal, Gadertal, Pustertal, to mix both historical and natural sights a great compromise would be Val Venosta/Vinschgau, but there are not Dolomite mountains there).

p.s. reading my previous comment, I've noticed that I didn't add Veneto to the list of regions encompassed by the Dolomite mountains...shame on me, considering that in Veneto there are the one of a kind Belluno and Ampezzo Dolomites.

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