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Germany and Italy

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1. Posted by colsen (Budding Member 18 posts) 7y

We are planning a three week trip to Germany and Italy. We will be getting a round trip flight to and from Munich (17 dec 09- 7 jan 10). We know that we want to spend a few days on the Romantic Road. Other than that we would like some advice on what to see in Germany and Italy.

2. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

You're gonna get a lot of suggestions to this one.
I have being doing Europe (both East and West) for years.
A few suggestions from me - only.... The rest will come from others. Take note from experienced travellers on their recommendations, they are two awesomely beautiful countries.
For me, to shine a light on a few places.
Germany.... Heidelberg, Munchen, Berlin and hire a car for the day and go as fast as the motor will stand up to. Very little speed limits on the autobahns.
Italy.... Milano, Torino, Pisa and Napoli.
Over to everyone else.
Have a great trip.

3. Posted by colsen (Budding Member 18 posts) 7y

Thank-you for the reply. We will be renting a car while in Germany. I'm sure my husband will enjoy the lack of speed limits!

4. Posted by steff (Travel Guru 1160 posts) 7y

Quoting colsen

We are planning a three week trip to Germany and Italy. We will be getting a round trip flight to and from Munich (17 dec 09- 7 jan 10). We know that we want to spend a few days on the Romantic Road. Other than that we would like some advice on what to see in Germany and Italy.

First of all, is the time frame you're giving just concerning the time you want to spend in Germany or does it include Italy as well? Given you're staying in Germany for almost three weeks I would sugest the following:

Definitely check out the christmas markets in Munich, Nuremberg and Dresden as they are known to be very pretty and unique. Also Munich and Dresden have a great amount of museums and old buildings if you are into that kind of sightseeing. I fear at this time of the year, indoor activities are your best options anyway, because it can get quite cold and nasty outside. You can easily fill up your time with the aformentioned cities and a trip to the Romantic Road until after christmas. For New Years I'd recommend visiting Berlin, there's always a great atmosphere, for example at Brandenburg Gate. Once in Berlin you should at least stay a couple of days and then maybe fly back to Munich as it would be quite a long drive. That said, one-way car rental is often quite expensive.

As for Italy: My favourite places are Florence and the Tuscany, Rome, Lake Garda and the Amalfi Coast. Really depends on what you're looking for.

Hope this helps as a start.

Steff

5. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Just be aware.... Whilst you can do whatever speed the car can manage on the autobahns, 200kph, 300kph etc., there are some very strict laws to respect.
1.... Approaching built up areas beside the autobahns - the speed limit drops and is well signed.
2.... Keep a large gap between you and the vehicle in front.
Failure to obey the law - and the penalties in Germany are so incredibly painful - as they should be.
If you ignore the signs or laws, expect an 'On the spot' fine of around €200 - €400.
Otherwise - enjoy.

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Jul-2009, at 12:29 by Redpaddy ]

6. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Quoting colsen

Thank-you for the reply. We will be renting a car while in Germany. I'm sure my husband will enjoy the lack of speed limits!

That the autobahns in Germany have no speed limits is a myth. Only about 30 % of the whole autobahn network is free of speed limits and even there you have a recommended speed of 130 km/hr. Federal roads (B +number) have a general speed limit of 100 km/hr. Roads inside cities are limited to 50 km/hr.

In December I would not plan on spending time on the Romantic Road, it is more a place for October when the leaves turn. In winter it is bound to be pretty bleak and not very romantic at all.

Avoid travelling on the autobahn just before Christmas, it is the time of major traffic jams.

Aside from Munich I would also visit Salzburg in Austria. Note that if you go there by car from Munich you need to pick up a toll sticker for 8 EUR at one of the petrol stations between Munich and Salzburg. If you enter Austria without the toll sticker (one wheel half across the border is enough) the fines are going to be huge (several hundred EUR).

7. Posted by colsen (Budding Member 18 posts) 7y

I guess I should have been a little clearer...we will have 3 weeks for the entire trip in Germany and Italy. We'll land in Munich and rent a car for while we're in Germany and then take the train down to Italy (no car) then back up to Munich for our flight home.

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Quoting colsen

I guess I should have been a little clearer...we will have 3 weeks for the entire trip in Germany and Italy. We'll land in Munich and rent a car for while we're in Germany and then take the train down to Italy (no car) then back up to Munich for our flight home.

Then you should go for 10 days to Italy and for 10 days to Germany.

Rome 3-5 days
Florence 3-5 days
Venice 2 days

Salzburg 2 days

Don't know what else to recommend to you during those remaining 8 days in Germany, but given your timeframe I would focus on Bavaria.

Tip: If there is snow in the Alps or the Bavarian Forest you might want to consider wintersports. If you cannot ski you can still go on a snowshoe hike or slide down a toboggan run. There are a bunch of amazingly cute little villages up in the Alps. I was really taken with Rauris in the Tauern National Park for example.

9. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Quoting t_maia

That the autobahns in Germany have no speed limits is a myth. Only about 30 % of the whole autobahn network is free of speed limits and even there you have a recommended speed of 130 km/hr. Federal roads (B +number) have a general speed limit of 100 km/hr. Roads inside cities are limited to 50 km/hr.

The vast majority of the 130 speed limit is only recommended - and mostly ignored. There are still great open stretches of autobahns where speed is king.

10. Posted by robertobcn (Budding Member 16 posts) 7y

Anyway, besides the speed limit issue here, I can give you my recommendations about Italy (as you can see I like food):
- spend 2 days in Venice. Prepare for cold wind. When in Venice, try the "Spritz" (nice alcoholic "aperitivo" which actually is comes from the Austrian dominance); try some "cicchetti" (chi-ket-tee),the venetian version of the tapas. My must-haves: "bacalla mantecato", any "tramezzino", "polenta con sepia al nero di sepia"... and for places, one of my favorites is Osteria alle Botte, near Rialto bridge.
- spend 4 days in Florence, and rent a car. Take day trips to San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Siena... If you like meat, you must have a Bistecca alla Fiorentina (a LOT of meat in one plate... but amazingly good). For pasta, gnocchis are from Tuscany, so you can't miss if you ask for a good gnocchi al ragu. Also in that region a lot of dishes use wild boar ("cinghiale", chin-gea-leh), so for example you can have papardelle with cinghiale (thick, flat pasta with wild boar sauce)
- spend 4 days in Rome. It is worth it, and there is a LOT to see. There, you must try bucatini alla matriciana (thick, tube-like pasta with bacon-based tomato sauce), or spaghetti carbonara (that does NOT have cream... just egg).

Enjoy your trip.