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Help required - Swiss, Germany and Austria - 15 days

Travel Forums Europe Help required - Swiss, Germany and Austria - 15 days

1. Posted by koolvish (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

Hello Forum,

This is my first post and my first time to travel and explore around Europe. I would be landing in Zurich on Dec 16th and returning back from Zurich on Jan 1st. I am thinking of the following route and need guidance regarding few questions I have.

1) I need help in sorting out cities according to priority and how many days can be spend on an average.

Being from India and being a culture lover, I am mainly thinking of visiting Christmas markets in Strasbourg,Munich,Vienna and Salzburg apart from the normal site seeing.

My plan as of now is Zurich -> stratsbourg -> Heidelberg -> Munich -> Vienna -> Salzburg -> Innsbruck -> schaffhausen -> Zurich .

I might not spend more time in Zurich as I might visit swiss again some time later. I can even drop one or two places if I cant visit it. But I don't want to hurry and want to spend the time leisurely :)

Thanks ,
vish.

2. Posted by Rex84 (Budding Member 4 posts) 7y

Do you mean Strasbourg in France? If so, I would skip it, it's nice, but I would stay in Germany longer. Your Munich to Vienna trip is going to be a hike! Maybe you should skip that it is out of the way. Go to Salzberg and Innsbruck, then come back to Switzerland and see more of it then just schaffhausen. Go to St. Gallen or Winterthur.

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

Heidelberg is a bit out of the way too, I thus recommend that you look at the cities that are a bit closer to Strasbourg.

Freiburg im Breisgau is quite nice. I can also recommend a visit to some of the thermal spas in the area. Baden-Baden is very famous for its spas, the city's name is indication enough: it means "Bathing-Bathing".

You'll be in Europe during a very cold time, you might need a few hours in a thermal spa to feel warm again!

If you do not go to Strasbourg consider Tübingen instead of Heidelberg, it will be easier to get to from Schaffhausen.

Dec 16th and returning back from Zurich on Jan 1st

So you'll have 14-15 days? In this time you can realistically see 4 cities max.

Salzburg is a must I think, but reconsider Vienna. Too far away if you ask me. I would also skip Innsbruck.

4. Posted by koolvish (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

Quoting t_maia

Heidelberg is a bit out of the way too, I thus recommend that you look at the cities that are a bit closer to Strasbourg.

Freiburg im Breisgau is quite nice. I can also recommend a visit to some of the thermal spas in the area. Baden-Baden is very famous for its spas, the city's name is indication enough: it means "Bathing-Bathing".

You'll be in Europe during a very cold time, you might need a few hours in a thermal spa to feel warm again!

If you do not go to Strasbourg consider Tübingen instead of Heidelberg, it will be easier to get to from Schaffhausen.

Dec 16th and returning back from Zurich on Jan 1st

So you'll have 14-15 days? In this time you can realistically see 4 cities max.

Salzburg is a must I think, but reconsider Vienna. Too far away if you ask me. I would also skip Innsbruck.

I have heard a lot about Christmas markets, I would start an other topic regarding my queries on it.

With regards to Vienna , I have seen its bit too far from Zurich, But I heard its a must see city mainly during Christmas time.

Also My trip would be a round ( sort of ) going from zurich-> stratsbourg -> Heidelberg -> Munich -> vienna -> salzburg -> schauffausen

Are my journey timings fine.

Heidelberg -> munich is a 3hr journey

Munich -> vienna - 5 hr journey

vienna -> salzburg -> 3 hr journey

salzburg -> schauffausen -> 4 hr journey.

I might cut down the cities to 5 so that It would be ideal for me to spend time leisurely .

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

Are my journey timings fine.

Heidelberg -> munich is a 3hr journey

...

Your calculation of travelling times is faulty. Don't forget about the time it takes:

- Getting up in the morning (08:00) and packing your stuff, having breakfast
- checking out of the hostel/hotel and getting to the train station (09:30)
- Train departs around 10:00, 3-5 hours journey time -> you arrive in the early afternoon, 13:00 or 15:00
- You look for your hostel, you check in, you drop your bag
- You will be ready to explore the new city by 16:30 if you had a longer train journey

Since you are travelling in winter it will be dark by 16:30 with a number of attractions already closed. The sun will be gone and temperatures will usually take a drop. There won't be that much to do and see. Essentially the day will be over and wasted by moving from one spot to the next.

With regards to Vienna , I have seen its bit too far from Zurich, But I heard its a must see city mainly during Christmas time.

I agree that Vienna is a nice city, but if you ask me it has nothing on Salzburg. If I was you I would really save myself the time and money it takes to get to Vienna and focus more time on Munich and Salzburg.

Munich has the Tollwood Festival during Christmas time, check it out.

salzburg -> schauffausen -> 4 hr journey.

I checked on bahn.de, all connections I can find between Salzburg and Schaffhausen take 6-7 hours.

6. Posted by koolvish (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

Thanks t_maia for your valuable inputs, I also have been looking at the trip and the maps and now I have make my trip a short one. I am keen on Heidelberg to meet a friend. so as of now my trip plan is Zurich -> Heidelberg -> Munich -> Salzburg -> Innsbruck ( might spend 2 to 3 days skiing over here ) -> Schaffhausen -> zurich.

Heidelberg 2- 3 days
Munich 3 - 4 days
Salzburg 2 -3 days
Innsbruck 2 -3 days

Might be remaining time I will spend in Schaffhausen or baden. Then go back to zurich to catch my return flight.

Another query .

I have seen sbb.ch db.de and oebb.at for the train fares and routes.Is it best to book an advance ticket or to book the ticket at station?

Also I heard train journey from innsbruck to zurich is a view of swiss alps which is very beautiful. Is it worth travelling on the day time for this journey?

Thanks
vish

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

I have seen sbb.ch db.de and oebb.at for the train fares and routes.Is it best to book an advance ticket or to book the ticket at station?

If you can get cheaper tickets by buying online in advance it is a good idea to do so. You can see whether it is a special offer by the price.

You should look for special offers for Heidelberg-Munich on www.bahn.de, if you book far enough in advance you can get a discounted ticket for 29, 39 or 49 EUR. Since the regular fare for this distance is between 63 and 75 EUR this is quite a good deal. Similar is true for Zurich-Heidelberg - look on www.bahn.de for the Europa-Spezial prices starting at 39 EUR. Just note that with these tickets you have to make sure you catch your train. Unlike the full-fare tickets where you can take every train the special offers are tied to a certain train.

For Munich-Salzburg you got two options, the "Bayern-Ticket Single" and the "Freizeit-Ticket München-Salzburg". Bayern-Ticket Single will be the cheaper and thus better solution in your case.

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

Regarding Thermal Spas, here is a list of them in Bavaria:

http://www.thermenverzeichnis.de/therme-bayern.htm

The spas in Erding and Bad Wörishofen are relatively famous.

However I think you might like to visit the spa in Bad Reichenhall or in Berchtesgaden. Going to those two places would mean only a small detour when you take the train from Munich to Salzburg.

Another good option could be the spa at Bad Vigaun, it is only 30 min by direct train south of Salzburg.

http://www.badvigaun.com/de/heiltherme/heiltherme/index.htm