Hello, I'm starting to plan me and my girlfriends holiday - the idea is to fly from manchester to cologne, where we'll pick up a hire car and spend roughly 10 days driving from cologne to lake como (italy) and back to cologne.
So far I believe we'll be spending a day or to in cologne then onto heidelberg - again a day or two!! and thats about as far I've got.
I'm looking for advice on area's that would be of interest along the way from cologne to lake como and back? also do you think I trying to fit to much into a small amount of time?
thank you in advance... james
If your going to spend a couple of days in both Cologne and Heidelberg and only have 10 days there and back, i think your being overly optimistic. It's a fair trek anyway, but more importantly, there's allot on the way to see in terms of scenery anmd things to do.
As a rough N/S guide on your route, you have:
- the city of Cologne itself (and Dusseldorf just North)
- The Mosel valley (slightly off track from your route, but lovely
- The Rhine valley - If at all possible, DO NOT head south from Frankfurt on either of the main roads, the A3 or, i think A61. Follow the old route on the bank of the Rhine through Koblenz. It's slower, but wonderfully scenic and lots of cool places to stop for the night, castles to explore etc. Also take a boat cruise down the river Rheine if you can
- Frankfurt (if that appeals to you)
- Heidelberg and area
Then, depending which way you then go, either
- Baden Baden, Strasbourg, Freiburg and the Western Black Forest down to Basel,
- Stuttgart, Tubingen and Eastern Black Forest down lake Koblenz/Schauffhausen
- or of course a more windy route through the centre of the Black Forest via Freundenstat and Villingen-Schweningen which will be the slowest, but most scenic.
And that's all before you even get to Switzerland! And after the whole of Switzewrland and everything on offer, then you get to Lake Como. In all honesty, I could happily spend 2 or more weeks just exploring Lake Como and environs, let alone the rest of it..
It depends if you plan to just drive through and look in passing, or stop off frequently and explore on the way. The former is quite possible in the time (although a huge shame), the later you could easily spend more than 10 days in just a one way trip. One thing which may help is if you can get an open jaw ticket/car rental, and leave the car back in either Como or Milan, and fly back out of Milan. That at least would give you a bit more time to explore and not loose a day driving back all the way up (and to do it at night would be criminal)
One other thing to bear in mind - to go on A Swiss motorway, you have to purchase a sticker which allows you to (they will catch up with you, even as a foreigner if you don't) and is unlikley to be included in a German hire car, so you'll have to purchase that when you come to Switzerland.
HTH. If you've got further questions, feel free to let me know
Thank you for the reply, it certainly sounds like I've got to reconsider things! It looks like germany alone will take up the 10 days. I don't want to be rushing past places of interest, and then regret it later!!!
One more thing before I come back with my action plan - is it advisable to book hotels before travel! or is it fairly easy to find hotels that aren't booked up? I would like to stay in family run/small hotels/b+bs rather then the big hotels found on the web!!