train travel vs rental car
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jan 10, 2013 8:20 AM Last Post By: Fwoggie
Jan 9, 2013 8:49 AM
train travel vs rental carWe are a little undecided on renting or taking the train. We arrive in Hamburg on May16th and depart from Frankfurt on the 31st.
I'm struggling with this trip as I usually take 4-6 weeks for one country so I don't have to rush and I hate travelling on a schedule. I think I may have to have somewhat of a rough shedule for this one.
When we land we will be meeting up with my dad in Ottendorf (or the general area) for about 5 days, going to the HSV soccer game on the 18th. He'll be our tour guide for those 5 days as this is the area he lived until he was 17.
We will go to Berlin on the 20th or 21st for approx 3 days then down to Munich, I want to see Dachau and Neuschwanstein Castle for sure and from there we'll go to Frankfurt. We fly out at 10am in the morning so we just need to be there the night before.
I know it's pretty vague but I know we do not need a car while in Berlin but what about in Bavaria. We were going to pick up a car in Hamburg while we were with my dad then take the train to Berlin and then to Munich, grab a car in Munich and drop it off in Frankfurt. Hubby is into seeing WW2 I think we will see a good chunk of that in Berlin on this trip. I want to see castles and medieval towns, hike and take pics. I'm wondering if we take a train to Munich we'll we be missing some beautiful sights south of Berlin. Should we grab a train to some point in between Berlin/Munich and then drive from there? I'm struggling with only 14 days.
Thanks again for any suggestions.
Jan 9, 2013 8:58 AM
1There is no real answer to your question. It is all about convenience and obviously that is what the car gives you that the train only option cannot. It is generally possible to get from anywhere to anywhere using public transport but generally takes more time and so is less convenient. What can anyone tell you that you don't already know?
For me personally, it would really be a cost question. Can I afford the rental and possible drop-off charge or not.
Jan 9, 2013 9:25 AM
2It depends on what "We" means, but I'll take a punt and assume you're a couple.
In reality your trip is from 21st May until 31st May (11 days), cos the rest is tied up with family commitments, but lets assume you're gonna achieve nothing on the 31st apart from getting to the airport and getting on a plane.
You wanna do Berlin for circa 3 days, and Munich for x amount of days, then depart ex Frankfurt. Would be easier to depart from Munich to be honest given your interests in Bavaria, but never mind.
Munich could last you 2-3 days, Dachau and Neuschwanstein are both individual day trips, so that's 5 days, so there's 2 left.
In the Bavaria area consider hiking on the Austrian border. If you want a Medieval town, consider visiting Regensburg, 50km NE of Munich.
Alternatively start heading up to Frankfurt for your flight. In this situation, consider Tuebingen (about 15km SSW of Stuttgart) or Esslingen (10km E of Stuttgart on the outskirts). Both are also nice medieval towns for a day trip. Alternatively of course there is Heidelberg, some 60km S of Frankfurt, but it can get busy during peak season (which is when you're going).
For castles, consider loewenburg castle (in Kassel, but that's 140km NE of Frankfurt, so not in a convenient area given your itinerary), Lichtenstein castle (not in Liechtenstein the country, but in the almost identically spelt town of Lichtenstein in Germany) - see www.schloss-lichtenstein.de. It's about 15km E of the aforementioned Tuebingen, so the 2 could be merged). Also nearby is the famous Hohenzollern castle (about 25km SW of Tuebingen), see http://www.burg-hohenzollern.com/startpage.html.
Back down south, consider Schloss Hohenschwangau which is in the same town as Neuschwanstein so they could be merged, or in Berlin you have Schloss Sanssouci in Potsdam (an easy day trip from Berlin - it's a little bit like Versailles).
That sorts out your itinerary.
Next, transportation. Trains are gonna be faster than a hire car, so unless somebody wants to experience the madness of unlimited speed on autobahns, stick to the train. However, Berlin to Munich doesn't have an ICE spec line, so it's gonna take between 6 and 7 hours. Alternatively, take the sleeper train (10 hrs, departs at 9pm), or fly it (Refer to http://www.skyscanner.net to find out who does the route).
There's no need for a car to get at either Dachau or Neuschwanstein from Munich (or Schloss Hohenschwangau come to that); take a train from Munich to Fuessen, then change for the no 78 bus at Fuessen station for the 7 min ride to Hohenschwangau. This can all be done on the Bavaria Ticket, a day ticket covering all local trains and nearly all other local public transport. Last time I looked it was 26 euros for 2 people combined but can only be used after 9am. To get to Dachau is even easier, take the S2 train to Dachau, change for the bus (more detailed info is here -> http://www.kz-gedenkstaette-dachau.de/directions.html).
Whilst you can get at Tuebingen via public transport very easily, getting at the castles nearby (should the town not keep you occupied) is a bit problematic and a hire car for the day or 2 would make things a wee bit easier. You can find out more about public transportation in Germany by using http://www.bahn.co.uk which is the English language version of Deutsche Bahn (it includes all public transport in the time table search engine, not just trains).
Jan 9, 2013 11:01 AM
Jan 10, 2013 1:47 AM
Jan 10, 2013 3:22 AM
Jan 10, 2013 7:21 AM
6Thanks everyone. Pretty much decided on the train, except for our first few days in the north.
Now another question:
Do you get better rates on the train if you pre book online rather than just showing up at the station? I have looked at www.bahn.de quite extensively but just curious about just showing up for a same day ticket. We will take the train from Hamburg to Berlin, Overnight Berlin to Munich and Munich to Frankfurt.
Jan 10, 2013 8:20 AM
7#6 Intercities definitely, local not necessarily or sometimes no. Example; the s-bahn for a day trip to Dachau.
Do a search by checking rates for tomorrow, then for 80-90 days hence (which isn't quite May yet, so you got time to figure this out). The bad news is that the terms of the fare restrict you to the particular train, but you're likely to have a rigid itinerary anyway so this won't really matter.
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