Hello LL community. Finally we were high bidders on LL Austria trip!!! We would like to expand our trip and need your input. Our LL trip is to Bad Gastien (Salzburg) for five nights. We have up to 2 weeks. We are thinking of expanding to Venice, then Lucerne Switzerland and then if possible to Rhine Germany - each with 2 night stays. We would most likely return to Salzburg for the return flight to US. Is this feasible? What do you do with a car while in Venice? Is there train service? Are these day driving trips? We have many questions regarding distances, accomodations etc any suggestions will be appreciated. We are planning this trip for spring 2008 so there is plenty of time. Thanks in advance for your time and insights. Funtimes
Congratulations, so you finally did win your auction for the Hotel Gruener Baum in Bad Gastein. Have a look under "ski vacation" where I expanded on some of the extension you asked. I had suggested that you look at the LL auction for the Hotel Fuschl. From Bad Gastein, you could take the Tauern Tunnel Train that gets you and your car through the mountain and comes out on the other side then follow the route to Lienz and head for Italy to Cortina D'Ampezzo in the heart of the Dolomites. Take the Passo di Gardena into the Val Gardena to Wolkenstein, St. Christina, St. Ullrich, the mountains there are fantastique. From there you could get back on the highway A22 direction Bolzano and then South along the Lago di Garda to Verona and then on to Venice. You asked about what to do with a car in Venice: there is a giant car park where you can leave your car before you go onto the "valporettos" to explore Venice by boat. We recently stayed at Castle Fragsburg a R&C LL property in Merano and had a wonderful time there. See my post with photos to Omegaet under "Winner of the VIP Contributor Contest Announced". You could also explore the Italian Lake Region. Beside Lago di Garda, there is Lago Majore and Lake Como, both lakes offer breathtaking scenery.
If you want to head North into Germany, I would follow the autoroute from Salzburg towards Innsbruck and then cross over the mountains into Germany and visit Mittenwald, Garmisch Partenkirchen, Oberammergau, Castle Linderhof, the Wieskirch and Neuschwanstein near Fuessen, head Northeast towards Heidelberg on the Neckar and then North to Frankfurt and the Rhein River till Koblenz, Come back via Frankfurt and Wuerzburg, visit Nuernberg a wonderful 900 year old city with a great Kaiserburg and timbered houses and great food, then head south to Munich and back to Salzburg, if this is where you fly out of.
I think flying in and out of Salzburg is probably quite expensive, even Innsbruck is expensive. You would probably find cheaper rates flying into Munich or Frankfurt and then rent a car. If you are coming from the east coast, the cheapest would be to fly into Paris, then spend 2 or 3 days in Paris, take a cheap Ryanair flight (ryanair.com) from Paris to Milan/Bergamo. In Bergamo rent a car but don't miss the wonderful Cite Alta in Bergamo before you drive North along Lago di Garda to Bolzano, then there is a great 4-day LL package at Castle Fragsburg in Merano, continue on through Bolzano to Klausen and head for the Val Gardena. We stayed inOrtisei/St. Ullrich at Hotel Angelo, a wonderful place with a great spa that offers half pension for very little money. They even have a mountain guide on staff that takes people hiking for free. We went on some wonderful hikes with him. Continue on through St. Christina, Wollkenstein and take the Passo di Gardena to Cortina d'Ampezzo. You will pass some spectacular mountain scenes. The Dolomites are very different from the Alps. From Cortina continue on towards Austria. Lienz is a great little town on the food of the Grossglockner, Austria's highest mountain. Take the Grossglockner pass over the mountains, or take the train car through the Tauern Tunnel. Both will get you to Bad Gastein where you have a 5-night LL package. Look for another 4-night package at Schloss Fuschl and then visit Salzburg, Berchtesgaden and the Koenigsee. From there you could try to get back via Innsbruck either over the Brenner Pass that becomes A22 Autoroute in Italy to Bergamo/Milan or you could take the more scenic route through the Oetztal over the Timmelsjoch Pass into Italy to Meran and then join the A22 autoroute in Bolzano and then on to Verona and west to Bergamo.
Get yourself a good map of Italy, Austria from AAA and have a look at the places/routes I mentioned. I suggest that you go either North into Germany from Bad Gastein, or head south through the Dolomites and Lake country to Venice, but I don't think you should go North as far as the Rhein River and South as far as Venice. You are trying to do too much. Let me know if you want more specific information once you have decided where you want to go. Good luck in your planning.
LHBrown Thank you so much! This information is wonderful. I had a feeling that we were trying to do too much. Your helpful expertise will definitely assist us in narrowing down a most enjoyable trip. Thanks also for the additional LL trip ideas. Fortunately we have time to prepare - your flights and travel tips are indespensible! I've printed off your remarks and will go get maps this week! Many many Thanks again ...Funtimes
Feel free to contact me again when you have gotten your maps and looked at the itineraries I suggested. Also have a look under "ski vacations" where I expanded on some of your questions on areas around the Gruener Baum.