Alpine trip: Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, July 2014. - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

RoadTrip Field Reports RoadTrip Field Reports as filed by roadtrippers who are ON-THE-ROAD RIGHT NOW and after returning from "out there". Misc. tips and news postings of interest to future planning.

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#1 Old 07-23-2014
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Smile Alpine trip: Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, July 2014.

Hi,

Here's the report from my 5 days trip in July. Driving in Europe is nothing new for me, as 90% of my mileage was done there.

Day 1, left at 23.00 to catch 1.22am train on Eurotunnel.

Route: Eurotunnel - Calais - Garmisch Parten Kirchen - Eibsee.

Due to exceptional weather I modified my route and instead of going to Linderhof to visit Ludwig's summer palace I went to Garmisch area. I took cable car to top of Zugspitze as the weather wasn't so great when I went there last year.

Cable car is not for the faint hearted as it goes 2000m up in 10 minutes and there are only 2 pillars at the bottom.



I recommend the walk around the lake after descending from the mountain. Views are great regardless of the time of the year. I've been there in Winter before.



Garmisch is good place to stay for a few days and go on top of other mountains like Wankberg or Alpspitz or visit Partnachklamm Gorge. It's difficult to find place to stay in Garmisch during summer but there are other towns around it.


I booked hotel in Schwangau near Fussen. Plenty of cheap places there. Previously I stayed in Fussen and visited it for a day trip as well and it's a nice small town.

Schwangau lies below Neuschwanstein Castle which is top Germany's attraction. If you want to visit the interior, it's best to book tickets online as there are long queues in holiday season or on weekends. There are audio guide tours or guided ones.



Day 2.

Since I visited the castle on my previous trips I took a cable car to the top of Tegelberg to walk down to the castle. From castle I was going to go through Pöllatschlucht Gorge but it was closed so had to take standard tourist path.



From there I drove to Hahntennjoch Pass in Austria.

Then I drove to Silvrettastrasse, also in Austria. There was a classic car really going on. Unfortunately weather turned bad and it started to rain.



I drove through Austria and Italy towards Stelvio Pass. There were some lovely roads but it was raining heavily so couldn't really enjoy it. I stayed at the hotel in the middle of Stelvio Pass road, about 20 minutes from the top.

Day 3.

I started at 8.00am and drove to the top of Stelvio pass. Traffic was minimal, maybe a few cars. From there I drove down to Switzerland on Umbrail Pass. Another car rally there.









From there I drove to San Bernardino through Albula Pass.



I had short break on San Bernardino, by the lake.





Then I drove on St Gotthard's Pass where some guy in Porsche wanted to shorten my car significantly going for head on collision.

From there I drove to Furka Pass to Gletsch, when I turned towards Oberwald, to stay in the local hotel for the night. I took the train through Furka in winter, so it was good to see it in summer and actually drive on it.



Day 4.

I drove on Grimsell Pass, which offered great views on both sides of it.



I proceeded towards Sussten Pass which had the best views in my opinion. Nice and easy route with some tunnels and a lot of photo opportunities.



This was last mountain pass on my route and I drove towards Konstanz, where I took ferry to Meersburg. It's small tourist town by Contance Lake / Bodensee which is very crowded on weekends. There's a castle and Thermal Pools. I really enjoyed swimming in outdoor infinity pool with the view towards lake and Alps. And then watching the sunset :-)



Day 5.

I was planning to drive through Black Forest but left it for another trip.

I drove from Meersburg to Calais almost non stop. I regret taking the route via Koblenz as it was awfully boring and most of it had 130km/h limit. I will make sure to avoid it in future.

I was unlucky to be caught in Eurotunnel chaos which resulted in waiting for 3h to check in only to be offered voucher for a ferry. I booked earlier train to get some sleep before going to work next day but in the end I arrived home at 2.30am.

This is the route:



I used this website to plan the route: http://www.ultimatedrives.net/top-10-roads/

In total, I covered 2010miles / 3234km. Diesel costed me only Ł220, however I hated diesel engine noise on the mountain passes. I took SLK for last European trip and it was great for the sunny weather but not for the soundtrack. I plan to repeat part of the trip in C63 in August or next year. Everything is weather dependent.

Gallery from the whole trip: http://picasaweb.google.com/AZMTKL/AlpineTourJuly2014#

I translated it from Polish, as I posted it before on another forum, so if you see some strange word, it means I forgot to delete it.
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#2 Old 07-23-2014
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And here are some pics from Furka Road in Winter. It was March weekend and it was 20C at 1000m and 12C in Oberwald which is circa 1300m.





Queue to the car train in Oberwald



I was a bit afraid that snow can slide down from one of the roofs in villages I drove through. I don't think I would enjoy being burried in snow in SLK.
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Great pictures and scenery.. looks like a fabulous trip!


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#4 Old 07-23-2014
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Looks like a fantastic route thanks for posting.

I went on a camping trip to Fussen around 40 years ago and although I don't remember much I do remember the castle. It would be great to go back again .... a plan for next year maybe

5 days sound a bit hectic, would you spread it over a longer period if you did it again?

Gary
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Hmm... I wonder if RoboGaz was there the same time my wife and I were. Summer of 1972 as we returned home from being in Peace Corps in Ghana. We picked up a VW camper and $600 left over to our name. Traveled 3 months and about 12,000 miles around Europe till we had $75 left to our name and then went home. Probably would have spent the $75 too, but car insurance was only good for 3 months and we had to ship the van home. Great time. Really nice pictures, Penelope.
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#6 Old 07-24-2014
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Boy now I am Home Sick.
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#7 Old 07-24-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoboGaz View Post

5 days sound a bit hectic, would you spread it over a longer period if you did it again?

Gary
I'm sure it could be spread over longer period but it was fine for me. After I got to southern Germany, I wasn't rushing, I stopped when I wanted to take pictures, etc. There's still more to see, I still have to go to Linderhof, Linden, Konstanz and Black Forest, etc. But I plan to live a bit longer and do more trips.

I was booking hotels day before or on the same day. This way I could change my plans depending on the weather forecast. Of course I had hotels and towns researched before so I knew where I'm going. I didn't want to repeat a mistake from last year when my friend booked hotels in advance and didn't know if we can cancel them or not. We had to drive back and forth between attractions as we changed plans due to the weather but couldn't change hotel reservations.

I will have 5 day off in August so I will attempt to go to some of the missed places. I will skip Stelvio Pass as I don't think it was very exciting. I did mountain driving so many times in different countries that Stelvio wasn't very impressive.

Two impressive roads I drove last year were in Norway: Trollstigen and Lysebotn road (Lysevegen road). Driving to the top of Dalsnibba was good too or driving at night on twisty roads at Gran Canaria. Stelvio is very regular with similar bends, no surprises.

Trollstigen in Norway:


If someone plans similar trip, it can be extended to Stuttgart to visit Porsche nad Mercedes Museums. I recommend Porsche as first and Mercedes after that. Mercedes Museum is huge and very interesting. Another place worth stopping is Munich. There's BMW World and Factory tour in English. These places were part of my trip last year.

I liked Baviaria so much that I took 6 months contract there, near Munich. I wanted to explore the area more while being paid for it. I lasted only 4 months due to boring job but it was good experience. LHD car was attracting attention almost every day.
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Nice trip, thanks for the report...
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wow!

Amazing pictures great write up too, thank you for sharing!


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Thumbs up

Thanks for posting, very interesting and great pictures. We are doing a tour to take in the F1 at Monza in early September. We've decided to go through France rather than Germany, looking at your pictures might be a mistake!

We're going for 10 days, I've got some time earmarked to take in the alpine passes and tunnels too, I have booked hotels but haven't planned which passes to do yet, so read your comments with interest!

I will be able to give my SLK55 with X Pipe a good sound test .


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If you do go down through France, try the N85 - Route de Napoleon - a really good, fun road (not as good as Lyseboten though!! ).





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Thumbs up

Thanks, yes I will


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Outstanding Thread !

Thanks for the story, details, and mostly the amazing pictures. Now if I could just figure out how to get my SLK over there.

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#14 Old 07-24-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davest4s View Post
We've decided to go through France rather than Germany, looking at your pictures might be a mistake!

We're going for 10 days, I've got some time earmarked to take in the alpine passes and tunnels too, I have booked hotels but haven't planned which passes to do yet, so read your comments with interest!

I will be able to give my SLK55 with X Pipe a good sound test .
I only drive through France if I go to France or it's unavoidable. Otherwise I choose driving through Germany due to lack of speed limits and free motorways. I liked driving in French countryside but find motorways rather boring.

In terms of views I liked the most:
-Sussten Pass
-Grimsell Pass
-Furka Pass.
You can do the loop on these 3 passes. I saw the same cars twice, doing the loop in the other direction I was driving.

Gotthard Pass road was very wide and you can achive high speeds there (above speed limits).

San Bernadino Pass was more relaxing with minimal traffic as everyone who's just passing through, takes the motorway.

If you decide to go on Stelvio Pass, check the weather forecast, because snow fall in summer is nothing shocking. It was snowing there a week before I went there. Saw pictures on webcam and also on Porsche forum - http://www.pistonheads.com/GASSING/t...t=1423280&nmt=
http://www.solda2000.com/webstelvioen.htm - webcam

There's a lot of tunnels in Switzerland, great place for enjoying sound of engine or exhaust. Unfortunately a lot of them have 80km/h speed limits so it could be boring after some time.

I didn't realise there's a special part of forum for trips reports, otherwise I would bore you with my earlier trips.
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Thumbs up

Many thanks for the information and advice


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Fantastic photos and write up. Thanks for posting.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave54 View Post
Fantastic photos and write up. Thanks for posting.
ditto


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Awesome pictures and narrative! That's something I could only dream about! So envious.


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Since you know the area so well can you give me any suggestions for next week?

I already made my hotel reservations but if there is a good choice of roads between the places I am going, I would love to hear it

Day 0 Affalterbach visit; Day 1 pickup car

Day 1 Sindelfingen - Triberg
Day 2 Triberg - Schwangau
Day 3 Schwangau - Nordlingen
Day 4 Nordlingen - Rothenburg
Day 5 Rothenburg - Sindelfingen

Any suggestions welcome! Thanks!
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Hi,

Day2: Drive along the Constance Lake is a good choice, you have Meersburg and Linden worth stopping and visiting.

Road to Schwangau is quite nice.

Schwangau - that's obvious, there's a Neuschwanstein Castle nearby. It could be worth taking a cable car to top of Tegelberg and down. Walk to Neuschwanstein Castle from Tegelberg is quite steep and I found it tiring, so I recommend cable car both ways.

Cable car is open from 9.00am and if you are staying in Schwangau, your hotel should give you discount card. With this discount card you can buy cheaper tickets in Tourist Office in Schwangau. Tourist Office is open from 8.00am.

If you want to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, book your tickets online day before (or earlier). Otherwise there will be long queue there. You can take a bus to Marienbrucke to save yourself uphill walk. Marienbrucke is great spot for taking pictures of the castle. From there you can walk to the castle entrance. Other option is taking a horse carriage but I saw a long queue last year.

Day 3: If you have some time on that day, you can stop in Linderhof, that's Ludwig's summer palace with nice gardens.

Day 4: Rothenburg, definitely a good place to stay. Lovely postcard town. I'm sure every website and guide book recommend walk on the town walls, I do too. Also you can climb on top of the Town Hall tower which offers nice views over town. Everywhere you go, you will be surrounded by fellow Americans :-) I never heard so many Americans in one place in Europe.

If you want nice picture with the car and town in background, go down to Doppelbrucke / Duble Bridge. Afternoon is best time due to sun being in right place.

http://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-lg.../IMG_8402_.jpg

Some pics from Rothenburg to wet your appetite. - http://picasaweb.google.com/AZMTKL/R...anyAugust2013#

If you have some spare time you can consider short visit to Wurzburg. There's a fortress on top of the hill with views towards the town and Residenz Palace with interesting history.

Some pics from Wurzburg - http://picasaweb.google.com/AZMTKL/W...anyAugust2013#

Hope that helps.
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