>> Hello everyone! I'm working on trying to plan a 10 day trip (I know it's short) encompassing the Bavaria region of Germany and Jungfrau region of Switzerland. We're a family of 6 adults looking for a mix of city and mountain scenery.
In Bavaria, as well as exploring München (Munich), some nice excursions by train would be to the Zugspitze (Germany’s highest mountain, where you can do a round trip going up by cable car and down by cogwheel railway or vice versa) and/or Mittenwald (a beautiful small village nestled in the mountains where the facades of the buildings are decorated with traditional paintings – called “Luftmalerei”). It would be a long day, but they could both be visited on the same day, as they are in the same general area and connected by train. Given your limited time, that might be an option. (This trip can also be done from Innsbruck, see below.)
>> We're thinking of flying into Munich and out of Zurich or vice versa.
My preference would be to start in München and finish in Switzerland. That way, the scenery starts off beautiful and graduates to spectacular!
As far as I can tell, there are two main ways of getting to Zürich from München (see attached maps):
1. The fastest direct route through Lindau and St. Margrethen. I haven’t travelled this route myself.
I checked the timetable for a random Tuesday in July (as you didn’t mention your travel dates).
First train at a reasonable hour is at 7:03, arriving Zürich at 11:53 (4 hrs 50). The next train is not until 12:33, arriving 16:53 (4 hrs 20). The 12:33 runs daily, the 7:03 doesn’t, so you would need to check the departures for your actual date of travel.
There are other options involving multiple changes, buses and boats, but I am assuming you would prefer a direct and convenient route if you are travelling with luggage.
Between Lindau in Germany and St. Margrethen in Switzerland, the train travels through Austrian territory, stopping at Bregenz. According to the Eurail site, your rail pass would need to include Austria to make this trip – but check the details yourself to make sure.
2. A slightly longer route via Innsbruck, where you would need to change trains. I have travelled this route myself.
This route offers more frequent services and but takes about an hour longer. Your rail pass would definitely need to include Austria to take this route, and the train also passes through Liechtenstein. (According to the Eurail site, rail passes valid in Austria are also valid in Liechtenstein, but check this yourself to be sure). The scenery between München and Innsbruck is very nice, and there is a particularly scenic section from Innsbruck onwards towards Switzerland. If you decided to make a stopover in Innsbruck, you could conveniently visit the Zugspitze and Mittenwald as a day trip by train from there instead of doing it from München. Innsbruck itself is in a beautiful mountain setting and has a lovely Altstadt (old town).
>> We're interested in staying in Wengen or Lauterbrunnen to have access to dramatic views and exciting hiking in the alps, but are having trouble figuring out a feasible itinerary for our group size and limited time. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions? We know transportation is very expensive and with the little time we have we want to be as efficient as possible.
I suppose you will be getting a Eurail Pass of some sort to cover your travel in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein. You could get a Eurail pass that also included Switzerland, but I would consider getting some sort of separate pass for Switzerland, as the various Swiss transport passes cover so much more than the Eurail Pass. More info here:
For planning your trip from München, and from Innsbruck if necessary, the following sites might be useful:
Deutsche Bahn online journey planner/timetable (German railways)
ÖBB online journey planner/timetable (Austrian railways)
Hope this is helpful.