Best Web Sites for the Germany, Austria & Switzerland Traveler

A few minutes ago I logged on to the Gemut.com Web site and in the Members' Library page I initiated a search using the word "Internet." That is how I determined that Gemütlichkeit's first mention of that word was in the September, 1995, issue.

That month, your editor wrote a short piece about going "online" for travel planning and booking. The conclusion was that it was still easier to book flights, hotels and car rentals the conventional way, via telephone, and that real online travel planning was still in the "someday" category.

"Someday" has arrived. The Internet is rich with travel information. Typing the words "Europe travel" in the Alta Vista search engine yields over 3,500 Websites. The phrase "Germany Hotels" coughs up some 1,600 sites. Unfortunately, the first of the "Europe travel" sites Alta Vista listed was someone's amateur photos taken on a trip to Italy, a happenstance that underscores one of the Web's problems: separating the useful from the useless.

On that score, perhaps we can help. What follows is a list of sites of interest to the traveler to Germany, Austria & Switzerland. We have starred**** the ones we think are the most useful.

Gemütlichkeit****

This site. Not quite completed but usable. Right now you have free access to five years of reader recommendations, a list of links to pertinent travel Websites, car rental and rail travel tips and advice, and our Hot Deals page, continually updated with the latest and best airline, hotel, auto rental and travel package deals.

In addition, for $4 per month (minimum six months), current subscribers can access a searchable database of 85 back issues (more coming). This is copyrighted material, but for your personal use you can quickly download to your own hard disk, every issue of Gemütlichkeit ever printed.

I urge you to log-on, take a look around, leave your recommendations and comments on the Reader Comments page and, if you wish, sign up to use the Members' Library. We intend to make Gemut.com an absolutely essential resource for the traveler to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The German Way****

german-way.com/

Collection of links to sites of interest to those seeking information about Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Great article here on using cell phones in Europe.

Rail Timetables****

bahn.de

Rail timetables for Germany and the rest of Europe. Invaluable site.

Currency Converter

travelnotes.org/General/currencies.htm

Quick and easy for the arithmetically challenged.

European Weather****

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/weather/europe.htm

Outstanding site by the Washington Post provides weather status in most major European cities.

Lufthansa

lufthansa.com/us/en/homepage

Some good links

Austrian Tourist Office (U.S.)

austria.info/us

Schedules and ticket ordering info on musical events, including the Staatsoper, Volksoper and symphonic performances.

Austrian Rail Schedules

oebb.at/en/

Austrian Airlines

austrian.com/?sc_lang=en&cc=US

Graz Info

graztourismus.at/en

Good hotel locator.

Salzburg Online

sn.at

Good hotel locator.

Vienna Online

vienna.at/

Nice Website but only in German.

Wien Online

wien.gv.at/english/

Good general info Vienna web site.

Vienna Airport

viennaairport.com/en/passengers

German Tourist Board****

germany.travel/en/index.html

Top feature is Events & Highlights. Specify a time period plus areas of interest from 16 categories: music festivals, food, folk events, theater, etc. to produce a list of events from the selected areas of interest that occur within the requested time period.

German Beer

bier.de/

Much info on German beer. Links to beer museums.

Expatriots Living & Working Germany

www.howtogermany.com/

Terrific site, loaded with dozens of useful links. Contains excerpts from the locally published How To Germany newsletter. Topics covered include customs and courtesies, banking, food, language, telephone, medical, train travel, driving, shopping. One link is entitled "Training for Germany" and explains such mysterious German institutions as Fasching, Fasnet, Karneval, Dirty Thursday, Kehrwoche, German jokes, road rules and more.

Driving in Germany

www.gettingaroundingermany.info

Good section on traffic signs & signals.

Bavaria

www.bayern.de

General info site on Bavaria. Some pages in English.

Booking Hotels in Germany

www.gemut.com

Germany hotel finder. Search process is easy and quick and can also be directed to find special discount offers.

Würzburg

wuerzburg.de/en/index.html

Useful visitors' site.

The Aischgründer Bierstrasse

bierstrasse.de/aktuelles.html

Aisch Valley Beer Trail runs for some 50 km between Bad Windsheim and Uehlfeld. Along the way are eight breweries and numerous Franconian inns. For a list of hotels with breweries, click on Braueriegasthuser.

Metropolis Magazine****

metropolismag.com/

Site for Berlin's only English language magazine. Keeps track of Berlin's activities, including a few wild and crazy ones. Good list of cafés and restaurants with brief descriptions.

Berlin's Cultural Highlights****

berlin-trails.com/en/

Frequently updated guide to what's happening in Berlin.

Berlin Airports

berlin-airport.de/en/index.php

Berlin Online

berlin.de/en/

Berlin's official Website in English.

Black Forest

germany.travel/en/leisure-and-recreation/scenic-routes/black-forest-panoramic-route.html

Promotes so-called panorama route through the Black Forest from Waldkirch in the north to Hinterzarten in the south. Drop-down menus offer lists of hotels in each of six villages

Frankfurt Airport

frankfurt-airport.com/en.html

Munich Tourist Office****

muenchen.de/int/en.html

Excellent feature is the Munich Key hotel booking page. Here, dozens of hotels are described and placed in five price categories. One of Gemütlichkeit's recommended Munich hotels is the Kraft, in price category #2 (second lowest). If you book the Kraft on the Munich Key program, the price for a double room ranges from 150 to 178 DM ($81 to $96) per night, depending on the time of year. Included in the room price is free travel on all Munich public transport and a booklet with discount coupons for most of the city's tourist attractions. A double room at another favorite, the Hotel Exquisit, can be booked for as low as 226 DM ($122)

Munich Interactive

muenchen.de/int/en/sights.html

Click on the red dots on the map of Munich City center to find out more about the town's historic sights.

Munich Airport

munich-airport.de/

Nürnberg

tourismus.nuernberg.de/en/

A City-Net site with some info of interest.

Swissair

www.swissair.ch/

Switzerland Tourism USA

myswitzerland.com/en-us/home.html

Click on Newsflash to find schedules of events and the latest deals to and within Switzerland.

Switzerland Tourism International****

myswitzerland.com/en-us/home.html

Gateway to dozens of Websites for Swiss towns and tourist regions.

Holiday Home

holiday-home.com/default_e.aspx

Books vacation rentals.

Swiss Rail Timetable****

sbb.ch/en/home.html

Live Cameras on Swiss Mountains

www.swisspanorama.com

E & G Hotels/Guest Houses****

rooms.ch

Outstanding site for locating inexpensive hotels in Switzerland.

Geneva Airport

www.gva.ch/en/default.htm

Zürich Airport

zurich-airport.com/

Correction

Numbers printed last month for the Park Hotel Post in Freiburg should have been: tel. +49/0761/385480, fax 31680. RHB

August 1999