In early September, we are renting a car in Wurzberg then driving the Romantic Road (Romantische Strasse) to Bavaria and Tirol then ultimately on to Vienna. A road trip! We prefer to stay in small towns along the way and prefer to stay in guesthouses or B&Bs instead of hotels. My question is do we need to book ahead for lodging in September in these areas, or do we stand a decent chance of securing lodging the day we need it? We realize we should probably book ahead for places like Saltzburg and Vienna. Also if anyone has some recommendations of good and reasonably priced guesthouses or B&Bs on this route, please do tell. We plan to stay in Nurnberg on the way back. Any lodging recommendations there?
I have done numerous road trips in Germany and lots of times with no reservations at all even during the summer. However, I am a fairly flexible traveler and if I can't get the hotel I want I am really comfortable with going on to the next... really easy with a car. I have now been to a number of these locations enough times so I have some idea where I want to stay and if my dates are certain I will book ahead in places like Vienna or Salzburg. I prefer to stay in Dinkelsbuhl on the Romantic road and have always just found a charming little place at the last minute. So, it all depends on if you can deal with some uncertainty and 'wing it'. For some people they want to know everything ahead of time, and for others the spontaneity is part of the experience.
Not having reservations should only cause minor inconveniences in early September. However, realize that early autumn is festival time in Germany, so lodging in some towns may be tight if there happens to be a festival ongoing simultaneous to your visit. But in that case, just keep driving a little further. And like a broken record, here I go again... the Romantische Straße is only one of about 100 tourist theme routes in Germany, and the intention is that they link together towns or sites of a certain theme. The views from the drives themselves, for the most part, are nothing special. The Romanstische Straße could be any secondary rural route in Germany. If there are particular towns that interest you, by all means visit them. But the actual experience of driving the Romantische Staße is nothing special.
Thank you Tom and Terry Kathryn for your excellent input. I think we will be happy with "winging it" as far as accomodations. That is part of the fun! Good to know we are safe giving that a try.
On the Romantic Road, I would stay one night in Rothenurg and take the Night Watchman's tour, it is a truly great way to learn about the history of the town ... the best and most enjoyable history lesson ever. I would book in ahead in Rothenburg and stay in the old town section. It is very touristy during the day but about 5:00 all the day trippers go home and the whole place quiets down and it is like going back in time a couple centuries. Vienna and Salzburg are the other places I would recommend reservations. Also driving in Austria don't forget to get an International Driving Permit, they are required in Austria. You will hopefully never need to show it but if you do and don't have one, the penalty starts at 250 Euros on the spot and can go rapidly downhill from there.
Irv, thanks for the great advice! We've been to Rothenberg before but never at night, and we never felt like we got to explore it enough. Sounds worth the stay. I'm definitely going to look for that Austia driving permit. Hopefully they sell them at the Germany-Austria border?
"I'm definitely going to look for that Austia driving permit. Hopefully they sell them at the Germany-Austria border?" I think the previous poster was referring to an International Driver's Permit, which is not the same thing as the Austrian vignette that you need to drive on the Autobahn network in that country. You can buy the vignette at the border. I believe you have to obtain an IDP before you leave home.
September should be no problem. I've done it many times. A good budget option is a Pension, not really a B&B - more like staying in a spare room at a relative's home. I've stayed at many throughout that area, always with a bathroom down the hall (some may offer ensuite) and a sink/mirror in your room. Every one I've stayed at meets a high standard standard for comfort and cleanliness. I usually find recommendations in guidebooks and pack a spreadsheet list (now in my Ipod touch) with phone numbers for a handful of choices in every town where I plan to stay - normally I end up in my first choice (but always good to have some back-ups).
Tom and Brad, thank you for the advice on the Austria Autobahn permit and I love the spreadsheet idea!