We will be traveling with an 8 year old this July in Europe and wonder if it's really worth seeing Rothenburg even though it will mean a 6 hour car ride the next day to Holland (to see family). We would fly into Munich before renting a car to start our trip. She's a good car traveler but we'll have just had a long flight from the states the day before. Everything we've heard about Rothenburg is how beautiful it is.
Have you already purchased tickets to fly into Munich when you are really starting your vacation in Holland? You might weigh in losing essentially 2 days of travel, an expensive cross country car trip (>$200) and possible one way car drop off fees(?) and purchase airfare into Düsseldorf, Brussels or Amsterdam. IMO Rothenburg isn't far enough along in your 8+hr car trip to justify stopping.
No, IMO not worth a major detour or itinerary change. It is a very pretty town, but basically has shops and restaurants as just about any old town in Germany does. If you're thinking its a fairy-tale town full of magical things to capture the imagination of kids, I don't think so. Old gray walls, damp pathways, and old buildings of interests to older people. The toy museum may be only thing of interest to her, if its still there.
If you want to break your journey somewhere, do it in Würzburg. No detour, and the small one will like the fortress on the hill, the vineyards and the river.
Excellent feedback - THANKS! Another option is to fly into Frankfurt which leaves less than 3 hour drive to our first stop in Holland (Oisterwijk). Perhaps I should post another topic on 'quaint small towns to see near FRANKFURT. Our grandchild wants to see a typical german village while on our way to Holland. My husband and I have been to Cocheim and thought that might be worthwhile with our grandchild given the castle. Would not take us as far out of our way.
Perhaps I should post another topic on 'quaint small towns to see near FRANKFURT. Our grandchild wants to see a tyipical german village while on our way to Holland. I'm going to assume that when she says "typical" she means "towns with historically well-preserved/restored centers". There's plenty of such towns around Frankfurt. One that lies on your direct route of travel is Idstein. The old section isn't huge, but quite attractive and it also boasts a small castle right smack in the middle. If you want to see an old town completely surrounded by a defensive wall, look into Büdingen or Ahrweiler. Neither of these towns lie directly on your route, but not too far of a detour either. I think Marburg is one of the most attractive old towns in Germany, but it's a little too far of a detour for your first day. You could also drive through the famous Mittelrheintal, which is packed with attractive towns and castles, but this will add hours to your drive...
...speaking of which, driving Frankfurt to Oisterwijk will take significantly longer than 3 hours, even on the most direct Autobahn route. Knowing parts of that route very well, I'm going to estimate at least 4 hours, if not closer to 5.
If the only reason to fly into Germany is to see a quaint town and/or castle, you could do the same within Holland and save yourself pricey car rental fees and lots of time! The Netherlands are full of charming and quaint towns, not unlike those you might find in Germany. Delft and Haarlem, Maarken and Volendam are all full of charm and interesting old archetecture and she could see the windmills up close and watch them make wooden shoes (and even buy a pair). There is a castle in Amsterdam she could visit and of course she would LOVE Madurodam. Just a thought that might be more 8 year old friendly...
This seems like an arduous journey just to see Rothenburg on der Tauber, and way out of your way. Were you going to backtrack to Germany to fly home? If not you are likely facing a large drop fee. I think fly into Frankfurt, visit the Rhine/Mosel area and then train to Netherlands to get th car. Or forgo the car and just take the train. Is there a rest day upon arrival before the serious sightseeing? I am a big fan of Rothenburg, but this plan seems like way too much trouble. Sure there are plenty of comparable places in the Netherlands as someone indicated.
The replies so far have been invaluable to us!!
It appears Munich to Rothenburg is not a good option based on your comments. We are now looking at flying into Frankfurt, on to Cochem day 1, then driving to Maastricht and to Oisterwijk day 2. We are spending most of our time in the Netherlands seeing the sights several have suggested. Towards the end of our trip we will take the train to Paris for a short visit before flying home. The car, albeit expensive, will afford us a fair amount of freedom to pick and choose until we get to Amsterdam. My husband and I were just in Cochem. Germany last April as part of a Rhine River Cruise. We think it is small enough for an 8 year old to see and the castle is a plus. Hence she can say she's been in Germany. Happy to hear any other tips!!
I am kind of curious how long this trip is? Are you flying into Germany and out of Paris. Remember when driving that even though it's a 4 hour drive. You have to take into account bathroom breaks, traffic, maybe even a lunch break. On the train you don't have to stop to do either. And everyone can enjoy the scenery from the train. I have a rule of thumb I have used for year. Anyplace I stay it's a min of two night. That way you have a full day to see that town. I also try and keep travel time to 3 hours. I am there to see things not be driving all day. I am thinking, leave Germany out all together, and plan on doing that another trip. Fly into Holland and out of Paris.
It's interesting how the remarks and suggestions have made us re-think our plans. Our original plan was to fly into Amsterdam and rent a car to visit family, etc before going to Paris. But our grandchild wants to see Germany if even to say she's gone. Hence the flight into Germany. Another option is the Dusseldorf airport, but we know of no small QUAINT timber-framed towns in that area. Hope to book flights later this week, so we still have time to tweak things. We have 8 days in Europe with this trip - flying into Germany - train from Amsterdam to Paris, fly home from there. Not a lot of time, but traveling with a child changes everything (we've never had a child with us in Europe). Having a car for part of the trip affords us flexiblility.
In Holland, we hope to see Madurodam on our way to Amsterdam, spend a day in the city and/or take a quick trip to Marken/Volendam. Wonder if we're trying to do too much.
Dusseldorf airport, but we know of no small QUAINT timber-framed towns in that area.
Ahrweiler. Near Remagen, in the exquisite Ahrtal - Ahr Valley.
Ahrweiler has a station just outside the complete encircling walls around a medieval centre. Plenty of Fachwerk. A super Christmas Market on Advent weekends.
Nowhere near a million miles from Dusseldorf.
Another option is the Dusseldorf airport, but we know of no small QUAINT timber-framed towns in that area.
They're everywhere in most parts of Germany... with that being said, those types of towns are somewhat less common in the Rhine-Ruhr industrial region of Nordrhein-Westfalen (of which Düsseldorf is the second largest city). And the old towns closer to the Belgian and Dutch borders tend to feature more brick, similar to the building styles of those two countries. However, go a little bit to the southeast into the Sauerland region, and practically every town and village is full of Fachwerk (half timber). Monchau, in the Eifel region on the Belgian border is a also a popular destination that features plenty of Fachwerk specimens.
The fiction that you have to look hard to find these towns or that places like Rothenburg are particularly unique arises mainly because most guidebooks will only mention a handful of such towns. Usually the ones where the tourism industry is well-established, or along a frequently traveled tourist route. Once you start exploring and letting go of the Blue Book life preserver, though, you see how easily Germany's history comes to life.
I'll offer another idea. You say you were going to fly into Amsterdam, visit relatives in Holland, then take the train to Paris (who wants to go there in your group of 3?) and fly home from Paris. Now because your granddaughter wants to see a German village you are starting out somewhere in Germany for your brief, 8 day trip. If this trip is to introduce your granddaughter to what she'd like to see in Europe and visit family in Holland why not consider just your family time in Holland with a nice Germany location and exit point? You only have 8 days, 7 nights?
We took our granddaughter to Europe when she was 8 and have been back with her since. We all have a definite idea about where her 3rd trip will be. We've been retyping to design these trips around her interests so I understand your desire to see things that she dreams about. Our trips are in the in between years.
I'll also add that we prefer train travel between the bigger cities as its more relaxing for all of us and she can see out the big windows better than she could our of the back seat of a car. But in order to reach your smaller destinations you'll definitely want a car.
Rothenburg would be a great stop for an eight year old. A kid would get a kick out of the medieval town because it's so cute--perhaps the best adjective for the village. Three ideas stick out, if you visit:
First, make sure your girl walks the town wall. A kid would get a big kick out of it because she would be above the roofs and village. Next, make sure you buy her a schneeball, the pastry. She should get a big kick out of it. (Buy one for yourself...and me while you're at it.) Another idea is to go on the night watchman's tour. Finally, I recall a building with a cupola or lookout on the town. Kids love high spaces. Take her there.
One thing I might avoid is the medieval crime museum. It might be too much for her. Heck, it was too much for me when I saw it in my 30s. But when she's a teenager, go back, as she might enjoy it by then.
Have a great time in Germany and Holland. Cheers.
Thanks to each of you who have taken the time to respond to my question! Was a great help and made us re-think our plans.