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1-2 Days in Germany- Munich, Rothenburg, Neushwanstein Castle?

Hello! I am traveling to Germany in February and have the weekend free. We will be in Frankfurt. I am hoping to stay in Munich Friday night, and go to Neuschwanstein Castle and Rothenburg/ possibly some of the Romantic Road all day Saturday/ even get a hotel somewhere around here and must be back in Frankfurt Sunday evening. Is this doable? Any suggestions? Also contemplating on renting a car.

Friday- Depart Frankfurt 1:30 PM take train to Munich, arrive at 5 PM, hotel in Munich
Saturday- Depart Munich 8 AM and take train to Fussen arrive 10 AM- Neuschwanstein Castle (don't want to tour the inside) then take train from Fussen to Rothenburg/ possibly up the Romantic Road? Stay somewhere along the way?
Sunday- Free - back to Frankfurt by 7 PM

All suggestions are appreciated.
Thank you!!

Posted by
5508 posts

We will be in Frankfurt.

I assume this is your first visit to Germany.

First of all, Munich, Neuschwanstein, and Rothenburg do not define Germany and are not the best things to see or visit in Germany. I know, Rick Steves says if you have "3 days: Munich, Bavarian Alps" in an overly simplistic piece of advice to nobody in particular and everybody in general. But it's pretty much nonsense - especially if you are starting in FRANKFURT. So just set that aside for the moment. Suggest you ask yourself a core question...

What kinds of things are your interested in seeing and doing while you are in Germany?

That's an important fact in all this.

For you, is it about any of the usual things... German automobiles? Castles? Old-world towns with half-timbered buildings? Brew pubs? WW II history? Or maybe you are a soccer fan, or an oboist and you want to get in on a reed quartet somewhere.

If you follow your plan A you will just be driving around and sleeping. Possibly at the same time on that first day. So I suggest you come up with a couple of answers to the big question, then ask for tips. I am hugely confident that you will find what you are looking for, whatever it is, within 2 hours or so of FRA airport, because a lot of us here know Germany pretty well and can share our collective wisdom.

Posted by
7497 posts

When I look back at all of my travels there are few places I wish I had skipped. Neuschwanstein was one of those, a waste of valuable time.

Posted by
80 posts

I was at Neuschwantstein Castle in December. The grounds behind the castle were closed off due to construction and the snow/ice conditions. You can always walk up the road to view the castle. there is a nice viewing deck that has been built. I was disappointed that we couldn't access the grounds because this is where you can get some really great pictures and scenery.

If you've never been there and you want to see it, go for it. It is very stunning nonetheless.

If time is of a constraint I would choose Rothenburg over the castle.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you so much! Yes, first time. I will be traveling with a couple others. Originally, most important to me was seeing Neushwanstein Castle but I have read that it is very anticlimactic. I am not interested in touring the inside. I want to experience the culture, see the architecture/ German towns, try traditional food, beer, and castles.

Posted by
5508 posts

I think you would really enjoy Nuremberg. 2 hours on the direct ICE train. Way more than you can do in 2 days in Nuremberg.

You gotta do the Nürnberger Bratwurst thing - maybe in the oldest Bratwurst restaurant:

I would spend Fri eve and Saturday there. On Sunday you can go to Rothenburg in the morning - takes about 1.5 hours - see the town, and still get back to Frankfurt by 7 (about 2.5 - 3 hours from R'burg.). Personally, I think Würzburg is a better choice than Rothenburg (very touristy) and W'burg is no detour at all - it's RIGHT on the train route to Frankfurt. Stow your bags in a locker, see the Residenz (UNESCO World Heritage palace) and whatever else interests you:

Posted by
1743 posts

If you don’t mind driving in the winter, rent a car in Munich and drive to Fussen, then Rothenburg. Drive Sunday to FRA. It’s a busy weekend , but if YOU want to see those places, DO IT.

Posted by
3 posts

Wow! Nuremburg looks incredible! Thanks for the recommendations. If we go, I will definitely get the brat. I will add this to my list to research.

Thank you Stephen!

Posted by
613 posts

Rent a car. Blast south on the German expressway to the exit just north of Strasbourg. Cross into France to the Route de Vin Alsace. If you reach Eugisheim with time left, go see Colmar. Then back to Germany and return to Frankfurt.

Having spent more than 500 days touristing in EU, the Abby Church at Melk is the only thing in EU that challenges the Route de Vin Alsace as the top sight in EU.

Try to eat in Kaysersburg at Au Lion d'Or, a family owned restaurant still in its original location that opened for business 9 years before George Washington was born.

Posted by
27485 posts

Blast south on the German expressway to the exit just north of Strasbourg

You must have more luck with the A5 than me. Blast is a bit faster than I generally find it going. Moments of blast followed by sections definitely not-blast.

Posted by
839 posts

From München your can get to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1.5 hours by train. Not sure what the winter weather will be like, but you'll be in The Alps and Bavaria. In good blue-sky weather take one of the lifts in the area for some Alpen sun. No skiing required. Could be an alternative to Fussen to Rothenburg. With more time I'd tell you to go further south into Austria. Don't get sunburned.

Posted by
783 posts

If you only have a weekend free why would you bother spending 4+ hours traveling when you're already in Frankfurt? There's more to see right there than you can do in a weekend, and you can easily do it all by public transport at minimal cost. Walk the Aldstadt, visit the Kleinhauptmarkt, see St Bartholomew's, walk along the river in Sachsenhausen, see the museums, just sit and people watch while having a beer. Did you know the "fort" in Frankfurt is so big most people never see it? Take a look at Google maps and that zig-zaging road around the old city show you where the old walls were (and still are in some places).

If you want to do something "touristy" take the train to Rudesheim and take a cruise up the Rhine and see the castles (why you'd even think of going to Neuschwanstein when you can do the Rhine castles is beyond comprehension). Plus you can buy and drink the local brandy (Asbach) while waiting for the boat, or train, or both.

And if that's not enough you have Mainz just a short train ride from Frankfurt, and that's another overlooked city. The old city center is great, and while the junction of the Main and Rhine rivers isn't as stunning as the Deutsche Eck, it's worth seeing.

Posted by
127 posts

"Did you know the "fort" in Frankfurt is so big most people never see it?"
'Furt' in German is 'ford' in English. So Frankfurt is the place where it was easy for the Franks to cross the River Main. If Frankfurt had been named after its fort it would be called Frankburg or Frankenburg in German.

Posted by
18241 posts

take the train to Rudesheim and take a cruise up the Rhine and see the castles

A trip UP the Rhein will take you back to Frankfurt. The Rhein flows down in elevation (as rivers flow) from Rüdesheim toward Koblenz.

why you'd even think of going to Neuschwanstein when you can do the
Rhine castles is beyond comprehension

The so-called "rap" on Neuschwanstein is that it is not a medieval castle, only a 19th century construction, albeit on the site of older castles. Well, except for the Marksburg, an authentic old castle that was never destroyed and is being preserved by the German castle association, and Rheinfels, which is the ruins of an old castle, all the rest of the "castles" on the Rhein are 19th century reconstructions of older castle on the same sites. So it is beyond comprehension that some people would eschew Neuschwanstein for some equally no-authentic Rhein castles.

I've been to the Rhein gorge twice and toured the Marksburg and Rheinfels, and I've been to Neuschwanstein three times. Both have their good points, and I have enjoyed both. I would not disparage one for the other; do what interests you, or what is closest.

Posted by
5508 posts

Lee: KGC did not eschew or disparage Neuschwanstein on the basis of its authenticity or inauthenticity.

I suspect KGC favors the Rhine Castles in part on the basis of his main point - that the OP's destinations are too far from FRA for the OP's time frame. Perhaps also because the OP made it clear that he planned only to view N'stein's exterior - and he could instead view the exteriors of dozens of castles on a trip up the Rhine.

N'stein is indeed an authentic and intact building from the late 19th century, about 35 years older than the Empire State Building. Many foreign tourists make N'stein a day trip from Munich (5 hours of round trip travel + 1+ hours of walking to/from the entrance.) But according to N'stein tour guides, many arrive with a complete misunderstanding of the building's age and purpose (probably because it is adorned with a fake medieval castle exterior.) Is it worth seeing and touring? Maybe, IMHO, if you are in the area for other reasons (there's a lot to see/do in the area) and as long as you are informed about what it is (a royal palace) and what it is not (a genuine castle from medieval times.) You should also be aware that time on the tour itself amounts to less than 30 minutes.

Posted by
783 posts

demag - The fortifications in Frankfurt are as I described. They are interesting examples of how the Vaubian "star" defenses from the early age of gunpowder have changed the layout of a modern city. I made absolutely no mention of the name of the city, and I speak German.

Lee - I do understand the current of the Rhine, or I would not have proposed its confluence with the Main as a point of interest. And while I feel that Neuschwanstein is a tourist trap on the level of Florida wild animal parks, my concern was that, given only a weekend in which to "see" Germany, the OP would spend 10+ hours traveling to and from Frankfurt when there are other alternatives. I'm sure the OP will be grateful for the recommendations you made.

Posted by
1199 posts

Since you've decided to visit Munich you should just stay there both Friday and Saturday nights. Gives you at least 1.5 days to explore and enjoy the food and beer. We spent 3 nights in Munich after visiting Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. Don't spend you're weekend on the train.