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10 days in Bavaria -- best town to use as a home base?

Planning on taking my wife and 10-year-old daughter to Bavaria in late June/early July. I'm looking at Rothenburg as a base.
Will the tourist traffic make it inconvenient to get in and out of?
Can you suggest any cute little towns with small hotels or bed-and-breakfasts that we could use as our home base to explore the region?

Thanks in advance, happy travels!

Boston, MA, USA

Posted by
37 posts

Will you be using the trains or driving a car?

Rothenburg is a very sweet town. Visited there in 2011.

Just returned from Germany and thoroughly enjoyed these small towns: Altotting, Cochem, Bernkastel-Kues, Erfurt, and Gengenbach. Only Altotting is technically within Bavaria state but trains make it super easy to access all of Germany.

Posted by
12040 posts

Rothenburg odT isn't particularly convenient as a base for Bavaria, especially if you're traveling by rail. It's relatively close to Nürnberg, Bamberg and Würzburg but not Munich and the Alps (not to mention NE Franconia, the Bavarian Forest, the Oberpfaltz and Lower Bavaria). Truth be told, Bavaria is large enough that there isn't one location that's convenient to the whole state, either by car or public transportation. So, not knowing what else you wanted to see (or if you were heading to one of the other 16 federal states that make up Germany)

"Tourist traffic" in Germany is more apparent on the major routes that lead towards the Alps and Italy. A whole lot of northern Europeans (especially Dutch) heading south, and Italians heading north. The acutal amount of traffic around Rothenburg shouldn't be particularly heavy, and if driving, you would almost certainly have to park outside the wall anyway.

Posted by
37 posts

If you travel the "Romantic Road" (which includes Rothenburg), you will probably visit some charming small towns.

Posted by
1346 posts

Rothenburg is a good base when traveling by car. Several parking lots are just outside the wall and an easy walk from hotels in the town. Franconia is fairly rural near Rothenburg and good for pleasant drives.

Rothenburg has a wealth of hotels and restaurants, the advantage of all that tourism. Haus Karin, a friendly bed and breakfast, is a short distance outside the wall and near one of the parking lots. There might even be ample street parking.

Rothenburg is busy during the day but quieter and more attractive in the long summer evenings.

Posted by
37 posts

Check out Oberammergau too. It is a lovely town with half-timbered houses with fresco paintings.

Posted by
18228 posts

Mari, what is the attraction of Altlötting (note, that is Alt (old) Ötting, vs Neu (new) Ötting). I once considered staying in Altötting when I wanted to go to Burghausen but couldn't find accommodations there. I think Altötting has something to do with the previous Pope.

As for Oberammergau, although it is scenic in itself for it's murals, it is a good hub for bus trips to Hohenschwangau (Ludwig castles), Linderhof, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

I once stayed in Ansbach (Windemühle). It is a good hub for travel to Rothenburg, Bamberg, Würzburg, and Nürnberg.

Posted by
5495 posts

As others have indicated, Bavaria is quite large. You could spend 10 days in the north, or 10 in the south, or split them up and thereby achieve a bit more variety, not a bad idea if you don't know which places you wish to go.

In the North: Rothenburg lies nearly on Bavaria's western border with Baden-Württemberg. It is OK for getting to Würzburg and Bad Windsheim but is not a centrally-located base for the north and puts you relatively far from places like Coburg, Bayreuth, and Regensburg - almost everything else is to the east. And Rothenburg is a pretty touristy place to hang out for more than a day or so.

Lee's Ansbach makes Rothenburg a simple day trip and is better for the rest of the north - it's a trip of about 40 minutes by train and it's a good base for train travelers heading to other popular destinations in northern Bavaria. It has a pleasant old town zone but I probably wouldn't call it a "cute little town" overall, and since you're driving, you have a wider range of options.

There are several options that would shorten your possible day trips. To the northeast of Rothenburg are some places that are more like "cute little towns." Some possibilities:

Haus Friedrichsen
Bad Windsheim
Pension pastoriushaus
Gästehaus Schulz
accommodations brochure
Markt Einersheim
Old Doctor's House

Posted by
328 posts

If you only want to stay in one base town for your whole trip, it really depends on what you want to see. You can't feasibly see Bavaria from only one base.

In my opinion you could divide Bavaria into three general areas to be seen from three different bases - one in the north (we recently spent a week near Bad Windsheim and visited Rothenburg, Nordlingen, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Schwabisch Hall, etc as day trips), one in the south west (from which you could see Munich, Neuschwanstein, Mittenwald, Oberammergau, Wieskirche, Andechs, etc as day trips) and one in the south east (from which you could see Herrenchiemsee, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Burghausen, etc as day trips). All these areas could overlap a bit depending on where you choose to stay but it would be tough to see them all from one base.

Personally, I'd recommend choosing at least two bases.

Posted by
12040 posts

"Mari, what is the attraction of Altlötting (note, that is Alt (old) Ötting, vs Neu (new) Ötting). I once considered staying in Altötting when I wanted to go to Burghausen but couldn't find accommodations there. I think Altötting has something to do with the previous Pope."

He was born in Marktl, a satellite village of Altötting, although the latter doesn't mind claiming him as a hometown boy.

Altötting is also known as a pilgrimage site.

Posted by
18228 posts

@JG, I agree with Oberammergau as the southern base, I only suggested Ansbach as the northern base because Rothenburg's accessibility makes it a little awkward, since the only way to get to the main line is the shuttle to Steinach. I could have picked either Ansbach or Würzburg, both on the main line, but Ansbach is a little closer to both Nürnberg and Rothenburg, and, in the past, I've found affordable accommodations there.

Posted by
2219 posts

The first time I posted to this site (about 5-6 years ago), I asked almost the exact same question. However, I only had 5 days in Bavaria. Based on the responses I got, I decided to spend it in Mittenwald and absolutely loved it. I thought it was the perfect size - small but with plenty of restaurants. The town and scenery were beautiful. We made day trips to Neuschwanstein, Garmish and the Zupspitze, Hall in Austria and Vipetano in Italy. We also spent one day just hiking around Mittenwald. We traveled by car, and the roads were good.

I agree with the others that you might want to pick two places instead of one. There is so much to see in Bavaria, and it's a pretty large area.