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12 days in Bavaria

First trip to Germany and I'm traveling alone. Curious if this itenerary seems too ambitious. Any thoughts or feedback would be welcome.
Summary - I will be staying in Munich a few days to get acclimated and I will use trains to get around for a few day trips. From there I'll rent a car for the rest of the trip starting with the drive to Fussen. A couple questions that come to mind...
1. Is one day/night enough for Rothenburg.
2. Is 2 days/nights too much for Baden-Baden
Any other ideas, omissions, substitutions, or recommendations would be wonderful. Thanks!

Day 1 - Travel Day Fly DC to Munich arriving early 7am
Day 2 - Munich

Day 3 - Munich Day trip to Dachau
Day 4 - Munich Day trip to Salzburg
Day 5 - Fussen Drive to Fussen
Day 6 - Fussen

Day 7 - Rothenburg Drive to Rothenburg
Day 8 - Baden Baden Drive to Baden Baden
Day 9 - Baden Baden
Day 10 - Bacharach Drive to Bacharach
Day 11 - Bacharach

Day 12 - Travel Day Fly Frankfurt to DC 12pm

Posted by
8530 posts

Just noting that that's really only 7 days in Bavaria, the rest is not.

Not sure what your interests are, but I am assuming that Füssen is to see the castles? If it were me, I'd skip Baden-Baden and either sub Heidelberg or add those days to Munich, Rhine area, or Frankfurt.

Baden-Baden is a nice enough place to visit, just not as nice as the others, for a short visit.

Posted by
2914 posts

I’d drop Baden Baden and add a night to Rothenburg and a night to either Fuessen or Bacharach. There are many things to see and do around Fuessen. Fuessen itself is extremely charming old town. Along with Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau… The Ehrenberg Castle Complex. The Highline 179. The Zugspitze from nearby Ehrwald, Austria. Wieskirche. Tegelberg cable car and luge ride. Even Linderhof Palace.


Posted by
7697 posts

You only have two days in Munich, not enough. Also, you plan to do Salzburg on a day trip from Munich, sorry that is silly. You need two or three days to see Salzburg, even if you don't visit nearby Berchtesgaden. You must see the cathedral (featured in Sound of Music, Mozart's house and the castle on the hill at a minimum, not included the countryside Sound of Music tour. Berchtesgaden has the amazing view at the Eagle's Nest.

Fussen is ok, Neuschwanstein is nice to see, but frankly, I was a bit underwhelmed by the 19th Century castle that was never really lived in by King Ludwig. You should also visit Garmisch and take in the Zugspitze, highest mountain in Germany, take the Cog Train or the cable car up to the top of the mountain. You need 2-3 days for this area.

Rothenburg is great, on the Romantic Road, but driving up there, you go through great cities like Augsburg, founded by Caesar Augustus over 2000 years ago, then some wonderful walled towns on the road to Rothenburg. You need at least one full day in transit to Rothenburg, then a day to see that city, so spend the night there.

I suggest skipping the visit to the upper Rhine land of Baden Baden, you don't have enough time allowed there to see the Black Forest anyway that would involve visiting villages like Triberg or Titisee.

Posted by
6666 posts

"Curious if this itenerary seems too ambitious." No, it's feasible in 12 days, but as others have mentioned, the brief amount of time in Salzburg, Füssen, Baden-Baden, and Bacharach puts tight limits on what you can see/do in - and around - those places. For example... On Day 10, you'll have half a day in Bacharach, which is more than enough time right there. But on Day 11, assuming you want to explore the Rhine/Mosel region more fully, is one day really enough??? Not the way I see it. A day trip to Salzburg is similarly problematic... maybe enough for seeing a few things in town, but not nearly enough time for the really nice places nearby. I could easily see 3 or more nights in each of the places you have picked.

"Any other ideas, omissions, substitutions, or recommendations would be wonderful."

Unfortunately, I haven't heard enough yet about what you hope to see and do. On the surface, your town choices seem to be the same places that Rick Steves emphasizes a tad too heavily in his materials. Or... maybe you have your own reasons for choosing these places... Or... maybe you haven't yet considered your own particular interests, hobbies, or favorite outdoor activities in mind?? Hiking? Cars? Cathedrals? Castles? Roman history in northern Europe? Wine-tasting? Cultural festivals?

I am not a fan of Baden-Baden in particular, but the state of Baden-Württemberg, which you must pass through to get to Baden-Baden, is loaded with interesting places - including dozens and dozens of palaces, castles and monasteries:

The Black Forest and its many handsome old villages are also in Baden-Württemberg. The Mercedes and Porsche Musems are there too. For all I know, you are a LEGO fan and you'll want to visit Legoland, which is on the route to B-W, or a fan of flowers who would enjoy the Chrysanthemum Festival in Lahr, B-W.

Maybe you're a party guy who would enjoy the huge Sausage Market Festival in Bad Dürkheim, or the Technik Museum in Speyer, as you make your way north to Bacharach and Frankfurt.

So while I get dropping Baden-Baden, it's still possible that you might want to hit Baden-Württemberg for reasons of your own. Maybe more time in the other places, or time in different places, would work well for you. But I can't really say one way or the other without more input from you about the dates of your trip, your travel goals/interests, and other details. 

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for all the great replies. I will take all this in consideration.
My favorite things to do while traveling is just spend time walking around towns, sit drinking a beer in a square, or see the major major attractions. Neuschwanstein and Dachau are really the two big things I can't miss. Apart from that, I really like to travel with very little agenda. It will be the first time renting a car in Europe so I can see myself enjoying the freedom of movement and the ability to make some last minute adjustments based on the people I meet along the way. If there is one place I was unsure about its Baden Baden, i'm not sure a naked soak is worth the detour and as some of you said there are a lot of neat smaller towns along the way. Salzburg is another one I may eliminate, as someone said a day trip may not be enough and I could enjoy the extra time in Munich, but I can also see my self jumping on the train just to run through it for the experience and to say I was there.

Thanks again everyone, Happy New Year

Posted by
1959 posts

Honestly, I would just spend the extra time in Munich instead of the day trip. Lots to see and do and some good tours of the city.

I loved the city and only wish I had more time there to spend in the English Garden and Science Museum

Posted by
4382 posts

Fussen is a nice place for just walking around. You need to spend a night in Rothenburg for the Night Watchman's Tour. I don't see the need for a car in Fussen or Rothenburg-take the train.

EDITED: To me, the only value in Neuschwenstein Castle was that it caused me to stay in Fussen. It's not a castle-those were for defensive purposes. It's a palace built to look like a castle.

Posted by
6631 posts

Salzburg is another one I may eliminate, as someone said a day trip may not be enough and I could enjoy the extra time in Munich, but I can also see my self jumping on the train just to run through it for the experience and to say I was there.

Salzburg deserves more than just a quick day trip. It's a wonderful place and I actually love it more than Munich. And imo, Baden Baden is only worth it if you have a lot of time and you're already in the Black Forest. Save it for another time.

If it were me, I would keep your itinerary for Munich (Days 1 through 4). Include the day trip to Dachau, but remove the day trip to Salzburg. Then leave Munich on Day 5, drive to Salzburg (stopping at Neuschwanstein castle on the way, which you said is a must-see) and spend Days 5 and 6 there. Head north to Rothenburg o.d.T. for Days 7 and 8. Leave on Day 8 and head directly to the Rhine area (Bacharach) where you can stay the remainder of the time until it's time to depart at Frankfurt.

So something like this:

Day 1 - Travel Day Fly DC to Munich arriving early 7am
Day 2 - Munich
Day 3 - Munich (Day trip to Dachau)
Day 4 - Munich
Day 5 - Drive to Salzburg (stop at Neuschwanstein Castle on the way). Sleep in Salzburg.
Day 6 - Salzburg. Sleep in Salzburg.
Day 7 - Salzburg. Drive to Rothenburg. Sleep in Rothenburg.
Day 8 - Rothenburg. Drive to Bacharach. Sleep in Bacharach.
Day 9 - Bacharach (sightseeing - trips to see castles)
Day 10 - Bacharach. Sleep in Bacharach
Day 11 - Bacharach. Drive to Frankfurt. Sleep in Frankfurt (or you could stay in Bacharach and then drive to airport in early morning.
Day 12 - Travel Day Fly Frankfurt to DC 12pm

Posted by
6666 posts

"...spend time walking around towns, sit drinking a beer in a square, or see the major major attractions. Neuschwanstein and Dachau are really the two big things I can't miss. Apart from that, I really like to travel with very little agenda."

Pretty general, then. You will need to schedule your (possibly disappointing) Neuschwanstein tour. But I think you can actually play much of this trip by ear.

I'd start it off as follows with a structured plan, however... This plan omits Salzburg and Baden-Baden.

In addition to Rothenburg, someone like you might really enjoy a visit to Nuremberg and/or Bamberg (Bavaria's real beer Mecca.) These cities are not too far from Rothenburg. Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage City for its well-preserved old town. Both cities are full of sights and great for walkers.

Nuremberg Pubs
A walk through Nuremberg (scroll down to Nürnberg)
Bamberg Pubs
Old town zone, Bamberg

You might enjoy stopping in these towns on your way to the Rhine/Frankfurt:

As for the old-world towns in the Rhine Gorge, you will find the town of BOPPARD to be livelier than smaller towns like Bacharach and St. Goar. Take Boppard's chairlift ride to the top for a short hike, a great view, and a Bierchen. Boppard is a shopping/dining destination for the smaller towns around it, so the market square and riverfront cafes are typically pretty busy with locals and of course tourists as well (lots of Brits and Dutch spend time here in the warmer months.) You can find beer of course but this is an important wine area so there are venues like this one there as well:

Don't miss Marksburg Castle, the only never-destroyed medieval castle in the scenic part of the Rhine Gorge. Take a tour. It's in the town of Braubach.

Posted by
2914 posts

For what you briefly described as interests, I’d stay with my suggestions earlier. Base your trip on your likes of course.

Our case is we’ve been to Germany (mostly Bavaria) and Austria over a dozen times. We have stayed in Munich only one night, even though we’ve flown to Munich airport a dozen times. That was plenty for us. Never been to Vienna as it holds no interest for us. We have stayed near Berchtesgaden 5 times for about 20 nights total. Same for Hall in Tirol, Austria. Everyone’s different.

I will agree these: while in Bacharach, don’t miss touring Marksburg Castle. A night in Rothenburg should include the Nightwatchman Tour, informative and fun. Salzburg, even as a day trip, is well worthwhile. Stroll the old town, people watch, no need to see every sight.


Posted by
437 posts

In general, a car is gonna be a hassle. Some places (e.g. Füssen) it makes sense.

4+ hours round trip to Salzburg for a daytrip makes no sense. Just use that day to sightsee Munich. Salzburg is a worthwhile destination, just not done like this. It’s a waste of time as a daytrip.

Dachau is, appropriately, heavy emotional lifting. I needed time to decompress. Maybe the art galleries is a good counterpoint for the afternoon.

Füssen - IMO, Neuschwanstein isn’t really worth the trip the hype but it’s on a lot of bucket lists. If you must go, I would absolutely add Hohenschwangau. Again, feel free to delete Füssen and reallocate that time.

Can’t comment on Baden Baden. I’ve never been.

Bachrach/Rhein - I might add a day to this part of the ramble. Lots to see and it might be nice to downshift a bit here at the end.

Posted by
217 posts

If there is one place I was unsure about its Baden Baden, i'm not
sure a naked soak is worth the detour

Baden-Baden is one of the most well known spa towns. There are spas (therme), both natural and man-made all over Germany. For example, here is one near Fussen if you go there

Even though I have visited a number of spas in Germany, I don't have any specific expereinces in the Munich area.

Posted by
32956 posts

If you want a therme in the Munich area I love the one at Erding, on the northeast side approaching the airport area. Biggest in Germany and with all sorts of fun water based amusements for all ages. Even has a wave pool and Kneipp bath/walk. Have a look at Very easy to reach by train from Munich, very easy to reach by car.

Posted by
6 posts

Hey everyone, just wanted to give you an update based on all your advice and of course lots of other planning.

The biggest update is that I was able to get ADELE tickets to see her in Munich during my trip. So that is an amazing development and addition to my vacation. Below is my finalized itinerary.

(4 days based out of Munich)
Day 1 - Munich
Day 2 - Munich (Trip to Dachau)
Day 3 - Munich (Adele show in the evening)
Day 4 - Munich (Maybe day trip to Salzburg)

Rent a car and drive to Fussen, base out of Fussen
Day 5 - Fussen (Stop to do Zugspitze before heading to Fussen)
Day 6 - Fussen (Castles)

Drive to Rothenburg
Day 7 - Rothenburg
Day 8 - Rothenburg

Drive to Bacharach
Day 9 - Bacharach
Day 10 - Bacharach

Day 11 - Fly out of Frankfurt (return car)

Posted by
1578 posts

Looks good.

Some good stops between Fussen to Rothenburg: Landsberg, Nordlingen and Dinkelsbuhl. If you like to take your time and wander, Landsberg (nice river walk) and Nordlingen (walled town) can each take up the better part of a day. If push comes to shove, probably the latter.

On the way to Bacharach, there are many interesting places to stop off at (Wurzburg deserves a bit more time): Iphofen, Wertheim, Selingensatdt, Eltville, even more.