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Germany Itinerary

We are two young couples traveling through Europe in July. We've been numerous times, are healthy and we usually like to see as much as possible. We will be renting a car but I am however worried we will just be driving through and not getting much of a chance to enjoy things if the traffic is rather bad or any issues arise. We will be in Salzburg for 3 nights prior (July 10-13) and have 3 nights (July 13-16) before we need to be in Frankfurt for a convention. We were going to take the train to Frankfurt but since there are 4 of us and train tickets looked like it would cost a total of $400 we decided to drive and enjoy the scenery ourselves for a much cheaper price. Our rough draft of an itinerary is Munich one night, head to Neuschwanstein Castle, drive approx 2 hrs towards Stuttgart area and maybe Cochem or Beilstein in the mossele valley. Head to Frankfurt next day (flexible on arrival time). We are not sold on the Stuttgart area just something that is not too far of a drive from Neuschwanstein. We realize we won't see too much in Munich but are ok with that. I would much rather have a home base then spend one nighters but not sure how to go about it. Only things we can't change is being in Frankfurt sometime on the 16th and seeing Neuschwanstein. Other interests were to see charming small villages and lakes. Would love to see Zugspitz but doubt there would be time. Ive also contemplated trying to figure out a home base and just do the drive to Frankfurt in one day by getting an early start. Just not sure where that would leave us with a home base seeing things. Sorry in advance if this information was confusing. Any and all help would greatly be appreciated!

Posted by
2390 posts

You could use the train for much less than the $400.

I don't see the advantage in staying one night in Munich. I would go from Salzburg to Fussen.

Posted by
2902 posts

Hi Sarah,

I'd say after 3 nights in Salzburg, Neuschwanstein is a "must see" and you'd prefer a "home base" if possible, I'd suggest staying in Garmisch or Mittenwald for 2 nights (13th, 14th) and visiting Neuschwanstein and the Zugspitze. The 3rd night (15th) spend in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. From here head to Frankfurt on the 16th.


Posted by
6617 posts

You are quite right to think that you might be driving too much and really seeing too little. I like the Mosel Valley very much but it's a very lengthy detour and there are so many other great destinations that really do lie on/near the route between Salzburg or Hohenschwangau and Frankfurt airport, lots of old-world towns similar to Cochem . Some options:

Noerdlingen (Romantic Road town north of Augsburg)
Iphofen (near Würzburg)
Sommerhausen, Ochsenfurt, and Marktbreit, old wine towns in the Main River Valley south of Würzburg

Go to Neuschwanstein if you simply must drive out of the way to be in an overpacked milkhouse line-up with fellow tourists for a 30-minute, $16 tour (not of a castle but of a late 18th century palace mocked up as a castle.) The detour simply isn't worth it. The Zugspitze would also be quite a detour, as you've said. I would instead enjoy the fabulous alpine scenery around Berchtesgaden at the Königssee, much closer to Salzburg. And stop in at Ludwig's palace Herrenchiemsee in Prien on an island in Chiemsee lake instead of N'stein - it's half way between Salzburg and Munich in a fabulous setting.

Chiemsee Lake with Ludwig's palace

Posted by
2902 posts


After seeing the 3 "Mad" King Ludwig creations, Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee, I'd put the interior tour of Neuschwanstein last. The exterior is wonderful, as is the setting. Yes, it does get crowded, and if going, look into buying tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. At one time it was a "must see" for us and we're glad we saw it. It is out of the way for you though. If it's a must, along with the Zugspitze, then go for it. I do agree with Russ, Ludwig's Herrnechiemsee palace and the Konigsee and even the Jennerbahn cable car (next to the Konigsee) are excellent alternatives and worth considering. These are about 30 or so minutes by car from Salzburg. The alpine scenery around Berchtesgaden is gorgeous. You could add a night to your Salzburg stay, visit the Berchtesgaden area for a day from here, and have 2 nights to spend on the route to Frankfurt.

I didn't mention the Mosel area (Cochem, Beilstein) as it doesn't make any sense for your trip.


Posted by
58 posts

Thank you so much Russ & Paul for your suggestions. Berchtesgaden definitely looks fantastic. I would love to see that. Any suggestions on what town to stay afterwards? I've also already booked the 3nights in salzburg & I'm not too keen on staying another night at that hotel. So should we do Berchtesgaden before arrive but on way to munich? While Herrenchiemsee looks beautiful since it's so similar to Versailles I would be ok with passing on that. Thank u again of ur help!