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22 days in May need Germany itinerary help

We are a 60s couple with 8 pervious solo trips to Europe using Rick Steves' guidebook. We have 22 days in May set aside to travel in a Germany but we have been too busy shoveling snow and fighting the cold in a Minnesota to get a good itinerary planned. We have not booked any flights yet. Could you suggest places to visit and stay?

We prefer long stays in a few areas rather than short stays in many areas. We love museums, local wine, beer, and foods, churches, cultural events, and nature. We have already been to Freiburg, Munich, Salzburg, and Reutte, so we want to concentrate on the Rhine and Mosel areas, and Berlin and Dresden areas.

Our first thoughts have been to fly into Frankfurt and immediately train to Bacharach. Stay for 4-5 days doing day trips up and down the rivers by car or train. Then travel someplace south and central of Frankfurt for a few days. Then traveling to Dresden, maybe Gorlitz for several days and finally Berlin for as much of a week. We would fly out of Berlin.

Thank you for any suggestions you can offer.

Mary and Dave

Posted by
12040 posts

Although the it has improved, Rick Steves' Germany book still has too many huge gaps, especially for some of the areas you will travel through. I suggest you supplment your research with other guidebooks.

For a little bit of nature, and "someplace south and central of Frankfurt for a few days", and if you go with the rental car, look into the Odenwald and the Neckar river valley. The Odenwald is the region of forested low mountains you can see to the south of Frankfurt. It contains mostly scenic small towns and villages, dozens of castles, and thousands of kilometers of hiking trails. The Neckar between Heidelberg and Bad Wimpfen is very similar to the Mittelrhein. Maybe less vineyards, but more castles. Heidelberg sits on the south western edge of the region, and would be a good base for both the Odenwald and the Neckar (and please, ignore what Mr. Steves writes about Heidelberg. How he can slam this city, yet gush over a tourist funhouse like Rothenburg is beyond me). Or, deep within the Odenwald itself, Michelstadt, Erbach or Lindenfels would make very scenic bases, but each of these probably have only a few lodging options.

Near Dresden, consider daytrips to Meißen (scenic oldtown with a large castle-cathedral complex overlooking) and Moritzburg (huge Schloß).

On the way to Dresden, depending on which route you take, consider stop-overs in Eisenach to visit the Wartburg and Weimar. Or, if you take a more northerly route, spend a few days exploring the Hartz mountains and some of the beautiful towns of the region, such as Goslar, Wernigerode and Quedlinburg.

Posted by
287 posts

On your way to Bacharach there were several places to visit. We really enjoyed wandering through the City Farmers Market in Wiesbaden and wish we would have had more time to explore Mainz. We also wandered through Rudesheim. It is touristy, but we liked it.

I don't know if this is too far south for you, but the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart was incredible. I am really not that into cars, but my hubby wanted to go. It was very well done, a good mix of history and seeing cars. We spent the entire morning going through it. We also did the Porsche museum. It was also well done, but if I had to choose one over the other I would choose Mercedes.

I will second Tom's suggestion of the Neckar river valley. It is sooo pretty. You can stay in a castle in Hirschorn. It was fun:)

For suggestions for your drive to Dresden, you might want to consider Weimar and or Jena. Weimar has a Goetha/Schiller Museum as well as a concentration camp near by. They had a neat old town too. Jena has the Optical (Zeiss) Museum. Which they made lenses. They also have a neat botanical garden. If I remember correctly, one of the buildings is shaped like binoculars.

We went in May last year and ran into many Bank Holidays where things were closed.

Have fun!!

Posted by
12137 posts


Aside from the above good recommendations in Weimar and Jena, of Goethe and Schiller and the Zeiss Museum respectively, there is also located in Jena the battle field museum if you're interested in the history. Your plans include spending a full week in Berlin...great! I would suggest Rough Guide Berlin, packed with info you can use in your planning, aside from the usually frequented sights included in tours. Do a bus tour, then seek out the more esoteric sites by public transportation or even a taxi, if need be.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for the suggestions. We have booked our flight landing in Frankfurt May 7, and flying out of Berlin on May 29. We have booked 5 nights in Bacharach (we can add one more night if we'd like). We also have booked Pension Peters in Berlin the last 7 nights. We are definitely going to spend about three nights in Dresden and at least a day trip to Gorlitz.

Now we are wanting to detail the touring we do around Bacharach and Berlin, and decide on our drive and stops between. We prefer to stay in just a few places for several days then one night stays. We would appreciate any specific ideas on our broad tour outline.

Dave and Mary

Posted by
2663 posts

Hi Dave and Mary,

I may be a little late, as you booked Bacharach, but we preferred the Mosel to the Rhine in general and loved our 4 nights based in Cochem in Oct. 2007. Actually, we stayed just across the the river from Cochem in Valwig. We flew into Frankfurt (arrived 6:30am) and drove first along the Rhine (stopped in Bacharach and St. Goar), toured Marksburg castle and then on to the Mosel. From our base here, we visited Burg Eltz (a must see and the highlight of our time here), Trier, Bernkastel, Zell, Beilstein and of course Cochem. The scenery along the Mosel, while not a "castle at every turn" like the Rhine, is beautiful.