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9 nights in Germany, Austria - unique, special, beautiful ideas!

Hi!
I am new to posting, but have read extensively on this forum and about transportation, lodging, etc. We are experienced travellers but haven't been to this area in years. I am late planning a trip to Germany, Austria in late June, and I would so appreciate advice - specifically if you recommend Hallstatt (which I just learned about and am basically rearranging my whole trip to include) and how to get from there to St. Goar. Feel free to shred our ideas, offer advice, etc! We love anything with character and beauty - we are adventurous and like to see a lot but not wear ourselves out. We will be with our 2 college aged daughters, so family rooms are preferable but we can do 2 rooms if needed. We'd like to keep lodging to something reasonable ($200 range?) but are willing to splurge for a significant experience or convenience. We are also open to hostels if clean and quiet. Flexible, depending on circumstances and recommendations.

Day 1: Fly into Stuttgart midday. Train to Rothenburg odt (seems like a clunky trip?) for 2 nights. Walk the wall, museum, maybe down to the river, poke around.
Day 3: Train to Salzburg for 2 nights (Bayern tickets)
Day 5: Bus to Hallstatt (funicular, maybe salt mine, boat on lake, enjoy the beauty, eat!). MAIN QUESTION: TOO MUCH TO GO HERE??
Day 6: Bus back to Salzburg and Bayern on to Munich. Check bags into lockers at train station and continue on to Dachau.
Back to pick up bag and check into hotel in Munich (ideas??).

Day 7: Walking tour of Munich in the morning - see the Glockenspeil. THIS IS MY SECOND MAIN QUESTION: WHERE TO SPEND THIS NIGHT TO GET US CLOSER TO BINGEN IN THE MORNING TO GET ON THE RHINE CRUISE?
Day 8 and 9: St. Goar - Rhine River/castles
Day 10: Train from St. Goar to Frankfurt to fly home

We will each have a rolling carry on bag and small day bag backpack.

Thank you so very much!!
Sarah

Posted by
5552 posts

Welcome!

Nice to have your arrival and departure details and your time frame. My thoughts:

  • Day 1: Close to zero sightseeing time here. Same for Day 10. So you have 8 days for seeing and doing stuff and getting from place to place by train and bus. It appears you have roughly 5 places in mind for laying your heads during this time. Hallstatt is obviously the longest shot.

  • "unique, special, beautiful ideas!"

Here are some for your consideration with an eye to spots with high scores for old-world architecture, nature and scenery, history (which seem to be your focus.) They are not especially "unique" for Germany and for Germans, but then again they are unique inasmuch as they are absent or underrepresented in Rick Steves' guidebook.

Spot A
Spot B
Spot C
Spot D
Spot E
Spot F

These places and many more like them are mostly located in southwestern German in the vicinity of your airports. The Middle Rhine Valley, and Rothenburg as well, are also reasonably close to your airports. IMO your itinerary, which follows Rick Steves' obsessive advice for Bavaria above the rest of Germay, takes you unnecessarily far afield and wastes too much time on ground travel and on checking in and out of different lodging establishments, which as you've noticed already, might be difficult to find in the first place for your family.

  • I would suggest going no further into Bavaria than Rothenburg and what's near there. And what's near there is pretty stunning already. Northern Bavaria could be one "base" for 2-3 days. The Main River Valley has some great towns that aren't as overrun as Rothenburg. Look also at Iphofen, Bamberg, Miltenberg.

  • The Rhine (+Mosel) could be a second "base" for 2-3 days. St. Goar is a good base town for the nearby Mosel towns too.

  • The "area around Stuttgart" where you might base for 2-3 days has many options. Most of the fine ones are located on or near the Neckar River to the south of Heidelberg, or in the Black Forest. Besigheim, Bad Wimpfen, Gengenbach, Esslingen, Tübingen are all place names that pop to mind.

"Move around less, see more."

Posted by
2063 posts

Ok, Russ, pls label your spots A to F. I just returned from the area, and I can only identify the river pix.
And-
how the heck does one link pix to this site?
Thx for all of your incredible help on all of our trips!

Posted by
5552 posts

The "spots" I picked were really intended only as isolated examples of worthwhile destinations in Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz that are not emphasized much or at all in Rick's guidebook and tend to be unknown to Rick's fans who are looking for advice here. I was hoping to pique the OP's interest in the area and to motivate further research on his part, not to "send" him to those spots specifically. Glad to hear they piqued YOURS, Pat.

I'm a pushover, so having explained myself, here's the list...

A) Bernkastel
B) Bamberg
C) Hohenzollern Castle
D) Titisee and Feldberg Mountain (I once hiked to the spot where this photo was snapped.)
E) Schiltach
F) Michelstadt

These are not my personal photos, just some that are available online. You can link almost any webpage photo to text you are composing on this forum by highlighting the text then using the "WWW" earth link under "Add Reply" and inserting the photo's URL.

Posted by
5552 posts

I'm not "big" on the idea of vacation time spent in former concentration camps. But anyone who thinks that's a "must" could in fact find lesser-known memorial sites elsewhere in Germany outside of Bavaria. KZ Osthofen is located in the Rheinland-Pfalz city of Worms (also known for its impressive Romanesque cathedral) between FRA airport and Stuttgart. It's easy to get there by train.

The near invisibility of concentration camps other than Dachau and Sachsenhausen to the tourist population probably means you won't find the displays in English at the Worms site. But the place has a QR-tour available (which might be translatable??) and the site indicates also that English tours are available by prior arrangement.

Visitors to Worms more often head to the Jewish cemetery in Worms, one of the SHUM cities in Germany with UNESCO World Heritage status, in addition to Worms' other sights.

https://schumstaedte.de/en/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g198632-d2266372-Reviews-Judischer_Friedhof_Heiliger_Sand-Worms_Rhineland_Palatinate.html

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g198632-Activities-a_allAttractions.true-Worms_Rhineland_Palatinate.html

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks so much to Russ, Pat, and Stephen for the great feedback and ideas!

Russ, I had to chuckle at your comment about all the these stunningly beautiful places not being unique. Indeed, and that is what makes Germany so amazing! When my family finishes playing Apples to Apples, we laugh at the cards that we won...so I guess we will go with "special" and "beautiful" in this case ;)

I tend to cram too much into a trip, but I am trying to be aware of having time to poke around and enjoy the beauty, history, and cuture/people of the places. I will save Hallstatt for another time. Sigh. But the places that you suggested look amazing!

I am honestly not too excited about Munich and have been there, but I feel like even half a day will be good just so that my daughters can experience it. Dachua will obviously not be a fun experience, but I think the best way not to repeat the worst of history is to be aware of it. I will try to figure out how I can do those in a single day, maybe in route, by putting our bags into lockers at the Munich train station. Any ideas are most welcome!! I have almost as much fun planning as going, but I am late this time because of life circumstances.

My husband really wants to see Salzburg, so I'd like to keep that in, although I know there is a cost in travel time. We also really enjoy watching the scenery pass by out of the train window. I will have an extra night to play with now before getting to the Rhine Valley, so would you recommend trying to stay somewhere close to the Rhine Gorge on Day 7 to get an early start? For instance, is Bernkastel or Schiltach too far (Schiltach is appealing because of it's Roman ties and location in the Black Forest)? I looked at other walled cities (Nordlingen and Dinkelsbuhl) and would love to see them all, but will have to save those for another trip. Actually, I want to move to Germany - I just need to figure out how to earn a living there!

Last issue: do you recommend doing a cruise from Bingen or another starting point? We will have our bags. I have reservations in St. Goar based on the recommendation of dropping our bags there after the cruise and then taking the train to explore. I've seen others recommend Boppard as having more to do and being cuter. I can switch, if it's preferred. I just need to keep in mind the trip to Frankfurt airport the last morning to arrive by 11am.

Thanks so much!!

Posted by
5552 posts

"Day 10: Train from St. Goar to Frankfurt to fly home"

Might be better to spend night #9 elsewhere for a DIRECT train ride to FRA. Delays that result in missed connections can mess with your timely arrival on an important day. I will lobby for Mainz. Great place for a final day or half day of shopping/dining/strolling/sightseeing. Direct and frequent departures to FRA all day long starting around 4 am.

"WHERE TO SPEND THIS NIGHT TO GET US CLOSER TO BINGEN IN THE MORNING TO GET ON THE RHINE CRUISE?"

Munich > St. Goar, 13:47 – 18:38, one change of train in Bingen. You don't have time to reach Bingen by train and hop on a cruise; yes, it's the best place to start your cruise. Why not spend both Night 7 and Night 8 in St. Goar? Catch a train to Bingen for the cruise on the morning of Day 8 or Day 9. It's a little more enjoyable without the bags anyway.

"is Bernkastel or Schiltach too far (Schiltach is appealing because of it's Roman ties and location in the Black Forest)?"

These are nice places you COULD make time for if your trip wasn't being spent largely in Bavaria and Salzburg. They are not feasible with your current plan.

Your will have roughly 1.5 days on Days 8 and 9 for the Rhine Valley - including your cruise - if you race up to the Rhine from Munich on Day 7 as I suggested. St. Goar is sandwiched between other nice, nice places. To find old-world charm near St. Goar is not difficult:

Oberwesel: 5 train minutes south of St. Goar

Old town wall walk

Bacharach: 10 train minutes south of St. Goar

Many nice half-timbered buildings

Boppard: 10 train minutes north of St. Goar

Town brochure

Chairlift ride to Gedeonseck restaurant/lookout

Marksburg Castle tour in the town of Braubach (ferry across the Rhine, 20-minute train ride to Braubach)

Marksburg history

Posted by
5552 posts

"I have reservations in St. Goar based on the recommendation of dropping our bags there after the cruise and then taking the train to explore. I've seen others recommend Boppard as having more to do and being cuter."

A cruise on Day 8 or 9 as I suggested will mean a train ride to Bingen + a boat ride back to St. Goar. But with your hotel in St. Goar, your boat deposits you right where you need to be. If you have a St. Goar hotel with a view of the river, you have the best possible scenic view on the Rhine River, IMHO. Boppard's setting is very nice but the view not as dramatic. And because of the convenient ferry crossing in St. Goar, a trip to Marksburg Castle, if you make it, should be a snap.

St. Goar Ferry boat which crosses the Rhine every 20 minutes or so - see schedule. €2 per foot passenger each way.

I'm maybe the biggest promoter on this forum of Boppard as a base town. It's larger, has more restaurants and hotels and things to see and do than St. Goar. And the free travel pass is there is very handy - especially for those who want to visit points north or along the Mosel River. But you don't have time for those places. And with this year's skimpy boat schedule, cruising to Boppard is tricky. For most of the day you'd need to get off in St. Goar and then catch a train to Boppard to get back to your hotel. The train rides you might need on Day 8 and 9 to reach Bacharach, Oberwesel, Boppard, Bingen, Mainz and/or Braubach can be done using a day pass called the Rheinland-Pfalz ticket. Buy it at the station in St. Goar from a ticket machine if you wish.

Posted by
10 posts

Hey,

I really appreciate you thinking through this and for all of your advice! I have been trying to do more research and work all of this out. I do have great reservations in St. Goar, but they may not be on the nights that would make the most sense with the new schedule. We could shift and add a third night along the Rhine, if I can get reservations. What did you mean about the skimpy boat schedule? Also, are the trains affected? If hiring is as big of a problem there as in the US, a lot of things will be affected (transportation, restaurants, hotel service, etc).

If we did two nights in Rothenburg, 2 nights in Salzburg, and then split the trip up on the way from Salzburg to the Rhine area, is there a "logical" place to stay (in terms of the trains and having an interesting visit)? I wish we could just rent a car, but there is a lot to be said for just hopping on the train and not worrying about directions/traffic/etc. I don't feel very comfortable yet with how long the trains will really take and how to interpret the travel time, because some estimates use the ICE trains, but we will try to use the regional trains (Bayern, etc). I can do more research on that, but I am trying to get our hotels booked, since it is so late.

Again, I am very grateful for your advice and welcome any input!

Posted by
5552 posts

We could shift and add a third night along the Rhine, if I can get reservations. What did you mean about the skimpy boat schedule? Also, are the trains affected?

A 3rd night there is good. The KD boat schedule used to offer more and longer sailings before Covid. Trains are no problem at all.

If we did two nights in Rothenburg, 2 nights in Salzburg, and then split the trip up on the way from Salzburg to the Rhine area, is there a "logical" place to stay (in terms of the trains and having an interesting visit)

Mid-day, eh? think it's wise to make that interim overnight stop on DAY 1 when you arrive. Not sure where at the moment. I only know it is a very long journey to either Rothenburg or to Salzburg that you probably don't want to make, immediately after a transatlantic red-eye flight. By car, that trip would be even worse. I will look into the specific details. Expect a private message from me with the results by tomorrow morning.

Long distances can be covered very quickly by train in Germany. But when very snug itineraries across long distances - like yours - involve Rothenburg, which lies at the end of a trunk railway, it's always a bit of a Houdini-act to make connections and to make decent time, so don't expect some sleek train trip like the Eurostar or the Thalys.

Posted by
309 posts

Hi Sarah- Good luck on your short trip. This comment is about 2 sentences from one of your posts.

"Actually, I want to move to Germany - I just need to figure out how to earn a living there!"

Depending on your location in Germany, the weather in summer and early fall can be wonderful. But, from my real life experience (thanks to Uncle Sam), winter and spring can be a real show stopper!

Have a great trip !!!

Posted by
3017 posts

Hi, Sarah. For the record, I think Salzburg is great. The fortress over the town is stunning. I'm in the middle of 5 nights in Salzburg -- my third trip to the city. Two nights gives you essentially one day for sightseeing. Is there anything in particular your husband wants to see in/around the city?

I've never been to Rothenburg, so no help there.

Russ is the king when it comes to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. He helped with my trip a few years ago, so I totally defer to him.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Dave,

Thanks for responding! Russ has been amazing helping me think through my plans and keep me grounded. I think I am going to do everything he mentioned about the Rhine valley! He’s also uber helpful with train advice.

To answer your question, my husband wants to see the fortress and the SoM sights and the beauty of the area. I basically drove through in college and have always wanted to go back and explore. It looks like we will have 3 nights now, so I’d love to hear whatever you have to share about recommendations for sites to see, hotels, and restaurants/bakeries/etc! Or if you have posted about those things, please direct me to the link.

Thanks!

Posted by
5 posts

We're in the middle of planning a similar trip, with two teen boys. We'll be traveling from Stuttgart to Salzburg (which is a must do for us as well). I'm considering it as good down time in the trip. We tend to go, go, go and this will be good passive traveling time. As Americans my kids have never traveled by train before, so that aspect will be new.

We're staying in Stuttgart b/c my teens sons are car lovers and want to see Porche and Mercedez. We're thinking of renting a car and doing Rothenburg as a day trip (yes, a long day, but for us it's no different than doing a day ski trip, which we do often).

We plan on doing the Salt Mines in Salzburg- there is one that is only 12 miles away (can't remember if it's Hallstadt or not). Basically, it's a half day excursion you can get to on public transportation. I don't think you should get rid of Salzburg, it's really worth it and not that crazy far out of your way.

Posted by
3017 posts

Hello, again, Sarah.

The Rick Steves book has a good self-guided tour of the old town.

There are multiple SOM tours -- a bicycle tour, a small van tour, and a large coach bus tour. Or you can find a lot of the sites on your own. It's particularly easy to find the "Do Re Me" sites in Mirabelle Garden.

Eisreisenwelt is an ice cave at Werfen that comes with great mountain scenery. I went yesterday for the first time and loved it. It does require a bit of physical effort... I logged climbing 80 flights of stairs on my iPhone from arrival at the site to completing my day there.

The lake district to the east of Salzburg is loved by many.

Berchtesgaden just across the border in Germany to the West offers a ton of things -- a salt mine, Eagle's Nest, Königssee (King's Lake), and hiking galore.

I stay in cheap places! So... I've always stayed at Gästehaus in Priesterseminar Salzburg. For the price of 67 euro per night, I get a single room with breakfast. No air conditioning, which is okay for me. I don't think I would recommend it for a family.

As far as restaurants go, perhaps you have seen this recent thread.

Posted by
4677 posts

Just do a day trip to Hallstatt from Salzburg. It isn’t that far.

Posted by
3017 posts

Today I did the hike to Röthbach Waterfall at Königssee in Berchtesgaden. I forgot how beautiful that hike is. If your family likes hiking, I can give more info.

Posted by
2982 posts

We're staying in Stuttgart b/c my teens sons are car lovers and want to see Porche and Mercedez. We're thinking of renting a car and doing Rothenburg as a day trip (yes, a long day, but for us it's no different than doing a day ski trip, which we do often).

I would beg you not to waste your time doing this. Stuttgart (and most places in Germany) are surrounded by towns that are just as charming and well-preserved but not nearly as touristy. Rothenberg is wonderful for the Night Watchman's Tour but he's not worth the very tiring drive when there are better nearby options (or options en route to your nearest destination). Take a look at Esslingen or Tuebingen as an alternative to Rothenberg odT but there are many many more options.

Highly recommended doing Porsche than Mercedes, as one is WAY better than the other. Don't stay by the museums though, they are in very industrial areas.

Posted by
1759 posts

I disagree with Sarah. Go to Rothenburg.

She is the first person I have heard prefer Porsche over Mercedes. I have only visited Porsche, primarily because a friend used to drive for them. We stayed at the Achat hotel near the museum and didn’t mind the area. There is a public transportation station right at the museum so you have easy access to anywhere. Get rhe group day pass for the U-bahn, S-bahn - real bargain

Posted by
2063 posts

I vote also for visiting Rothenburg!

Posted by
2982 posts

She is the first person I have heard prefer Porsche over Mercedes. I have only visited Porsche,
I said to visit Porsche BEFORE Mercedes, because the latter (Mercedes) is so much better. Visiting Mercedes first means Porsche will likely be a disappointment.

It's fine to like Rothenburg odT but it is objectively a fairly expensive hassle to rent a car for one day to make the drive there and back to Stuttgart before departing to Salzburg especially when towns nearly as nice (and historically more interesting!) exist 10 minutes away from downtown Stuttgart by S-Bahn.

As for staying by the museums, sure you can pay as much to stay there as you would downtown and not be walking distance to anything interesting aside from the museums, but why would anyone do that when as you note there's an S-Bahn stop at the museum?

Posted by
5552 posts

Thread update for those who've offered tips since Bookthetrip's last post 3+ days ago:

Last I heard (3+ days ago) the OP had pared down the destinations to Rothenburg, Salzburg + day trip, and St. Goar/Rhine, possibly with a final day/night in Mainz, and was working on lodging and rail journeys. Like you, I remain uninformed on what progress she's made, or hasn't, so I suggest holding off with further suggestions until she returns with further requests for help.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi everyone!
Sorry to be silent - just too busy of a week! I am so grateful for each person's input and really enjoy hearing everyone's ideas! It is so helpful to hear all of the opinions, pro and con.

I do think we are going to keep our 2 nights in Rothenburg, touristy or not. ;). I am looking into renting a car between Stuttgart and Rothenburg odt, because it is such a mess to figure out with public transport. cofrog78 mentioned that she is doing this also (your trip looks awesome, btw!). We are currently thinking of renting a car in the Stuttgart airport, driving to Rothenburg, hopefully finding a reasonable parking deck/lot nearby, spending 2 nights and then driving to Nuremberg to turn it in and see the old town for 1-2 hours (quick fly by!) before getting on the train to Salzburg. We would store our luggage at the train station while we explore. The train to Salzburg will be great time to watch the beautiful world go by. We even considered hopping off in Munich to see the Glockenspeil, but we will have to see how we feel and if we want to deal with the bags. Some people might find that horrible, but I find it exciting to see things on the way. I really need to be a 19 year old college student/backpacker again! haha

We will spend 3 nights in Salzburg and may do a day trip one day. Dave, your excursions and hikes sound amazing! Thank you for sharing. Yes, we do like to hike, so any info or recs you have would be much appreciated. I think we can decide the day trip closer to time or maybe even when we get there.

Then we will make the long journey to St. Goar. That will be the price we pay of going to Salzburg. I haven't had time to figure out the trains. Russ has been giving me great advice, and I need to sit down this weekend and figure that part out.

We will have 3 nights in St. Goar and I am so very excited about this part - the Rhine Valley is the part that I really wanted to explore. Then we will spend one night in Mainz before flying out of Frankfurt. I have since learned that my cousin was born in Mainz, which is pretty cool, since he was adopted and I never knew that.

Thanks to my new travel forum buddies!

Posted by
5552 posts

I do think we are going to keep our 2 nights in Rothenburg, touristy
or not...car between Stuttgart and Rothenburg... because it is such a
mess to figure out with public transport...driving to Nuremberg to
turn it in and see the old town for 1-2 hours (quick fly by!) before
getting on the train to Salzburg... hopping off in Munich to see the
Glockenspeil, but we will have to see how we feel and if we want to
deal with the bags.

1) Any "train to Salzburg" from Rothenburg would in fact be 4-6 different trains depending on your departure time, so any negative feelings you might have about moving around with bags that day will just have to be met with some measure of grit and determination whenever you change trains. Dropping bags in a Munich locker, whether on Day 3 or on your travel day to the Rhine (which also requires a change of train in Munich,) should be a non-issue since you must change there anyway. Same for Nuremberg.

A lot of people would call this Day 3 journey a job for the rental car. But with time scheduled in N'berg and Munich, and with the regional-trains-only "Bayern Ticket" - or better yet your 9-Euro passes for these same trains - your snail's approach to Salzburg means you aren't hoping to do anything in Salzburg that day anyway but sleep. Aside from the potential crowding that has been projected for the regional trains, I don't see any problem if you don't.

2) Your misadventure, IMHO, is on Day 1. I've done rental cars in Germany, but only after getting my inner clock adjusted and making sure my wits are about me and my reflexes are at their best. While I am fluent in Germany and have experience with the country's driving culture, I would not choose to set out in the afternoon of Day 1, after a transatlantic red-eye flight, in a rental car that I am not familiar with, to navigate unfamiliar territory, with signage in an unfamiliar language, for a 2-hour drive - no matter how eager I might be to reach my first destination, and not even if I were traveling alone. And I can't recommend this choice to anyone else, either, so if Cofrog is planning some similar misadventure, then both of you are the targets of my concern-based finger-wagging. It would be nice to keep you as forum buddies!

What I WOULD do instead, if I were eager to make progress that day, is look for some alternative destination for Night #1 which is accessible by train from Stuttgart and would provide easy morning access to Rothenburg. Ansbach, Würzburg and Nuremberg come to mind. Then cancel Night #1 in Rothenburg (which on this long day would really just end up being not much more than a more distant place to sleep and shower.) You will still have nearly all of Day and Night #2 in R'burg. Or you can add a night there if you can't see spending fewer than 2 nights and squeeze out a night from the Rhine somewhere.

Posted by
3017 posts

Königssee is near Berchtesgaden and is gorgeous. There is a boat that goes across the lake. For a great hike, take it all the way across the lake to the Salet stop (around 55 minutes) and then take the walk to Obersee (a small but pretty lake), hike around the lake on the right, look back across the gorgeous little lake on the other side, and then head up to a lovely alpine meadow that features Germany's highest waterfall, Röthbach Wasserfall. It's an out-and-back hike with a total time of around 3 hours -- a little longer if you like to stop and gawk at nature's beauty, like I do.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi,

Dave - thanks for the info about the hike. I will definitely look into doing that! I wonder if we can do that and the castle on the same day trip?

Russ, those are great suggestions! I will look into that idea of taking the train to a more accessible but still interesting town that first night. Stuttgart just doesn't interest us at all (not car people). I don't mind cutting the first night in Rothenberg and would find that preferable to cutting anything from our time in the Rhine Valley. I totally hear what you are saying about being tired the first day, but here is another thought: what about if we just stay off the autobahn? We don't like interstates anyway, and we could take back roads and even stop in Schwaibisch Hall or Vellberg on the way for a break/meal. I think Highway 14 leaves Stuttgart in the right direction, and we could wander our way over. I'd like to arrive in R before too late, but we need to stay up until around 8p/dark anyway. Then we could get up bright and early in R.

I value any thoughts - thanks for you time!

Posted by
3017 posts

I wonder if we can do that and the castle on the same day trip?

Honestly, the hike takes most of a day. If staying in Salzburg, it's at least an hour to Königssee, an hour on the boat, 3+ hour hike, and then repeat boat and back to Salzburg.

Posted by
8100 posts

Stuttgart has more to offer than car museums! It also has palaces and vineyards.
Alternative is to take a short train trip to Esslingen and stay there overnight. Authentic, beautiful, medieval town that for me is far more interesting than Rothenburg.

Posted by
794 posts

I think Russ is right about your first night in Rothenburg. I lived in Steinach (next train stop up the line) for 2 years, and while I drove mostly I used other transport too. If you're coming from Salzburg I recommend going to Munich, and then from there to Ansbach. That's about 4 hours by rail, maybe longer. Stay that night in Ansbach. It's a great town, overlooked by tourists, mainly because the US Army has a base there. But it's historic, well kept, and everyone speaks English. There should be a bus to Rothenberg, but I recommend a cab, and if you tell them you are a family with luggage you should be able to get a station wagon or van. It's only 20 miles and a cab will get you there in maybe 30 minutes where the train will take 1.5 hours. Try to get to Rothenburg before 9am so you can walk the streets before all the tourist arrive (around 10).

But what bothers me most is that you're not planning a linier trip. You're going to waste a lot of time backtracking. If you must fly into Stuttgart then hit the museums, do the Rhine portion, then head to Rothenburg, then Salzburg, and fly back via Munich; that will save you hours of travel time. You only have 10 days, and you're planning to spend almost half of your time getting from one place to another.

Personally I'd drop Stuttgart, fly into Vienna, train to Salzburg, then to Ansbach via Munich, RodT, St Goar, fly out of Frankfurt. Or vice versa. If you must have a car museum the BMW museum is in Munich (but I prefer the Deutsches Museum which is fantastic). Vienna and Munich are University towns and have a large contingent of foreign students; I think your girls will prefer them to Stuttgart.

If you focus on just the Rhine/Black Forest or on Bavaria/Salzburg I think you'd find even more time to actually see some of the places everyone talks about.

I'll recommend Boutique Hotel am Dom in Salzburg. Excellent location and great staff.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi all,

Thank you so much for the advice! I know my trip is maddeningly nonlinear, but there were reasons that had to be planned that way initially, and I think it's too expensive to change my plane tickets now. Live and learn!

Dave, I will look into that hike as a day trip from Salzburg - my group will need to choose between that and Hohenwerfen, I think. Hallstadt is probably too far, since we only have 2 days/3 nights in Salzburg.

I am getting close to nailing everything down - yay! I really appreciate the help and advice that everyone has offered!

Sarah