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Advice on Travel From Vienna to Rothenburg

My wife and I are interested in going from Vienna to Rothenburg with possible overnight stops in Hallstatt and Neuschwanstein Castle.

Should we rent a car, or take the train?

By the way, our return flight to the US is 24 November from Frankfurt, or we might not go to Germany at all with Covid numbers up.

Thanks for any help you can offer!

Posted by
4406 posts

Covid is actually worse in Austria than Germany. 1 in 100 people in Austria have COVID today.

You are hitting probably the most touristy sights in all of Central Europe. Is that really the experience you want to have as it can be very inauthentic and crowded with bus crowds and Instagrammers?

If you insist, then train is a much better option unless you are ok with paying hundreds to drop off a rental in a different country than where you picked it up.

For the train, always use the official rail carrier to buy your tickets. In Austria is is OEBB (www.OeBB.at) and in Germany it is Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.de).

Posted by
5016 posts

You have to live, go ahead and live. Take COVID precautions, but enjoy your trip.

If you stop at Neuschwanstein, suggest going up The Romantic Road, there are several wonderful cities and towns as well as Rothenburg ob der Tauber. For example, Dinkelsbuhl is a well preserved town like Rothenburg, but without many tourists.

Augsburg is worth visiting the down town to see the wonderful Town Hall and the Fugeri (oldest settlement for the poor).
Check out this link.
https://www.romanticroadgermany.com

Posted by
1621 posts

I'd take a train to Passau and rent a car. That way you would be returning the car in Germany and not pay the cross border return fee. As mentioned then you should go from Neuschwanstein to along the Romantic Road to Rothenburg. Doing that by train would mean training Munich to Fussen, then backtracking to Munich before going to Rothenburg.

How many days do you have planned for this part of your trip?

Posted by
18058 posts

I see no need to rent a car. Vienna, Hallstatt, Füssen, Rothenburg, and Frankfurt airport have train stations and they are all interconnected.

Hallstatt to Füssen would be a long day; you might want to stop over for a night in Salzburg (it also has a station) and see that city.

Then, Salzburg to Füssen will take about 4½ hours with a change of trains midway in Munich. If you time it right and don't catch the next train out of Munich for Füssen, you can stop over for an hour and have lunch in the food court at the Hauptbanhof. By taking only regional trains from Salzburg to Füssen, you can make the trip with a Bayern-Ticket for €33 for both of you.

Similarly, Füssen to Rothenburg is less than 5 hours by train and you can use another Bayern-Ticket for that trip. Augsburg is a stopover on that route. If you want to see the Fugger Museum, it's about a 20 minute walk from the station to the museum or faster (and easier) with a tram (fare included with the Bayern-Ticket).

I don't think I would advise the Romantic Road, certainly not in one day. The road itself is nothing to write home about; it's the towns along the way that make it worth your time, and visiting them is too much for just one day. In 2007, I did the road, taking 3 days(2 full & 2 half), or 3 nights. I visited Wieskirche, Schöngau, Landsberg, Donauwörth, Harburg, Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl, Feuchtwangen, and ended in Rothenburg. I felt the highlight of the trip was Nördlingen, a walled city.

If you really want to do the RR and see some of the towns on the way, I would suggest going by train from Füssen to Nördlingen, and spending the night in Nördlingen. You could stop on the way from Füssen to Nördlingen at Augsburg. Then, the second day, depending on how well you do with German, you can take buses from Nördlingen to Rothenburg with a change and stopover in Dinkelsbühl. With only English, it might be a little more difficult to navigate the buses vs the trains. Alternatively, you can take the train back to Donauwörth and on to Rothenburg.