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Alpine Rd vs Romantic Rd

Hello,

My husband I will be traveling with my neice in the first week in July 2014. We long to see some old small towns and country side of Germany. We will be spending one night in Füssen (to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle, where my dad said he was housed as a soldier during WWII) and then travel to Kaierslautern. We have one night to spend on the road. We are trying to decide between taking the Romantic Rd and spending the night in Rothenburg, or taking the Alpine Rd and spending the night somewhere along the way, maybe somewhere near Triberg or the Black Forest Open Air Museum.

Alpine Road

Pros:
We'd get to see some of the amazing sites on the Alpine Rd, possibly stop at the Black Forest Open Air Museum, visit Baden Baden (maybe visit the pool there or day tour the casino).

Cons:
I think the drive along the Alpine Road might be challenging and we'll be driving for the first time in Europe. I also think that this route to Kaiserslautern might take more time and so we'd have less time to stop in villages. Summer ski lifts and any other "great heights" activities are out.

Romantic Road -
Pros:
We’d get to see some what we imagine when we think of small old German towns. Get to stop in Dinkelsbühl (which is what I think Dinkel’s Bakery in Chicago was named after, maybe we’d find some good pasteries there), visit Rothenburg for the night tour to see a medieval village and see the Christmas store the next morning. We’d finish the Romantic Rd in Würzburg, then head toward Kaiserslautern.

Cons:

We would miss the beautiful Alpine Rd. The drive from Würzburg to Kaiserslautern might not be very interesting, and we don’t know of any places to visit on that route from Wurzburg to Kaiserslautern.

Any suggestions for which route would be a better choice? Anything that we should take into consideration.

Posted by
18384 posts

What "Alpine Road" are you talking about? The start (one end) of the official Alpenstrasse is in Lindau, in south-western Bavaria, on the Bodensee, and it goes east from there through Immenstadt, Füssen, , Garmisch-Partenkirchen, crosses the Inn River south of Rosenheim, just north of the Austrian border, then through the mountains to Reit im Winkl and from there to Berchtesgaden. It goes nowhere near Baden-Baden, the Black Forest Openair Museum, or Triberg.

Except for where it goes up a steep mountain face outside of Bad Hindelang, or the part between Bayrischzell and Brannenburg, I wouldn't call any of the Alpenstrasse challenging. It's mostly just hilly country, but it is certainly more scenic than the Romantic Road.

Maybe you're thinking of the Schwarzwaldbahn, a train line that goes from Offenburg, near Baden-Baden, through Hausach, near the Openair Museum, and Triberg. I think a road parallels it, but it is best seen by train.

The attraction of the Romantic Road is the towns it goes through, not the road itself. Dinkelsbühl is one of those towns, although I personally liked Nördlingen better.

Posted by
6 posts

Yes. thank you for asking for the clarification. When I refer to the Alpine Road, it is from what I found on a website:

Begin quote:
The German Alpine road or Alpenstrasse
The German Alpenstrasse (Alpine road) is an exhilarating route full of twists and turns that runs for a distance of over 450 km between Lindau and Berchtesgaden. ... Download this road trip to see it in Google Earth
End quote.

Once we took the road far enough west, we would begin to head north, maybe from Staufen, through Triberg, Baden Baden to Kaiserslautern.

Posted by
6801 posts

Cheryl what I think you are asking is this: you are traveling from Füssen to Kaiserlautern, and you are having to choose between a southern route and a northern route. But you only have one night. Doesn't sound like you have much time to see anything, driving that far and only having one night. 450km at about 60km/hr is 7.5 hours, and you're only part way to K-town. Sounds like a nice drive, but really mostly what you see is other cars.

Posted by
18384 posts

So, you are going to start in Füssen and want to be in Kaiserlautern in two days, and where should you stop on the way?

The Romantic Road goes from Füssen to Würzburg. If you don't stop for too long in towns along the way, you should be able to do Füssen to Rothenburg in a day. Spend the night and the next morning in Rothenburg. The next day go from Rothenburg to Kaiserslauten. The direct route goes through Heilbronn. Get off there and follow the Neckar to Heidelburg, go from there to K-town.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you very much. This has helped enormously getting a better understanding of time and distance.

Posted by
12040 posts

I would take the Alps any day over a drive through eastern Swabia and lower Franconia. But the Alpenstraße makes no sense for your ultimate destination in Kaiserslautern. And you'll see plenty of great Alpine scenery around Füssen.

" visit Baden Baden (maybe visit the pool there or day tour the casino)." "We’d get to see some what we imagine when we think of small old German towns"; "The drive from Würzburg to Kaiserslautern might not be very interesting". Sounds like your trip ideas are coming straight out of the Blue Book. Here's the problem. Germany is absolutely packed with well-preserved small towns, themed tourist routes, and officially designated spa towns (usually identified by the moniker "Bad", ie Bad Tölz, Bad Kissingen, Bad Dürkheim, WeisBADen, Bad Kreuznach, Bad Neuenahr, Bad Köning, Bad Honnef, Bad Homburg, Bad Nauheim, to name just a few). The problem I have with the Blue Book is that it mentions one or a few examples and gives the impression that there's nothing else to see or do in the vast expanses of the country that it doesn't cover. For example, the scenery or interesting towns don't stop once you get to Würzburg, they keep on coming continuously. You can see these just about anywhere in the country.

That being said, the Romantic Road is a reasonable choice, because it runs in the general direction that you need to travel. But I would expand your research beyond the Blue Book to see what else lies along your direct route of travel. Look into Stuttgart, Burg Hohenzollern and Burg Liechtenstein, the technical museum at Sinsheim (popular with kids), Schwäbische Hall, the beautiful Neckar river valley between Bad Wimpfen and Heidelberg, the Odenwald, the Bergstraße between Heidelberg and Darmstadt, Speyer, the Deutsche Weinstraße, the Pfazlerwald (the forested region around Kaiserslautern, has one of Germany's highest density of castle ruins), etc.

Posted by
18384 posts

If you do want to do the Alpenstrasse from Füssen to Lindau, and the road along the Schwarzwaldbahn from Triberg to Hausach, the entire route from Füssen to Kaiserslautern, without any stops, takes 7 hours (Google maps). Of that time, the Alpenstrasse to Lindau takes about 2 hours (most of the Alpenstrase is east of Füssen) and the Schwarzwaldbahn from Triberg to Hausach takes about half and hour, without stops. The route also takes you past Baden-Baden (yawn).

Use Google maps to find the route. Put in Füssen to Bad Hindelang to Lindau to Villingen-Schwenningen to Triberg to Hausach to Kaiserslautern. Putting in Bad Hindelang is a must; it's part of the Alpenstrasse, but if you don't specify it, most navigation sites will route you around it. The switchbacks down the mountain above Bad Hindelang are spectacular but slow and tedious. Only the passengers will get to see the view, since there are few places to pull off and the road requires concentration. I've always done that on the bus so I can enjoy the scenery.

And, you have to put in Triberg and Hausach or the site will route you around that river valley, as well. You don't have to put in Villingen-Schwenningen, but it's just about half way and a large town, a good place to spend the night.

Posted by
16883 posts

I think you have a handle on the options already, and with the advice above. I found driving the Alpenstrasse was memorable for the mountain scenery and the road was easy, but much of that was heading the other direction, from Reutte to Innsbruck. If you have selected some destinations based on recommendations in Rick's Germany book, then you can be confident that those are tested and that you have the info you need in hand. If you want to stop at another town to explore, then a local tourist office can often provide a map and other advice, or a very small town can be pretty manageable to just poke around and find your own way.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you everyone for your very thoughtful and helpful advise. It has helped us a great deal in planning our trip!
ich danke Ihnen sehr