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First time to Germany --- How many days should I plan??? I need help, please!

We (3 of us) are going to Germany for 2 weeks at the end of July and it is our first time. My husband wants to see places where his great grandfather grew up - in and around Ichenheim. We will fly into Frankfurt and renting a car the whole time. Rick's book as my main planner and love his '3 week trip by car' but we only have 2 weeks. We decided not to go to Berlin and go round trip back to Frankfurt: down the east side(I think( and to Munich, then Rothenburg and back to Frankfurt. Right now I am thinking:
2 nights in Bacharach, 2 nights in Tier, 1 night in Baden - Baden, I night in Offenburg (this is near Ichenheim), 2 nights in Fussen, 3 nights in Munich (with a day trip to Salzburg or spend 1 night there) 1 night in Rothenburg and the last night near Frankfurt.
PLEASE - any help would be appreciated. What am I missing and where am I spending too much time. I do want to enjoy the scenery and area not always 'doing' something. Any suggestions would truly be appreciated!


Posted by
3696 posts

I like to do whirlwind trips and it is easier with a car, but you have a number of 1 night stays, which barely gives you time to settle in, and you are off again the next day. I have not been to Baden-Baden but I have seen a number of Germany experts say it might not be worth the time.... hopefully someone will give you specifics. One night in Salzburg also does not give you much time to see an absolutely charming location. I would map out the driving time, then add extra time for stops, lunch, car picnics, etc. and see how your timing looks. I think the benefit of driving is that you can take your time and explore areas not accessible by train....if you are spending so much time on the road simply traveling to the next location I feel you will be disappointed.

Rothenburg is small so one night is probably OK there.

Posted by
321 posts

Hi Janeh-

Since Baden-Baden and Offenburg are about 25 miles apart, I would recommend that you spend 2 nights in either town and daytrip to Lchenheim.. Gengenbach is an alternate to consider and is only 5 miles south of Offenburg. Gengenbach is a nice town similar to but smaller than Rothenburg. I have only driven through Offenburg and Baden-Baden but was not impressed by either.
Have a good trip!!!

Posted by
12040 posts

Supplement your research of Germany with another guidebook, please. For a driving itinerary of Germany, I find that the RS guide leaves too many large blank spaces and overemphasizes some towns beyond what they deserve. For example, Germany has over 100 officially designated spa resorts, but Baden-Baden is the only one that gets mentioned, and in my opinion, it's not even one of the nicest. I'm not saying skip Baden-Baden, which actually makes sense for your trip, but just realize there's a whole lot you're missing if you only rely on the Blue Book.

Some more specifics- I don't think Trier merits two nights. 3 hours was enough for me. If you're planning on using this as a base for the Mosel, there's better locations. With a car, you could just as easily stay in Bacharach the entire time.

Anything more you want to do in Füssen besides visit the castles? If not, you could just see it as a daytrip from Munich. If you want to explore the surrounding Alps a little, I would use Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald, Erhwald or Lermoos as a base instead, and allot 3 nights instead of 2.

Posted by
18 posts

I'm intrigued by your husband's roots..... Does he have a family tree showing his ggrandfather being born "in and around Ichenheim"? 10 years ago I went to my great grandfather's village near Stuttgart. Lots of people with the same name as my mother, but when I mentioned it I got smiles and polite nods. Until the last day. I went to the town hall and found a distant cousin (4th cousin, our common ancestor was born around 1800) who had also done her genealogy. We got out our family trees and put them on the table and traced them back to the common ancestor! We had our picture taken together and she looks like my sister! My "trip of a lifetime" became the first of 5 (the 6th being this coming summer). Each time I go back I meet more relatives. They have welcomed my wife and I into their homes and hearts.
But the documentation helps...

Posted by
1064 posts

True, you can hit the highlights of Trier or Bacharach in two or three hours. I have done so at least three times in each town, simply because I was staying somewhere else at the time -- Luxembourg City, Vianden, Bernkastel-Kues, Sinzig, Frankfurt. But either town would be fine as a base for day trips to nearby scenic and historic areas. It is a different experience wandering about the altstadt at night, when daytrippers have gone home and the pace slows down.That's when the past seems to come alive in these old towns. But unless you want to continue on into Luxembourg or northern France -- not a bad idea, really, I would limit Trier to one night.

Posted by
813 posts

I suggest you skip the night in Baden-Baden. Stay a few nights in Strasbourg or Offenburg, or where-ever else you want to. Then take your time exploring the personal history town and surrounding area. There are a lot of really lovely wine towns and historic towns in that area. Also suggest you plan perhaps double the google maps time allotted for Strasbourg-Fuessen. Construction (if you go late at night--after 8p-- they sometimes completely close the 8 at Pforzheim going east) and general traffic can be nightmarish. It is possible under 4 hrs if the stars align, but unlikely. Check out the school vacation schedule, as Baden-Wuert. starts their in late July and it could be worse then.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you all for your tips!!! They are very helpful as we get our days planned and we will be using them. I am excited to start fine tuning our trip.