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German Itinerary Help

Hi. I've seen so much helpful advice here that I would like to ask for advise on my itinerary as well. My husband and I are arriving in Germany for 7 days and then my father is joining us for the next 7 days. Here is the plan as I have it now.

Day 1 - Arrive Munich, pick up a car, and drive to Baden-Baden. Sleep in Baden-Baden.
Day 2 & 3 - Baden-Baden which I understand is in the Black Forest area.
Day 4 - Drive to Rothenburg & stay the night
Day 5 - Drive to Bacharach & see the Rhine Valley
Day 6 - Rhine Valley till late afternoon. Drive to Frankfurt. Sleep near the airport.
Day 7 - Pick up my father from the airport. Take a train to Berlin.

Day 8 & 9 - Berlin and surrounding area. Sleep in Berlin.
Day 10 - Train to Munich
Day 11-13 - Explore Munich & the surrounding area.
Day 14 - Travel home.

Two main questions.... First, is it best to travel by car, train, or car the first half and train the second half? I've compared the costs and am comfortable with that. I'm more interested in getting the best views and least amount of travel time. A friend warned me of construction delays and google maps shows lots of construction on the various routes. However, I don't want to miss beautiful scenery and being able to stop in small towns along the way if they are worth it. Second question, are we allowing enough time for each location?

I really appreciate any comments or suggestions you may have. Thanks!

Posted by
5257 posts

Days 1-7: I like the Black Forest, but it is too far to zig to from Munich and then to to zag back to Bavaria to see Rothenburg and then to zig back to the Rhine. You are going to spend far too much time in the car. Also, Baden-Baden really has very little connection to Black Forest culture. It's a pricey casino/spa town. And while there are some nice old-world villages in the Black Forest, there are some equally enchanting old-world villages in the Rhine and Mosel Valleys - but you aren't allowing enough time to visit them.

And it's unwise to jump out of the plane at MUC and into the car and drive such a distance when you've just gotten off an international flight and are likely to be a jetlagged driver in unfamiliar surroundings.

Try this instead.

Day 1: Arrive FRA, train or drive to the Rhine for 3 nights.
Day 2: Rhine towns and castles (Braubach, Obewesel, Boppard, Bacharach, St. Goar)
Day 3: Mosel Valley day trip (Cochem, Burg Eltz)
Day 4: Drive to Rothenburg for 3 nights. (If you are really into spas, take a detour to Bad Kissingen on the way?)
Day 5 & 6: Short day trips to villages and towns on the Romantic Road and elsewhere nearby - Ochsenfurt, Weikersheim, Würzburg, Marktbreit, Sommerhausen, Iphofen, Bad Windsheim.
Day 7: Drive to FRA and get Dad.

Note: Rothenburg wouldn't be my choice for 3 nights - pretty touristy there.

Iphofen is a terrific old walled town that now caters to artists and wine lovers - photo
Marktbreit, Ochsenfurt, Sommerhausen - video

Rick doesn't put his stamp of approval on all these places... but remember that his standard picks are now somewhat tourist-trampled. If you want to see more of the real Germany, venture out a little beyond his suggestions.

I would do the above destinations by train. And if you do it by train, consider Würzburg as a base instead of Rothenburg - it's an excellent train hub for the area. Rothenburg's not a good base for train outings.

Posted by
6179 posts

Look at a map and you'll see you are zig-zagging across a whole country. Distances are deceptive and it will take you longer to get from one place to another than you thing. You will be too tired to stop in small towns along the way, and they don't look so charming when you are on the autobahn staring at the rear end of a semi for hours at a time. If you can change your incoming flight destination, it would be a whole lot simpler.

Rothenburg obt and Baden-Baden are both skippable for the distances involved. Although a route through Rothenburg to the Rhine makes more sense.

Posted by
1621 posts

I like Russ' suggestions although I have no problem staying in Rothenburg for 3 days (as I did on my last visit there - see my trip report at for a nice, inexpensive apt. to stay in).

Posted by
1621 posts

Trip report is as BIGTYKE.

Why not have your dad fly directly to Berlin and you meet him there?

Posted by
328 posts

George, Russ and Stan have given you really good advice. You are trying to do FAR too much with too little time. Slow down and give yourself some time to actually experience the places you get to. As Russ suggested, I'd drop Baden-Baden and the Black Forest. It is very pretty and well worth visiting but probably not on this trip. Also, you don't need to sleep near the airport if your father flies into Frankfurt. Bacharach is less than an hour's drive away from Frankfurt Airport.

My personal preference would be to have a rental car when you visit the area around the Rhine, Rothenburg and around Munich. It can certainly be done by train but I like the flexibility a car can give you for impulse traveling. Construction can be a major headache in some areas of the autobahn but if it is scenery and small towns you are interested in seeing, you will probably spend a lot of time on secondary roads where it isn't as much of an issue.

As for driving a couple of hours with jet lag - don't! If you are like us, you travel direct from the far East Coast and the jet lag isn't as big an issue so a short drive may be manageable but a long drive after an overseas flight is simply too risky.

If I were planning this trip, I'd spend one night in Munich then pick up the rental car and drive somewhere near Rothenburg. I'd spend 2-3 nights near Rothenburg. Then I'd drive to Bacharach for the remaining nights. I'd make an early start from Bacharach on the morning your father arrives. Pick him up and drop off then rental car then board the train to Berlin. I'd do the remainder of the trip by train with the possible exception of renting a car for a day-trip into the Bavarian countryside during your stay in Munich.

I hope this helped answer your questions.

Posted by
12400 posts


I'll comment on day 10: The part of trip going from Berlin to Munich you can also do that by taking the CNL night you an extra day in Munich. You arrive in Munich Hbf. a little after 0600. I did that CNL night train in May from Hamburg, arrived ca 0700 at Munich Hbf.

Posted by
51 posts

There have been some very good replies to your post already . I particularly agree with what Chris wrote. While Baden-Baden is lovely, in the amount of time you have, I would cut it out of the itinerary and leave it for another trip. Then you could go from Munich to Rothenburg, and from Rothenburg on to Bacharach as a base to enjoy the Rhine River valley. This way you will have more time to enjoy the trip, rather than spending so much time in-transit trying to get from point A to point B. Also, as already mentioned, you could drive directly from Bacharach to Frankfurt airport (no need to sleep near the airport).

Regarding driving versus train travel--driving on the Autobahn could be a fun part of your German travel experience, but you wouldn't necessarily have to drive the whole time or even much of the time. The German train system is excellent, and riding the trains also gives you an opportunity to relax and look out the window without worrying about navigating (it also would give you the chance to simply read, sleep, etc.). Particularly on the longer routes (e.g. Berlin to Munich), rather than concentrating on driving with views of the Autobahn for six hours, you might be better off just relaxing on a train.

As some others mentioned, if you haven't already bought your ticket, you might consider an open-jaw ticket so that you could arrive in Munich, spend time there, and then eventually make your way up to Berlin and fly home from there without having to trek back down to Munich. Finally, as others have mentioned, I would not recommend driving several hours right after arriving in Germany. Stay the night in Munich, if you can, and get a fresh start on driving in the morning.

Have a great trip!