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Germany -7days with 10 year old- Munich, Rhine Valley with Boppard, Bavarian castles, Frankfurt

We will be travelling with our grandson in the first part of April and have never rented a car in Europe, always taken trains, busses etc. Can we still see all we would like to see? Can you help me with a plan and an intinerary?

We would prefer to only stay in only a couple of places and take day trips from them if possible.
Thank you for any advice you can give me.

Posted by
419 posts

Are you talking about seven days on the ground, or do the seven days include travel time to and from Germany?
How many days in each place? What particularly are you interested in seeing?
With the destinations you are suggesting, you'll be spending most of your time traveling from place to place with not much time to see anything.
You could easily spend seven days in Munich and surrounding areas alone.
A 10-year-old will love the Deutsches Museum and the Munich Zoo, The castles at Neuschwanstein are a pleasant day trip from Munich. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also close by, as is the Chiemsee with by far the best of Ludwig's castles.
More details will elicit some replies.

Posted by
380 posts

The last time we rented a car was in 2010 but yes I think there is plenty you can still see with a car, especially things that a train does not go to. My husband and I have always found that driving in Germany is easy as long as you know a few do's and don'ts and know some of the road signs. We have not traveled with a 10 year old (yet, our daughter is only 2 1/2) and have only been taking trains with her at this point. We wouldn't hesitate to travel in a car with her, we would just have to bring a car seat. That's one thing to think about if your grandson is still in any type of booster seat, you'll need to bring it with you. Something else to think about, gas is expensive and I think a lot of the stations wouldn't take our credit card. I know the ones where it is not manned will not.

Another benefit of having the car, you can stay in a small village outside of a major city, so your costs could be lower. Plus you could rent a flat/house to stay in the entire time and have room for your grandson to get out and run. We stayed in a small village outside of Dachau in 2010 in a 3 bedroom flat. It was great! We were not far from one of the last stops on a line of the Munich Sbahn so we could park there, go into town to see things or to catch a train for a day trip (we did this to Salzburg).

You will also need to get an International Driver's permit before you go. You can get them at AAA for a small amount. If you plan on going into another county you will also need to make sure that you can drive that car across the border, some rental car companies don't allow you to go into certain countries without prior knowledge. You will also need to find out if you need the vingette's (not sure if that is the right word) to cross the border. I would seriously look into it if you don't want to mess with trains.

Posted by
4968 posts

All that travel in 7 days is unwise. Too much time going from place to place to place. Boppard and Frankfurt are two hours + apart by train. Munich and the Bavarian "castles" (presumably Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau) are separated by 2.5 hours by train and bus. You save .5 hour by driving between these places, but only if you get in and out of Munich and Frankfurt with no traffic issues. So you can't stay in just 2 places and hit all your destinations without lengthy day trips, whether by car or by train. And you also have lots of ground travel between the Frankfurt/Rhine area and the Munich area as well. Your best bet is to pick either the Frankfurt/Rhein area or the Munich area; find 2 base towns in one or the other.

For castles, you should know that the Rhine castles (and there are 40 or so castles in the 40-mile-long Middle Rhine Valley) have seen 700-1,000 years of European history; the Bavarian "castles" are late 19th-century palaces. But there is a lot to see in both regions. Depends on what matters to you.

Frankfurt/Rhine:

I could see 3 nights in Frankfurt with 2 days there and a daytrip to Gelnhausen (35 min. by train) and Büdingen (15 min. beyond Gelnhausen):
A Day Out in Gelnhausen
A Day Out in Büdingen

I could see 4 nights in Boppard with possible outings to Braubach (Marksburg Castle), to St. Goar-Oberwesel-Bacharach (all very close), to Linz am Rhein, to Cochem on the Mosel River, and possibley to Cologne. Mainz is also a very nice place and only a few minutes from FRA. Maybe you squeeze in a Rhine Cruise between Bingen and Boppard as well.

Train service is excellent in these areas and cheap daypasses are available. Rails run along both sides of the scenic Rhine Valley. I'll bet your grandson will find the train option more interesting than the back seat of a car.

Posted by
1402 posts

If you go to the Rhine as Russ suggested, I bet your grandson will love exploring the ruins at Burg Rheinfels above St. Goar.

Posted by
102 posts

I would suggest spend 2 or 3 days exploring Munich, take a day trip down to Neuschwanstein, and then head up to one of the little villages on the Rhine to spend your last few days exploring the Rhine Valley. You have plenty of time to explore both these areas. Cut a day out of Munich and you could fit something else in.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for all the great suggestions. We will be flying in and out of Munich and will have 7 days to travel in Germany. We will not rent a car, but take trains, busses, etc. We plan to explore Munich for 2/3 days and take a side trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein. Castle.

The older castles on the Rhine are still very interesting to me. Thank you for pointing out the towns and places of interest there.
Others have said Rothenburg is also a great place to visit. If I had to choose one to spend a couple of days exploring which would be best. With four days remaining after three in Munich what plan would you suggest?

Posted by
12040 posts

Rothenburg- If your trips takes you in the general area (which it probably will, because you're headed from the Mittelrhein to Munich) go for it. It is attractive, although I usually point out, not nearly as unique as the tourist literature makes it seem. But kids will probably enjoy it for a few hours. Some people insist it requires 2 days, I say it takes maybe 2-4 hours. But Germany is filled with good alternatives if you want to skip it.

Posted by
478 posts

We were in Germany when the kids were 8 and 11 years old. The favorite part for them was stopping at castles along the Rhine. We had a car and every time we saw one of those brown 'historical marker' signs, they usually were pointing in the direction of a particular castle or ruin. We would follow the road just to see where it led. It was like a scavenger hunt of sorts.

Since you won't be traveling by car my suggestion is to see Marksburg castle on the Rhine. We've been to several along the river but Marksburg is very cool to this particular age group of kids. Try and do a tour in English; they take you through many rooms, including the dungeon. At the end of our tour the guide let my son open the huge castle gate/door with the special castle key. He was in heaven.

Posted by
12040 posts

One note about Marksburg as well. If you want the English tour, you'll have to time your visit carefully, because they only offer a few per day.

Posted by
17648 posts

You don't need a car in Germany, certainly not for the places you want to go. They are all well served by public transportation. I've spent over 5 months total in Germany in the last 15 years, all without a car (although I have used a half dozen taxis), and I stay in a lot of small towns. Germany has the most extensive rail system (26,000 mi of track) and the second most dense (7.5 mi/100 sq mi, 1% less density than Switzerland). With 5400 Bahn stations, there is usually a station within a few miles of anywhere. Use the German Rail website to find how to get to places. It shows buses as well as trains.

I didn't see it mentioned above, but a 10 year old boy would love the castle ruins, Rheinfels, in St. Goar. Lots of passages to explore.

Posted by
3696 posts

If you want to venture out of Munich you could always head to Salzburg. Without a car it is a very walkable city to stay in and I think your grandson would love it. I have taken two of my grandsons there and both enjoyed it. With one of the kids I did a 'castle tour', but we did have a car and stopped at many of them along the way. How old is your grandson?