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Germany / Austria / Prague Itinerary Advice

Hey everyone - we (family of 4, kids ages 10 & 15) are returning to Germany / Austria after an amazing 16 day trip 2 years ago. 2 years ago we visited Koln, Bacharach, Rothenburg, Fussen ( Neuschwanstein, Zugspitze), Saltzburg, Vienna & Munich (after spending 3 days with family outside of Dortmund).

To keep this short ( I'll post our itinerary below ) - would you recommend Baden Baden and touring around the Black Forrest or visiting Wurzburg/ Nurnburg/Regensburg?

Current itinerary
7/1 - 7/5 Staying with family outside Dortmund
7/6 - 7/7 - Beilstein
7/8 - 7/9 - Bacharach
7/10 - 7/11 - Baden-Baden or ??
7/12 Munich (spend a lot of time here last time, love it, but ..)
7/13 Saltzburg
7/14 Hallstatt
7/15 Cesky Krumlov
7/16 - 7/17 Prague
7/18 - Dresden
7/19 - Family farm by Magdeburg
7/20 - 7/23 Berlin

Thoughts? Advice? Changes? Favorite experience nearby any of the above? We've read the RS Germany, Prague books cover to covert and seen all the videos/travel talks but any words of experience would be welcomed!

We live in Oregon and it sounds like the Black Forrest may offer experiences similar to home. Any recommendations on a better route between Bacharach and Saltzburg? (I'm open to dropping one night in Bacharach, having stayed there 2 years ago even though we loved it there)

Posted by
12040 posts

OK, connecting to your other thread. Go to Baden-Baden and the Black Forest if it lies along your direct route of travel. It doesn't. Southern and central Germany consists mostly of similar low mountain ranges. There's nothing special about the Black Forest except name recongition. As I wrote in your other thread, if you want the spa treatment, there's plenty of other options that fit better with your route of travel. And I think kids would probably enjoy Therme Erding quite a bit more than anything in Baden-Baden.

Posted by
306 posts

I haven't been to Wurzburg/ Nurnburg/Regensburg, so I can't speak about those towns, but we did go to Baden Baden two years ago. In all honesty, it was our least favorite place we went on our trip. It was pretty, but we just didn't find there to be a lot going on. Just my two cents. Have a great trip!

Posted by
16883 posts

For me, also as a PNW native, the open-air museum at Gutach (I'm a sucker for them but Rick only gives it one star) and the clock museum at Furtwangen were the most memorable sights of the Black Forest. Those are not necessarily worth detouring from a more logical route. I would minimize places that you've already been; Bacharach and Salzburg don't have the variety of a larger city and new places are more exciting.

I assume you're driving. Without much detour, you could add a stop along the Austrian Danube around Melk/Krems/Mauthausen and in the Czech rep you could add a stop at Konopiste castle between CK and Prague (three different guided tour routes to choose within the castle, one includes a very impressive collection of decorated armaments; also tons of mounted hunting trophies).

Posted by
12990 posts


If I may ask, where outside of Dortmund? In which of the suburbs? If you're a beer drinker at all, don't forget those good Dortmunder Biere.

Posted by
1795 posts

I'd stay in a smaller town (I like Gengenbach) rather than Baden-Baden.

Posted by
201 posts

Last summer, traveled to Prague & Cesky Krumlov with a 19- and 10-year old.

Prague - we stayed in one of Mary's Apts. accommodations and found them safe, convenient, family-friendly and they had free washers and a kitchen. Clock tower, evening concert in one of the churches on the square, the clock tower show, a horse-drawn carriage tour, castle, Jewish cemetery.

Cesky Krumlov - we loved this town but arrived late afternoon and left the next day so some of the crowds were avoided. We loved where we stayed - Krumlov House hostel It was inexpensive, we had the upper room and it was big enough for 3 of us. They have a separate apt. on the side of the hostel if you request it. Clean, kitchen, lots of great advice. We did a fun raft trip on the river, had dinner on the river, toured the castle at sundown and took the tour during the day and picked up great, handmade souvenirs outside of castle grounds one day. I recommend if you are not driving, to take the shuttle from Prague to CK or to other locations rather than the train. It was inexpensive, convenient and less hectic than the inconveniently located CK train station and train change in Cesky Budovice. We used Have fun!

Posted by
10 posts

First off, thank you Tom, Meg, Laura, Fred, Stephen and Dana for your replies!!

We ultimately dropped the Black Forrest from our itinerary 2 years ago and though I haven't been there, I'm leaning toward taking Meg and Tom's advice and looking at alternate destinations. If we stick with that plan, we'll definitely take a look at Gengenbach as we really prefer smaller towns as well. Would like to stay in Staufen per Rick Steves' advice but unsure if I want to add the hour to head down there.

Fred - We're staying in just outside of Schwerte at a family farm.

Dana - I really appreciate the feedback from your trip to Czech. Did you drive in Czech? I'm running into issues with our pre-paid rental car (Avis) and some conflicting information as to whether or not we can take the rental car into the Czech Republic. My wife has been to Prague and it looks beautiful. As a popular destination for British stag/bachelor parties with numerous "gentleman's clubs", under the radar brothel's, cheap beer and reputation for pick pockets/petty theft/car break-in's did you and your family feel safe and comfortable in Prague?

If it turns out we are unable to take our rental car into Czech I have some decisions to make ... (park the rental at a friends in Nuremberg or Dresden and take the train to Prague) or skip the Czech Republic this go around. We have some flexibility with our hotel reservations so perhaps we go to Belgium (Bruges, Brussels and back to the Mosel through Luxembourg ) at the beginning of our trip and bump everything back 2 days.


Keep the replies coming! I love the advice!!

Posted by
5606 posts

7/6 - 7/7 - Beilstein, 7/8 - 7/9 - Bacharach

You want to return to Bacharach, which is understandable, but since you've stayed in Bacharach before, why not stay in one of the other attractive Rhine destinations (and pay Bacharach a visit?) Beilstein and Bacharach are only about 40 miles from each other in the first place - staying in just one town would make immense sense in terms of minimizing your packing and check-in/out routine. You could stay in Beilstein and day trip to Bacharach or just stop in Bacharach on the way to the Black Forest (or Würzburg.) However, there is MUCH more to this area than just Bacharach and Beilstein, and Beilstein itself is very, very tiny and offers very few diversions for a 3-4 night stay. I would instead look into Boppard (easy access from there to Mosel towns like Beilstein and Cochem and Burg Eltz castle, 15 miles to handsome Oberwesel, <10 mi. to St. Goar (Rheinfels Castle,) less than that to Marksburg Castle in Braubach, and only 20 mi. to Bacharach. In addition to its central location for great outings, Boppard is blessed with a bevy of beautiful old buildings, lots of dining and lodging choices, a nice old town square with outdoor cafes, a cool chairlift ride, a handsome river promenade, and even some Roman ruins.

Half-timbered building in Boppard
Tee house
Blogpage with photos of chairlift and St. Goar
View of river valley from Gedeonseck terrace cafe near chairlift
Marksburg Castle in Braubach
Birds of Prey show @ Reichsburg Castle in Cochem

I'd look into an apartment/house rental. These show availability on your dates at HomeAway and are in town:
A. Junker

Posted by
5606 posts

7/10 - 7/11 - Baden-Baden or ??
7/12 Munich (spend a lot of time here last time, love it, but ..)
7/13 Saltzburg

"If we stick with that(Black Forest) plan, we'll definitely take a look at Gengenbach as we really prefer smaller towns as well."
If that is your preference, then don't head toplaces like Munich or Prague, or even Nuremberg, Würzburg and Regensburg, all cities of fairly good size. That said, there are MANY very nice small towns in that part of Bavaria (Franconia) - not just touristy Rothenburg.

Iphofen brochure
Iphofen photos
Ochsenfurt photos
Pappenheim photo
Pappenheim Castle and town info

"Would like to stay in Staufen per Rick Steves' advice but unsure if I want to add the hour to head down there."
Gengenbach is about 10 times the town Staufen is. And near Gengenbach are a number of other delightful old world towns.

Gutach's Vogtsbauernhof (and summer bobsled)
Wolfach (glass blowing)

Stay in Gengenbach or other small towns that participate in the Konus plan and you can ride the scenic Black Forest railway and other train routes throughout the area for free as you visit towns along the way; the Konus card offers area discounts too:

BF Railway

Posted by
10 posts

I'm looking into all your suggestions Russ! I appreciate you taking the time to reply!

Posted by
6950 posts

"would you recommend Baden Baden and touring around the Black Forrest or visiting Wurzburg/ Nurnburg/Regensburg?"

I'd suggest you slow down your itinerary and skip the above cities. Spend a little more time in the larger cities that you're cutting so short of time.

Why spend time in the Black Forest when you can visit the Austrian Alps that are breathtakingly beautiful?

Posted by
201 posts

Sorry PDXPapa I didn't see your posting until now. Hope it's not too late. I found Prague to be safe. As with any city, you have to be careful and watch pickpockets. But, we were only women, and we walked around Wenceslas (sp?) square with no worries. We did not have a car and managed everything with a LOT of walking around Prague and their cheap subway/tram system. The shuttle was a great solution to getting to and from Prague (we actually used CKShuttle from Linz to Cesky Krumlov and then the Student Agency bus from Cesky Krumlov to Prague).

Good luck!

Posted by
75 posts

Looks great. I would try to figure out how to stay in Vienna for a night. Great city.

Posted by
12990 posts


Sorry for late reply. If I remember correctly (it's been some years) you can get to Schwerte by U-Bahn and bus from Dortmund Hbf. I went to Dortmund-Hohensyburg. If you have time to see a big history monument go to Hohensyburg....the last stop after Reichsmark.