Germany-Austria-Switzerland AFTER-TOUR -- 14 Days By Myself Back-Packing Around Southern Bavaria

I'm on the RS Germany-Austria-Switzerland MY WAY 12 day tour beginning Sept. 16 in Vienna - traveling solo.
At end of tour at St. Goar (on the Rhine), I'm taking the train to Rothenburg-on-the Tauber for 2 days.
Then taking train south to Fussen to begin 12 more days of modified back-packing around Southern Bavaria -- working myself back to Vienna for return flight back to Denver, CO.
Beginning in Fussen, I will have absolutely no defined schedule for the 12 days -- just want the freedom to wake up each morning and go anywhere I want at any pace I want, plus the "no-schedules" freedom of staying only 1 day or several days in any one place.
TRANSPORTATION: The German train system.
OBJECTIVES: To view the outdoor scenery and country-side of Bavaria, see the history and historic sights of the region, sample sights and food of smaller-town Bavaria, and of course to see a few castles and older architectural and historic sights.
MY AGE (if it impacts comments back): 69 - retired - pretty mobile still - traveling by myself.

Back-Packing Questions - Grateful For Comments Back:
1. The German (DB Bahn) train system shows frequent trains to & from most anywhere I want to go.
Traveling 2nd class for budget reasons -- can I safely presume I don't need to make any reservations in advance, and can expect to get a seat almost all the time -- but I'm willing to wait until next train if necessary, or can go 1st class if that gets me on that train.
2. Hotels - Hostels - Bed & Breakfasts: With no reservations, and in 1st half of October, I'm relying on lodging being available somewhere amongst the places mentioned in the RS tour books. My preference is economy places like pensions, I would even try a hostel just for a place to sleep and shower.
Regarding comments back - I'm looking for confirmation this is a reasonable plan, and should be no problem -- besides, part of the adventure of back-packing, even for older folks, is not being too sure of what you might find.
3. Places to see in Southern Bavaria - south of Munich - Fussen to Berchtesgaden - up to Salzburg.
Any suggestions on places to see would be appreciated.
4. Any suggestions in general for an older guy doing what he should have done when 18 years old (51 years ago).

Thanks to all --- Jim --- Lone Tree, CO.

Posted by stan
Kansas City
1004 posts

its been a while since I did a trip like that, but I had no problems winging it as I went in Germany/Austria. Every town worthy of a stop has a Tourist Information office that can help find a place to stay, or wander and look for the "zimmer frei" signs. Nothing looks good - move on to the next town.

For suggestions of where, I had fun asking people I met along the way for their recommendations.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12877 posts
  1. yes.

  2. yes-ish. Places that are small and appear in a well read book like Rick Steves tend to fill early and command a higher relative price than those which don't. Every town, village and hamlet is likely to have rooms - virtually 100% guarantee of cleanliness and comfort but a significantly smaller percentage who speak English if that is a problem for you - available behind the "Zimmer Frei" sign in the window, That sounds like it would fit you well, unless the language is a big barrier for you. If that is too close to the ground and Rick Steves places are too hard to get into on very short notice, if you will have a computer/tablet/wifi phone or access to one there is always Booking dot com. They only return places that fit the filters you have applied and are available on the days you are looking for so is a good resource. Again, you may be able to find cheaper properties than RS on the short notice and at a better price.

  3. no input at this time.

  4. Just remember that if your brain says you are an 18 year old your knees and hips and back may remind you that you are nearly 70 and cause you to shift back a gear.

Posted by stephen
Greeley, co, usa
462 posts

you should have no problem finding places. To save time, using the Tourist Info Offices is a good idea. No problem riding the trains, if necessary you can stand between cars until a seat becomes available. Mittenwald might be one area to visit. Check out some trip reports and other info at Bavaria Ben's excellent site

Posted by Russ
2435 posts

"Traveling 2nd class for budget reasons" There are other ways to save on top of using 2nd class trains. A 2nd class ticket from St. Goar to Rothenburg, bought on the spot, will cost €60 - €75. You can pay half that much by purchasing a saver fare ticket (train-specific) in advance from DB for your travel date. Buy now - saver prices rise as tickets sell. You don't have to reserve any seats - just buy the ticket and be willing to travel keep the schedule you pick. For Rothenburg - Füssen (5 more hours on the train) use the Bayern (Bavaria) Ticket daypass - €23. The Bayern ticket may be helpful for shorter trips within Bavaria as well.

"OBJECTIVES: To view the outdoor scenery and country-side of Bavaria, see the history and historic sights of the region, sample sights and food of smaller-town Bavaria, and of course to see a few castles and older architectural and historic sights."

Bavaria happens to have a lot of Palaces built by the ruling class over the last few centuries. But castles and centuries-old buildings are somewhat more difficult to find. You might check out this Salzburg area castle, which your my-way tour probably omits:

But a better plan for castles, old-world architecture, and historical sights would be to linger in/near St. Goar after your tour, where besides Rheinfels Castle (ruins) in St. Goar, you'll find 40 other castles and castle ruins on a 40-mile stretch of the Rhine. You can hike to most of these using popular trails that skirt the cliffsides. One such trail is the Rheinburgenweg on the west bank, with this trail marker.
Rheinburgenweg map

Several castles are tourable, but the best Rhine option is Marksburg in Braubach (east bank, 11 train minutes south of Koblenz.)
Two Mosel River castles may interest you as well:
Burg Eltz (Hike through woods from Moselkern station)
Reichsburg (In Cochem, easy to reach)

History: Besides the castles and several old-world villages (Bacharach, Oberwesel, Linz am Rhein) there are some WW II historical sights on/near the Rhine, as well as an open-air museum with an amazing collection of historical buildings (in Bad Sobernheim.)
Open-air museum

Wine festival: Another reason to stay on the Rhine is the festival in nearby Boppard on the weekend of 9/27-28 (w/fireworks on 9/27.)

So I'd suggest another 3-4 days on the Rhine before zooming off to Bavaria.