We are traveling to Germany, Austria and Switzerland in June for 21 days. I am overwhelmed with planning the itinerary. We will be flying in and out of Munich. I am thinking of spending 2 or 3 nights in Munich, spending time in Bavaria and Fussen, next heading to Switzerland , from there exploring some sights along the Rhine. I am thinking about going to Rothenburg but am not sure if it is worth the trip? I would like to circle back to Munich and spend some time in Salzburg and maybe the Dolomites in Italy if we have time. Any suggestions on an itinerary and am I attempting too much
"I am thinking about going to Rothenburg but am not sure if it is worth the trip?" Not from Munich, but if you need to circle back to Munich from the Mittelrhein, it lies along your direct line of travel, so why not? Check out Dinkelsbühl too, if you have the time.
"maybe the Dolomites in Italy if we have time." Coming from Switzerland and the Bavarian and Tyrolian Alps, it will be a long detour for "more of the same". Save the Italian Alps in general, and the Dolomites in particular, for trip where they make more sense.
"I am thinking of spending 2 or 3 nights in Munich, spending time in Bavaria and Fussen, next heading to Switzerland , from there exploring some sights along the Rhine. I am thinking about going to Rothenburg."
If those are the places you wish to go, you might take a look at Rick's suggested itinerary for 22 days in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (steal his route, starting on Day 5; leave out several destinations on his absurdly rushed travel-fest, add some time here and there to the places you will stay, and travel from the Rhine/Mosel back to MUC after his Day 4):
Day 1: Arrive Frankfurt, to Rothenburg
Day 2: Rothenburg
Day 3: Romantic Road to Bavaria
Day 4: Bavarian and Tirolean highlights, castle day
Day 5: Bavaria to Munich
Day 6: Munich
Day 7: Munich to Salzburg
Day 8: To Salzkammergut Lakes District (Hallstatt)
Day 9: Mauthausen, Danube to Vienna
Day 10: Vienna
Day 11: Vienna to Hall in Tirol
Day 12: Innsbruck to Swiss Appenzell
Day 13: Appenzell to Berner Oberland
Day 14: Alps hike day, Gimmelwald
Day 15: Bern, west to Murten
Day 16: Lake Geneva and French Switzerland
Day 17: Murten to Black Forest
Day 18: Black Forest to Baden-Baden
Day 19: Baden-Baden, relax, soak
Day 20: Drive to the Rhine, castles
Day 21: The Mosel Valley, Burg Eltz
Day 22: Köln and Frankfurt, night train to Berlin, or fly home
Note that Rick's Day 3 & 5 trips are "geography-challenged." Don't try to go from Rothenburg via the Romantic Road to "Bavaria", or from "Bavaria" to Munich. "Bavaria" is not a small town, district or region that you can travel to from these places. It's a gigantic state that covers much of Germany's southeast quadrant; Rothenburg, the Romantic Road, and Munich all lie within Bavaria.
Rothenburg is one of the most touristy places you can see in Germany. I'd look into some other options where you might hear some German spoken :) It's not by any stretch the only old walled town around. Gengenbach is on your route - in the Black Forest area near Offenburg as you travel from Switzerland to the Middle Rhine Valley:
Iphofen is full of lovely buildings, wineries and art galeries; it's quite close to Rothenburg - from train hub Würzburg, a direct train takes you there in 25 minutes (Rothenburg takes over an hour.) See the thread below for photos:
Nördlingen, on the Romantic Road north of Augsburg, and accessible by train from there or Donauwörth, is also excellent:
I love this website, because you get so many good ideas and such sage advice. I would add one other caveat- decide in advance what is most important to YOU, your focus, because no matter who you travel with, you will likely have different interests, and you simply can't do everything. I just came back from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, in September (we had a group of seven) and we ended up splitting up a few times, which worked well. I found that the places I ventured to on my own, that I determined I wanted to see, ended up being some of the most meaningful experiences. For example, in Vienna, some of our group wanted to go to Schonbrunn Palace (I had already been there) and others wanted to go to the zoo (I didn't have my children with me, and frankly, have been to enough zoos) so I took the initiative to go off on my own and went to Mauthausen. As I am a huge history buff, this was much more meaningful to me, and it turned out to be a great adventure to navigate trains and taxis on my own. Mauthausen was extremely worthwhile to see (I had first heard about it on this website) and I learned so much. Now, for someone not interested in history or the Holocaust, that might not have been important for them to see, but for me the experience was priceless.
Also, in Paris, we had one completely free day, and there are a myriad of different places that are worthwhile to see. I chose that day to go to the Musee d'Orsay, and it was simply fabulous. I preferred it over the Louvre, hands down.
I will message you personally some of our plans( I am going back in June) but some highlights I would recommend in general:
Austria- Salzburg- (personal favorite) and surrounding area
Mozart's birthplace, Sound of Music tours, Hallein salt mine tour, Benedectine Abbey (overlooking Rhine river),
Mozart dinner concert at Stiftskeller St. Peter's, Ice Cave tours
Vienna- St. Stephan's Cathedral, Wien Staatsoper (Opera House) for ballet or opera, Prater Park (amusement park
with huge ferris wheel) for fun, Cafe Central, Cafe Landtmann. If you have tons of time, hearing the Vienna Boys
Choir or seeing the Vienna Lipizzaner Riding Horses would also be worthwhile.
United Nations, WHO, Red Cross Museum, Protestant Reformation Museum, downtown shopping
Germany- I haven't been yet, other than a half day, so I leave that to others...
So hopefully this will give you some (more) ideas. You can also cross check some of these that sound interesting on this website, and get others' opinions. You can also google and check prices, etc. Best wishes and happy travels!
Places in Europe look deceptively close on the map, when you are used to wide-open US road travel. The travel time and the logistics between all your destinations will eat up your time to the extent that you may not actually spend much quality time in any one place.
One idea to replace the Dolomites would be to take the scenic train Bernina Express (think that's the one) from Switzerland into Italy and change trains for an hour plus train ride to Lake Como (Bellagio, Mennagio, etc). If I remember correctly it's the Varenna stop and you take the ferry to Bellagio. You get mountains, a beautiful lake and a different feel from the other places you will visit. I will say that the more I go to Europe, the less I like to move around while I'm there...try to limit hotel changes when possible. You could base in Munich for additional days and still head into Salzburg and southern Bavaria. My daughter and I did this last summer and it worked out great! As for Rothenburg, we love it, especially in the evening and early morning when the daytrippers are gone!!