I will be in Bonn for a few days visiting my son and then I have 11 days on my own and will NOT have a car, I could but didnt plan on it. I can fly if it will save me time. I will be leaving from Bonn and would like to go to the following places but not sure which direction to do them. Bacharach 1 dayWurzburg 1 Rothenburg 1 Baden-Baden 1 Munich 2 days Dresden 2 days Berlin 3 days then one travel day back to cologne as my flight home will be the next day. Is there one of these that i can leave out or maybe more than one? This might be my only trip to Germany ever so I feel like I need to try a little of everything. The spas in Baden Baden sound amazing and Rothenburg and Wurburg all of this sounds good. Any suggestions? leaving in 10 days so need help
You can surely omit some places. You are zooming around too much of the country in just 11 days. And at the end, you then have to return to Cologne. Ugh. The travel time and the packing/unpacking will eat up time and energy needed to see and experience Germany.
"Bacharach 1 dayWurzburg 1 Rothenburg 1"
This is already pretty nutsy.
I would spend 2 nights in the Middle Rhine Valley. There are 40 castles there in 40 miles of river and your original plan doesn't take you to even one of them?? So you need some extra time. On the way to Bacharach from Bonn, you will change trains in or at least stop in Koblenz. So put your bags in a locker and catch the next train to Braubach (11 min. ride) for a tour of never-destroyed, 700-year-old Marksburg Castle. Return to Koblenz after the tour for your bags and proceed to Bacharach for the PM.
On Day 2, take the train south to Bingen where the southern end of the scenery begins and take a river cruise north to St. Goar. You can tour Rheinfels Castle on your own there. Pay a visit to Boppard (very cool chairlift ride and nice half-timbered buildings) and Oberwesel too if you have time - both towns are on the same west bank of the river. Oberwesel's old town wall is fun to explore:
Oberwesel town wall
Then sleep a 2nd night in Bacharach.
I would then head toward Berlin and Dresden for something different. You can stop in Würzburg overnight on the way easily enough. Rothenburg is an overly touristy place and a substantial detour. I'd skip it. Or if you want to visit a medieval town in Rothenburg's place, make a stop in Gelnhausen and/or Büdingen (15 min. from Gelnhausen) instead, both just NE of Frankfurt and right on your route anyway.
I would then spend the remaining 8 days in Berlin and Dresden. Berlin normally takes 4-5 days. From Berlin you may wish to do day outings to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and/or to Potsdam.
If you see all this, you'll have traveled a ton and seen a LOT.
Baden-Baden is your biggest outlier here. It really doesn't fit in the flow of your trip. And... it's just one of the over 100 officially designated spa resorts in Germany. It may be Mr. Steves favorite (but I have a suspicion it's the only one he's ever visited), but many of us are less than blown away by it. Nice enough, and perhaps worth a visit if you're in the area, but definately not worth a significant detour. If you want the spa treatment, here are some great alternatives that fit much better with the flow of your trip:
Just south of Bonn are Bad Honnef, and Bad Godesberg, although I don't know a whole lot about them. A little further south, just off of Rhine are the twin towns of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. Both sit in a beautiful valley surrounded by sloping vineyards. Bad Neuenahr is the spa resort, Ahrweiler is a well-preserved walled town à la Rothenburg. Just south of Bingen, there's Bad Kreuznach. At the southern end of the Romantic Mittelrhein is perhaps the grandest spa town of them all, Wiesbaden. Also near Franfkurt are Bad Homburg and Königstein im Taunus, both very attractive towns. In southern Bavaria, you have Bad Tölz, Bad Endorf, Bad Weissee, and Bad Reichenhall, to name just a few. And near Cologne, Aachen is probably Germany's oldest spa resort (although most of the baths date from the 19th and 20th centuries). I'm sure you would also have plenty of choices around Berlin and Dresden, but I know these regions far less. You have more than enough choices for spa treatments without going several hours out of your way to Baden-Baden.
If you were driving, Rothenburg would be a good fit for the flow of your trip. But it fits less well by train, because it requires multiple transfers and sits at the end of a spur line. An attractive town, no doubt, but not nearly as unique as advertised, except for all the focus the tourist industry has placed upon it. See it if you must, but don't feel you're missing something vital if you skip it. And consider Ahrweiler as a substitute.
Since it appears you do not have a set agenda and it is not prime tourist time lodging should not be a problem. If it were my trip and I wanted to remain flexible I would get a car. You say you do not have one but you could. It leaves you so much flexibility and freedom and would work well for most locations except Berlin. Driving in Germany is usually fairly efficient.
I like Bonn, make sure you visit Beethoven's House, if you're interested in classical music. After that it's a matter of priorites, either stay in the Middle Rhine area or head south and southeast or towards the east to Berlin and Dresden and see sight there such as Potsdam, Meissen and Lutherstadt Wittenberg. If it is likely that this is your only trip to Germany, do you want to include Berlin? I would suggest yes. What you could do easily is to go to Munich after Bonn, then take the early train to Berlin or the CNL night train. I would skipping Baden-Baden and Rothenburg, at least one of them.
Another option: if you're not adverse to intra-European flights, fly from Cologne or Düsseldorf to Berlin.
It all sounds so amazing and yes I was concerned that i would spend more time in transit then actually seeing what the county has to offer. I think I am so inticed with the spa at baden baden because i need that experience and the mineral baths mostly. (health reasons), however it does seem to be a glitch in the travel for just that. Thank you all for your advice and if anyone else has anymore helpful ideas please let me know. i will be making some reservations in the next few days for lodging (not hostels) and then some online tickets for travel. :)
I must make a pitch here for several days in Berlin, now one of the most vibrant and youthful cities in Europe. You can dig through layers of history that are so amazing and sobering. I recommend Insider walking tours (in English). My husband and I go to Germany often, and we definitely prefer the train, which is so much more relaxing than German autobahns. If you decide to travel that way, look at the options on the German Rail website since it's always cheaper to buy before you go. A multi-segment pass might serve you perfectly.
On "...Berlin, now one of the most vibrant and youthful cities in Europe." And more...how true.