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Germany Itinerary Help

I've never been to Germany and will be visiting from Toronto, Canada. I used a combination of AI + Rick Steves to help me with a 2-week trip that includes Oktoberfest. I'm planning on renting a car...I assume we have no choice with this itinerary. Oct 1-7th will be spent in the Netherlands. Overall, I'm much more interested in beautiful landscapes/villages than big cities. Can someone please tell me how realistic this itinerary is? I realize we will be jetlagged in Bacharach. Anything on my list that you would skip to add more time elsewhere?

September 15-16: Bacharach
Explore Bacharach in the Rhine Valley.
Visit nearby attractions such as the Rhine River, Bacharach Castle, and St. Peter's Church.
Sleep in Bacharach.

September 17: Burg Eltz, Mosel Valley, Baden-Baden
Visit Burg Eltz and explore the Mosel Valley.
Drive to Baden-Baden.
Relax and soak in the thermal baths.
Sleep in Baden-Baden.

September 18: Baden-Baden, Black Forest
Explore more of Baden-Baden or take a leisurely stroll through the town.
Drive to Freiburg or Staufen in the Black Forest.
Sleep in Freiburg or Staufen.

September 19: Black Forest
Explore the Black Forest region.
Visit attractions such as Triberg Waterfalls or hike in the forest.
Sleep in Freiburg or Staufen.

September 20: Bavarian Alps
Drive to Füssen or Reutte in the Bavarian Alps.
Sleep in Füssen or Reutte.

September 21: Bavarian Alps
Visit Neuschwanstein Castle and other nearby castles.
Explore the picturesque surroundings.
Sleep in Füssen or Reutte.

September 22: Bavaria/Tirol, Salzburg
Drive through Bavaria/Tirol, enjoying the scenic route.
Arrive in Salzburg.
Sleep in Salzburg.

September 23: Salzburg
Explore Salzburg, including attractions like Hohensalzburg Fortress and Mirabell Palace.
Sleep in Salzburg.

September 24: Salzburg, Munich
Spend the morning in Salzburg.
Drive to Munich in the afternoon.
Sleep in Munich.

September 25-26: Munich (Oktoberfest)
Attend Oktoberfest for two days, experiencing the festivities and sampling Bavarian food and beer.
Sleep in Munich.

September 27: Munich, Dachau, Romantic Road, Rothenburg
Visit Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial.
Drive along the Romantic Road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Sleep in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

September 28: Rothenburg, Nuremberg
Explore Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Drive to Nuremberg.
Sleep in Nuremberg.

September 29-30: Nuremberg, Cologne
Explore Nuremberg, including attractions like Nuremberg Castle and the Old Town.
Drive to Cologne.
Sleep in Cologne.

Posted by
4668 posts

You have obviously spent significant time planning. You are wisely planning early and should have a nice choice of lodging.
My thoughts are you are short- changing Salzburg, and don't have enough time for Berchetsgaden.
IMHO, the Fussen palaces are overrrated and are major tourist traps. I'd give the Fussen time to Salzburg.

Bacharach is really tiny. We stayed in Boppard, thanks to suggestions here, and loved the small river town, which has many more options for dining and shopping.

I love Rothenburg, so please keep it, no matter what folks say here. I've been there three times and plan to return.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
6617 posts

I don't blame you for adopting Rick Steves' itinerary advice, he's our benefactor, after all... but you really should pull back and do some research using ALTERNATIVE SOURCES.

I'm much more interested in beautiful landscapes/villages

This focus should definitely take you to SOME of those places - for a little more time in those - but it should also EXCLUDE some of the places you and Rick seem to agree on.

Also, are you familiar with the themed driving routes? Have a look into these for starters...

The German Castle Road
The Fairytale Road
The German Half-timbered House Route

I assume we have no choice with this itinerary.

Most first-timers make this assumption. It is false. You need a car to drive, or to follow a themed driving route, but you can get to these places and most others by train. One peek at the rail map of Germany should be convincing.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks so much for all your suggestions so far! I've changed up my itinerary and wonder if this looks better. My husband really loves to drive and wants to do the race track in Nurburgring so I added that for a day.

14-Sep Fly to Frankfurt (red eye)
15-Sep Rothenburg ob der Tauber
16-Sep Nuremberg
17-Sep Saltzburg
18-Sep Saltzburg
19-Sep Saltzburg
20-Sep Saltzburg
21-Sep Munich
22-Sep Munich
23-Sep Oktoberfest
24-Sep Fussen
25-Sep Black Forest
26-Sep Black Forest
27-Sep Baden-Baden
28-Sep Boppard
29-Sep Nurburgring
30-Sep Alsfeld
01-Oct Netherlands (1 week)

Posted by
6617 posts

Let's assume you've done some more research and decided that you intend to see GERMANY by landing in FRANKFURT and heading immediately to BAVARIA for the first 10 of your 16 nights. Now, you cannot see all of Germany, of course, but it's definitely a Bavaria-heavy approach:

My suggestions for the period 9/15-24:

  • 9/15: Sleep in Nuremberg tonight. You already indicated that you expect to be jet-lagged, which is a distinct possibility and means you should not be driving a car, either to Rothenburg or to Nuremberg. So get a room in Nuremberg - a simpler train trip than the one to Rothenburg - and take the train there from FRA airport. Numerous direct trains get you from FRA to Nuremberg throughout the morning - 8:02, 8:34, 9:34, 10:01, for example. The train ticket can be included with your airline ticket with some airlines.

  • 9/16: See Nuremberg. Stay a second night. There's a lot to see in this town.

  • 9/17- Do your drive to Salzburg. Break up your trip with a visit to Germany's best-preserved medieval town - REGENSBURG:

  • 9/18-20 Salzburg, + outings to B'gaden... and to the town of WERFEN for some real scenery and interesting sights...

  • 9/21-22: Skip Munich for now and replan your time so that you drive the Deutsche Alpenstrasse through the German Alps (that's what Deutsche Alpen means!) and end up in Füssen at some point. Sleep in Füssen on the 22nd.

  • 9/23: Leave Füssen early for either AUGSBURG (a Romantic Road town) or DACHAU (if you still plan to make yourselves nauseous at the concentration camp.) Drive there, park the car, then take the train into Munich for your Oktoberfest visit. Return by train in the evening.

  • 9/24: Skip Munich. You're more interested in small towns and scenery than big cities. Drive to Rothenburg for 1 night - in part to break up your drive the next day.

9/25-29: Because you are heading to the Nürburgring and to the Netherlands, the detour to the Black Forest and Baden-Baden looks like a total waste of time to me - and I am a fan of the Black Forest! You should invest your time more heavily in the Rhine/Mosel/Nürburgring area, which has what you are looking for - amazing scenery, old-world towns, etc.

Bacharach and Boppard are just a small fraction of the extra-nice places within a reasonable radius of the Nürburgring...

Marksburg Castle
Burg Eltz
Linz am Rhein
Bad Münstereifel

Posted by
6617 posts

Alsfeld: Probably too far off your trajectory. You already have a ton of time on the road in Bavaria and elsewhere, and there are similar towns in the Rhine/Mosel/Nürburgring area.

Posted by
390 posts

I think the Black Forest area is a bit boring. Maybe because it's similar to where I live but I was singularly unimpressed. We based out of Freiburg, which is a great university town, but not particularly exciting for tourists.

So YMMV, but I'd reallocate those days to the Romantic Road and/or the Mosel, which I think gets a bit short shrift on this plan.

But on the whole, it's a really solid plan.