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Germany September / October 2023 Itinerary

OK so here it is, I'm open to critiques and/or suggestions. This 3 week trip includes me and my boyfriend, both middle-aged, experienced travelers, love beer, food, hiking and biking. All travel outside of Munich/Strasbourg will be done by rental car, both of us have international drivers licenses. All of our hotel stays have been booked up until Strasbourg, still working on the remainder. Sightseeing along the way as we head to each destination to our hotel for the night(s). Thank you!

Sept 24 - Munich for Oktoberfest, we'll also try to fit in some sight-seeing (3 nights)

Sept 27 - pick-up rental car - head towards Oberammergau (1 night)

Sept 28 - head to towards Austria/Germany border - Reutte /Pinswang Austria (3 nights)

October 1 - Lake Constance/Bodensee / hotel on lake (2 nights)

October 3 - Black Forest area / Hornberg hotel (2 nights)

October 5 - Strasbourg (1 night)

October 6 - Baden-Baden (2 nights)

October 8 - Trier/Cochem/Sankt Goar (2 nights)

October 10 - Heidelberg (2 nights)

October 12 - Rothenburg ob der Tauber (1 night)

October 13 late day return car Munich (2 nights) - catch up with anything we missed in Munich when we first arrived

October 15 - departing flight late afternoon

Posted by
1445 posts

I would do a mockup map showing driving times allowing time for touring, meals and sleeping. This would give you an idea if this would work for you. Everywhere you have listed is worthy, but you should allow for enjoying your time out of the car.

Posted by
6 posts

thank you Kathleen that is an excellent idea, I've done a bit of it already with google maps/driving directions but not exactly specifically for the entire trip.

Posted by
2162 posts

Info: October 3 is national holiday in Germany. Shops and maybe some landside restaurants will be closed.

Oct 12: Do you really mean "Rothenberg" or "Rothenburg ob der Tauber"?

Posted by
1285 posts

An Aggressive Itinerary. When you say you are "Experienced" I'll assume you know what you are doing (traveler). My recommendation is to travel south from Reutte into the Lech Valley, Austria. Maybe to Lech? An overnight and change of plans? See some of the Alps. End of September- mid October you will be hitting the last weeks of lifts running for the summer and Alms open before the winter pause.

Posted by
6 posts

thank you, with our aggressive itinerary I'm not sure if going further into Austria makes sense. Perhaps for another time. Last year we were in Solden Austria and Chamonix France for skiing (it was in the low 70s!) so we did get to experience part of the Alps.

I can see we are moving around a lot but if my partner had his way we'd be stopping one night here one night there, sleeping wherever, car, tent, or any budget spot, therefore I'm in charge of picking the lodging. I have to convince him 2 or 3 nights is a much better pace.

By experienced I mean we travel often every year, Europe, USA, the Caribbean, Africa, so far. This will be our first trip though driving a rental car outside of the USA, we usually use public transport or in the case of Uganda/Rwanda hired a driver.

Posted by
1285 posts

Goes without saying don't drink and drive. I'm retired and have the luxury of longer relaxed stays. I live in Bayern and love the Alps. My younger Sister and her Husband travel more like you across the Earth (my reference to experienced traveler). They know the ins and outs. Maybe I save your itinerary for her next EU visit? Have a good time.

Posted by
6616 posts

I'm at a loss for comment, mostly, since your post is non-specific about the sightseeing/activities etc. you plan to undertake in the areas you're staying in. I see a lot of typical "Rick Steves" destinations, and on which days you are moving from one to the next. But it's not clear why you've chosen these places, and sometimes not clear where you are staying. Take Oct 8-9 for example. 2 nights... Well, your Oct. 8 begins with a drive from Baden-Baden to... well, not sure where. Will you end up in Cochem for your 2-night stay? That will likely require a drive of 3-4 hours with minimal stops. Maybe you're stopping in St. Goar on the way? For what? Or will St. Goar be your destination and base town? Are you taking a Rhine cruise? Visiting Bacharach, Ruedesheim, or Marksburg Castle during your Rhine visit? You said you love beer... Will you be stopping off in Boppard for a chairlift ride, with the obligatory Bierchen at Gedeonseck, a short walk from the top of the lift? And what are your sightseeing plans for Cochem? Reichsburg Castle? The Bundesbank Bunker? Is Burg Eltz on your agenda?

"Sightseeing along the way as we head to each destination to our hotel for the night(s)."

So on the 8th, are you stopping off somewhere enroute from Baden-Baden? Where? Or are you asking for suggestions? If you are serious about doing stops, you will need to look into those options prior to hitting the road and allocate the appropriate amount of time. They aren't going to pop out at you while you're driving.

Then on the Mosel you mention Trier... there are half a dozen other very nice towns in between Cochem and Trier, places like Beilstein, Traben-Trarbach, and Bernkastel, but these are towns that require a lot of slow-driving on the windy-windy Mosel river roads... Biking along the river and cruising are nice options for enjoying the Mosel as well. Is any of that in your plans?

And what do you plan to see/do in Trier? If you're staying in Cochem, and in Trier taking in what the city has to offer, I should think it'll require most of a day. But for the entire Rhine/Mosel Valley region, it appears you have allocated only 1.5 days.

I would probably have similar questions in similar numbers for the Lake Constance, Black Forest, and Reutte too. It would IMHO be wise to drop some destinations, using your own personal interests to determine what sights/activities matter to you most.

Posted by
6 posts

thank you mchpp - we will be very respectful of the drinking and driving laws, switching back and forth between being designated drivers.

and thank you too Russ, I realize you've provided a lot to think about. I do have certain activities/sightseeing in mind, which I did not provide here. It is a 3 week trip which seems long but in reality it's not with this aggressive agenda but my goal was to get advice such as yours and tailor it even further. I agree on your assessment of not enough time allocated to the entire Rhine/Mosel Valley region, it wasn't a planned part of the trip but I really wanted to add it in and I see now I need to dig deeper into the agenda and flesh it out more.

Posted by
6 posts

Based on excellent advice received here and other research I've further refined the itinerary. Is it too aggressive? The plan is to get up early as possible and minimal night driving, getting to our next destination at a reasonable time. A lot really does depend on the weather and how it impacts outside activities. For example if it's pouring rain hiking will be curtailed.

Arrive the morning of Sept 24 - Munich – Oktoberfest, bike tour, other sightseeing time permitting /weather

Sept 27 – depart Munich and morning pick-up rental car drive towards Oberammergau (1 night)
• Ettal Abbey
• Linderhof Palace
• Alpine Coaster

Sept 28 - mid morning depart Oberammergau and drive Austria/Germany border - Reutte /Pinswang Austria (3 nights)
• Neuchwenstein Caste
• Fussen walking tour
• Highline 179

October 1 - Black Forest area / Todtnau Hotel (2 nights) then Hornberg hotel (2 nights)
• Open air museum
• Various hiking trails
• Hasenhorn coaster
• Todtnau waterfalls

October 5 - Strasbourg (1 night) – parking at Kehl train station, train to Strasbourg
• Bike tour of Strasbourg

October 6 - Baden-Baden (2 nights)
• Friedrichsbad Spa
• Caracalla Spa
• Panoramaweg Baden-Baden and/or Geroldsau Waterfall circuit

October 8 - Oberwesel (2 nights) staying at Burghotel auf Schönburg
• Boppard – Restaurant GedeonsEck
• Rhine River Cruise
• Marksburg Castle

October 10 - Cochem (2 nights) – I haven’t chose the hotel yet so the town we stay in could vary
• Berg Eltz
• Mosul River Cruise
• Possible trip to Trier

October 12 – depart late afternoon for Rothenburg ob der Tauber (1 night)
• Walking Tour of City
• Night watchman tour

October 13 – explore Rothenburg ob der Tauber further and depart for Munch and drop off car early evening (2 nights) – Hotel Platzl

October 15 - departing flight late afternoon back to US