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Heidelberg versus Nürnberg

We will be traveling To Berlin and renting a car when ready to leave. Then we make our way to Munich and explore Bavaria. We have about 8 days once we leave Berlin to arrive in Munich. (We then drive into Austria for 10 days and drop off the car when we get to Vienna and fly home from there. Total days from arrival in Germany to flying home is 22 days.) I would appreciate any suggestions of where to stop between Berlin and Munich. Also, more specifically, we will probably spend 2 nights in either Heidelberg or Nurnberg. Which is better since we won't have time to do both?

Posted by
9044 posts

It is rather tough to define better. Which city has the sights that you want to see the most? That should be your decision maker. Both cities have lots to see, but if you want to see both, why not spend a day in Heidelberg and then move on? You don't have to overnight there.

Posted by
12040 posts

Heidelberg- mid-size university city at the western edge of the beautiful Neckar river valley (similar to the more famous Mittelrhein), also on the western edge of the Odenwald mountains. Has a large castle ruin, a completely undamaged outdoor ampitheater from the Nazi era, lots of student life, and great hiking in the area.

Nürnberg- large business-oriented city, but with a somewhat preserved historic core partially walled, and overwatched by a castle. Nazi documentation center. Close to the Franconian Switzerland hiking region.

" I would appreciate any suggestions of where to stop between Berlin and Munich." Here's some ideas. Dessau- not for the city, but to visit the nearby Wörlitz Garden Realm. Leipzig. Erfurt. Coburg. Bamberg. And of course, Nürnberg. It's a little outside the direct line of travel, but you can also consider the amazing Hartz mountain region, especially the towns of Quedlinburg, Wernigerode, and Gosslar.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for the advice. Very helpful. I may try and stay in Quedlinburg for a night before heading out to Nurnberg. I think i will go to Nurnberg rather than Heidelberg, for the historic stuff, even though Heidelberg sounds prettier.

Posted by
3696 posts

If there is still some leeway in your plans I think it would be a shame to miss Heidelberg, even if only for a day. It is pretty and very charming, and unless you make another trip back to Germany you might never see it.... as you can tell, I love Heidelberg:)

Posted by
7 posts

I am sorry to disagree with you but I think you can do both cities in one trip. I don't know your schedule or how much travel you want to don in your 8 days there but here me out on this one please and hopefully it can help you. Nuremberg is a beautiful but I also agree with another poster on here you should not miss Heidelberg ( I used to live there). If you have 8 days to get from Berlin to Munich there are a couple ways of doing it if you perhaps want to see both cities. option 1) You can go from city to city in a counterclockwise triangular fashion (check it out on Google maps and you'll see what I am talking about). Start in Berlin and drive to Frankfurt. You can stay there overnight or if you don't want to stay Heidelberg is only about an hours drive south of Frankfurt so you can spend the night in Heidelberg wake up the next morning and explore Heidelberg. If you need time to fill while in Heidelberg you can pop over to Mannheim and Schwetzingen too for a day. From there if you want to drive to Stuttgart you can or you can continue straight to Nuremberg from Heidelberg (it's only a t and 1/2 hour drive). Spend at least 2 to 3 days in Nuremberg.. Just like in Heidelberg you can use Nuremberg for a base to explore other cities if you want. From Nuremberg you can drive to Munich and that will complete the "triangle" I was talking about. Option 2 is similar except you would drive from Berlin to Nuremberg then out to Heidelberg and back to Munich. Let me know if you need any more details on how to do this. Thank you,.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for your response. I was actually in both cities but it was over 30 years ago. Based on your recommendation, i will try to make it to Heidelberg. Actually, I think I miscounted and have only 6 days, but will try to fit in both cities.

Posted by
868 posts

I would appreciate any suggestions of where to stop between Berlin and Munich.

Frankly, I would neither stop in Nuremberg or Heidelberg. There are much better option. Heidelberg is quite a detour, and Nuremberg was completely leveled in WW2 (you can see the quality of the reconstruction in before and after pics like this (same corner)).

You could drive via the Harz mountains, which is a short detour. The Harz mountains offer several completely preserved towns with literally thousands of half-timbered houses. Here is a gallery of the area with 130.000 pics:
Have a look at Goslar, Quedlinburg, Wernigerode, Celle, Stolberg, Wolfenbüttel or the cathedral of Halberstadt. From Wenigerode you can take a steam train up to the highest mountain, the Brocken. Tangermünde is a nice stopover between Berlin and the Harz mountains.
From there you could continue towards Thuringia. Rick Steves calls Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia, a untouristy Rothenburg. Close to Erfurt is Weimar, a small and pleasant town connected to many famous Germans, like Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Liszt (no German), Nietzsche or the Bauhaus. Also close to Erfurt is Wartburg castle, historically the most important German castle. Both Weimar and Wartburg castle are World Heritage Sites. From there you can continue into Rick-Steves-Land.
On the straight route from Berlin to Thuringia you pass Wittenberg, home of Luther and the Protestant Reformation, the Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm, one of the first English parks on the continent and a World Heritage like Wittenberg, Leipzig, home of Bach and one of the best preserved big cities of Germany, Naumburg, a nice preserved town with a famous Gothic cathedral and Uta, and follow the Unstrut and Saale valley to Thuringia.
Or how about a short eastern detour from Berlin into Rick-Steves-Land? Via the Spreewald, Görlitz; Bautzen and Saxon Switzerland for example?