Itinerary Help for 1st Germany trip

My husband and I plan to arrive in Germany on Aug 8 (Friday) and depart Aug 17 (Sunday) on Delta flights. I think it will be better to fly to Frankfurt and out of Munich or the reverse based on where we want to visit. My "must" is to visit Wurzburg because that is where I was born, but I haven't been back to visit. We also want to visit a concentration camp and the Mercedes and Porsche museums. I had originally planned to arrive in Frankfurt and drive to Wurzburg, but both Porsche and Mercedes are closed on Monday, so I'm concerned that if we fly to Frankfurt the timing would put us in Stuttgart on Monday.

These are places I would like to visit, so I would appreciate advice and recommendations on what is feasible and "not to miss" during our 9 days (flying out morning of the 10th day). We plan to rent a car for flexibility, but we will include train travel if it will save time. A boat tour would be great on the Main or Rhine if it's a great way to see sights. Would also like to know if we can stay in a castle one night but may need to wait on a trip to Ireland for that.

This is the list that I'm sure I need to narrow down.
Wurzburg
Romantic Road
Rothenburg
Nurnberg ?
Stuttgart (Mercedes and Porsche museums)
Augsberg ?
Dachau or another concentration camp
Neuschwanstein Castle
Berchtesgaden Park and Eagles Nest
Herrenchiemsee Palace
Linderhof Palace
Zugspitze
Mittenwald ?

I really need to book flights as lower fares are selling out, so I need to know where to begin and end. If we fly to Munich, is it feasible to head to either Berchtesgaden or Neuschwanstein or is that too much on day of arrival?

Thanks so much for any advice. Too much to see and too short of a trip!!

Posted by Kenneth
San Diego, CA, USA
91 posts

Hi Becky-
That is quite a list for 9 nights. There are several options. If you can fly into Stuttgart or Frankfurt Friday, pick up the car and do the car museums in Stuttgart Saturday and Sunday. (If you can do both in one day leave Stuttgart a day earlier.) Then Monday drive to Fussen/Garmisch for Neuschwanstein , Zugspitz, and Mittenwald. Stop at Linderhof and /or Weiskirche on the way. Thursday drive to Rothenburg. Use the autobahn, the "romantic road " is really just another road connecting several towns. Friday drive to Wurzburg (1 hour drive max). Spend Fri and most of Sat in Wurzburg- Sat evening drive to Fra airport and stay someplace around the airport. (I have stayed in Heidelberg several times - it's about an hour south of FRA on the autobahn. There should not be any traffic Sunday morning. ) You could turn in the car Sat in Wurzburg and catch the train Sunday morning to the FRA airport, but it depends on your flight time and the train schedule.

Alternatively you can pick up your car in Munich on Friday and be in Fussen (Neuschwanstein ) or Garmisch (Zugspitz and Mittenwald) in 2.5 to 3 hours on Friday. However, Garmisch and Fussen are busier on the weekends. Don't waste time going to the Zugspitz if the weather is not clear. You can always visit Linderhof and Wieskirche instead if the weather is bad. Monday drive to Stuttgart stopping at Linderhof on the way. . Tuesday and Wed see the car museums in Stuttgart. Save a day if you can see both on Tuesday. Thursday drive to Rothenburg . Then repeat the first option for Fri, Sat, and Sun AM.

Notice I cut out Nuremberg, Augsburg, Berchtesgaden, Herrenchiemsee,and Dachau. I personally would substitute Berchtesgaden and Herrenchiemsee for Stuttgart, but I am not into car museums.

Have a wonderful trip !!! Don't drink and drive as the laws are very strict...

Posted by Russ
Paradise
2103 posts

Besides being logistically overwhelming, even without the ? destinations, your itinerary is driven by heavy-duty tourist attractions at the height of the tourist season, stuff you fear missing out on. It sounds like you'll be changing hotels nearly every night and you'll be rushing around only to get into the next packed line or overcrowded tour. It will be tourists 3 or 4 layers deep in Rothenburg, on the Romantic Road, at N'stein and the other Ludwig Palaces, and most everywhere else as well. (By the way, what is the reason for THREE King Ludwig II palaces?)

Here's what I'd suggest. I omitted a good deal but even so, it's still a bit hectic.

Stuttgart: Museums only? 2 nights, Fr & Sa. (You may be jetlagged on Day 1 no matter how early you get to FRA.)

Stuttgart - Dachau, then on to Mittenwald and Zugspitze - 2 nights?

Mittenwald - Herrenchiemsee then on to Berchtesgaden - 2 nights?

B'gaden - Würzburg...

I like your thought of returning to your birthplace. You've been away from "home" for decades, so why not spend 3 nights there getting to know Würzburg and its environs? You need time to gather a few memories there. Würzburg is an historic and authentically German city with a number of interesting sights, including a UNESCO World Heritage palace - the Residenz - and the adjacent Hofkirche (church.) Maybe you'd want to get in on a WALKING TOUR of the city. Maybe take a cruise to Veitshöchheim. Or maybe an outing along the Main River to an old-world Franconian wine village like Sommerhausen, Ochsenfurt, or Marktbreit would be enjoyable - these places are only a few miles away. And IPHOFEN (see photos) east of Würzburg is an outstanding old walled town, much more enjoyable than tourist-stuffed Rothenburg IMO, and closer too.

The above outings are easy and cheap by train or boat. I'd drop the car upon arrival in Würzburg and then fly back out of FRA - W'burg is only 1.5 hours by direct train from FRA so you can probably stay there your last night - or spend 2 nights in W'burg and stay on during day 3 to see more, then catch an evening train to FRA and a hotel there.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10061 posts

Don't bother with the Romantic Road itself... visit the towns along the road that interest you. The road itself is just an ordinary secondary route, and the scenery is no different from any other in that region of Bavaria (other than the heavy tourist traffic in the summer).

You don't have that much time, so I think subtituting the Main for a Rhine cruise is a good idea. Large portions of the Main in Bavaria flow through a deep valley not unlike the more famous Mittelrhein. Think vinyards, castles, attractive towns but much less river traffic and a fraction of the foreign tourists (lots of German tourists, though). I haven't extensively explored the region, but I love the town of Miltenberg.

Posted by Aly
Edmonds
90 posts

We've done them all, but in 3 weeks time. Here were our highlights from your list--

Dachau, it will be the most convenient concentration camp to visit with the areas your going. I wouldn't miss that.
Berchtesgaden and Eagles Nest
Rothenburg
Boat cruise on the Rhine
Neuschwanstein
Zugspitze (only if its sunny and after you've toured Munich if their is still time)
I didn't care for Stuttgart as a city in itself, but Im also not into car museums.

The other places I could take em or leave them. Have a great time!

Posted by john
phoenix, az, usa
12 posts

In no particular order:
1.Munich: interesting city, clock, Deutsche Museum, Hofbrau Haus, etc.
2.Mittenwald: my favorite, good German food at Gastehaus Stern
3.Berchtesgaden is scenic but go to Kehlstein only if weather permitting--great views plus historical significance. Also visit WWII bunker at Hotel zum Turken
4. Romantic Road is half quaint and half marketing. Gauge your time and think twice about traveling the distance.
5. Dachau is worth a visit. It's somewhat sanitized, but what isn't? Although it wasn't an extermination camp, you'll still be in the presence of pure evil.
6. skip Neuschwanstein. Read what Rick Steves says about it. Go to Disneyland instead.

.

Posted by becky912.travel
15 posts

Thanks to everyone for the comments/recommendations! We are definitely going to Wurzburg (main reason for trip) and Stuttgart for car museums. Would you recommend going to those 2 cities, and staying in Bavaria as mentioned above or would you go to Berlin? We could fly or take a train to Berlin for the last 3-4 days and return from Berlin. I want to see Bavaria and Berlin, but we just don't have time and aren't sure when we will make it back as we have some other trips over the next few years we plan to take.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
6036 posts

Well, now you've opened another can of worms, Becky. Berlin would be a very different experience from the quaint towns on your first list. It is what's new and now, along with a good dose of history.

Touching back to the castle stay, see this October 2006 article from Frommer’s Budget Travel.

Posted by mschonekas
55 posts

Personally, I have never been a huge Munich fan. I would stick to Bavaria, i.e., not go to Berlin, on a short trip.