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Itinerary Help, please? 19 days- Germany, Alsace, Austria

Hi everyone! You all were so helpful when I posted my original itinerary ages ago (I love to plan!). Well, the plan has changed quite a bit and I could use some logistical help and advice.

My husband and I are planning an 19 day/ 18 night road trip through Southern Germany, Austria, and the Alsace region of France for early next May. Our interests are primarily cute cities/ towns with beautiful nature around. We come from South Texas so trees, rivers, and lakes are very beautiful to us! We also love historic sites and museums. We like wine a lot but I'm the only one who cares for beer. My husband's ancestry comes from all over Bavaria and the Alsace region so we want to spend our time there for those reasons as well. Here's my current itinerary:

Day 1: Fly
Day 2: Arrive Frankfurt, drive to Wurzburg, see the Residenz, spend night there.
Day 3: Drive to Nuremburg, see German National Museum, Nazi Rally Grounds, drive to Rothenburg
Day 4: Explore Roth. Spend night in Roth.
Day 5: Drive to Munich by way of Dachau and Andechs -We'll be staying at an airbnb in one of the suburbs with parking here and will use public transport
Day 6: Explore the town, Nymphenburg palace, Sleep in Munich
Day 7: Deutches Museum, Residenz, Sleep in Munich
Day 8: Drive to Salzburg by way of Herrenchiemsee, tour there, hang out in Salzburg, stay there.
Day 9: Drive to Hallstat, not sure what we'll do here but I've always wanted to see it, sleep in Hallstat
Day 10: Drive to Berchtesgaden, boat ride on Konginsee, sleep here.
Day 11: Drive the German Alpine Rd. to Fussen, stopping at the Weiskirche, possibly Linderhof if there's time, sleep in Fussen
Day 12: Ludwig's castles, sleep in Fussen
Day 13: Drive to Colmar (this will be another long day of driving (+- 5 hrs viamichelin), but I'd rather drive longer and get there than stop)
Day 14: Exploring Alsace, we plan to hike through the little towns on the wine route, sleep in Colmar
Day 15: Drive the Black Forest- over to Freiburg, up through Triberg, seeing Schiltach, Black Forest Museum, and ending the night in Gengenbach
Day 16: Drive to Beilstien (probably another long drive), relax, maybe do some bike riding on the Mosel. We could also stop somewhere along the way- Trier? Heidelburg? Neither?
Day 17: Drive to Bacharach by way of Burg Eltz, tour there, sleep in Bacharach
Day 18: Rhine river cruise, sleep in Bacharach
Day 19: Fly Home

My main concerns are the 3 days of long driving. We are from Texas so drives 6 hours and below aren't really that big of a deal to us, but we would like to minimize car time as much as possible. Do you think it's too much driving? We like to be on the move, but also want time to relax.

Also, I'm wondering if I should cut a day somewhere to spend another night in the Alsace region. I've never been but it looks amazing and there would be time for a little geneology sleuthing if we did so. If I did that, where would you take it from? To me, the logical choices are Hallstatt or Bertchesgaden but that area looks so lovely that I want to maximize my time there, too. Would you stay put in Salzburg longer and day trip to these places?

Anyway, thoughts and advice from those who've been are appreciated! And to anyone who took the time to read this, a HUGE thank you!

Posted by
2464 posts

I would stay in Salzburg and do day trips to Hallstatt and B'gaden.
To spend an extra day in Alsace, I would skip the Mosel. Tough decision.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks Stephen! Definitely a tough decision. If it was you would you skip the Mosel and take the extra night or skip the extra night in favor of the Mosel?

Posted by
980 posts

That is 11 different locations for 18 overnight stops, textbook "whirlwind" tour. And you intuition is correct, that is a lot of driving, even for a Texan! Here is my recommendation:

Reconsider using a car for the whole trip. The first 8 days could easily be done via train with much less stress. Yes, you are used to long drives in Texas, but Germany is not Texas and there will be added stresses with unfamiliarity of the signs, places, types of roads, etc that you probably are not considering yet (trust me on this).

Cut some of your stays especially the ones at the edges of your trip (Colmar or Mosel or Salzburg). If you keep Salzburg, definitely stay put in Salzburg with day trips to the nearby areas instead.

Also, ask yourself if you are trying to check off a lot of boxes and is this really what you need for your vacation right now? Some people, like myself, watch The Amazing Race and think it would be so much fun to compete in it while others, like my wife, can't stand even watching a single episode because it gives them anxiety. For the latter group a trip like this is not fun.


Posted by
8 posts

Hi DJ! Thanks for your reply! Ha! Yes, I know it won't be Texas but I was excited to be in a country where I could use a car this time. I've been to France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece but used trains and buses on those trips. I like your suggestion of picking up the rental later. We will most likely fly back out of Frankfurt, so where would you recommend picking up?

If you had to cut one of the outliers, which would it be? Colmar is the one that I don't want to cut at this point because of ancestry stuff. Other than that I'm open.

Fortunately, we are both quick travelers but like you said, this may be even too whirlwind for people like us! Thanks so much for the advice!

Posted by
980 posts

I'd say pick up when you are leaving Munich area and drop off at in Frankfurt.

Personally I'd cut Mosel over Salzburg but that is mostly because I enjoy hiking in the mountains vs along vineyards. If you cut Mosel you will still have a lot of other small towns on picturesque rivers in your plan but if you cut Salzburg/Austria you drop all you alpine lakes and you don't have any others in your trip.


Posted by
20317 posts

Especially on your arrival day. You can get a train direct from the airport to Wuerzburg. If you go via Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof on regional trains, it is a little less money and a little more time.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks all of you :) We have decided to use the train for the first weekish of the trip and stay put in Salzburg for 3 nights and day trip. That takes it to 9 stops in 19 days which seems much more reasonable to me :)

Posted by
333 posts

When you are in the Alsace region, I would recommend popping in on Soufflenheim France. The pottery there is amazing. I wish we could have spent more time there. We were only there for a little while and stopped in on two places, and if I had more room in my suitcase, I would have bought more pottery. (Did I mention that I am kicking myself for not buying more???) These were the two we stopped into. But there are like 16 different places to stop. The yellow insides mean it is handmade where the white inside mean it was not. We had a interesting conversation with the owner of the Ernewein-Haas shop and he explained it all to us.

Otherwise, I think it sounds like a great trip!!! I would not skip Berchtesgaden. I would also recommend taking the hike to the Obersee. It is breathtaking!!

I would also recommend if you are wanting to look at genealogical records on your trip to make contact and have appointments set ahead of time. We were able to get a ton of information when we had appointments. When we tried to wing it in one of the towns, it was a disaster.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you so much for the info Susan! We will definitely have to stop in and get some pottery! And thanks for the genealogy tip :)

Posted by
782 posts

I would not skip the Moselle,there you have one of the best castles in Europe,Burg Eltz,there is also the oppurtunity to take the boat on the Moselle.