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Itinerary Review: One Week in Bavaria

Hello all,

I am in the early stages of planning an early December trip to Germany. We are a couple in our early thirties. We have 8 days total travel time (six days on the ground).

We are planning on flying into Frankfurt and out of Munich and are interested primarily in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich (with a possible daytrip to Neuschwanstein and Dachau) and Salzburg.

Day One: Morning arrival in Frankfurt to Rothenburg (by train)
Day Two: Rothenburg all day, to Munich
Day Three: Munich
Day Four: Daytrip to Neuschwanstein
Day Five: To Salzburg
Day Six: Salzburg, to Munich for overnight (depart next day).

Perhaps this is too daunting? Looking forward to your replies.

Thank you very much,


Posted by
392 posts

You will be there during Advent which means Christmas markets and other special events like concerts. Not only are there plenty of religious activities offered, but the Bavarian Blue Santas and festive outdoor activities like ice-skating are enchanting.
I suggest that you fly in and out of Munich. The trip to Rothenburg is tedious as it involves several changes and regional trains. I wouldn't want to undertake that right after completing an international flight, and if you arrive too late in the day you might miss that last tiny train. Honestly, we spent two nights there and I would never recommend it to anyone. It is so touristic, and with the exception of the night watchman tour has nothing about it that is more special than a dozen other towns in the region.
We have based ourselves in Munich several times and made easy day trips to places like Nuremberg,Bamberg, Regensburg, Wurzburg and Salzburg. Any of those "burgs" are excellent. From Munich you can also make easy day trips to Neuschwanstein and Dachau. We were there in early December and the weather was winter-coat worthy, but sunny and clear. I would think that for your itinerary it would be most enjoyable to base yourself in Munich for all six nights. Getting into Munich from the airport is a breeze on public transport. When you return from day trips there are plenty of food choices and the Christmas market venues also offer food and plenty of Glüwein (the seasonal mulled wine sold in outdoor markets everywhere). Munich itself has many interesting things to see like the Residenz and Treasury. Bavaria is special any time of year, but the Advent season really is a "must-do" at least once in a lifetime.

Posted by
1621 posts

I have never had a problem travelling after landing in Europe. The train ride to Rothenburg is not difficult, the changes are easily handled. one night and a day in Rothenburg is hardly too much - I stayed three nights last time ( my third visit ). The itinerary is busy, but not too much different than my early trips. If you like Germany, you will be back and perhaps stay longer in places. On my next planned trip I will stay just three places, one week in each.

Posted by
2703 posts

Hi Elle,

My opinion, it's a lot of moving and traveling, even the day trip. It looks as if you'll always be heading to the next place instead of enjoying and experiencing one or two bases with side trips. I can see the logic of flying into and out of Munich. While we loved our 2 nights in Rothenburg, we also love Salzburg, the Berchtesgaden area and the Salzkammergut. Early December during the Christmas markets is simply magical in Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, and Salzkammergut (St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang on the Wolfgangsee). Even nearby Hallein has a Christmas market plus Salt Mine tours. Check the days of the week of your trip, as not all towns have the Christmas markets open every day. Salzburg and Munich do, but places like Hallein, Berchtesgaden and St. Gilgen have them Thurs. - Sunday only.

Depending on the days of the week, I'd probably stay in Salzburg or nearby for 4 nights. If you can include any of these : Thurs., Fri. Sat. or Sun. based here, I highly recommend a day cruising the Wolfgangsee visiting the towns and markets around it.


Posted by
16171 posts

The trip to Rothenburg is tedious as it involves several changes and regional trains. I wouldn't want to undertake that right after completing an international flight, and if you arrive too late in the day you might miss that last tiny train.

I think that is a rather conservative statement. We do it all the time. Hit the ground running I say.

You say you are landing in the morning, so if you are standing on the platform of the airport Fernbahnhof by 8 pm, you'll make it to Rothenburg that night. Just 2 changes, at Wuerzburg and Steinach. 2 hours and 47 minutes. There are connections every 2 hours, a couple requiring an extra change at Frankfurt Hbf. The walk up price is 100 euro for 2. You can use the Bayern Ticket for the rest of your trip which is just 28 euro/day with regional trains after 9 am week days.

There are even ways to reduce that 100 euro opening day price if you are willing to take more time and use regional trains.

Posted by
2703 posts

Hi again Elle,

Just wanted to add that we also never have a problem getting on our way after landing, especially from NY or NJ. We usually land and then drive for 2 to 3 hours and then spend the day and evening out. We get to bed by 8 or 9pm and all is good for us.

It says you're from NY. Just wanted to give you an FYI: Lufthansa/United has a flight from Munich to Newark, NJ, non stop that leaves Munich at 3:20pm. We've had this flight for our last 4 trips home from Germany. No getting up early and you can stay pretty much within a 2 hour radius of Munich. We've stayed in Hall in Tirol (Innsbruck) twice and Berchtesgaden (Salzburg) twice for our night before a flight home with the 3:20 afternoon flight.


Posted by
269 posts

Does not look daunting to me but i have done similar trips by car so I can not speak about taking the train. Rothenburg that time of year should be pretty. We were there Thanksgiving weekend a few years ago for 2 nights and had a great time. We walked part of the wall, did the Night Watchman tour, climbed the new town hall tower, did the Medieval Crime Museum and also the Kathie Wolfhart store(s).
Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangua are doable on the same day. Munich has lots to see and do also. Avoid the Hofbrauhaus and find a real biergarten.

Posted by
1631 posts

I think your itinerary looks good and is very doable. You will arrive in Rothenburg in the late afternoon in time for the Christmas market in the evening which is enchanting. You have just enough time in each city to see what you want during the day and then enjoy the market in the evening. Yes, the markets are happening during the day, however, the evening market is so..... Yes, wonderful. If you want to see my Christmas markets blog, send me a private message.

Posted by
18058 posts

"... if you arrive too late in the day you might miss that last tiny train."

By last tiny train, I assume you mean the shuttle from Steinach to Rothenburg. I would be difficult to miss it since it runs hourly up until 8:35 PM, then at 10:35 PM (the last train of the day).

If you were willing to pay full fare (43€ each, I wouldn't recommend the non-exchangeable Savings Fare for air arrival), you could leave on the 8:02 PM IC from FRA to Würzburg and still make that last tiny train.

Or, with a local ticket to Kahl (8,10€ each) and a Bayern-Ticket (28€ for two) from there to Rothenburg, you could leave FRA Regionalbahnhof on the 7:02 S-Bahn to Frankfurt Hbf, change there to the RE to Würzburg, and still make the last tiny train to Rothenburg.