We will be coming from Bacharach to Munich as we have 2 nights stay planned in Munich in second week of July. Does it make sense to make a day trip to Rothenburg ob der tauber from Munich? We have 2 kids and they might enjoy going to Neuschwanstein Castle. Is the castle on the same way to Rothenburg by train ? How long is the trip to the castle from Munich and would it make sense? We've practically 1 entire day in Munich since we would arrive from Bacharach the previous evening. What places are there to visit within Munich with family (as Oktoberfest is not near the corner soon) ?
Rothenburg in about a 2:30-3:00 train trip to Munich, so kind of far for a day trip, especially if you only have one full day in Munich. It is also a couple of hours to Neuschwanstein from Munich, though there are bus tours you can go on that might be faster than taking the trains. Rothenburg and Neuschwanstein are not on the same route from Munich. If I had several days in Munich, I might do Neuschwanstein as a day trip, but probably not Rothenburg. With just one full day in Munich, you can find enough to do there. I haven't been with kids, though, so others will probably have good suggestions for that.
It's roughly 5 hours round trip to N'stein including the bus rides. And all that for a 30-minute, $17 guided tour. And it's not a castle but a late 19th-century palace, actually, conceived by a set designer. Almost forgot to mention the long uphill walk from the bus stop.
I would make a point of touring some real castles near Bacharach. In St. Goar (10 min. from Bacharach) kids can explore Rheinfels Castle at will (it's a set of ruins - nothing to break.)
Or take them to Marksburg, a real castle, 800+ years old, for a real tour. From St. Goar, ferry across the river and take a train north to Braubach (21 minutes.)
There's a shuttle that takes you (fee) to each of these castles.
Rothenburg is backtracking toward Bacharach. It would make more sense to do Bacharach to Rothenburg, stay the night, then go on to Munich.
Rothenburg odT, quite simply, gets far more attention than it merits. It's an attractive town, no doubt, but other than the high number of trinket shops and tour buses that flood it everyday, it isn't nearly as unique as advertised. It's reasonable to visit if you can fit in on your way between two destinations, but not if you have to go far out of your way.
I do think Neuschwanstein is worth the trip, however.
What do you have planned after Munich? Knowing that could help us make some recommendations.
The other posters are right, Rothenburg is really too far away from Munich to do as a day trip. It is also in the opposite direction of Neuschwanstein from Munich. So you may want to consider leaving it for a future trip.
Russ is right, Neuschwanstein is not a 'true' castle but it is worth a visit, especially because it will probably spark your children's imaginations. I'm unclear from your question whether you have one or two full days in Munich. I'd personally choose to stay in Munich if you only have one full day. If you have two, a visit to Neuschwanstein is a very great option. If you do visit Neuschwanstein, see if you can make arrangements that include a visit to Linderhof. In my opinion, Linderhof is the better experience of the castles and warrants some time. It also has extensive grounds for your kids to run and burn off some energy.
In Munich, you could visit Nymphenburg Castle ... it might not be the fairy tale castle that Neuschwanstein is but it is impressive and has incredible grounds. Hofbrauhaus is a lot of fun and your kids will probably love a walk through, if not an actual drink (have them try Spezi, it's available everywhere and we loved it as kids, in the beer gardens they sell it by the 1/2 litre in the same glasses as beer so you feel more grown up drinking it). A walk through the Englisher Garten would be fun, your kids would be fascinated if you made the effort to find where the surfers ride the waves in the river (it's at the city centre end of the park), and a visit to one of the lively outdoor beer gardens in the park would be a lot of fun. If the weather doesn't cooperate, they would probably fall in love with the Deutsches Museum. As a kid in Munich, I even just enjoyed the lively pedestrian shopping zone in the city centre between Marienplatz, Karlsplatz and Sendlinger Tor if was so different from anything I'd seen in North America. There are a number of outdoor cafes that sell fancy ice cream sundaes and coffees on Marienplatz, if you need a treat/break.
I hope this gives you some more ideas. Have fun!
I agree with the posters on this thread. Rothenburg is not a day trip from Munich. Its best to do it on its own. If you can't allow one night there, you could do an early departure from Barcharach, have lunch in Rothenburg, then continue on an afternoon train to Munich. With only two days in Munich, you would really only have time to do the city plus one day trip, but it will be rushed.