My son will be studying abroad in Mannheim this August. We are actually flying into Milan and flying home out of Frankfurt. We are staying in Milan for 3 nights, then onto Grindelwald, Switzerland for another 3 nights. From there we are going to Munich. All by train. We arrive into Munich Friday evening and plan to stay for 2 nights, basically spending Saturday to visit the city. This is where I'm totally confused. What route should we take on our way to Mannheim? We will depart Munich on a Sunday and need to be in Mannheim by Wednesday. That leaves us 3 nights. I was thinking of going to the Black Forest area and having Freiburg as our base. But, then I was reading about the Romantic Road... Also, I've read numerous posts regarding car v. train. I really would like to get off the beaten path. There will be three of us - myself, husband and 22 year-old son. Hubby and son are not too much into museums and stuff... More of adventurers. I can rent a car for the week for $300 (pick up Munich - drop off Frankfurt), obviously I would need to add the cost of gas. But, is it worth it? We will be in Mannheim for 4 nights before my husband and I depart out of Frankfurt. So, I anticipate doing a few quick day trips from there, like Heidelberg, etc. Please help. First time to Germany! Thank you.
I've spent somewhere around 150 nights in Germany since 2000, mostly in southern Germany, and never needed a car, and half my nights have been in towns under 8,000 population. Germany has a great system of public transportation, both trains and buses; a car is rarely needed. Besides costing less than renting a car, travel by train is fun, something we don't get to do in this country.
Use the German Rail (Bahn) website to find schedules.
Thank you,, Lee. We’re certainly not opposed to the train. But what route do you recommend we take? That’s my main question.
Between Munich and Mannheim, how much devistion are you willing to do to see towns en route? Definitely, Heidelberg, Or, Tübingen, the famous university town, Stuttgart, Ulm.
For a quiet, non-tourist place, ie only German tourists, I recommend Sigmaringen, first went there in August 1971 in that blistering heat, went back the next time to see how it had changed in 2009, aside from the historical reasons.
Very close to Mannheim is the very nice town of Speyer with quite a different cathedral, really big aircraft and science museum (a lot in the open air, big stuff, very neat - not your usual museum), interesting Jewish history.
Near, too, is a favourite little town of mine, Deidesheim. You will too late for the annual Ram auction - yes a real live goat on the steps of the balcony for the auction and associated well-lubricated weekend hi-jinks (the animal is the ages old rent from the town to a nearby town for extra acreage for grape vine growing) - but there is always something going on there and they are really into their wine (They are on the German Wine Road, after all).
Nearby is also Worms - read about the diet there. Other cool stuff too.
Then there is the entire Neckar Valley, and the Odenwald for getting back to nature. Ever seen a "waterfall" of rocks? That you can climb?
Anybody like fast cars or motorcycles? Hockenheimring is just down the road - the (shared) home of the German Formula 1 Grand Prix, and plenty of other races.
Are you intending to see anything in Munich area other than the centre of Munich?
Hi Angels- another possible 3 nite trip between Munich and Mannheim - Bamberg (or Nuremberg) 2 nites, then Rothenburg (or Wurtzburg) 1 nite, then to Mannheim Wed morning. I am not a fan of the Black forest. But If you do go there, try to squeeze in a half day in Gengenbach on your way to Mannheim.
Have a great trip!!!.
I've never been that impressed with the southern Black Forest. It's always seemed too touristy to me, and I didn't like Freiburg, but then maybe it's just my personal preference - I don't particularly like cities, prefer small towns.
That said, I would consider a route that would take you through the Oberallgäu and along Lake Konstanz (Bodensee) to Singen. Definitely stay in Lindau. From Singen, take the train to Donaueschingen, then the route to Offenburg through Triberg and the Black Forest Railroad.
If you wanted to stay in Gengenbach, it's right outside of Offenburg, on the rail line from Triberg.
Thank you all for your terrific suggestions. We definitely want to avoid big cities. I get that every day here in California. We are looking for beautiful scenery, quaint villages, and maybe a castle. That is why we are only staying one day in Munich. We want to venture out and see the beauty of Germany.
I will add my voice to Nigel’s regarding Speyer. We visited it for the first time this year and were impressed by the wide variety of sights there.