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Where to spend two extra days in Germany and/or Austria?

My wife and I are planning to travel to Germany and Austria for our 25th anniversary. We will be spending 3 days in Munich before moving on to 2 days in Salzburg and 3 days in Vienna. I have two extra days to play with in my itinerary and am trying to figure out how to use them. Here are my options:

  1. An extra day (4 days total) in Munich (allowing for a possible day trip? or not?)
  2. One day (and spending the night) in Rothernburg ob der Tauber before moving on to Salzburg.
  3. One day (and spending the night) in Hallstatt, Austria between Salzburg and Vienna.
  4. An extra day (4 days total) in Vienna (allowing for a possible day trip? or not?)

Are Rothenburg and/or Hallstatt worth it? I would be open to any other suggestions, as well. I don't mind touristy areas, but love off the beaten path too. LOVE the mountains, though we aren't super athletic. It's our first visit to both countries. I am trying not to rent a car on this trip, so anyplace we can get to via public transportation (train being preferred) would be great.

Thanks so much!!

P.S. We're in the early stages of planning, so hopefully, this will all be post-COVID-19. We are looking at September 2021, so maybe not as busy as the summer season?

Posted by
7189 posts

However I'd do it something like this so you are not losing time backtracking :

Fly into Frankfurt if possible go straight on the train to Rothernburg ob der Tauber from there.
From Rothernburg ob der Tauber train to Munich.
From Munich train to Salzburg.
From Salzburg train to Hallstatt
From Hallstatt train to Vienna
Fly home from Vienna

You might cut out something so you are not trying to do too much with the little time you have.

Posted by
3110 posts

Is one of your extra days your arrival morning in Munich (3) and/ or your departure day from Vienna(3)? If so, I’d add an extra day to these cities.

Posted by
13 posts

Good point.

One of the three days in Munich is the day we arrive (likely early in the morning from the US). However, the day we are leaving Vienna is not counted in the 3 days in Vienna.

Posted by
2082 posts

You will have a great trip.
Just an fyi -
I would check for holidays and which locations you'll be located on Sundays , as many stores & restaurants in Europe close on Sundays. I've find it's more of an issue in the smaller towns.
Safe - and healthy- travels!

Posted by
2082 posts

I love Rothenburg, and have been there twice, and do recommend going. However, it is a 3+ hour train from Frankfurt, [did the trip this past December,] which involves around three train connections. This requires a degree of alertness and ease with navigating the German train system, after jet lag. Not sure where you all are coming from, but if you do fly into Frankfurt, why not spend the rest of the day in Frankfurt, before moving on? There are hotels actually inside the Frankfurt airport.
I'd also recommend the Rothenburg Night Watchman tour, and you'd want to be awake for that.
Aww, writing about this makes me long for the days when we can travel again!

Posted by
3304 posts

We liked our first 5 day trip to Vienna so much that we went back the next year for a week, and still didn’t do all we had hoped for. 3 days is just surface scratching. One nice day trip is to Melk, boat in one direction, train the other.

Posted by
2082 posts

Also, check out the dates for Octoberfest- do you want to join in, or avoid it? As it was canceled for 2020, I'm sure it will be extremely crowded in 2021.

Posted by
13 posts

Another thought I had was possibly joining an organized day trip from Munich to Rothenburg, but then we'd only see it during the day when it was crowded. I have read that it is beautiful at night, so I don't know if I like this option as much. I feel like we are neglecting Germany a bit is we only visit Munich, but we have limited time in the area. If only travel was free and our time unlimited! :)

Posted by
5556 posts

"LOVE the mountains,"

You are missing the mountains with the options you mention! Add a night to Munich and head out to MITTENWALD. Take the Karwendelbahn lift, visit the Leutaschklamm gorge, see the violin/folk museum...

Direct trains from Munich take you there in under 2 hours. 2 adults = €31 total round trip; buy the "Regio-ticket Werdenfels" day pass at the Munich train station.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you, Russ. Mittenwald was not even on my radar, but it looks gorgeous. :)

Posted by
8767 posts

I find it's best to plan by how many nights you will be in each place. For example 2 nights = 1 full day, 3 nights = 2 full days, and so on. That will give you a better idea of how much time you'll be in each location. Don't count the day you arrive in Europe and the day you leave as useful days. Also, don't underestimate the amount of time it takes to relocate from one city to another. Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Hallstatt are both doable for one night each to get a feeling for them without crowds.

How many total nights do you antipathetic being in Europe?

Posted by
850 posts

Bavaria is the last Bündesland for summer school vacation ending 13/09/2021. That said it will not be as busy starting 14 September 2021. No telling what the coronavirus will do to the school schedules in the future though.

Posted by
6627 posts

I agree with skipping Rothenburg. Its nice, but not worth that amount of effort and the time will be better spent in any of the other destinations on your list. .

Posted by
1765 posts

If landing in Munich, I would forget R’burg and add both days to Salzburg.

if landing in Frankfurt, I would take 2 nights in Rothenburg

Posted by
83 posts

The places you have listed as visiting are big cities. I would certainly add either or both Hallstatt or Rothenburg so you can experience a small town.

Posted by
1839 posts

If you love the outdoors, Ramsau am Dachstein is Amazing to hike around!

All the best, Monte