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Thoughts on my itenerary- 1 week Southern Germany Munich-Frankfurt

I was hoping to get people's thoughts and help with our Germany trip. We will be going the last week of April for little over a week. It is our first time in Germany, and we will be arriving in Munich early on Saturday 4/26 and leaving on Sunday 5/4.

2 early 30s adults. My boyfriend is a go, go, go, check the boxes on every big tourist site type of travelor. His biggest interests are historical sites, castles, and buying a cookoo clock. I've traveled more and tend to slow down, drink a coffee in a cafe and people watch. I really like history, but I'd like to concentrate on things that are uniquely "German." Neither of us are huge into art- we'd go to an art museum if it were one of the best in the world, but don't feel the need to see every art museum in every city in Europe.

Here are my thoughts so far:

4/26: Arrive Munich airport around 9:30. Head to hotel to drop off luggage. Then walk through the city (possibly follow Steve's walking tour?) and visit the Residenz. Early to bed since we'll be jetlagged.

4/27: The boyfriend we'll head out to Dachau for the morning/ early afternoon. (I've been to Aushwitz, and it was beyond words. I'm just not ready to go visit another concentration camp). I'm thinking of going to the BMW museum. I'm not a huge car buff, but enjoy going to the car show at home. Is there something else in Munich that you'd recommend instead? I've thought about the Duetches Museum. Dinner at a beer hall.

4/28: Take the 6:50 train down to Fussen and visit the two castles. Would 11am be the best time for a reservation? After the castles, we'd like to take the gondola and ride the luge (these close at 5pm). Then we'd train back to Munich. This seems like a full day, but is it possible to do all of this in one?

4/29: Head to Rothenburg. I've thought about taking the Romantic Road bus or taking the train. Are the 2 quick (30-45 minute) stops worth the extra money to take the bus? Is the drive a lot more scenic than the train? If we do take the train, are there any stops we should make along the way?

Check into hotel at Rothenburg, and wander the city. At night, do the night watchman tour.

4/30: Head to Black Forest. I'm thinking of training from Rothenburg to Baden Baden and staying there as our Black Forest base. We could also Romantic Road bus to Frankfurt and take train down from there. Is Baden Baden a good base. I've thought about Freiburg or even another small town, but they seem out of the way, and Baden Baden has the best train connections.

5/1: I've got a car rental reserved (I can easily cancel) in Baden Baden. It is from Sixt in a city center location. With hte GPS it costs $63 +gas. We were thinking of following Rick's driving plan for the black forest from Baden-Baden.

Is this a good 1 day overview of the Black Forest? I'm nervous about driving. Any suggestions? Could we do a good 1 day tour of Black Forest by train? What do we do about insurance?

5/2: Head to Heidleburg(sp?). Leave our luggage at train station, and walk through the city and maybe visit castle. I know Rick Steve's hate Heidelburg, but everyone else seems to like it. Opinions? Then take the train to somewhere along the Rhine- St. Goar?

5/3: Do a Rhine river boat tour. Possible visit to Rhinefields castle. We need to be at Frankfurt airport by 715am the next morning. Is there a nice city in the Rhine region that is quick (under an hour hopefully) to get back to Frankfurt airport?

5/4: Fly home.

Is there anything else you'd add to this trip? What would you take away? I've thought about Omeramagua (sp?) and Hohenzollern castle, but just didn't have time. Would you do one of these over something else in my trip?

Sorry for the long post and thanks for your help!

Posted by
12040 posts

OK, let's see what we have here.

For Munich, no visit to a Biergarten? Of course, the weather may not cooperate in the limited time you have in Munich, but since you don't seem overly hyped over the BMW museum, perhaps this might be a better use of your time. Or, have your dinner one night in a Biergarten.

In April, I don't think you'll need to get a reservation for the castles, especially because you plan to leave so early. The Tegelbergbahn (gondola) is part of the ski infrastructure, and it may not be open in April. Luge might not be open yet either, but check on line.

The Romantic Road would be better named "The Completely Ordinary Secondary Rural Route that Connects Several Attractive Towns". The drive itself is no more scenic than any other in Bavaria, particularly heading north with the Alps to your back. Take the bus if there's specific towns that interest you, otherwise, just take the train.

Rothenburg isn't as unique as the literature claims, but it fits well enough with your trip. Your boyfriend would have plenty of cuckoo clock options here. Yes, cuckoo clocks are not native to this region, but no matter where you see cuckoo clock sold in Germany, most of them are manufactured by the same companies in the Black Forest.

Speaking of the Black Forest... put this region in perspective. What is it? It's a forested chain of mostly low mountains that runs from near Karlsruhe in the north to the Swiss border in the south. Is it scenic? Yes. But here's the thing... the landscape of most of southern and central Germany consists of similar mountain chains and valleys. The Taunus mountains, the Hunsruck, the Pfalzerwald, the Odenwald, the Vogelberg, the Eztgebirge, the Thüringerwald, the Schwäbische Albe, the Eifel, the Sauerland... you get the point, and that's not even a quarter of them. What separates the Schwarzwald from all the others? For one, far more tourist attention, at least partially due to it's easily translatable name. Two, it's a little more extensive than others. And three, the mountains near the southern end (far from your proposed base in Baden-Baden) are a little higher. But even these pale in comparison to the high jagged peaks of the Bavarian Alps. Otherwise, I don't see a whole lot that differentiates the Schwarzwald, geologically, geographically and culturally from all the others. Each is unique in its own way, but they're all variations on a common theme.

Likewise, Baden-Baden is just one of about 100 officially designated spa towns in all of Germany. It owes it's fame to Russian literature, but otherwise, I don't even find it all that attractive compared to many of its counterparts. If you want a spa treatment, you can find a spa resort in just about any corner of Germany- several around Munich and the Alps and several around the Mittelrhein and Frankfurt. Let me know if you want an alternative suggestion. I'm not saying don't visit the Black Forest and Baden-Baden. But these two are kind of outliers to the overall flow of your trip, and if you needed to tighten things up, you can find substitutes easily.

Ignore Mr. Steves' comments on Heidelberg, Wiesbaden and Mainz. His description of Heidelberg is more apt to Rothenburg. For Heidelberg, if Nazi history interests you, check out the Thingstätte (a sort of Greek-inspired open air theater, built to hold outdoor rallies) on the upper slopes of the Heiligenberg, the mountain on the opposite side of the river from the Altstadt and Schloß. It survives today completely intact, minus the Third Reich insignia. There's also the ruins of an old abbey just above.

"We need to be at Frankfurt airport by 715am the next morning. Is there a nice city in the Rhine region that is quick (under an hour hopefully) to get back to Frankfurt airport?" Yes. Wiesbaden or Mainz. If you want your spa treatment, there's Wiesbaden for you (cont.)

Posted by
12040 posts

For a young couple, you may enjoy having dinner in Rüdesheim. Yes, it's very touristy. But many of the restaurants offer live music nightly, mostly of the Schlager variety. You wanted to experience something uniquely "German"...this might not be exactly what you had in mind, but at least you'll have a story. If you're there on the weekend, you will without a doubt encounter several stag, bachelorette and post-wedding parties from the surrounding cities, usually quite sloshed to the gills.

"Is there anything else you'd add to this trip? What would you take away? I've thought about Omeramagua (sp?) and Hohenzollern castle, but just didn't have time. " My preference would be to drop the Black Forest and spend more time in the Alps, although you're too early in the year for the high Alpine hikes. I wouldn't add Burg Hohenzollern unless you based yourself out of Stuttgart, or you decided to drive for part of your trip.

Posted by
19119 posts

"Is there a nice city in the Rhine region that is quick (under an hour hopefully) to get back to Frankfurt airport?"

If you spend the last night in St. Goar, there is a MRB leaving St. Goar at 5:17, arriving FRA Regionalbhf at 6:34 with a change at Oberwesel, one stop after St. Goar, and an RE from there direct to FRA. The next connection is at 6:20, arriving at FRA at 7:34, if that is not too close for you. I suggest St. Goar because the hotels are all close to the train station compared to Bacharach.

If you choose to stay in Bacharach, there are connections at 5:28 and 6:22 respectively, getting to FRA at the same times.

If you want to stay closer to FRA, I would recommend staying in Mainz, and I can recommend Hotel Königshof. It's right across the station plaza from the Mainz Hbf and has a great breakfast. Trains leave at least every half hour and it's 25 to 30 minutes to FRA. For example, there is an S-Bahn leaving at 6:32, getting to FRA at 6:59 and an RE leaving at 6:59 getting to FRA at 7:20. There is also an RE leaving at 6:42 with an 8 min connection to an S-Bahn at Rüsselsheim, getting to FRA at 7:14. I wouldn't suggest Mainz as a destination, but if you come in late, spend the night, and leave early in the morning, it works well.

Posted by
16894 posts

Driving is not difficult around the Black Forest and it is the easier way to the smaller towns there. I did not see the BMW Museum (closed on a Monday) but loved the BMW factory tour - check now if reservations are available and/or at BMW Welt if they've had any spots open through cancellations. Among our family tour of three Deutches Museum locations, the lovely new Transportation Museum was my favorite.

Posted by
8541 posts


Tom's advice is worth considering. For your first visit, I would skip Black Forest / Baden Baden, and head straight from Rothenburg to the Rhine. Heidelberg is great, and the Bacharach/St Goar/Rudesheim area are worth the time. No to Oberammergau. My two cents.

Posted by
13 posts

I am heading back for my second trip to Germany in May. I would skip Rothenburg. It was a tourist trap within an old castle wall. I LOVED Heidelberg! We toured the castle and shopped at the little outside mall at the base foot of the castle. Another little gem of a city is Cochem!!!! We toured the castle and then shopped in the little town. It is simple breath taking! Have a great trip!

Posted by
8977 posts

If you want a medieval walled town, consider Büdingen. It is only an hour away from Frankfurt by train.

Make sure you read the reviews for the Romantic Road bus. Seems rather expensive for what you get. Better is to pick a town or 2 and then visit those using the train, or since you have a car drive there. For my personal tastes, I like the Half-Timbered Route much more than the Romantic Road.

For baths, you could also go to Wiesbaden or Bad Homburg, rather than drive all the way to Baden-Baden. Perhaps stay the night in Wiesbaden before your flight. This is a lovely city, chock full of gorgeous buildings from the 1800's. Rick just hasn't been there yet.

Posted by
12040 posts

Büdingen is a very attractive town, and unlike Rothenburg, no trinket shops.

Another walled town that isn't too far from your proposed itinerary is Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. It sits in a beautiful wine valley between Koblenz and Bonn. It's two towns joined into one. Arhweiler is a preserved walled town (although not perfectly preserved, there's some modern buildings within), and Bad Neuenahr is another of Germany's spa towns.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks everyone for the advice. Lets to think through here.

Thinking I will stay one more night in Bavaria, and one more night in Rhine, and not do the Black Forest. Maybe we wil do that when we make it to Switzerland someday.

Definitely planning on training to/from Rothenburg now. Thinking I will still keep it, even if it's a little (or a lot touisty). We'd arrive mid-afternoon, and could leave early morning, if we didn't like it.

Greatly appreciate the advice.


I have not read all the reply's you got, but as a German here a few hints

Munich, instead of spending time in a Museum take a Train to the Chiemgau/Chiemsee/Rosenheim, Island, Castle, you can relax there very well. They have tours as well.

If in the area of Baden Baden/ Strassburg is a must!!!

If you want more Info
Enjoy your trip

Posted by
14580 posts


I suggest for your boyfriend the famous Deutsches Museum in Munich to see the aviation section, if he's interested in seeing warplanes from both wars. Be advised that the WW II planes are "sanitized." Now for history museums and sites on the same topic of war history, I suggest going to Wiesbaden, Koblenz, Rüdesheim am Rhein, and Rastatt, since you could be in these areas or towns.

Posted by
8977 posts

There aren't any war museums in Wiesbaden or Rüdesheim, and have never heard of one in Koblenz either. Curious as to why Fred suggested this.

In Heidelberg, one of the highlights is the Student Prison. Quite unusual and quirky. I think Heidelberg is a treat and as has been discussed on here many, many times, no one knows why Rick says to avoid it. It is well worth a visit.

Posted by
94 posts

No to Oberammergau. Cute and touristy. Shops close early during late spring/fall. We went there twice because we were in the area sightseeing and ended up eating both times at the Wolf Hotel because nothing else was open (it wasn't THAT late!) There's a lovely church there, but there's not enough history to include it on a stop.

Posted by
14580 posts

In Koblenz is a war/military museum, the Wehrtechnisches Museum, which I haven't been to myself.

I was referring to a historical monument (modified from the original) like that on the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz in Rüdesheim the Niederwald Denkmal, (one of the 5 big historical monuments in all of Germany) which I saw the 2nd time in 2012 with all the scaffolding. In '77 when I saw it for the first time, it was all black laced with some tagging.

In Wiesbaden I was referring to the military portion of the South Cemetery....all of these suggestions if the boyfriend really wants to go after the historical stuff.