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7 days in Germany what should we see/not see?

My family and I will be going to Germany for 10 days which gives us really about 8 days of sight seeing. We are renting a car and here is what we were planning to see...
Day 1: Drive from Frankfurt to Trier. Spend the day in Trier and that afternoon drive to Baden-Baden. Spend the evening in Baden-Baden maybe go to the baths.
Day 2: Get up early and drive to Ruette Austria. Spend the day there.
Day 3: Spend the day in Fussen area and visit the castles spend the night.
Day 4: get up early and go to Dauchau. Spend several hours there and drive to Rothenberg. Enjoy the evening in Rothenberg.
Day 5: spend the morning in Rothenberg and drive to Nurenberg.
Day 6: spend the day in Nurenberg and drive to berlin
Day 7: spend in Berlin
Day 8: spend in berlin
Day 9: fly home out of Frankfurt

I was thinking about cutting the overnight stay in Baden-Baden or cutting the over night in Nuremberg and just spending a few hours there and heading to Berlin.

Any help on what to do? Thanks

Posted by
32 posts

It sounds like you have a lot planned which is great, but you might be rushing yourself. The castles in Fussen is a must see, as is Dachau. But I would suggest staying in Munich - the castles and Dachau are near the city, plus Munich has at least 1-2 days worth of sightseeing in itself.

Posted by
6801 posts

I don't think you have the time to see half the places you have on here. Just out of curiosity, I plugged in all your destinations in order in Google maps, and came up with this: Google Maps search. As you can see, you're all over the place.

I don't think it makes much sense to go up to Munich just to see Dachau, nor to go all the way up to Berlin with the short amount of time you have. I'd skip Berlin and concentrate on Munich - I'd also probably skip Reutte.

I'll let the others who have been to Germany offer their suggestions, but just in my time spent planning for my upcoming trip there, I think you could come up with an itinerary that would be a little easier.

Posted by
55 posts

I know this is all a bit much...but we are wirlwind travelers. I am trying to cut something and still get a lot in, in a short amount of time.

We are not going to spend any time in Munich. That really will have to be saved for another trip. Trier, the castles, Dachau and Berlin are must sees. I would also like to see Rothenberg. That is why we can only really cut baden-baden or nuremberg or both. Or maybe we could try and do just 1 day in Berlin.

Thanks for the help. Keep the ideas coming.

Posted by
8994 posts

I think your day 1 sounds absolutely exhausting and frankly dangerous. You are coming off of a long, overnight, trans Atlantic flight, then planning on driving a car all the way to Trier, touring, then driving all the way to Baden-Baden. This does not sound safe to me.

The whole trip is much too rushed. Do you really know how long it takes to drive to all of these places? You are going to spend most of your vacation in a car. Pick a few places near to each other, and then try to do some side trips, perhaps with the train.

I would pick either Berlin or Munich and some of the beautiful towns that are sort of near-by. Then pick a town near the Rhine and go see Trier, and all the many towns around there. There are other places just as pretty and unique as Rothenburg, but without all the tourists and the need to drive so far.

Basing in Munich will allow you to see so much more, without the hours and hours of travel. Even basing in Mainz or Frankurt for a couple of days would allow you to see a lot without the stress of driving all over the entire country.

Posted by
1498 posts

I am sure that you know yourself best but Jo's advice would be on the mark for me. It takes me a couple days to get fully over jet lag. What helps me is to get out and walk. Driving much on the 1st or 2nd day might be a problem.

Posted by
55 posts

OK sorry I was trying to keep my post short so I did not include all the details...We are flying into Frankfurt and driving to a friends house (about 30 min away in Friedberg, north of Frankfort) and spending the day and night there. So we can be rested up. Then we are getting up to drive to Trier the next morning. I show on google maps 2.5 hrs of driving. Doing the rick steves walking tour of Trier and heading for a nights stay in Ruette Ausrtia (5 hrs driving). Wake up in Ruette and see the castles and enjoy the area (minimal driving) stay the night again in Ruette area. Get up next day and drive to Dachau (2hrs driving) spending a few hours in Dachau and driving to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (2.5 hrs taking the Romantic road) Staying the night in Rothenberg. Getting up the next day and relaxing in Rothenberg and staying the night (no driving). Get up the next morning and drive to Nuremberg (1.5 driving) spend the day and night in Nuremberg. Get up the next morning and drive to Berlin (4.5 hrs driving) Spend the rest of the day in Berlin and the night. Get up the next day and see a few more sights and drive back to my friends house north of frankfort (5hrs driving). Spend the night there and get up the next morning and drive to Frankfurt and catch flight home.

I know this is all alot of driving. My friend that lives in Germany seems to think it is a doable trip and will be lots of fun. Once again I could (and did cut) Baden-Baden and maybe even cut Nuremberg or skip rothenberg and head to Nuremberg, or cut nuremberg and spend more time in Berlin.

Let me know what you think of this.

Posted by
55 posts

Oh also we are coming to Germany in Early Sept.

Posted by
951 posts

Don't skip Rothenburg. Go to the crime and punishment museum and walk the wall. Nuremburg is a nice city. Albrect Durer's house was cool and so was the doll and puppet museum. In Berlin, don't waste your time standing in line for the Reichstag. The mirrored monument as you walk up is not that cool and the view at the top is not that good. We waited 2 hours, partially in the rain and we disappointed as to how non-climactic it was. They even made my boyfriend take off his buttoned shirt for security measures. Weird.

Posted by
4 posts

Having taken a trip very similar to the one you are contemplaing myself, I would suggest the following"
- Cut Nuemburg (Once you have been to Rothenburg there will be very little additional that Nuremburg has to offer)
- Baden Baden including the baths and a sta at one of their spa old fashioned grand hotels is a must
- Skip Trier (nice but see Nureberg comment)
- Do Fuessen for sure
- Do Austria and the Alps just to get a glimpse at the beautiful mountain landscape and have a nice lunch or dinner high up
- Do Munich for 2 days
- I would seriously seriously consider checking out a little village right on a lake in the middle of the Black Forest. It is Titisee-Neustadt and you may want to consider the Maritim hotel there. Also, you could use that route to get from Baden Baden to Munich and then down to Austria.

Hope to share more thoughts if that would be helpful.

Posted by
1525 posts

We were just in Germany for the first time. Given the places you mentioned, I could go into great detail coming up with my ideal itinerary for you, but only you know what your priorities are.

But I can say I found Trier to be not as interesting as I had hoped.

About 50 miles to the east, We stayed in Bacharach along the Rhine in the youth hostel in a castle there and found it amazing. I would have gladly spent a week there just for the idyllic setting.

Skip Ruette. The Ehrenburg (sp?) castle ruin climb was fun if you have never seen a ruin before, but the city is nothing special, really.

We found Nürnberg to be only mildly interesting and wished we had spent more time in Rothenburg, instead.

I would use the 2+ days I subtracted to add a day in Bacharach, a 1/2 day seeing Hitler's Eagles Nest in Obersalzburg ) not for Hitler or WWII stuff, but for the unbelievable Alpine setting and view, and add a day here and there to the rest of your trip for the sake of sanity.

You will have a great time!

Posted by
1976 posts

I might skip Berlin and spend that day in Nuremberg or another small city close by. It almost isn't worth it to spend 1 day in a big city. I spent one day there 3 years ago at the very end of a trip and looking back on it, I should have just saved Berlin for a longer stay.

Posted by
62 posts

If you can't add more time to Berlin I would skip it. It really requires 3 days. We spent 4 days there. It will also be a hassle to have a car while in Berlin.

If you skip Berlin around Nurenberg is Wuerzburg and Bamberg that are suppously good places to visit. You could stay in Rothenberg or Nurenberg and do a daytrip or two.

Posted by
6735 posts

Your trip is still totally hyperactive. Far too much travel in too little time. I would never attempt that in a week - and I'm the type who likes to be on the go.

Others have advised you well.

  • You don't have enough time for Berlin (and why take a car there anyway?)

  • Reutte and the Füssen castles are too far and not worth the trouble. If you want to see CASTLES, then on DAY 1, do as you were told and stay 2 nights on the Rhine. See Trier on the first day, then stay in Bacharach or St. Goar. St. Goar has Rheinfels. Even better is Marksburg in Braubach - www.marksburg.de - and Burg Eltz near Cochem - www.burg-eltz.de and it's only a short drive to both.

  • After Trier and the Rhine, spend 3 nights in/near Rothenburg. I'd spend all 3 nights in one place. (If you want to see Baden-Baden, I don't recommend it, but you could just make a stop there on the way to Rothenburg.) Rothenburg is touristy but great. Nuremberg is very good too. You can daytrip to Dachau from this area. Nearby are also some wonderful places - Beautiful Bamberg, Weikersheim and Würzburg (palaces in both) are all worthwhile.

  • Drop car in Nuremberg and take the train to Berlin for nights 6&7 and for day 8 - then catch an evening train to Frankfurt for your final night. Advance-sale tickets for these routes run only 29 Euros each at

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

Posted by
62 posts

Your plan will involve more time driving than you probably suspect, bit it is possible. In my opinion that baths at Baden-Baden should not be missed. If you are not actually going to visit one of the spas then there is really no reason to go to Baden-Baden and the time could be better spent elsewhere.

Posted by
354 posts

For the benefit of others who may be creating their Germany itinerary, I wanted to point out that Nürnberg/Nuremberg is not just half-timbered buildings and a fountain. The traveler who gives Nürnberg a little more time can venture outside the walls, and visit the WWII sites: Documentation Center/museum, Congress Hall, rally grounds, Zeppelin field, and tribunal courtroom. Even if staying in the old center, the traveler can visit a castle, eat at restaurants selling special Nürnberg sausages and local beer, observe a downtown rebuilt in some kind of hybrid old/new style, and even see a medieval hospital sticking out into the river. Not trying to make a case for including Nürnberg on the itinerary - just saying that the city can offer the traveler plenty of variety.

Posted by
12040 posts

Far too much driving planned here!

If the reason for visiting Baden-Baden was to try a thermal bath, there's many other options closer to Frankfurt, particularly Wiesbaden.

Posted by
109 posts

Lisa,

My husband and I are also go fast, go hard, travelers. However, we also plan in time to enjoy the sights and just meander. Plus, we live here, so we tend to get back to places. The trip we're taking coming up is our fourth trip to the Garmisch area.

We are driving on our trip and as drivers, I would say that's a long trip. Not to mention finding parking everywhere. We tend to drive to the outskirts of a city, park and then take local transit into the actual city. If you're depending on a GPS to tell you where you can and cannot drive, don't. They'll tell you to take a bike path or a road that is closed in the city center during daytime hours. You have to catch it and know what the signs mean or else you'll end up running over tourists and tables set up outside resturants.

I see that you've googled the time between places. That's great. Ignore the time, and look at the distance instead. I see that it will be 537km between Trier and Reutte on A8 a major autobahn. Now, summer is prime construction season which means delays, backups, very narrow roads which lead to balding and heart attacks, and long stretches of 60-80km per hour. Major city areas have a speed limit of 130km/h. So unless you are planning on driving the rest of the road at 180km/hour (about 110 mph) which I don't recommend for inexperienced autobahn drivers you'll never make it in 5 hours. Not to mention bathroom stops. I would estimate more like 7 hours. The traffic around Munich to get to Dachau can be a real pain as well. I hate driving around or through Munich to get anywhere. Also, how familar are you with German road signs? They aren't like the US and it can be really difficult to just glance at them and read them (which we take for granted in the US).

Posted by
109 posts

Lisa,

I don't want you to think me a meanie over here, really, we're all concerned for your and your families health on this trip. I did forget to mention that you could make your trip a bit more streamlined by either doing Bavaria and Berlin, Berlin and the Rhine/Mosel area, or my personal choice, Bavaria and the Rhine/Mosel area. That would be doable in spending 4 days in each area.

You could do:
Rhine/Mosel:
Trier
Cologne
Cochem or St Goar
Burg Eltz

Then drive to Reutte/Fussen/Garmisch/Mittenwald and do:

Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau with time for a thrilling sommerrodelbahn (summer luge)
Dachau - the concentration camp AND the castle
Nuremberg
Rothenburg

or alternatively:

Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau with time for a thrilling sommerrodelbahn (summer luge)

Innsbruck, Austria (great city - golden roof, Hapsburg palace, views of the alps, Swarovski store with display in the basement themed as winter, scnapps store (Fruit and Herbal Drinks co. - try the peach!)

Zugspitze and a hike through Partnach gorge

Dachau - the concentration camp AND the castle

Or mix and match! There is so much to do. Admittedly Bavaria is one of my favorite destinations along with the Rhine/Mosel areas.

Perhaps if you told us what you really want to see in each of these cities we could help make your vacation smoother in transition. How old the people in your family are would help too.

On a side note, how much are you planing to spend on gas over here? It's about $7 a gallon right now. It costs me about 80-100 euro to fill up.

Please let us know about your travels and what you decide. I'm very curious about your trip.

Posted by
55 posts

OK I have been listining to some of the advice. I realize this is alot. We just want to cram in so much fun in such a short amount of time. And I know that cramming it all in makes it less fun.

Here is what I have trimmed the trip down to. Still a lot of driving ( I got the idea from the RS driving tour) But we are spending a little more time in each spot and we are having a few days of little to know driving.

Day 1 arrive and drive 30 min to our friends house north of Frankfurt. Spend the night there

Day 2 Get up and drive to Trier (we have been to Europe several times and really don't have jetlag issues going over...we have them coming back to the US) about 2.5 hrs. We want to spend some time here cause we love Roman history so it would be a great place to see. Then drive to Austria area about 5 hrs. There are 5 adults so we can split alot of this driving and our friend is coming that is German and can help us with the signs and how to drive in Germany.

Day 3 After spending the night in Austria get up and explorer the area go to the castles. Very little driving this day. Then spend the night again. We got a great rate from one of the RS hotels there in Ruette.

Day 4 Leave Ruette and drive to Dachau. about 2 hours of driving. Spend a few hours there and drive to Nuremberg about 2 hrs of driving. Spend the night in Nuremberg.

Day 5 Spend the day seeing Nuremberg and spend the night.

Day 6 Drive to Berlin 5 hrs Spend the night in Berlin.

Day 7 enjoy berlin spend the night. Hopefully in Nuremberg and Berlin we will find a parking spot and just use public transportation.

Day 8 enjoy berlin for a half day and drive back to our friends house. 5 hrs spend the night at our friends house

Day 9 drive from our friends house to Frankfurt and fly home. about and hour of driving.

So this is the trimmed down version. I know I know it is still alot...but I think it is more do able and I think we can pull it off. What do you think about that?

Posted by
6735 posts
  • I would not drive 7.5 hours + on day 2. Reutte is especially unspecial. The tour of 19th-century Neuschwanstein is is not especially interesting and not worth the expense or the long lines. This is a terribly oversold part of Germany, I'm afraid. You would do well to spend at least a night in the Rhine/Mosel region and see a real medieval castle there instead. Rick Steves is right when he praises Burg Eltz as his favorite castle in Europe.

  • I would not skip Rothenburg.

  • Good that you've allowed a decent amount of time for Berlin.

Posted by
109 posts

Lisa,

Much better itinerary! I think you guys will enjoy a lot more with the way you're doing it now.

I agree that you'll find Trier interesting because of the Roman ruins. There is certainly a lot of history (if you ignore the tourists).

I disagree that Neuschwanstein is oversold. There is something that's a bit "fairy-talesque" and dare I say magical? about that area. Certainly, seeing a medevial castle is nice, and if you happen to see one while you're driving, by all means stop, but I think you'll love Bavaria and never want to leave.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
55 posts

Well I am glad to get some positive feedback about our new iten. That makes me feel alot better. Trier, the Castles, Nuremburg and Berlin are all a must. There are of course a million more things we want to do...but it just won't happen on this trip. So we will have to start planning another one. :)

I like the idea of stopping along the way. I think this will make for a great trip. I am excited and I am glad we will have a local along with us. That will be a big help.

Posted by
109 posts

For you Lisa - A list of Park and Ride lots in Berlin:

Berlin

and a list for Nuremberg:

Nuremberg

Parking in Nuremberg is actually the easiest big city we've ever parked in. It does get a bit expensive, but just follow the big blue P for parking. It's usually near a u-bahn or s-bahn station.

Posted by
55 posts

Thanks Rachel for the parking spots. That will help alot!

Posted by
16 posts

My 2 cents, Lisa, although you have been getting a lot of great advice:

Better castles on the Rhine & Mosel (Burg Eltz, all the castles between Koblenz & Bachrach) are way better than Reutte. I think you're wasting your time driving over there for that, when you will be in Trier and have all these amazing castles right there.

Baden Baden is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Don't skip.

Rothenberg - touristy? yes. Kitschy? yes. A must see anyway? YES!!!! (do the night watchman tour!)

We also adored Munich but you don't seem to be into that, but Neuschwanstein, Hoenschwangau & Linderhof ARE "fairy tale" castles and some of the most romantic and beautiful places on earth too.

(Can you tell that we loved Germany? It was such an amazing place you really almost can't go wrong anywhere you go if you go to places you like. I just think you are driving a BIT too much but if you like it that way, go for it and have a great time).

Posted by
2297 posts

I can see that you put a lot of thought into your itinerary and with the explanations (e.g. love of Roman history -> Trier) that makes sense. It is certainly doable.

But especially when you only have a short time for your trip it does make sense to spend less time driving and more time touring. Here are a few ideas how to do it:

What is your particular interest to see the castles at Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau? If it's just about "castles" then I'd also suggest to stay within the Mosel/Rhine area to cut down on driving time and give you more time to see the castles themselves. Burg Eltz would be a great one as you do have a car on this trip and it's one of the destinations that are very worthwhile but hard to access by public transportation. Save Neuschwanstein for the next time when you also want to spend more time in Munich.

Does Dachau have a special meaning for you or could it be another concentration camp? If you don't want to see Munich this time it might be easier to extend your stay in Berlin and see Sachsenhausen instead.

Posted by
8994 posts

If Roman history is your thing, then do keep Trier. Since you are in the area, you might want to visit the Roman sites in Mainz too, including the temple to Isis they found a few years ago. I thought this was really cool and the way it is presented and displayed was great.

While you are staying with your friends north of Frankfurt, then go over to Bad Homburg for a few hours, to the Saalburg. This is a reconstructed Roman fort, which is quite special in itself as it is the only one in existance, but the whole area around it is littered with Roman ruins. I really enjoyed my day there. The entire Taunus mountain range is a UNESCO site due to the Limes that run along it for around 500 km.

http://www.saalburgmuseum.de/english/home_engl.htm

http://www.isis-mainz.de/

http://www.mainz.de/WGAPublisher/online/html/default/hthn-5tthee.en.html

Posted by
37 posts

Uh-oh...reading this with interest because we will also be in germany for 7 days soon.
I had two nights booked in ruette to see alps and castles (myself and 24 yr old son - seeing europe for first time) - he loves to hike as well.
but now I am wondering - should those two nights outside of munich be spent elsewhere?
No one seems to think much of Ruette or the castles (and we are staying in the Loire/France prior to this part of journey)
we fly into munich and the 5 days later fly to berlin for 3 1/2 days so we expected to do some countryside in bavaria.
Thanks

Posted by
55 posts

Right I am just staying in Ruette due to RS recommendations on a cheap place to stay....not because of it as a draw. Plus I want to see the castles and the surrounding area. As for the Castles RS does give it 3 Triangles. Which means DONT MISS! So if Rick took the time to give it 3 Triangles then I will give it the time to check it out. I know a lot of people are saying dont go...but I think for my personal tastes, I will love the castles.

Posted by
33123 posts

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what this board is great for. Not only does the OP get specialist knowledge, really good specialist knowledge by the way, but the rest of us get to feed off the knowledge too.

For example, in all the years we have traveled to Nuremburg ((by the way if you like 3 kleine wuerstchen there, try the old kitchen under the bridge in Regensburg)) we never knew about the park and rides, and many other good things. Thanks to all.

Now for my three farthings worth:-

ask your German friend what stau means. Budget them into your travel.

you're driving all day with 5 adults in a car? How big is this bus? I'm sure that you remember how small European cars are. Just a thought that you might stop more often to stretch your legs (certainly for whoever is in the middle of the back seat).

We love baths and search them out. We love the Caracalla baths in Baden-Baden, but you have good advice to straighten out your route.

If you go on an Austrian Autobahn you require a Vignette - mandatory.

Harping on about German autobahnen, again -- remember that they usually only have 2 lanes each way and lots of the time, even if the speed isn't held up by a rogue stau or construction, trucks pull out to pass each other at 90 or 100 kph when all the cars are at least 30 kph faster.

My wife has just reminded me that the times that we have planned a long drive and then things went wrong was when we said we'd never drive in Germany again! Or Belgium! (lots) Of course we still go, but much wiser. And we budget for staus.

Have a delightful time - I'll be there in spirit...