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7 days in Southern Germany in March - Itinerary Critique

Landing in Frankfurt on Saturday, March 5th at noon- this is not flexible. Have 7 nights to spend in southern Germany. Can end up most anywhere with reasonable airfare back to the U.S., departing on Saturday, March 12th. Planning on departing from Munich.

Tell me what you think of my trip, considering the time of year/weather at the various destinations.

Current itinerary:
Saturday, March 5th: Train to Rhine Valley/Bacharach from Frankfurt Intl - 2 nights in Bacharach/St. Goar area checking out the Rhine River Valley

Monday, March 7th: Train to Rothenberg. Stay there for 2 nights.

Wednesday, March 9th: Train to Munich for 3 nights. Fly out of Munich on Saturday, March 12th.

Hard to tell, but it seems that the Rhine could be pretty quiet this time of year... so considering spending that time in Salzburg instead.

I'm open to any other week long itineraries in southern Germany that start in Frankfurt... from Switzerland to Austria.

Posted by
717 posts

Hi Mark,
Haven't been to the Rhine, but I just spent 10 days in Bavaria. Rothenburg for 2 sounds good, I'd also hit Fussen for a night or 2 to see the castles (or do this from a day trip from Munich, albeit trickier). Salzburg is awesome, so I give that at least a night. That's what I'd see with your timeframe.

Posted by
18864 posts

The Rhein ships ( will probably not be running yet, but Rheinfels castle and Bacharach will probably be worth the trip. Two nights in Rothenburg sounds about right. Munich is worth at least 3 nights.

Posted by
6237 posts

I think your original plan is quite good. Some tips:

(Days 1-2) I've done the Rhine area in the first week of March and the villages are deadsville. Spend your 2 nights in a larger city - Koblenz or Mainz (only about 20 minues from FRA.) Pick Koblenz only if on day 2 you intend to daytrip beyond Koblenz to Trier or Cologne. Otherwise, make your first day an easy one and set up in Mainz, a nice city with a lovely old town filled with cafes and wine bars and with a nice pedestrian zone near the Dom. On DAY 2 take a daytrip down the Rhine by train (Rheinland-Pfalz ticket) to tour Marksburg Castle (excellent, should be open 11-4) in Boppard, and Bacharach or Boppard or other villages that interest you.

(Days 3-4) Be sure to stopover in Würzburg on your way to Rothenburg (you have to change there anyway) for a few hours to tour the Residenz (palace) and have a meal. Rothenburg doesn't require 2 full days.

You could daytrip to Salzburg (Bayern Ticket) from Munich but you'll probably find enough to do in Munich.

Posted by
18864 posts

There is a lot to see in Munich, but if you run out of things that you want to do, you can use a Bayern-Ticket (€20 Single, €28 for 2-5 P) to go to the castle near Fuessen or to Salzburg by regional trains. The best connections to Fuessen are all regional, some with a cross-platform change in Buchloe; regional connections to Salzburg take about ½ hr longer, each way (2 hrs vs 1½ hr) than the more expensive express trains.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks for the feedback everybody.

Right now, it is a toss up between a couple days on the Rhine, or if I should spend more time in Bavaria and venture down to Fussen for a night to see Ludwig's castles.

Posted by
1449 posts

If you like winter-type activities you might consider visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen which has the highest peak in Germany. This is not terribly far outside of Munich, although others would have to advise you of how to get their by public transit; when we did it in the summer we had a car. I thought the town was wonderful to walk around in, and their are other towns nearby that people have also spoken highly of. Garmisch would be an option if you omitted the Rhine and decided to spend more time in the Munich area.

Posted by
1525 posts

I think the Rhine is a tough call. I think you would enjoy it even if it seems dead, but you would enjoy other places too. I think I would be tempted to do those two nights in Salzburg, myself.

Rothenburg is very cute. But very cute towns generally only take a few hours to see. Even if you stop in Wurtzburg on the way there, you'll still be ready to leave by noon the next day. So I would take a day away from Rothenburg and give it to Fussen.

Good luck!

Posted by
5 posts

I, too, would spend more time in Muenchen and the Bavarian Alps (even Mt. Zugspitze) rather than the Rhein in March. Part of the charm of the Rhein is the Rheintal (valley) with its castles and those are best experienced from the K-D or similar ships that cruise the Rhein. Walking up to a castle or through vineyards or shopping on the streets of Bacharach, St. Goar, Boppard, even Ruedesheim, etc.,sitting on a terrace overlooking the Rhine for a meal, snack, and wine or beer, enjoying the views are just not that viable in March. Many stores, inns, even restaurants are closed then. Suggestions about Ludwig's castles and other sites in the far south are excellent. Some will be busy as ski resorts but they will provide lots of ambiance (Mittenwald, Kruen, Schwangau, Ettal, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, etc.). The Residenz and Altstadt Wuerzburg are not to be missed either. Mark, you need more time...lots more time.

Posted by
430 posts

I would divert time away from the Rhine that time of year for certain. Instead I would spend more time near Munich, particularly the Fussen suggestion.

Someone also suggested Wurzburg -- I would second that if this trip were in the fall. We've used Wurzburg as a pleasant short stop to stave off jet lag on day 1. When we've flown into Frankfurt we stop in Wurzburg and spend part of the day, then head on to Munich. Since you are open to flying open-jaws... I'd turn your trip around the other way.

If it were my week, that time of year.... I think I would....

Saturday -- Land in Frankfurt, train to Rothenburg, 2 nights.

Monday -- morning train to Munich. 2 nights. Side trip to Fussen.

Wednesday -- morning train to Salzburg. 1 night.

Thursday -- Scenic train from Salzburg to Zurich (Maria Theresa?) - yes, the ride is 5 hours, but is one of the most scenic rides in Europe, and would be great in early March. I would take the early morning option -- leaving at 6am. Continue on to Interlaken. 2 nights in the Berner Oberland.

Saturday -- Fly out of Geneva or Zurich. (If the flight is very early you may only get 1 night in the Oberland... )

If that trip started looking too crowded... I'd cut the oberland, add a night to each Munich and Salzburg, but still do the scenic ride to Zurich the day before flying out of Zurich.

Posted by
115 posts

I am trying to put together a trip to southern germany in April myself. I really wanted to see the Rhine and the castles there. But with 3 twenty somethings with me I think a few nights in Rothensburg, a few in Munich, and 2 in the Salzburg area, are what I am headed for. And a night in the Garmish-P area to investigate the Zugspitz and that area. I loved Salzburg several years ago, and they also have a good system by which you can go on many different pre-arranged tours, (in either van or bus)to many interesting sites. (I am not big into sound of music stuff, but Rick says the bus tours cover many things.) My husband and I went to Hitler's Eagles nest on a gorgeous day. And if it rains, a friend tells me to go to the salt mines near Salzburg. There is something about that city and the area around there.....
I really wanted to see very old castles and the Rhine has them, and ruins. But Salzburg beat them out in a trip of only 8 days "on the ground".

Personally...seeing Ludwigs castles from the town was enough for is beautiful, But so many people have been let down by the tours there, I was actually glad they closed early (it was Sunday!) and we just walked around the town, and by the lake and relaxed...and drove on.
And that is a big point....remember on Sunday things do shut down earlier (or not open at all). I made the mistake of going to Munich for the first time on Sunday, and was very saddened by this..(had some steins instead)!

Posted by
8664 posts

The only things that shut down usually on a Sunday in Germany are stores. Attractions, museums, restaurants, etc. are all open. Monday is the day that many museums will close down though.

Posted by
19 posts

A day on the Rhine with a trip to Burg Else is nice. I think that 24 hours is enough for Rothenburg, be sure and take the night watchman tour. A trip to Ludwig's castles is a must and Salzburg is one of my favorites. Have fun !

Posted by
8664 posts

A few nights in Rothenburg with a couple of 20 year olds? They will be bored to tears. Spend a night or two along the Rhine, perhaps in Mainz, so the 20 year olds have something to do after 5-6 in the evening. It is very easy to get to the castles from Mainz. Or for that matter, stay in Frankfurt itself, if that is where you are landing. Again, very easy to reach the Rhine, 30 min. on the S-bahn from Frankfurt. Then there is plenty to do for everyone, you don't have a train journey facing you the moment you get off the plane.

Your original plan to go to Bacharach is ok too. Don't know why you changed it.

Posted by
386 posts

I would also like to chime in that one night in Rothenburg is more than enough, and that Salzburg is worth an overnight from Munich!

Posted by
12 posts

I have been doing exhaustive research on my itinerary - considering the advice provided by this forum. Here are my new thoughts...

Quick note: I am traveling with my girlfriend - we are in our mid-20s. This will be my 6th trip to Europe, so I'm very comfortable navigating in foreign countries. I've never been to Germany, Austria or Czech Rep... so I'm not trying to go anywhere outside of this area.

Due to outside constraints, while still landing in Frankfurt on Saturday, March 6th, we now need to be in Strasbourg, France on Saturday, March 13th.

New plan:

Land in Frankfurt on Saturday around noon. Take the train to Salzburg for 2 nights.

Tuesday: Train to Munich for 3 nights. Various day trips from Munich. Probably down to Fussen for the castles and certainly out to see Dachau.

Friday: Train to Strasbourg. My girlfriend really wants to see Strasbourg... it was at the top of some list of places you're likely not to see.

I took out the Rhine because I really want to see it in the summer, when the vineyards are open. March just isn't the right time. I've heard Rothenburg is dead this time of year, and the "Night Watchmen" tour isn't held in March. I think I will save these two for the "next time" vacation.

I would appreciate any advice on this itinerary, especially regarding the most economical way to navigate this by train. It looks like there are some discount fares still available (around 29e), but I'm guessing I need to buy those rather soon. Or should I consider a twin pass for my girlfriend and I - currently $204 each for 3 days of travel?