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7 days - Rhine River Valley and South

My wife and I and our three daughters (ages 16, 13 and 10) will be spending two weeks in Germany in July with 7 days +/- to travel south from Cologne to Neuschwanstein, stopping to see Rick Steves-recommended sites along the way. We have some flexibility regarding both time and travel mode. Can anyone suggest an itinerary?

Posted by
8673 posts

Do look at other places then just Rick Steves recommended stops. Places such as Mainz for example. Why this is not in the book continues to astound me.

Even when he has Frankfurt in the book, he has left out so many of the best sites in this city. He seems to write only about the stuff that whatever particular guide he had, recommended. Makes me sad sometimes when people come here and leave without ever finding the most beautiful and oldest churches in Frankfurt, because they aren't in the "book", or have no idea that the Klein Markt Halle - a wonderful indoor produce market even exists, or that one of our neighborhoods sits on the original city walls, has dozens of half-timbered houses as well as the requisite cobblestone streets, and one of the oldest churches in Germany.

There are tons of beautiful small towns that the book doesn't have space for. Many have great castles in them, and probably just as much charm as Rothenburg, but without the tourists. Take a look at a map that follows your route and start googling towns that sound interesting along it. Visit a few other travel forums for ideas.

If everyone just went where Rick recommends, no one would visit Northern Germany at all! I do admire much of what Rick writes, but it still frustrates me quite often.

Posted by
12040 posts

Rick Steves' Germany edition is one of the weakest in the series. Too many regions skipped, some fairly commonplace sites written up as if they were unique, some wonderful cities dismissed out-right (why he hates Heidelberg and loves Rothenburg, I can't understand...) There is a LOT to see and do between Cologne and southern Bavaria that isn't in the book. I would recommend using another, more extensive source to plan the overall trip, and use the Blue Book for lodging recommendations in specific areas.

Posted by
1440 posts

There are almost too many possibilities between Cologne and Neuschwanstein.

I best like the Michelin Green Guide as it has a couple maps in the front to see how sights can be grouped. It is designed for road travel.

Some regions that you might visit:

The Middle Rhine is loaded with castles, and villages like St Goar and Bacharach. And, I also liked Mainz.

Go onto Franconia with old trading cities like Würzburg, Bamberg, Rothenburg and Nürnberg. Then on the way south take in medieval Regensburg with its gothic Cathedral and Danube River front. Landshut is also a nice stop.

Or, head south of the Rhine into Baden-Württemberg, visiting Heidelberg, Schwäbisch Hall and/or Tübingen. From there pass down through the Black Forest with beautiful rolling scenery, castles and monasteries.

I have left out far more than I mentioned. Get a more comprehensive guide and see what fires your imagination.

Regards, Gary