We are traveling to Landau Germany (near Frankfurt) in late January to visit my son, who is a student at the university and will be on winter break. This is a two-week trip. Trying to decide if we should rent a car while there or travel using the train system. We tentatively plan to visit Munich, Black Forest area and area north of Landau. I would like to minimize time spent "on the road" and maximize time spent experiencing Germany. I'm also concerned about winter driving conditions (snow, ice). Any feedback would be appreciated. And, are there opportunities to snowshoe in the Black Forest? I haven't been able to locate any information on this on line. Thank you!
You're more likely to run into rain or fog than snow and ice around Landau (you mean Landau in der Pfaltz, correct?), although you could experience brief snow showers. The Black Forest runs along the upper Rhine valley, which is statistically the warmest area of Germany. If snowshoeing is available at all, you'll find it at the high elevations in the southern region around Freiburg, particularly at the ski resort on the summit of Feldberg. Otherwise, most the Black Forest doesn't get cold enough consistently to support a winter sports industry. If you're really interested in snowshoeing, your best chance would be in the Alps south of Munich, probably either around Garmisch, Oberstdorf or Berchtesgaden. My best advice for Germany in the winter would be to concentrate on cities. The atmosphere is usually too damp and overcast to enjoy the scenery in rural areas.
Though I like the "worsted grey" of the German countryside in winter, I too think that cities offer you the best experience of Germany in that off season. We formerly lived in Germany and liked driving there. However, trains have best suited our visits back. It engages you with the public and most easily accesses the city centers. You could combine the two, perhaps renting a car for a day or two to see some of the Black Forest valleys and villages.
Thank you Tom and Gary for your feedback - much appreciated. Focusing our trips on cities sounds like good advice. I also like the suggestion of renting a car on a limited basis (when we want to travel to sites outside of the cities) and focusing more on train travel to get from city to city. Thanks again for taking time to respond to my post!