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Bavarian Alps versus Romantic Road

My fiance and I are honeymooning in Germany and Austria this November and I am having a tough time deciding between the Bavarian Alps south of Munich (the national park) and the Romantic Road (likely Rotenburg and Nuremburg). We won't have time for both. We'll be driving so access isn't an issue. Opinions? Suggestions?? Thanks!!!

Posted by
19146 posts

The so-called "Romantic Road" is named after an historic period; it does not imply that the road is in anyway "Romantic". Some of the cities, particularly Rothenburg and Nördlingen are particularly scenic, but that's it. The national park (Berchtesgaden) is beautiful. During the winter the road to Kehlsteinhaus (Eagles' Nest) is closed, but you can still tour the Dokumentation Center and, weather permitting, you can still take the boats on the Königssee. Salzburg is also nearby.

The public transportation in the area is very good, so a car is absolutely not necessary for access.

Posted by
12040 posts

I would ask, what do you want to see? Pristine Alpine peaks or several towns of varying quaintness? My own bias is that although the "Romantic Road" (so named by travel agents in the 1950s and named after the philosophical movement of the late 1700s- early 1800s, not the modern usage of the word) is a pretty drive, so is much of the rest of Germany.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks for the replies! For a little more explanation, we're starting in Munich then heading to Salzburg, then to Vienna and then back into Germany. Its the end part of the trip I'm trying to decide on. We can either drive back south of Munich or wind our way down the Romantic Road to Munich. The road to the eagle's nest will already be closed in November? I was afraid our timing might cause problems like that. I really appreciate the feedback :)

Posted by
19146 posts

The opening times for Kehlsteinhaus are given on their website, here. The open in May and close in October, weather permitting.

Posted by
12040 posts

Honestly, you really can't go wrong with the scenery in this area, especially if you're also seeing Salzburg. I'm not sure the Romantic Road would add very much to your tour.

Although activity in the Alps are always at a lull in November, the Bavarian Alps don't transform into ghost-towns nearly to the extent that some of their Swiss counterparts do. Weather is not the greatest (not cold enough for winter sports, sometimes too cold and wet for hiking), but road closures are uncommon in November.

Posted by
116 posts

Going from Vienna to Munich -- the Romantic Road is kinda in the wrong direction. I'd just find a pretty place to hole up in the Alps and enjoy the last few days. The Chiemsee is a nice area, as are most of the Bavarian Alpine lake areas.

Posted by
19146 posts

Is the Munich to Salzburg to Vienna to Munich route set in stone or can you do Vienna first? Salzburg and Berchtesgaden are next to each other. It would make more sense to leave Munich to the north, to Regensburg, then follow the Danube via Passau and Linz to Vienna, then come back to the south and pick up Salzburg and Berchtesgaden.

Posted by
12040 posts

Echoing Lee... if it's possible to get a brief glimpse of Passau, do it. One of the most stunning pieces of land in Europe, kind of like Pittsburg with castles.

Posted by
3551 posts

I was on the romantic road in Aug. I would rate it just OK. However Bavarian Alps is fabulous, been there multiple times. My vote is Bavarian Alp, much more of everything, picturesque, castles, lovely churches, lugeing etc you can make your comparisons in RS guidebks.

Posted by
19 posts

It seems like the Bavarian Alps is the winner by far. We are a bit concerned about too many things being closed at that time of year. We are not tied to our itinerary, but we need to be in Vienna on our 4th day to attend a ball. We are now thinking of spending less time in Germany and heading to Bratislava or Prague - any thoughts on that given the time of year, etc? Thanks!

Posted by
178 posts

I would recommend that you also stop by Hallstaat while in the Bavarian Alps. It is within thirty minutes of Berchtesgaden driving east and south of Salzburg. It is one our most favorite spots of all of our European travels. Check out what Rick has to write about it. WOW, you will love the entire area!

Posted by
216 posts

Charlene,s memory is a little rusty (or maybe she didn't check her GPS). Hallstadt is directly east of Salzburg and worth visiting any time of the year. You can go there most easily by car anyway. Take the Thorgau exit from the Salzburg-Linz freeway, head past Fuschl and picturesque St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang down to Bad Goisern. Then south along the Hallstätter See.

For sightseeing on the way take the Schafbergbahn up the Schafberg (near St. Gilgen). You may encounter also local customs and events that will make the trip memorable. WWW.salzkammergut.at

Posted by
19146 posts

Sorry, Martin.

The Internet gives the latitude of Salzburg as 47° 54'. For Hallstatt to be directly east of Salzburg, it would have to be at the same latitude, but the Internet shows it at about 47° 34', 1/3 of a degree south. Since a degree of circumference through the poles is about 69 miles, I believe that makes Hallstatt 23 miles south of due east.

Better check your GPS.

Posted by
189 posts

The Alps! I vote for the Alps. They blew us away. If you can add Innsbruck to your trip, do so.

Posted by
19 posts

Does anyone know when fall foliage is in Bavaria? Will all of the colored leaves be gone by the second week of November? Thanks!

Posted by
12040 posts

My experience in various parts of non-Mediterranean Europe has been that most trees have shed their leaves by mid November.

Posted by
471 posts

I am facing the same question in planning an early June 2009 trip. I will have limited time, only three or four days, between Paris and Amsterdam. The more I read, the more I want to focus on Bavaria and the Salzburg area.

For any who would care to respond, what are the top sites in the Munich and Salzburg areas? How much time would you spend in the cities as opposed to the countryside? And how challenging is the driving in the Salzkammergut region as well as the drive from Munich to Berschtesgaden? Thanks in advance for any who would like to respond (which I believe go to the questions raised in the first post).

Posted by
12040 posts

Hmm, 3-4 days between Amsterdam and Paris to southeastern Germany? Even if you fly, consider that you'll only have 1-2 full days to explore. That's barely enough time to even see a minimum of both Munich and Salzburg. It can be done, but you'll have very little time to do anything. If you really want to see Germany, perhaps you can consider an area closer to the Netherlands and France, such as the Rhineland-Pfalz or Nordrhein-Westfalen?

Posted by
216 posts

Hey Lee!

Damn GPS (back in my day Salzburg and Hallstadt were just about even-steven. Now we worry about a few degrees in latitude!

For someone wanting to go south when traveling between Paris and Amsterdam, I'd suggest they look around the neighborhood, if only a few days' travel are contemplated. Both Munich and Salzburg have much to offer, and should be savored at some leisure. I'd go to Bruges, Brussels, the Alsace, or a little into the Rhineland and have a great time, rather than race down southern directions and be rushed.

Posted by
471 posts

My apologies to Joy for steering the conversation in a slightly different direction (and my best wishes with your upcoming wedding). I guess, if need be, I can add a day to my trip and visit Amsterdam first before going to Germany, flying out of Munich or Frankfurt.

Like Joy, we are trying to decide whether we should focus on the towns and country of the Romantic Road region, or go a bit further into Bavaria and Salzburg.

Again, I welcome the comments of those who know Germany well or have visited recently on what they really liked and would definitely recommend and what areas, if they had to do it over again, they would not visit.

Posted by
12040 posts

Slightly repeating what I wrote earlier, my own bias is that the Romantic Road isn't any more scenic than hundreds of kilometers of road elsewhere in Germany (not counting that dramatic moment when the Alps suddenly appear, which happens on many other roads in Bavaria as well). But the Bavarian and Tyrolian Alps, those really are spectacular! So if your time is limited, go for the mountain towns and Salzburg. I personally like Garmisch-Partenkircken as a base for outdoor activity, but Mittwewald, Grainau, Oberamergau, etc. are probably just as good for casual tourism.

Posted by
2732 posts

Joy, I just got back from Bavaria, and the leaves were already turning, so I doubt there will be any color left by November.

We stayed in Mittenwald and absolutely loved it.

Posted by
70 posts

Definitely more time in the Alps verus the Romantic Road. Towns like Mittenwald, Schliersee, Garmish, all wonderful places. We are planning a trip next month and plan on spending time exclusively in the Alps.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks to all the great suggestions I'm settled on the Alps. Any hotel suggestions for the Garmisch area? I also happen to be looking for a hotel in Steyr and Vienna in Austria.

Posted by
1449 posts

Having been both places, I think you've made the right choice.

We stayed in the Gasthof Fraundorfer. Cozy place, they have traditional dancing nightly in the restaurant downstairs. Good food, too!

You should check on tripadvisor for hotel reviews of this and other places.

edit: I should add that its dancing you watch, not dancing you are expected to take part in. The drinking, that you're expected to take part in :-)

Posted by
9 posts

Joy, if you want a good deal, stay in Oberammergau. On the advice from Lee, I went to Gaestehaus Richter. Frau Richter has rooms that are around 30 euro for two people. The best part about it was that she did not have any rooms available. She called a friend who has a B&B and had an available room. The people there are just wonderful and always helpful. Oberammergau is a wonderful town and from there you can take a bus to Garmisch.

Posted by
12040 posts

I second the recommendation for Gasthof Fraundorfer. My favorite lodging anywhere in Europe. Request one of the three rooms facing the street, and you'll have a small balcony that will give you a great view of the mountains.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately the Fauderhof is closed during the time we'll be there. Which stinks because even if we couldn't stay there I would have loved to go to the restaurant.

Posted by
12172 posts

I think people who are suggesting the Alps aren't considering the time of year. The Alps are beautiful when the weather is good. They are also great when the snow is good for skiing. In November, it's likely to be just cold and gray with fog instead of a view. If you are lucky, it will be cold and clear and you will get good views. The lodging in the Alps, however, will be cheap in November.

Romantic road is essentially a medieval trade route with a lot of historic towns along the way. They are neat but not neccesarily romantic. My favorite is Wurtzburg. It will probably be cold there too with relatively cheap lodging.

For a honeymoon, Munich is a beautiful city with great museums (indoor activity on a cold day). Salzburg is georgeous.

I'm thinking you may not be acclimated to cold weather. Bring layers of wool or polar fleece and a good rain/wind shell. A knit cap, scarf and gloves will help keep you warm if it's really cold; we usually don't pack those. We buy them there, if needed, and bring home as a souvenir of our trip.

Posted by
10344 posts

Supporting what Brad has said (immediately above): Someone from Florida (the original poster) might be blindsided by November weather in the Alps. The Alps are a high mountain range in a latitude even with Canada.

Posted by
10 posts

My wife and I were in Garmisch in late September. We stayed at the Maria-Anna http://www.gaestehaus-maria-anna.de/ and can recommend the room and the price. It is within a 15 minute walk of the center of town and slightly longer to the zugspitzebahn. Breakfast is included, the view is fantastic.

Posted by
113 posts

You can't go wrong with either - depends on how much you like snow!