My husband and I are planning a trip to Germany June 22- July 3. Our current itenirary includes Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Nuremberg. We are contemplating eliminating Nuremberg and adding Garmisch-Partenkirchen instead. We like to hike and thought Nuremberg and Rothenburg may be too similar. We wil be hitting Munich also - so if we choose Garmisch-Part., we will travel from Munich. Also we do not plan on renting a car. Is it possible to get to hiking spots in Garmisch-Part. without a car? We have not ruled it out, just not planning on it at the moment.
"Is it possible to get to hiking spots in Garmisch-Part. without a car?" Yes, very easy. GaP has a good bus system, but even without using a bus, there are many trail heads easily accessible by foot from either the Garmisch or Partenkirchen sections of town. "and thought Nuremberg and Rothenburg may be too similar." Not at all. Nuremburg is a large city with a well-preserved (or reconstructed) historical core. Rothenburg is a medium-sized town with a historical, walled center. Personally, I find Rothenburg to be the single most over-rated destination in Germany. Not that it isn't pretty (it is), but Germany is loaded with attractive historical towns. I enjoyed Nuremburg when I visited several years ago, but perhaps my memory has become skewed...
Thanks for the feedback! It is very much appreciated.
I cannot speak to Nuremberg vs. Rothenburg. But I have been to Garmisch-Partenkirchen several times and we are going back in September. The hiking there is fantastic and offers so unique opportunities, such as a cabled path on a ledge across the face of the Alpspitz. The two gorges ( Klamms) are also exciting. If you are up for a full day, you can hike through Höllentalklamm to the end and beyond to a hit, then follow a path through amazing terrain and end up at the top of the Alpspitze cable car, ready to descend the 4000 feet or so back to G-P. That is a great day of hiking in my book.
Tom answered your questions pretty succinctly. Just a few ideas – Nürnberg and Garmisch are pretty different. While both are in Bavaria, Nürnberg is in the northern part of the state – in what's called Franken, and Garmisch in the mountainous south in what is Upper Bavaria. Garmisch will give you a more "touristy" or maybe traditional look at Bavaria – lederhosen, houses with big overhanging roofs, the Alps, etc. Nürnberg was a great commercial town back to the middle ages and the old town reflects that character. One is a large city the other two villages that were consolidated – the Garmisch and Partenkirchen of the name. Garmisch is a big year-round tourist vacation area, while Nürnberg is a working city with all that involves. Rothenburg is more in the size scale of Garmisch. And while very scenic, as Tom said there are other places nearby that would be less crowded and probably cheaper – Dinkelsbuhl and Feuchtwagen are close by and Nordlingen is a little farther. All have strong historic protection orders that keep the place looking like it did 100's of years ago. All depend on tourism, but in Rothenburg it's about the only game in town.
All the places would be worth a visit. Germany and especially Bavaria is wonderful any time of year. To get more info and some pictures just type www., the place name, followed by .de and you'll get the official town website with lots of information.
And you can get to Garmisch from Munich on a local train--end of the line.
Although some call Rothenburg overrated, it is my wife and my favorite place in Germany. One responder thought that other places would be cheaper. We stayed in Dec. 2011 for 18.50 euro each - about as inexpensively as anywhere in Germany. Nuremburg is an easy day trip from Rothenburg.
I cannot be objective here. I lived in Nuernberg for 3 years in the mid-80's. I returned there with my husband for a day trip from Munich in 2009. I showed him where I lived. We talked to some young Germans who came out of the building with their bikes and were surprised that an American had lived there ever. We walked to and through the altstadt. It was not enough time. On the other hand, Rothenburg is easily done as a day trip. It is charming but definitely all about tourism. Nuernberg was rebuilt after WWII, and part of the interest is in visiting places where there are pictures of what it was like then and now. There is even a book titled Nuernberg: Damals und Heute which shows pictures in the same places right after the war and then after reconstruction. We went through G-P in mid-June 2011. We were in a car and I had hoped to stop there for lunch. It was a zoo, congested, crowded, equally as touristy as Rothenburg. We didn't stop and went on to another small town to eat. All three of these places will be busy at the time you are going. My vote is with keeping Nuernberg on the itinerary. It's a real working city with lots of history and well worth a couple of days at least. And then there is the Nuernberger bratwurst and the schweineschaeufele.