Itinerary Help - Germany, Switzerland

Hi Everyone, First time poster here, but long time reader on this site. I am requesting some itinerary suggestions for a trip to Germany in early May. Looking to fill time specifically between May 8th - 12th as I have a work meeting to attend in Erlangen, Germany on the evening of May 12th. I will be staying in Munich for three nights on the front-end (5th - 7th). Might anyone have suggestions for a 4 night itinerary in between? I will have a rental car so I would like to explore Switzerland as well. My initial thoughts were to head out from Munich down into Switzerland and up along the Rhine Valley. Any thoughts on an itinerary would be most appreciated! Thanks,
Matt

Posted by Tom
H├╝ttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9108 posts

I would probably cut Switzerland out of this trip. 4 days isn't a lot of time, and if you want to see the Alps... it has been a particularly cold spring so far. Why this is important? Well, usually by this time of year, Alpine snow has started it's spring melt. The skiing infrastructure usually shuts down, and because conditions are still to snowy and muddy to hike, most restaurants and lodgning in the mountain areas close for a few weeks. This year, though, because of the especially cold spring, most of the ski resorts are still open and will likely stay open for a few more weeks. So essentially, the "shoulder season" this year will likely be in May, not April. An easy substitute for the Swiss Alps would be the Bavarian Alps (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberstdorf or Berchtesgaden). Closer to your area of travel, and these towns don't go into temporary hibernation to the extent that many mountain towns in Switzerland do. Of course, different story if you wanted to see Zurich, Luzern or Basel...

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2511 posts

What's close to Erlangen? Nuremberg of course, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but also Eisenach (Wartburg castle) and on your way there, if you care, Point Alpha, a former US camp on the German-German border during Cold War.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2271 posts

FYI, you will also need to purchase a 40 chf vignette sticker for your car if you use any Swiss expressways. You buy when you enter Switzerland at the border crossing stations. As PP mentioned, Germany has some pretty nice mountains of their own. There is also the "Romantic road" driving itinerary in Bavaria and Baden-Wurtemburg.

Posted by Matt Z
Orlando, FL, United States
3 posts

Thanks for the feedback! Based upon the weather thus far this season, it sounds like it might be a good idea to save a Swiss alps visit for another trip later in the season. If I were to just limit these 4 nights to exploring Germany (leaving from Munich and returing to Erlangen), are there any recommendations for this revised itinerary? I've read through Rick's Germany book a couple times, but I am struggling with putting together a plan which makes sense. Thanks,
Matt

Posted by Russ
Paradise
1755 posts

I'd have no trouble filling 4 days in the region around Erlangen (Franconia.) In fact, I'll be there this year(again) from May 10-13. This time I plan on seeing some places that are less often on the itineraries of international tourists. But you might want to have a look at the more well-known towns, including the previously mentioned Rothenburg and Nuremberg - both are Romantic Road towns - and also at Bamberg, an amazingly well preserved place known for its smoke-beer and brewery-restaurants and worth a full day, and maybe W├╝rzburg too. I'm sure you'll enjoy the Rhine towns as well if you have time to make it there. If you hustled through Franconia, you might have time for a short Rhine visit - the castles and scenery are the main attraction. Many of the castles are in private hands and inaccessible, but you can tour Marksburg in Braubach and Rheinfels in St. Goar for starters. Just north of Bingen, Rheinstein is open to the public as well.

Posted by Matt Z
Orlando, FL, United States
3 posts

Thanks everyone for the input! We've decided to leave Switzerland for another trip and explore the Rhine Valley.