Hello Everyone. I have an absolutely great opportunity where my work is going to send me to Germany for 12 weeks. Now in thy middle of that, my boyfriend and I have 8 days to tour around Germany and are having a tough time deciding. We want to venture out and are interested in going to Berchtesgarden, Munich, Rothenburg and maybe Zurich. Are we being too aggressive? Any suggestions on what to tour? We will be staying Cologne and will have weekends to tour much closer but would like to tour farther when we have the full 8 days. Thank you
I would suggest you click on "Best Destinations" which is under "Plan Your Trip" (above, on the left top of this very page).
To assist your planning, you may find the following link useful, too.
.... Hope your travels in Germany are wonderful! P
The Rhine river gorge, an area with the highest density of medival castles, and the Mosel river valley are quite close to Cologne and make for a great day or overnight trip. Also Schloss Dyck castle would make for a great half-day trip, maybe in combination with Düsseldorf (www.schuerrle.com/dyck). Düsseldorf is Germany's No. 1 travel destinantion for people from Japan and Korea because it's a shoppers paradise and the old town has got more old pubs lined up than Temple Bar area in Dublin.
The Rhein and Mosel are beautiful but could easily be done on the weekend trips that you mentioned. It is an area that deserves frequent trips, maybe a bit of wine tasting. Rothenburg is doable on a weekend as well.
All the places that you mentioned are good stops but I would not want to do them all in 8 days. I would not combine Zurich with Berchtesgaden, though it is doable. Berchtesgaden might better be combined with Munich, Salzburg and perhaps the Salzkammergut, a lake district just across the Austria border.
If Zurich is more important, you might consider a visit to Lake Lucerne or a leisurely drive through the Black Forest, much of which is green dales rather than black forests.
Try to give yourself time to poke around a bit.
City Night Line runs a night train from Amsterdam to Zurich that stops on the way in Koeln. You could board the train in Koeln just before midnight and be in Zurich by 8:30, spend Sat and Sun in Zurich, and come back to Koeln Sun night.
There is also a night train to Munich.
You can accomplish a lot in 8 days plus weekends. Koln has a lot of great things to see.
Nearby Bonn is a nice town. If you are there in late August/early September, look for the Bonnfest. It's like Octoberfest but less touristy and doesn't close at 10:30 pm.
A train ride through the Mosel Valley to Trier is a nice weekend trip.
Bacharach to St. Goar on the Rhine would be a good weekend getaway. Take a short river cruise between the two towns. Wander the Rheinfels castle ruins. Stay at the castle hostel.
Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris are all possible weekend trips with the intercity trains. North to Hamburg or even Denmark is possible. Once you are there, you will have a better idea of your range/travel time limit.
For your eight days I like Bavaria. Munich has a lot of good places to visit. Some stops on the romantic road including a night in Rhotenburg and the nightwatchman's tour. See Salzburg. Visit Berchtesgaden and some spots in the Alps.
I definately reccomend going to Rothenburg. Make sure you take the Night Watchman's tour - the guide is very good! Walking the castle wall is a very nice & scenic view of the city. Go out first thing in the morning to the castle garden and you can see the mist rising over part of the town, great photo ops. I stayed at the Gasthof Greifen which is right in the center of town, is a lovely place with nice people running it, and is fairly inexpensive. Also make sure to grab dinner at Gasthof Glocke - very good sausage, potatoes, and sauerkraut. You can also order samplings of their wine. They make fabulous wine!
Generally, I didn't find the western part of Germany to be very exciting minus the Rhine and Cologne. I would recommend Bavaria(the south). It is absolutely beautiful. The Romantic Road from Berlin would also be a great idea. It goes through cities like Dresden, Rothenberg, Nuremberg and eventually enters Munich where you can have a nice liter sized beer at a beer house.
don't forget Lake Constance area for a wkend. Skip Zurich and see Luverne. Apppenzel(switzerland) area is wonderful too.
My favcorite place in Germany is Berchtesgarden. It has the salt mine tour, Konigsee, a beautiful lake with hiking trails, Eagle's Nest, and a historic downtown. Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, is a short bus ride or 15 KM from Berchtesgarden.
At a relaxing pace, that's 3-4 days. Between Munich and Berchtesgarden is Herrenchiemsee, a beautiful lake with an island castle built to replicate the Palace of Versailles near Paris. That island castle is worth a day's visit.
Don't forget to visit the Andrech Monastery south of Munich for the best beer in town.