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Which is the better travel itinerary for Germany?

Hi, My husband and I are spending two weeks in Germany at the start of July. We are spending the first 2 days in Frankfurt with friends and then driving to Stuttgart to go to the Porsche factory tour/museum. We definitely want to spend 2 days in Munich, and at the end of our trip we fly to spend 2 days in Berlin (I know it's not a lot of time for those cities, but we're okay with that). My question is, which sounds like the better travel route? We have about 6-7 days in between Stuttgart and Munich. Option 1 - travel from Stuttgart to the Black Forest (Titisee), Freiburg, Meersburg on Lake Constance and the Garmisch-Patenkirch or Neuschwanstein area to Munich Option 2 - travel from Stuttgart through Bavaria: Wurzburg, Bamberg, Rothburg ob der Tauber, Nuremburg, maybe Augsburg to Munich Generally, my husband and I look to enjoy good food, history/culture, wine/beer tastings our tours, natural beauty on vacation. We really can't decide between both options; anyone who has input, especially for the amount of time we have and considering it will be July, would be much appreciated! We will have a rental car and I do speak German if that makes a difference. Thanks so much in advance.

Posted by
591 posts

Option 1 is more scenic, especially with all the great views of the Alps. If you're not locked in to going to Stuttgart immediately after Frankfurt, I'd suggest the 1st day be to Wurzburg and Rothenburg o.t. and then Stuttgart the 2nd day. From there I'd probably skip the Black Forest and go on to Meersburg, the Neuschwanstein area and then the Garmisch area.

Posted by
5 posts

Base camp in Rothenburg for 3-4 nights, using hotel Gasthof Greifen. We visited many great places from here, but were fully occupied with Rothenburg. A half day trip to Wurzburg is plenty and easily reachable from Rothenburg. 2 full days and nights in Munich is good. You can see Dachau and the old Olympic Grounds on your drive to Munich from Rothenburg. Nuremburg was nice and interesting...but staying in Rothenburg, seeing sites in Rothenburg, and then using it as our base camp was best. You could easily do a day trip to Nuremburg from Rothenburg...and I would do so if you spent 4 nights there. 4 nights in Rothenburg with one day trip to Nuremburg, and one day trip to Wurzburg with a stop in Weikersheim and small church in Creglingen on the way back that day.....simply the best. Trust me.

Posted by
243 posts

I did not see any time in the Rhine or Mosel valley. located very near to Frankfort, it is a great way to experience some history of the castles along the Rhine and wine tours. I do know that there are vineyards near Wurzburg, but we did not have time to visit.

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you for your responses! We have decided to leave Frankfurt and drive to Stuttgart by stopping in Wurzburg, hopefully visiting a winery nearby or perhaps the Residence. While in Frankfurt, we may take an excursion on the first day to the Rhine valley/area. I have seen his many times so it's really up to my husband if he'd rather see Frankfurt itself, or the surrounding areas. We'll stay in Stuttgart for two nights to allow for seeing Wurzburg on the drive down, and then going to the Porsche factory the next day. I'm thinking we may have time to see Tuebingen, but not enough time to go all the way to the southern part of the Black Forest as I'd hoped. From Stuttgart will drive to Rothburg o.t. and maybe Dinkelsbuhl. We'll stay that night in Nuremberg, see Nuremberg the next day, and see Bamberg the day after that. We'll then drive down the Munich and see Dachau on the way. We'll have 4 nights in Munich, which hopefully allows for day trips to the more scenic area of the Alps I was originally looking to experience by driving along Lake Constance. We still plan to fly from Munich to Berlin. Obviously 2 days in not enough time in Berlin, but at least my husband can see a couple of major highlights. Thanks again for your replies; I really appreciate it! Happy travels to everyone.

Posted by
22 posts

We are locked into a day/time for the Porsche tour.

Posted by
30 posts

I have a recommendation about Munich, which would be to not actually stay in the city. There are many towns surrounding it that are much quainter and less congested. We stayed in Erding, but I'm sure others could recommend other areas around there. I'd also recommend not driving in Munich. We did have a rental car, but on the advice of others on this board, we used the public transportation system where you pay one price and you can hop on and off trains/subways all day as much as you want. It was so easy to navigate as well. Also in Erding, there is a thermal spa/water park arena that is fun for adults as well as children. It was 19 Euro for 2 hours, a few Euros more for longer. Here's the link for that, just in case:
http://www.therme-erding.de/de//100888/english.html

Posted by
2987 posts

Hmmm, so many cool places to visit. I have to disagree with people who suggest basing for many days in Rothenburg odT. You're going to be driving through areas littered with beautiful old towns, going out of your way for Rothenburg? Eh. It only makes sense with your originally proposed second itinerary. Your new itinerary does cover some cool places but as others have mentioned, involves a lot of backtracking. Wurzburg is supposed to be cool, but be aware that literally all of SW Germany is "wine country". From Frankfurt on your way to Stuttgart for example, you could get off of the A-5 for a while and take the more scenic B3 which goes through several beautiful old towns, some with castles and walls, like Zwingenberg, Bensheim, and Heppenheim (ok no wall left in the last one but beautiful old town). Or you could take a detour from the A5 at Heidelberg and follow the Neckar river into Stuttgart, it's a beautiful drive and just littered with castles and vineyards and old towns, like Bad Wimpfen. After your stay in Stuttgart, you could take the 27 to Tuebingen which is really beautiful and worth a stop, or you could hop right over to Esslingen which is really close. Excellent wine tasting, particularly sekt (sparkling wine) in Esslingen. If you haven't had enough castles and old towns yet, driving through the Swabishe Alb south of Stuttgart gives you Hollenzollern, Sigmaringen, Lichtenstein for castles and a beautiful landscape. Cont.

Posted by
2987 posts

Whichever way you go, you can end up either in Konstanz or Meersburg to start the drive along Lake Constance. It is just stunningly beautiful (when it's clear!) and there's more wine, a ton of history (Konstanz was a Roman settlement), and it's just a lovely drive to Lindau, which shouldn't be missed. From there you have the alps, Fuessen, Garmish, etc on your way to Munich. If you want to see Nuremberg, it's an easy day trip from Munich. I think for scenery, a trip along these lines (obviously not doing EVERYTHING I mentioned, just throwing out some options) would really give you some of the best Germany has to offer, and also some of the best food and wine/beer, too. I'm not a huge fan of them, but the DK Eyewitness Germany guide gives you a lot more insight into scenery and small towns. Anyway, regardless of what you end up doing, be sure and have a nice dinner in Stuttgart. The Swabian cusiene is fantastic and I think our wine isn't too bad, either. A traditional "weinstube" is often a good bet. And when in the city, park your car and use the U-Bahn, ours is extremely fast, clean, and easy to use and you don't have to deal with Stuttgart traffic or the huge mostly pedestrianized "mitte". And I disagree about not staying in Munich proper. If you want to see Munich, stay in Munich, it's great!

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you all so much again for your responses. You have all given me so much to think about! Sarah - I especially appreciate your detailed response!! I did book a non-refundable Munich hotel for 4 nights just because the price was so good, but the hotel I booked in the Bavaria area is refundable, so I'm now considering NOT staying the 3 nights in the Rothburg o.T. area but driving south from Stuttgart to Bodensee and definitely doing a day trip via train from Munich to Nuremberg. For the sake of time, maybe we would skip the Black Forest. I know Rick says the Black Forest is a bit overrated - wonder if any of you agree? On a side note I just found out I'm pregnant so I'm going to have to miss out on some of that fantastic German sekt and riesling...oh well, the pretzels and bakery items I've been reminiscing about for the last 10 years will have to make up for it! Thanks again all!

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you all so much again for your responses. You have all given me so much to think about! Sarah - I especially appreciate your detailed response!! I did book a non-refundable Munich hotel for 4 nights just because the price was so good, but the hotel I booked in the Bavaria area is refundable, so I'm now considering NOT staying the 3 nights in the Rothburg o.T. area but driving south from Stuttgart to Bodensee and definitely doing a day trip via train from Munich to Nuremberg. For the sake of time, maybe we would skip the Black Forest. I know Rick says the Black Forest is a bit overrated - wonder if any of you agree? On a side note I just found out I'm pregnant so I'm going to have to miss out on some of that fantastic German sekt and riesling...oh well, the pretzels and bakery items I've been reminiscing about for the last 10 years will have to make up for it! Thanks again all!

Posted by
12040 posts

"For the sake of time, maybe we would skip the Black Forest. I know Rick says the Black Forest is a bit overrated - wonder if any of you agree?" It's scenic, but there's similar forested mountain ranges all throughout southern and central Germany (the Pfalzerwald, Taunus, Hunsrück, Eifel, Odenwald, Vogelsberg, Sauerland, Hartz, Thüringerwald, Spessart, Rhön, Schwäbische Alb, etc.). So, it if is overrated, it's overrated in the same way as Rothenburg- if you're traveling several hours to get there, you're probably passing something similar along the way, but with less name recognition. However, the southern Schwartzwald is a little more impressive. The peaks are much higher than the ranges mentioned above. However, they still don't compare to the Alps, which are only another 90 minutes further to the south.

Posted by
2987 posts

Angela - No problem, not a whole lot of tourists spend a significant time in Baden-Wurttemberg, so I'm always happy to give advice about what I know. If you'd like any more specific recommendations for Stuttgart and the immediate surrounding area, let me know. I agree 100% with Tom's assessment of the Black Forest. If you were planning to spend significant time there it's one thing, but as a sort of "drive through" the scenery isn't going to be that much different from scenery you'll see taking scenic drives to get to other locations more directly. (And the cake really isn't all that!) Also: Congrats!!