My wife and I will be taking the train from the Rhine valley to Rothenburg. After a few days we want to rent a car and drive south to Reutte. Online, the closest car rental is 27 miles from Rothenburg. What's the best way to, or place to rent a car for the drive? Thank you.
I've done a number of car rentals in Germany from gemut.com, a broker here in the US. Their company focused on Germany for many years, and I think they could probably give you some good advice. I usually work with Andy. On their website you can submit a question with details, and they will call you back.
Since you're coming from the north, the best place to rent a car is Würzburg. Rent from a company that has a branch in Füssen and take the bus from there to Reutte (just a couple of miles away). Turning in the car in Reutte (over the border!) would come with an hefty surcharge.
Renting in Würzburg would give you the opportunity to visit the Bishops Palace, one of the the most important baroque buildings in Europe. If you still have some time, I' suggest to not take the boring motorway to Rothenburg, but the B13 (in the direction of Ansbach - Munich). So you could make a stopover in one of the romantic Main towns like Sommerhausen, Ochsenfurt or Marktbreit.
My personal preference would be Marktbreit. It was the "capital" of one of those many tiny principalities of the Old Empire (which were mocked by Georg Büchner in "Leonce and Lena": "A dog has run through the empire"). Park your car on the river bank and go through the old Renaissance gate into the town. The town hall, also from the Renaissance period, is just behind the gate. 200 meters up the street there is the modest "palace" and the "palace church", also a modest building but home to a real gem, namely a completely painted baroque Biblia Pauperum (poor men's bible), which runs along the entire balcony. Subsequently take the lane to the left until you reach the remains of the city wall, turn left again and when you reach the small river Breit (the eponym of the town), turn left once again. Now you are approaching the town hall again and can see how it is built on a single arch over the river. If you happen to be in M. at lunch time, I can recommend the historic inn "Zum Löwen."
Afterwards I would take the route via Aub (by leaving the B 13 south of Ochsenfurt, just when it leaves the Maintal valley) to Creglingen to see the most famous work of the Gothic sculptor and woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider. St Mary's altar in the "Herrgottskirche". In Rothenburg's St Jacobus you will see another altar of R., also very good but inferior to that of Creglingen, so you may be able to make some interesting comparisons. The rest of the road from Creglingen to Rothenburg leads through the nice Tauber valley.
Something you might want to consider is this -- time permitting of course. Go to Aschaffenburg and rent the car there. Some say The Romantic Road really starts in A'burg. It has a neat castle and a replica of an estate house that supposedly existed in Pompeii. Just south of A'burg on the old road to Wurzburg is the town of Haibach and just south of there is the village of Mespelbrun. There is a castle there that has been in the same family for four or five centuries. It's still lived in and is surrounded by a moat. A real fairy tale place and tours are usually available. Then it's an easy drive to Wurzburg (perhaps an overnight?), Rothenburg, and the rest of The Road. Do a google search for Aschaffenburg, Mespelbrun, and Wurzburg and see what you think.
Thank you travelers for the great feedback. I now have many great options!