First Trip to Germany

Feb 13th, 2009, 12:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
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First Trip to Germany

Hello all,

My husband and I will be travelling to Southern Germany for 9 days in late April. We would welcome any and all critiques, suggestions, and thoughts regarding our proposed itinerary.

To give you a bit of background, we are in our early thirties and very active. We are trying to arrive at a balance between visiting as much of Germany as possible while having time to take in the culture and the food and the beer!

Day 1: Arrive in Frankfurt, rent car and drive to Heidelberg.
Day 2: Explore Heidelberg and the surrounding Nekar Valley.
Day 3: Visit Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, then travel through the eastern part of the Black Forest on our way to Meersburg.
Day 4: Explore Lake Bodensee.
Day 5: Visit Neuschwanstein. Drive to Munich.
Day 6-7: Munich (possible day trip to Salzburg)
Day 8: Visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Wurzburg on our way to Frankfurt.
Day 9: Depart Frankfurt.

Specifically, does our itinerary work or is this too much travelling? Are there areas that we are missing entirely? Thanks so much.
amberst393 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Hi amb,

You have a good plan, but I am exhausted.

In Munich, I can recommend

In Rothenberg, we stayed with a delightful lady,

On the Bodensee, we have greatly enjoyed staying in Lindau at

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 01:18 PM
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hi amberst,

ditto what Ira said. you'll need antoher holiday to recover. Have you looked at travel times and distances? - you are gonig to be spending a lot of time in the car! and you say that you are very active, but you will be sitting down most of the time.

if you grab a map, you'll see that Munich, let alone Salzburg, are rather off your natural route. IMHO the following would make much more sense and allow you to be more energetic:

Day 1 - Frankfurt to Heidelberg.

Day 2 - Heidelberg and Neckar valley. in Heidelberg, you can drive right up to the top of the hill above the town, and walk down through the woods to the castle, then, after touring it [don't miss the world's biggest barrel] walk down to the town, and have lunch in one of the wonderful konditorei. get the funicular back up to the top.

Day 3 - south to the black forest. there are loads of lovely places, and you needn't book. just look for the "zimmer frei" signs.

Day 4 - to Meersburg. STOP. from here you could explore the german alps and the Zugspitze,the vorarlberg [austria], and of course the bodensee itself with its lovely gardens.

Day 7 - slow drive up to Rothenburg. over night stay.

DAy 8 - back to Frankfurt via the Porsche museum in Stuttgart.

Day 9 - fly home.

Munich, Neuschwanstein, Salzburg, etc. are a whole different trip. If you wan to do that, don't fly into Frankfurt!

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 01:27 PM
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I agree that you should save Munich, etc., for another trip, especially with only 9 days.

Be sure to stop in Bad Wimpfen on the Neckar River. It's about an hour away from Heidelberg. Lovely small town. You can walk around the town in several hours.

Meersburg is lovely. We stayed at the Gasthof Zum Baeren which is one of the more historical guest houses in Meersburg. Do take the boat trip to Mainau Island. You have never seen any place so beautiful.

Photos from our trip to Meersburg and Mainau:
bettyk is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 04:15 PM
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You do have about 16 hours of direct driving in there (13 if you skip the Salzburg side trip), before side trips in and around your destinations. That is a lot.

If you cut out the trip to Meersburg through the Schwarzwald, and Salzburg, you bring the driving down to about 9 hours. It is ambitious and will have you on the road a lot, time that can't be spent wandering through the places you came to see. Apart from the Neckar Valley (which I would recommend rather than hugging the east side of the Schwarzwald), and Neuschwanstein - Salzburg, most of the rest of the driving is not very interesting.

I am going to presume that you are flying into Frankfurt because it is convenient, as you aren't planning to spend any time there and you seem to be most interested in time in Bavaria and on Lake Constance. It would really help you scheduling if you could at least fly out of Munich on an open jaw. If that is not possible then could you take a one-way from Munich back to Frankfurt to catch your return flight? The cost of such a flight is probably only going to be about $90 and there is no drop charge in Germany for one way car rentals so that cost won't increase. If you do consider that, something would still have to give, like Heidelberg/Stuttgart/Meersburg, but you could easily make Salzburg work.

Personally, I wouldn't attempt your itinerary. I love Meersburg, Salzburg, and Rothenburg but trying to fit them all in with a Frankfurt in/out seems to much.

Frankfurt to Munich through Wuerzburg, Rothenburg,, Dinkelsbuehl, and Neuschwanstein, with a side to Salzburg seems about right to me to get a flavour of Baroque, Medieval, Alpine, Fun-loving Germany and romantic Austria.

Aramis is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 06:14 PM
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My kind of trip0 Sightseeing at autobahn speeds. April should be a lovely time to visit Mainau Insel (sp) the flower island in the middle of the Bodensee. Meereburg and Lindau are bith great.
AisleSeat is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 06:16 PM
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I need a spellchecker.
AisleSeat is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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I find it sad when folks land in a beautiful, historic, fascinating city, but then run off as soon as they get here, without spending any time here.

I,for one find the thought of landing in a foreign country after a flight across the ocean over night and then messing around with renting a car, finding it, and then sitting myself in it to drive a couple more hours, absolutely exhausting and borders on masochism. I would much rather stay a day, walk around the city and see the sights that it has, and then get a good nights sleep before I took off on all my sightseeing journeys. You will enjoy your trip ever so much more if you do not head out as soon as your feet touch the earth. You might even come home raving about what a great city Frankfurt is.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 09:15 PM
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While Frankfurt is I'm sure a fine city, we don't come to Germany for the big cities. We come for the small towns and villages and the lovely countryside.

If you have lots of time to spend in Germany, then by all means, spend some of it in Frankfurt. Otherwise, there are more lovely places to see. Just my opinion of course.
bettyk is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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Cause Munich is so tiny.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 09:33 PM
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Huh? I didn't recommend Munich. In fact, I said that the OP should save Munich for another trip.

If people LIKE big cities, then of course they should do Munich, Frankfurt, etc. I just said that we don't come to Germany for the big cities.
bettyk is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 09:49 PM
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Sorry, did not mean to be snippy, still trying to get that 2nd cup of coffee in me.

Anyway, my post is more about not running off as soon as you hit the ground, that it is exhausting, plus trying to drive, etc. It doesn't matter what city they would have landed in, I would have recommended that. I am sure there are those who thrive on such schedules, but I am not one of them. It is tiring flying overseas, and I would not want to deal with rental cars and maps and then close myself up in a car for another couple hours. It sounds awful to me.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 10:04 PM
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I agree with the others. It's hectic.

Heidelberg is okay but not a must in my book. If you want to go there, spend a night, but then when you drive the Neckar take your bags and pick another destination - no sense in returning. Bad Wimpfen might be a good choice, or move on to Stuttgart.

I wouldn't choose to drive into Stuttgart - too big, too much trouble for only a quick look.

I like Bodensee but yeah, it's a long way just to see Meersburg, which though pleasant isn't all that. After Stuttgart, you might want forget Bodensee and head east along the Castle Road which takes you through Schwäbisch Hall (gorgeous) to Rothenburg and beyond:

Besides Würzburg, I'd add Bamberg and Nuremberg to your destinations near Rothenburg. Then I'd head back to FRA.

As others have said, you can save Munich and extreme southern Germany for another time; you'd only be seeing a smattering of it anyway. On this itin, you'llsave some miles, but you'll also see a whole lot of real Old World Germany. The bigger German cities - including Stuttgart - are interesting in their own way but overall very modern thanks to WW II bombing runs and perhaps not what most visitors hope to see when they think of Germany.

Russ is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 03:20 AM
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Some other things to consider:
My experience with Germany is that the sineage can be a little confusing and we spend some time finding our way (we get lost), so I would build in some extra time each day for that.
Also I personally could spend a lot of time in Bavaria, so if that is your bag don't exclude it.
I think Heidleburg is nice and across the fiver there is a place called Hilligenburg that was a monasarty and subsequently a place the nazis used for rallies that is very interesting and a nice climb. That said it not a big tourist trip so go for the climb and know that you will find interesting things on your way up.
I do agree with the previous posters that your schedule sounds exhausting, I wold recommend picking a couple 2 or 3 places to stay and use them for bases.
rosiecaro is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 03:28 AM
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I agree with others you should plan a much less ambitious schedule.
On your itinerary I would eliminate days 3 and 4 and Salzburg. Then you could spend an overnight on the Romantic Road on the way back from Munich toward Frankfurt

In the Neckar Valley, Bad Wimpfen is an interesting and beautiful town but I think Heidelberg plus Bad Wimpfen would be too much in one day
Vttraveler is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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Thanks so much for all of your posts. You've given me a lot to consider.
amberst393 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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Stick with your plan. We travel like you do and we enjoy it very very much.

A lot of ppl like to park in a location for days on end and I say good for them. Follow your instinct as you have it and it be a rewarding experience for you.
steve is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 08:28 AM
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I think that your itinerary is far from being a trip bound for total exhaustion.

Actually, I think only day 8 is a bit of a trek, so I would not lose too much time on scenic byways to get to Rothenburg.

Stuttgart gets some pretty nasty traffic during rush hour. Unless you have to, I would limit my stay to the visit of the Porsche museum and not drive downtown.
So, on day 2 I would try to get as close to Stuttgart as possible and stay at the outskirts. Ludwigsburg with its palace could be such a place.

Even if you have paid for your rental car, I would suggest to take the train if you want to go from Munich to Salzburg on a day trip. It's cheaper than gas, and usually also faster.
Cowboy1968 is offline  

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