traveling by car in Germany

Jun 3rd, 2002, 11:11 AM
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traveling by car in Germany

My fiance and I are going to Southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for our honeymoon. We're going to get brave and only book the first night and keep everything else open ended. Our main concern is getting directions from Point A to Point B. Will a road map be enough for two reasonably intelligent people to get by?

Also, I've seen in previous posts that some of you have traveled from Frankfurt to Rothenburg on more than one occasion. We're flying into Frankfurt and are spending our first night in Rothenberg. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what the best route may be?

Thanks in advance!
Jun 3rd, 2002, 11:21 AM
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Just returned from Europe where we flew into Frankfurt and spent our first 2 nights in Rothenburg. You definitely should have a good road map, but you can also do what I did and print directions from the Internet. I used several different sites such as,, and There are others. We still got lost a few times, once on the way to Rothenburg! But, no big deal. We found a nice little town right outside of Wurzburg that we will try to see on another trip!
Jun 3rd, 2002, 11:26 AM
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The fastest route is autobahn, A3 east to just after Würzburg, A7 south to Rothenburg.
Jun 3rd, 2002, 12:13 PM
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From one Wayne to another: Please get yourself a good map or set of maps. Be sure it's something a lot more detailed than the typical one-sheet road maps or the ones that are sent to you free by the various tourist agencies in European countries. Personally, I would go to a book store and buy either a detailed folding Michelin map for each area you will visit, or a detailed road atlas that usually covers all of western Europe. Aside from the fact that you won't get lost with a good map, you will find neat little villages shown on the detailed maps that you might want to visit along the way. And since you aren't making reservations ahead of time, you might need a really good map to find some of the little towns where hotels, B&B's, and other accommodations are available.
Jun 3rd, 2002, 02:26 PM
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Driving in Germany is not difficult if you follow these guidelines.
1) A good inexpensive map can be found at any Esso gas station.
2) Use the left lane on the autobann for passing ONLY!
3) They don't use north, south, east or west directions. You need to know what town/city is at the end of your road. I agree to get directions from the internet first and then use the maps as backup. You need to read the road signs carefully. You get one chance to get your exit and by the time you've figured out how to pronounce the word you may miss your exit and it's a LLLOOOONNNNGGGG way to the next one.
4) Ausfart means exit and "may" offer you an opportunity to turn around.
5) Germans will tell you that they don't speak english, but they just want you to make an effort. Use a translator book and memorize a few phrases. You may not have to use them, but it's a good thing for you to try.

Enjoy your trip. Germany is a wonderful place. When you find a little hamlet, meet some people and soak it all up.
Jun 3rd, 2002, 03:06 PM
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Get the maps with plenty of detail that only cover one general area. This may entail buying a few maps or an atlas, but they are more useful than the ones of all of Europe as you want more detail than that.

Directions above to Rothenburg are good. Head for Wurzburg from the Frankfurt airport and then follow signs south when you get to Wurzburg. Autobahn all the way. Just beware that Rothenburg town closes the gates on Sundays and you have to enter through one main gate. We found that out in December and it took me a while to just go for it and get back inside the city walls. If you are arriving any other time, no problem.

We use Karen Brown's guide books when we travel without reservations. She has had good recommendations for us. She has a book on each country you are going to. Website also at with some places listed.

Just find a spot early in the day and don't wait too late as some of the small places simply close or fill up. Have a great time. We have done this a few times and always find a place to sleep.
Jun 3rd, 2002, 04:13 PM
Steve Mueller
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You definitely need a good map (e.g., Michelin, etc.). Directions from internet sites and contributors to this forum are useful until you miss an exchange. At that point, without a map, you will be lost.

If I have learned one thing from driving in Europe it is that you will miss a lot of turns, get headed in the wrong direction, etc. No matter where you end up, a map will get you from there to where you want to go.
Jun 3rd, 2002, 04:58 PM
Jinx Hoover
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Wayne, one other regulation to remember when driving on the autobahn. It is illegal and subject to a ticket/fine if you pass a vehicle on the right. Example: in heavy traffic, you move from the left lane to the right and pass the vehicle ahead of you. You may do this provided you do not reenter the left lane. If you get caught, you will get a ticket. So stay in the right lane, pass on the left, and mave back to the right. (How I wish American drivers would follow this!) Jinx Hoover
Jun 3rd, 2002, 05:53 PM
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What a wonderful trip you have planned for a honeymoon! These are our three favorite countries. We have visited them many times and still can't get our fill. (35th Wedding Anniversary coming up!)
We went over the year after we were married and rented a car. Driving the Autobahn was fairly easy and we didnt have many problems.
How much time do you have for this trip?
I would say that the minimum for each country would be a week.
Remember this- you can't see it all on one trip. Better to take your time and savor each city until you are ready to move on. We enjoy traveling without reservations for the flexibility it gives us. We also enjoyed staying at the pensions (how charming they are with flower boxes dripping flowers and feather beds airing out on the balconies!) If you see a sign that says "Zimmer Frei" - that means they have a room available.Go in, ask to see the room and if it suits you, take it.
As far as the Big Cities, we usually stay on the outskirts and take the train in or park the car in the outskirts and take the train in to stay in the City. We have always been flexible in our travel plans. Cancelled out Vienna four times before we made it last year. What a beautiful city! Can't wait to go back!
Another favorite area is the Rhine River. Floating along on the river boat from Koblenz to Mainz (the most scenic stretch of the river,and stopping at the charming cities along the way was memorable.
I could ramble on and on, but I think that the most important thing is to enjoy each day and not rush through.
Be pleasant to those you meet, learn some key phrases - Good Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Please, Thank You, Do you speak English?
Have a wonderful time. If there are any specific questions I can answer for you, please feel free to pst to me on this board.
Jun 3rd, 2002, 09:44 PM
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Forget the car. You two should be gazing into each others eyes and whispering private thoughts in each other's ears, not worrying about navigating, map symbols, or unfamiliar road signage. Take the train - much more romantic!
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