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Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

Tucson, Arizona
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Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

Hi there,

We will be in Germany from June 5th to June 10th (will stay in Salzburg, Austria on the 10th) and are booked at a hotel in Stuttgart for the first 3nts. We are not at all interested in the car museums in Stuttgart, and primarily want to use it as a base for day trips, so I was hoping to get some feedback on our itinerary to see if it sounds doable without being too frantic or exhausting ourselves.

Here is what we are thinking:

5-7 June: 3nts Stuttgart with:

*day trip to Strasbourg

*day trip to Lindau/possibly Tubingen (add Neushwanstein in here either before or after Lindau?) and hopefully a cruise on Lake Constance in Lindau

8th - leave Stuttgart early in the morning and drive the Castle Road from Heidelberg to Rothenberg ob Tauber - stay 1nt Rothenberg ob Tauber - go on the Night Watchmans Tour

9th - leave Rothenberg ob Tauber and drive to either Fussen (if it makes more sense to do Neuchwanstein here instead of as part of Lindau day trip?) - or straight on to Garmisch-Parkentingen - stay 1nt GP.

10th - drive to Salzburg w/ stop at Eagles Nest before checking into hotel (or should we go straight to Salzburg and visit Eagles Nest on the way out of Salzburg/on the way to Vienna?)

11th - drive to Vienna; spend 3nts Vienna

If Neuschwanstein can be combined with Lindau (or would this be too busy of a day), should we spend an extra night in Rothenberg and skip GP? Ideally, we would not have three 1nt stays in a row, but it is so hard to fit everything in that we want to see!

Thanks so much for any feedback!


Chula Vista...
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1. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)


Sorry to be blunt, but I think your trip is all over the place and will be hectic and exhausting.

Neuschwantein would not be an add-on to a day trip from Stuttgart to Lindau, and Heidelberg and Rothenberg ob der Tauber are out of your way.

Here's my recommended route / Itinerary, and even it will be rushed with little time to stop and explore:


6 June - Day trip to Strasbourg from Stuttgart

7 June - Day trip to Tübingen from Stuttgart

8 June - Drive along eastern edge of Black Forest to Lake Constance and Lindau; cruise Lake Constance in afternoon; overnight Lindau.

9 June - Drive Deustsche Alpenstraße from Lindau to Füssen; spend day at Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles; drive to Garmisch-Partenkirchen; overnight G-P.

10 June - Continue on Deustsche Alpenstraße to Berchtesgaden / Königssee / Eagle's Nest; overnight Berchtesgaden

11 June - Spend AM in Berchtesgaden; drive to Salzburg; spend afternoon in Salzburg; drive 3 hours to Vienna in early evening.

I know that that route doesn't include everything you want, and you may scratch your head over the fact that you're only driving 2-3 hours per day, but I assure you, the scenery is so stunning and the towns and villages along the way are so inviting, that you could easily take the full day with all the stops to enjoy them. (And that's really the reason we travel, right? To stop, enjoy, and learn, rather than just drive through?)

Remember to drive on the Autobahns in Austria, you must have a toll vignette properly affixed to your car's windshield in the correct location. If you don't and get pulled over, you can be assessed a 120 € fine on the spot. You can buy the vignettes at gas stations on the German side of the border.


Also remember that you'll likely have a significant one-way car rental drop-off fee if you're dropping your car in Vienna. (And a car in Vienna would only be an expensive nuisance. It has a great public transportation system.)

Sorry to rain on your parade, but you're just trying to do too much in too little time.


La Crosse, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

I agree with Zed - you're trying to do way too much with the time you have.

I do have a suggestion for a small change to Zed's helpful itinerary:

If you're really determined to see Rothenburg (not my own personal favorite walled city, BTW), you could sacrifice Lindau. It should take you about 3 hours (check Michelin for accurate times) to get to RodT via the autobahn. Do not attempt to see Heidelberg - you won't have time.


8 June - Travel via autobahn to RodT. Tour the town. Take Night Watchman's Tour. Overnight in RodT.

9 June - Travel via autobahn to Fuessen, arriving by 11:30 if possible. Drive to the city of Hohenschwangau (the base for the castles) and have a relaxing lunch. Tour castles (2pm start for first tour makes the most sense). Overnight in Garmisch.

10 June onward - Follow Zed's itinerary.

Regardless of when you tour the castles - reserve your tickets online! This is a must for June. That's why I suggest seeing the castles in the afternoon of a travel day - you must pick the tickets up one hour before the tour starts.

My two cents? With five days on the ground, I would pick one area and stay there for five nights. There should be plenty to see and do within an hour or hour and a half of whatever city you chose to use as a hub. This would let you plan some very interesting and relaxing day trips, spending the bulk of your time on the ground and not in a car.

Edited: 7:49 pm, March 07, 2013
Tucson, Arizona
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3. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

Thank-you so much for your kind and helpful replies! Unfortunately, some of these suggestions are not possible for me to take due to having non-refundable hotels for the three nts in Stuttgart and 1nt in Salzburg. The only nights that we have flexibility to change locations are June 8th and 9th.

I am aware of the drop off fee for the car in Vienna (100 euros) which is still cheaper than the cost of train tickets for two people from Salzburg to Vienna according to RailEurope (178 euros). Our plan was to drop the car off as soon as we arrive in Vienna, as of course we have no interest in driving in the city. :)

If I had to choose between Lindau and Rothenberg, is there one you would recommend over the other? Is there another walled city nearer to where we will be staying that we should look into instead? We were not really planning on stopping in Heidelberg; we just wanted to pick up the Castle Road from there and drive it to RoT.

I tweaked the itinerary a little bit since my initial post to this:

June 5th - 7th sleep Stuttgart

*day trip to Strasbourg on 6th

*day trip toTubingen and Lindau; take cruise on Lake Constance in Lindau on 7th

June 8th - leave Stuttgart in the a.m. and drive the Castle Road to Rothenberg ob Tauber - Night Watchmans Tour - sleep Rotheberg ob Tauber

June 9th - leave RoT in a.m. and drive to Neushcwanstein - tour castle and hike to Mary's Bridge - drive to Garmisch-Parkenkingen - Zugspitze - Bavarian music night somewhere - sleep GP

June 10th - leave GP in the a.m. and drive to Eagle's Nest/Bertesgarten - take tour - drive to Salzburg/explore Salzburg and sleep Salzburg

June 11th drive from Salzburg to Vienna: Lot of things planned included going to the Spanish Riding School to see the Lippazaners, eating lots of Sacher Torte, museums, etc. (3nts)

June 14th - we leave Vienna to fly to Athens

Would it make more sense to overnight in Lindau instead of RoT? Do not worry at all about raining on my parade... I am very open to advice and take it seriously. Really liked the idea of seeing RoT, but if it would really make the trip too exhausting and crazy, I am definitely willing to consider alternatives.

Thanks so much again

Hamburg, Germany
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4. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

Salzburg to Vienna costs 38 Euros for 2. You haven't written how many persons "we" are, but I strongly suggest checking prices at oebb.at instead of RailEurope.

Edited: 12:33 pm, March 08, 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada
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5. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

There are many things that make better use of your time while in Stuttgart than traveling to distant places. Have a look at what I recently wrote in #1 of tripadvisor.com/…46656711 .

By the way, the Mercedes Benz Museum is the largest and what I consider to be the best automobile museum in the world, and actually my favorite of any museums. It is simply loved by all visitors irregardless of age, gender, or whether they particularly like cars or not. From the building's architecture to the cars and also concurrent world history as you spiral down between the floors, it makes for an excellent entertaining and informative half day or more visit.

La Crosse, Wisconsin
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6. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

It really isn't possible to see both Lindau and Tuebingen in a single day. Michelin (www.viamichelin.com) shows that it would take approx 2.5 hours to get from Stuttgart to Lindau (autobahn travel for all but 9 miles of the trip). When you add the cruise on the lake and the 2.5 hours back you're looking at a full day - most of which is spent driving on, essentially, an interstate highway and not enjoying Germany.

Tuebingen is much more managable, in that it's only half an hour from the airport (longer, of course, if you're in Stuttgart city center). It is NOT in the same direction as Lindau, which again makes seeing both cities in the same day not feasible.

I've been to both Lindau and Tuebingen. I found that even just getting to Lindau's Altstadt was time-consuming, not to mention parking the car. Tuebingen is far easier to get around in, and parking near the Altstadt was fairly easy, even with the university in session. We very much enjoyed walking the streets of Tuebingen's Altstadt. You can also take a gondola cruise on the river.

I strongly urge you to choose either Tuebingen OR Lindau for your day trip. In my mind, Tuebingen is your best bet if you want to experience the culture a bit rather than just drive around.

As for a different walled city, A poster here used to recommend Vellberg (I think) - you may want to look it up. I personally have been to Dinkelsbuehl several times and like it very much. One advantage D has over RodT is authenticity. It's apparently not well known that, according to Wikipedia, parts of the town were destroyed in WWII:

"In March 1945 in World War II, German soldiers were stationed in Rothenburg to defend it. On March 31, bombs were dropped over Rothenburg by 16 planes, killing 39 people and destroying 306 houses, six public buildings, nine watchtowers, and over 2,000 feet (610 m) of the wall."

The damage was repaired, but of course it is not authentic work. D was not touched by the war, so the walls and towers there are all over 600 years old. There is also apparently a nightwatchman's tour there, but I have not been on it and suspect that it may only be in German.

D has one other advantage to RodT for your trip - it's farther south, so closer to Fuessen, which would lesson your drive on the following day. You should allow about three hours to walk Dinkelsbuehl, which should allow you some time to view other cities as you travel there. It should take you about 2 hours to get to D from Stuttgart (non-autobahn, but also non-castle road).

Edited: 12:50 pm, March 08, 2013
Tucson, Arizona
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7. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

WOW... thank-you all so very much for your thoughtful and detailed replies. They are most appreciated, and have given me much to think about.

Regarding Dinkelsbuehl vs. RoT and distance, according to viamichelin, it is 1hr 51 mins from Stuttgart to RoT and 2hrs 26min from RoT to Fussen. From Stuttgart to Dinkelsbuehel is 1hr 52min and from Dinkelsbeuel to Fussen is 2hrs 15 min, so seems about the same amount of time for the commute. Dinkelsbuehl definitely looks fascinating though, and the authenticity is appealing! Will talk it over with my husband to decide which we would prefer, though I can't help but lean towards RoT only because I have always wanted to go there and if we go I do want to spend the night to experience the city after the day trippers have left. Thanks for the info about so much of RoT having to be rebuilt after the war... I had no idea.

I am now convinced that we should skip Lindau, but Strasourg is a must do for us. Will plan for Tuebingen for the second day trip and perhaps half of that day to explore in Stuttgart, depending on how long we decide to spend in Tuebingen. Marcopolko... your tips about Stuttgart and things to see around Stuttgart are terrific!! I am almost tempted to just add a 4th night in Stuttgart and do another day trip from there. Hmmm...

If we do stay overnight in either RoT or Dinkelsbuehl with plan to tour Neuschwanstein on the 9th and sleep GP, my only concern is that if we don't start the castle tour until 2, what time would that get us to GP? We would want to arrive there with enough time to actually look around a bit and enjoy it. Maybe it would make more sense to stay in Hohenschwangau or Fussen and just drive through/make a few hrs stop in GP on the way to Salzburg? Or, we could just plan on eating a big breakfast before we leave RoT and jump right into the castle tour when we get to Fussen, so as to get to GP earlier in the day. :)

Tucson, Arizona
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8. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

Here is my new idea for a plan, taking your great feedback into consideration:

5-7 June: 3nts Stuttgart

* day trip to Strasbourg (2hrs each way)

* day trip to Tubingen (1hr each way)/afternoon and/or evening in Stuttgart

8 June: Get an early start and drive to RoT or Dinkelsbeul (2hrs) - Tour city in the afternoon, Nightwatchmans Tour - sleep RoT or D - 1nt

9 June: Drive to Fussen/Hohenschwangau (2hrs 30 min) - Tour Ludwig's Castles - sleep Hohenschwangau 1nt (seems like it makes more sense to stay here instead of being rushed to see castles and get to GP)

June 10: Drive to Obersalzburg in a.m. (3hrs) w/ perhaps a drive through GP for a quick stop on the way.. maybe for lunch? - Observation Center and Eagles Nest in Obersalzburg, then on to Salzburg - afternoon and 1nt Salzburg

June 11: Morning in Salzburg and then drive to Vienna (3hrs)

Does this make more sense or does it still sound too rushed?


9. Re: Itinerary help for 5nt trip to Germany (southern)

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