We've ordered our airfare...We'll be flying into Munich on December 18th at 8AM local time. Our plan is to spend the 18th in Munich. Our beginning plans follow:
Dec 19- Start traveling the Romantic road (keypoint, see Neuschwanstein) and arrive in Rothenburgh
Dec 20- spend the day in and around Rothenburgh looking at castles, eating food, drink some beer
Dec 21- travel to Frankfurt in the morning and spend the day touring
Dec 22- Head to Dresden for what we hear are fantastic Christmas markets
Dec 23- Head back to Munich, return car
Dec 24- Head to the Bavarian Alps and spend christmas eve and christmas day and night at some town there (don't know where yet (suggestions are appriciated))
Dec 26- head out to see family in Switzerland
We need some help as this is our first time in Europe. Does this sound like a good start for our Germany portion? We know that we want to do the Romantic Road and that is the main thing. We're planning on posting some basic plans for our Italian leg as soon as we figure out what we want to try to do. Thanks for your help
Chris and Cara
More or less a good plan.
I would just suggest a few changes: Salzburg for Neuschwanstein and Nuremberg for Dresden. More to see and less distance to travel.
Usually I am all for recommending Dresden (I really love this city that is so often overlooked), but in this case it makes zero sense to make the detour to the Christmas market there when you got Salzburg and Nuremberg right in front of your nose.
I would also skip Frankfurt am Main unless you must go there for a business meeting. After Rothenburg ob der Tauber you'll be sorely dissppointed by the city. It is a place to see and explore if you are flying in and out of Frankfurt am Main and got a few hours to kill, otherwise don't bother. Heidelberg or another place closer on the Romantic Road would be a better choice. Or something completely different, say a visit to the thermal spa in Bad Woerishofen near Munich?
Next I woudl reverse some of the order. It doesn't make much sense to drive 2 hours south to Neuschwanstein in the Alps only to drive north to Rothenburg and later go south to the Alps again.
Finally: the Romantic Road is a tourist trap, there is absolutely nothing romantic about it. It just connects some sights that were considered romantic by American G.I.'s who took their wifes and girlfriends on road trips, usually on their honeymoons. Thus the moniker "Romantic Road". The local Germans latched on to that and it turned out to be the best marketing fad ever. Every year thousands of people turn up and expect great romantic scenery and sights from the German Romantic and are dissappointed; first by this effing ugly band of concrete and asphalt and second by sights that range through the ages and while beautiful have nothing to do with Romanticism.
If you are going to drive the Romantic Road you should make it a point to have more than one day for it. The Romance of the Road is in the sights connected by it, so find the time to see them or leave the road alone.
Bavarian Alps: Berchtesgaden or alternatively the area around Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Me and my boyfriend are looking to spend Christmas in Germany too! Mainly around Berlin Dresden area though.
I posted my itinerary on a different forum and everyone told me not to bother with Frankfurt as it is really boring and a waste of time!!
Good luck with your trip let us know if you find somewhere great for Christmas Day! We have no idea where to stay....
Well, I suppose the area around Frankfurt can be interesting - but not in winter.
It is a wine growing region so the best time to visit is in October when the leaves turn and you can taste the first young wine from last year. Then the scenery can be absolutely gorgeous. In winter though all you get to see is your bits slowly freezing off.
This also applies to the area around Rothenburg ob der Tauber - so your plan of
looking at castles, eating food, drink some beer
should better be to drink some good white wine.
Updated Germany trip plan:
Dec 18: Arrive in Munich at 8AM, spend day and night in Munich
Dec 19: Rent car and head to Hohenschwangau to tour Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castles, drive to Heidelburg.
Dec 19-20 Visit Thingstatte, Heidelburg Castle, Church of the holy Ghost. Leave by 5PM on 20 Dec so as to arrive in Rothenburg in time to check into hotel, and go on the Night Watchmen Tour at 8PM
Dec 21: Spend day in Rothenburg seeing the sights and shopping
Dec 22: Leave Rothenburg, possibly head up to Wurzburg to see Marienburg Fortress (Festung Marienberg), St. Kilian Cathedral (Dom St. Kilian), and eat and try wine at Burgerspital (haven't decided if it is worth the 45 min side trip yet). Head to Salzburg Austria
Dec 23: Spend day in Salzburg, Austria
Dec 24: Return to Munich, drop off car and head to Rafz, Switzerland to spend time with family.