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Anyone who is a fan of road trips will love Germany. The Autobahn or the German freeway is a pleasure to drive on and it connects the cities and towns across Germany so well. They are all quick and easy to access. Taking a road trip in Germany gets better thanks to the fantastic sceneries you drive through.
All major cities are well connected in Germany by the ICE (InterCity Express) which is a high-speed train. And as a bonus, Germany has no tolls so it makes driving through towns so much easier.
A small tip before starting your engines, if you’re not from in and around Germany and/or don’t speak German I’d suggest you do a quick research on the German driving laws and road signs. None of the signs are in English and it can be hard to figure out what the symbols mean.
Keeping all this in mind, I decided to take you on a journey of the various road trips that you can take in Germany. So, fasten your seatbelt and let’s begin…
- # Route 1: Start from Munich
- # Route 2: Start from Frankfurt
- # Route 3: From Munich to Frankfurt or vice versa
- # Route 4: Germany’s Fairytale Road (Märchenstrasse)
# Route 1: Start from Munich
Duration at a stretch: 6.5 hrs
Munich – Füssen – Augsburg – Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Nuremberg
We start at one of the most famous and second most populous German cities, Munich. This Bavarian capital is engulfed with history, art and architecture.
Try the German delicacy called Bratwurst and of course Germany’s famous beers. So famous and popular is beer in Munich that it has a dedicated 16th century 3 floor beer hall called Hofbräuhaus München.
A little less than 2 hours away from Munich is the town of Füssen. The town is famous for the Linderhof Palace located in the southeast of the town and the Neuschwanstein Castle which is a 5 min drive away.
The next stop is Augsburg which is one of the oldest cities in Germany. This city is 1.5-hour drive from Feussen. It has medieval guild houses and Renaissance-era buildings and monuments like the Augsburger Town Hall.
Your second last stop is 2 hours away, a cute, magical little town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This town is an Instagrammer’s delight! It is a historic town and one of the best-preserved ones too.
Don’t forget to take the Rothenburg Night Watchman tour. It’s entertaining, informative and free. The interesting part of this town is the year-round Christmas store.
The last stop is Nuremberg, one and a half hour away. Nuremberg is the 2nd largest city of Bavaria. This city happens to be where I reside so don’t forget to drop me a message if you visit and maybe we can say hello in person.
The 11th century Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is a great stop while here. And so is the Old Town where you can take the walking tours or the night tours that tell you Nazi-focussed historic tales.
Personally, I love the parks and green areas where I can sit and chill for hours on end just admiring the beauty around me. Nuremberg also has thermal spas in case relaxation is what you had in mind.
Travel Tip: You can modify this road trip route a little bit by visiting Augsburg before Feussen so that you get to see Meersburg which is about 2 hours away before visiting Rothenburg. Meersburg is a lovely lakeside town
If you want to drive some more from Meersburg, Stuttgart is a 2-hour drive away. But I’ll mention more about Stuttgart in Route 3 which has it as a dedicated stop.
# Route 2: Start from Frankfurt
Duration at a stretch: 7 hrs
Frankfurt – Cologne – Bonn – Cochem – Bacharach – Mannheim – Heidelberg
Frankfurt houses Germany’s biggest airport, Frankfurt am Main Airport, so if you’re not flying to Munich Airport, this is likely where you’ll land or catch a flight from. This city is among the top 5 big cities of Germany. You can visit St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral and the Römerberg Square.
If you’re in the mood to shop then Berger Straße is the place to head to. Don’t forget to indulge in the famous Currywurst while here.
After you’re done with Frankfurt, the 2nd stop is Germany’s largest and most populous city, Cologne. Cologne has marvellous churches and cathedrals. The Cologne Cathedral is the most famous landmark.
If you’re up for it you can take a tour of the Twelve Romanesque churches, the highlight of which is St. Gereon church which dates back to Roman times. But most of them are reconstructed since they were badly damaged during World Wat II.
A 30-minute drive from Cologne will take you to Bonn. You can visit Beethoven-Haus while here and if you have a bit of time drive on the Moselle Viaduct which is a high bridge over the Moselle river.
Driving along the river from thereon will bring you to the town of Cochem located a little over an hour away from Bonn. The Cochem Castle is a 11th century one located on a hill-top with a gorgeous, panoramic view of the river and town. This town also has plenty of vineyards.
Travel tip: In between Bonn and Cochem is the city of Koblenz, famous for being the meeting point of the Rhine river and the Moselle river. In fact, its name originates from the Latin word for “confluence”.
Bacharach is the next stop located in the Rhine Valley and an hour away from Cochem. You can visit the Riesling vineyards which is on one side of this town, the Rhine river being the other. You can also take a boat tour while here to see the castles along the river.
Next stop is Mannheim, a little over an hour away. This city is known for its museums some of which I’ve mentioned in Route 3. But one that piqued my interest was the cat museum. You’ll also find abundant greenhouses in Luisenpark.
A bit more than 30 minutes of driving will take you to your last stop at Heidelberg. This town will charm you with its wine production and castles. That’s why it’s known for being one of the most romantic towns in Germany. It features again in Route 3.
# Route 3: From Munich to Frankfurt or vice versa
Duration at a stretch: 7 hrs
Munich – Augsburg –Stuttgart – Heidelberg – Mannheim – Mainz – Frankfurt
If you’re planning to fly into Germany via one airport and leaving via another then you can opt for this road trip. You can start either from Munich or from Frankfurt and work your way through the places.
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, Munich is easily accessible by land and by air so it makes for a great start of the road trip journey. Walk around the Marienplatz square and watch a glockenspiel show that is a reenactment of 16th century stories. If you’re a Bayern Munich fan, you can take a tour of their stadium. Munich also has one of the best views of the Alps.
Travel Tip: If you are in Munich during October don’t forget to witness the Oktoberfest revelry.
If you start from Munich, your first stop is Augsburg which is an hour away. You can visit St. Anne’s church in the heart of the town and marvel at its beautiful Renaissance architecture.
An interesting place in this city is the Fuggerei, the world’s oldest housing complex, which is still in use and since the 16th century the rent of this place hasn’t been increased.
A 2-hour drive from Augsburg will lead you to Stuttgart which is known for being an automobile manufacturing hub. Hence, you’ll find the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums here.
Another one and a half hour away is Heidelberg. Don’t miss the Heidelberg Castle and the Königstuhl Funicular while here. A little offbeat attraction would be the Student Jail (Studentenkarzer).
The next city is only 30 mins away and is known as Mannheim. This city is known for its museums so whether you’re an art aficionado or an archaeologist or a tech geek, be rest assured because Mannheim has something for everyone. You can visit the Reiss-Engelhorn technology museum, Kunsthalle Mannheim and Planetarium Mannheim.
A 1 hour drive from Mannheim will get you to Mainz which is known for its beautiful churches.The Mainz Cathedral, St. Stephen’s Church and St. Augustine’s Church are some that you can visit. Mainz also houses one of Germany’s oldest forts, Mainz Citadel (Mainzer Zitadelle).
Finally, we arrive at Frankfurt which is 45 mins to an hour away from Mainz. Frankfurt has it all – museums, art galleries, restaurants and shopping. It is Germany’s financial hub and one of its largest cities. If you’re here during Christmas don’t miss the reconstructed Altstadt (Old Town) at Römerberg square that hosts the annual Christmas market.
# Route 4: Germany’s Fairytale Road (Märchenstrasse)
Duration at a stretch: 3 hrs from Steinau to Trendelburg or 4 hrs from Frankfurt to Trendelburg
Steinau – Schwalm – Kassel – Castle Sababurg – Trendelburg
This is a concise version of the original 600 km Deutsche Märchenstrasse (Fairy Tale Road) with 60 stops on the way. Depending on the number of stops you take along the way and/or the duration of the halts will increase the time.
If you’ve landed at Frankfurt then it takes 1 hour from Frankfurt to Steinau. Steinau is the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, and it has the Grimm Haus where the Grimms spent their childhood which is now open to the public as a museum.
The 2nd town on this route is Schwalm, located an hour away from Steinau. The Museum der Schwalm in this town houses the costumes of Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. You can also walk through the dark forest in the Little Red Riding Hood setting in this town.
The 3rd stop is Kassel which is an hour away from Schwalm. You will find the Grimm World here which features interactive exhibits.
Continue your fairy tale road trip to Sababurg Castle which is located a little over 30 mins from Kassel and is the official castle of Sleeping Beauty. It was built almost 700 years ago. Walk in Sleeping Beauty’s footsteps by climbing up the tower.
The last stop is 15 mins away and home to another fairytale princess, Rapunzel. Here, the tower of Trendelburg Castle, is where Rapunzel was imprisoned.
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