In September my husband and I embarked on our biggest adventure yet: a two week road trip through Germany. It was exhausting, stressful, and wonderful.
I love trip planning. I love sitting down for hours at a time mapping out every single spot there is to see and figuring out how to fit in as many sights as possible in a given day. It’s not for everyone, but that’s my style. I always ask myself ‘when will I ever be back here?’ while making my plan. The answer is always ‘well, I have no idea so I better do everything this time.’
This was my longest trip yet. And my most planning-intensive. Our itinerary is below- along with my personal recommendations after the fact.
Sept 18/19: Our road trip began with us flying into Berlin. When we got to the airport we got the news that the car we had reserved was no longer there since we put the wrong pick up time down on the reservation. Luckily, they had another (more expensive) car available that was an automatic. We were then thrown through another loop when we were told we couldn’t get a car at all since we didn’t have an international license (despite the fact that that requirement was listed absolutely nowhere). Spoiler: we ended up getting the car anyways.
Sept 20: Today was our day to explore the city of Berlin. We started our day with a tour of the Reichstag- it’s free but you do have to reserve a time in advance. We unfortunately weren’t able to go inside the glass dome since our trip aligned with their annual cleaning/maintenance schedule. It was still really cool though so I’d recommend going regardless.
Sept 21: This morning we headed out of Berlin towards the infamous Rakotzbrucke Bridge. I was a little disappointed since the reality didn’t exactly line up with the images I’d seen online but it was still a cool site. From there we headed to the town of Gorlitz. Since Gorlitz was right on the border, we ended up walking across the bridge and having lunch in Poland. From there, we headed on to our stop for the night: Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Sept 22: I can’t say enough amazing things about Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It was like I had stepped into the town from Tangled- and I never wanted to leave. I wished we had planned to stay another night here. I couldn’t get over the fairytale charm. That afternoon we headed on to Munich. On our way into the city, we stopped at Schleissheim Palace.
Sept 23: Oktoberfest! After all, you can’t travel all the way to Germany in the fall without hitting up Oktoberfest.
Sept 24: Ready to leave Munich in the dust, we stopped at Dachau Concentration Camp. It was an extremely emotional experience. I also can’t recommend it enough. I think it’s unbelievably important to never forget what happened. From there we headed on to Fussen.
Sept 25: We woke up bright and early for the tour that I was possibly the most excited about: Neuschwanstein Castle! We were lucky enough to stay in a hotel at the foot of the castle. That meant we could see the castle out our window and that it only took about 5 minutes to walk from the hotel up to the castle. Highly recommend! Once I’d soaked up all of the castle- and taken about a thousand photos- we headed on to Zurich for the night.
Sept 26: We slept in and woke up feeling well-rested and ready to make our way back across the border to Germany. On our way to Triberg, we stopped to check out Todtnauer Falls.
Sept 27: Today we went to Triberg Waterfall. It turns out there’s an admission fee for the falls (a fact I found literally nowhere in all of my research) but it ended up being included with our hotel. We spent the day wandering around the town and even got to check out the world’s largest cuckoo clock. When in the Black Forest, am I right?
Sept 28: On our way to Cochem, we stopped in Heidelberg to check out the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle.
Sept 29: We woke up in the morning to explore Cochem Castle. From there, we went on to Eltz Castle. Our resting place for the night was Cologne.
Sept 30: Oh, Cologne. I wish I would have known how wonderful this city would be. I would have gladly staying another day here. One of the highlights: Cologne Cathedral.
Oct 1: After staying the night in Hanover, we made our way back to Berlin to begin our long journey home.
Oct 2: So long, Germany! Thanks for the memories (good and bad).
– Make sure you put the right pick up time down for your rental car. Also make sure you don’t need an international license- and then maybe get one just in case.
– Skip Rakotzbrucke Bridge and go to Bastei Bridge instead (We weren’t able to make that happen- the bridge was too far, it was getting dark and also starting to rain, and we had to check-in to our hotel by 9).
– Double/triple check all check-in/check-out times for each hotel. Some of ours had surprisingly early check-in times.
– Spend more time in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
– Go up to Neuschwanstein at sunset. The tours are all over so you’ll have the place mostly to yourself. Make sure you hike up to the bridge for the best views.
– Skip Zurich. We weren’t spending enough time there to make the expenses worth it- to drive in Switzerland you have to purchase a year-long driving pass (also called a vignette). We also had to purchase a 7 day vignette for Austria since we passed through on our way to Switzerland.
– Spend more time in Cologne. At least two full days.
– Take a deep breath and smile. And make sure you have a translator app downloaded. Not all of the restaurants have English menus. Also, not all of them have English-speaking staff.
I’ll be sharing more detailed posts for our stops along the way but wanted to share this general one with an overview of what we did in our two weeks here.