The best ways to travel within and around Germany is by road. Even though the public transport is excellent, it is super expensive when compared to a lot of countries. Traveling by road in Germany isn’t just recommended for the sake of flexibility but also because it is economical as compared to the other methods of transportation.
Apart from just traveling from one city or destination to another, I’d also like to mention that the local transportation within a destination isn’t always so straightforward in Germany. Unless you’re visiting a big city like Berlin, Frankfurt or Hamburg, where the metro trains and buses will take you to most places inside the cities, you will want to drive a car in a smaller destination (or rent one). There aren’t tuk tuks like in Asia, taxis are just too expensive and be prepared to walk a lot if you catch a train.Check Car Rental Prices in Germany
If you like road trips and happen to be in Germany, then you are certainly in for a rewarding experience. Not only will you appreciate German roads, but also enjoy some of the most relaxing days cruising through quaint villages, medieval castles, and unspoiled countryside.
German highway system is called the Autobahn and they don’t really have a speed limit for most of the vehicles. The speed limit is enforced in areas that are accident prone, under construction or in a close proximity to the cities. Because of this, driving on Germany’s Autobahn is a bucket list worthy experience for many. Also, you will be surprised to know that almost all the highways are toll free unlike the neighboring country France.
We have traveled extensively in Germany on our camper van but you can do this trip on a rented car too. If you’re planning on renting a car, then be sure to read these car rental hacks to help you save money.
Suggested: Travel the Balkans – itinerary for the most beautiful road trip in Europe
There are a number of scenic drives and themed roads to pick from and get a truly German experience. There is so little time and so many options to choose from. However, there are certain trips and roads that make a cut above the rest and the top picks to make short road trips in Germany.
Short Road Trips in Germany
1) Drive through Bavaria – Germany’s Romantic RoadPerhaps the most famous road trip route in Germany, the Romantic Road was designed by travel agents back in the 1950s. This 350 kilometers long route starts in Würzburg and goes south through the beautiful Bavaria and ends in Füssen.
One of the prettiest German towns – Rothenburg is also on this route and so is Neuschwanstein Castle. You will love slow traveling through Bavaria on your car because you will get to witness some of the country’s most beautiful sights.
You can also make a stop in Munich, which is one of the capital of Bavaria and the location for the biggest Oktoberfest. Stay at a B&B or small hotels on the outskirts of the city and enjoy the scenic drive. Explore the sights and sounds of Munich and visit the Viktualienmarkt, a farmers’ market in the city Centre. Be sure to read this post about best places to visit in Bavaria. This is the best way to sample Bavarian treats such as Leberkase meat loaf or the Bratuwurst sausage. You will love Munich’s legendary beer hall, Hofbrauhaus and get a feel of a blue German drinking establishment.
2) Mannheim to Prague – the German Castle RouteOne of the best things about driving in Germany is seeing some of the most beautiful castles on the way. One of the best routes for castle gazing is from Mannheim to Prague – also called the German Castle Road.
A road trip here will actually feel like entering a time machine because you will get to see more than 70 castles and palaces. Make sure you stop Heidelberg (read our travel guide) – one of the most beautiful towns on the German Castle Road. Explore those picture perfect castle museums or the romantic ruins on those winding back roads with easy to follow signs. It is suggested to pick just a few of the castles to explore in depth. You can also make a day tour in Heidelberg from Frankfurt.
3) Freudenstadt to Baden-Baden – the Black Forest RouteThis is perhaps the oldest themed route in Germany and it goes through the Black Forest. This route starts in Freudenstadt and goes north to Baden Baden. This road is also known as “the Black Forest High Road” because the road rises along two mountain ranges -Kniebis and Schliffkopf. The highest area on this route goes about 1000 meters above the sea level at Hornisgrinde and around. The road dramatically drops as it enters Baden-Baden.
4) Hanau to Bremen – the German Fairy Tale RoadEnter a fairy tale world as you drive from Hanau to Bremen and explore Germany’s countryside. Stop by a few small towns on the way that resemble the setting for some of the most famous fairy tales. You can visit the castle of Sleeping Beauty or hike in Little Red Riding Hood’s forest, or even climb up the tower of Rapunzel. Start your trip in the town of Hanau which is the birthplace of Brothers Grimm. There are family-friendly activities in almost all the towns along the Fairy Tale Road such as concerts, parades, and puppet shows.
5) Bockenheim to Schweigen-Rechtenbach – the German Wine RouteGet ready for the country’s oldest scenic drive towards the southwest of Germany in the Rhineland Palatinate. This route is called der Weinstraße in German and it starts in Bockenheim, goes towards south and ends in Schweigen-Rechtenbach.
This 50-mile long route will take you across the second largest wine growing region in Germany and all the way towards Wissembourg at the French border. At the end of this route, you will find the German Wine Gate in Schweign. Visit old-world restaurants, quaint wine villages and picturesque vineyards on the way and participate in the local harvest festivals celebrated throughout spring and summer.
Bonus: River Elb to Lake Constance – German Timber-Frame Road (Deutsche Fachwerkstraße)
This route goes from extreme North of Germany at Stade (near Hamburg) to extreme south to Lake Constance in Meersburg. The special thing about this route is that one can see old school timber frame houses along this route. Here’s a map of this route. Click on this map for a bigger image.
If you’re planning on driving on any of the above mentioned routes, try to some basic German words so that you can read and understand the roadsigns. Oh and do check your spare tyres once on the road to avoid any last minute mess ups.
Disclaimer: This guest post has been written by Eva Green.
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