Looking for an epic road trip in Germany? You will love our suggestions. Living in Belgium I have so many German attractions that I want to visit, and what better way to explore than a road trip.
Keep reading as I take you to many small towns, cities, and castles in this Germany road trip itinerary that will take your breath away!
** Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links which means that purchases made through these links reward Bey of Travel a small commission without any additional charge for the purchaser.**
How to plan an epic road trip in Germany
Germany travel tips
We set off on our German road trip from Antwerp, Belgium. If you are traveling from overseas, consider flying into Munich International Airport, and then make your way through Bavaria soaking in the Romantic Road, the countryside, and castles, of course.
Car Rentals: From Munich, you can easily pick up your car rental for your road trip. There are tons of options available at the airport. I recommend reserving them ahead of time if you prefer a certain type of transmission or vehicle.
On average a rental car will cost you €32 per day for a mid-size car. Don’t forget your valid driver’s license and insurance. If renting from a company like Auto Europe in Germany, you can add liability and fire insurance along with collision damage waiver and theft protection, etc.
Driving in Germany is easy. Roads are well maintained. You will be driving on the right-hand side. Do pay attention to road signs, and give the right of way to vehicles coming from the right, and to pedestrians.
Adhere to speed limits. There are two default speed limits: 50 km/h (31 mph) inside built-up areas and 100 km/h (62 mph) outside built-up areas.
As you are road tripping, book a hotel with parking options, preferably for free. I have included the hotels where we stayed in this southern Germany road trip itinerary.
Tourist Visa: Passport holders from other EU countries, the US, and Canada do not need a tourist visa to visit Germany (US & Canadian citizens can stay up to 90 days for tourism purposes). If you need a visa to enter Eurozone countries then you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa before your trip!
Now, here is the best part, I’ve outlined every detail on where we stopped on our German road trip, including some top tips, entry fees, and other important information.
Day 1 and 2 of Germany road trip: Arrive in Munich and explore
Arrive in Munich and then pick up your car rental. Plan to spend at least 2 days in this Bavarian city to check out some of the primary attractions.
Visit the old town of Munich, and soak in the vibe of Marienplatz – St Mary’s Square. It is the central market square of Munich and is home to the Old Town Hall, New Town Hall, City Museum, and more.
You can spend anywhere from 4 to 8 hours exploring the city’s old quarters, and then sit down for a nice meal of schnitzels and beer. Staatliches Hofbräuhaus is the royal brewery in Bavaria, and is a must-visit attraction – they are also open 365 days of the year!
Located in the old town is St Peter’s Church. Head there in the evening to soak in one of the most beautiful views over Munich from the tower of Alter Peter. Their entry fee is very nominal.
Depending on your arrival in Munich, and your interests you can also add the following sites to your Southern Germany itinerary
- Munich Residenz (former royal palace of the Wittelsbach)
- Opera House
- English Gardens (hang out at their beer gardens and enjoy the largest urban/city park)
Day 3 of Germany road trip: Romantic road and Neuschwanstein Castle
Driving Time: Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle is 1.50 hours, one way.
On day 3, start for the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen via the Romantic Road in Bavaria.
The scenic Romantic Road takes you through some of the picturesque valleys in Germany, and it is filled with star-studded castles, small towns, and beautiful landscapes. The road passes through medieval towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen, and Füssen, and with stops it can easily take 2-3 days.
For a day’s road trip, focus on the castle built by the “mad” King Ludwig II, known as Neuschwanstein. The castle is incomplete but is a beautiful attraction near Munich. Spend some time at the complex, enjoy short hikes, and admire the views from the hilltop.
The complex area is a busy tourist spot, so plan to arrive early. Do check out Mary’s bridge, and the yellow-colored (smaller) castle of Hohenschwangau, which was Ludwig II’s childhood summer home.
There are entry fees for Neuschwanstein Castle, and you can only tour the interiors with a guide.
Tips for visiting the castle
Getting there: You can also visit Neuschwanstein Castle via a tour and public transportation. When driving to the castle grounds, note that parking at the castle is not allowed.
You can park at the village of Hohenschwangau (parking spots P1 to P4). Enter the ‘Alpseestrasse’ and follow the signs for the parking lot.
Address: Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
Entry fee and opening info: 13 euro.
Day 4 of road trip in Germany: Exploring the castle of Burg Eltz
Driving Time: Munich to Burg Eltz Castle is 5.50 hours, one way.
The next day get ready for another castle – Burg Eltz. This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the whole country.
Burg Eltz is a beautiful German castle that lies merely 3.5 hours away from my hometown of Antwerp, and it’s been on my to-do list for years. When traveling from Munich, it will take you about 5+ hours.
It is one of the best castles in Germany to visit – and it’s probably one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
This castle is one of the most Instagram-able places in Germany, and it can be crowded with ‘grammars’ all day around.
Did you also know that the castle is still inhabited to this day? It is owned by the Eltz family, and the current owner of the castle is Dr. Karl Graf von und zu Eltz-Kempenich.
Tips for visiting the castle
Getting there: Burg Eltz lies in the Eltzerbos and can be easily reached by car. You can park at the Ausweich-Parkplatz Burg Eltz for €2.
From here, the castle is a ten-minute walk down asphalt roads. You can also hike through the beautiful scenery in the Eltze Bos, which takes a little longer but is a stunning alternative.
There are a variety of beautiful long hikes that lead to the fairytale castle – more info can be found here.
Address: Kastellanei Burg Eltz, Burg Eltz 1, 56294 Wierschem, Deutschland
Entry fee and opening info: 13 euro.
Make a stop at the Geierlay suspension bridge
The next stop on our Germany road trip was only a 40-minute drive from Burg Eltz.
The Geierlay suspension bridge is the most spectacular pedestrian bridge in Germany and the second-longest in the world. If you’re not afraid of heights then this bridge is simply a must-visit!
A walk over the 360-meter-long bridge 100 meters above the Mörsdorfer Bachtal is certainly an unforgettable experience.
Even if you’re afraid of heights (like me!) this bridge is still definitely worth a visit.
Tips on visiting the bridge
Getting there: From the parking lot, it’s a short 2-kilometer walk to the Geierlay Hangbrücke. The road towards the bridge is marked with white symbols of… you guessed it, a bridge.
If possible, try to visit in December during the Christmas holiday period, as the bridge is magically lit up like in a fairytale! Don’t forget to dress warmly in an extra coat, scarf, and gloves when visiting the bridge out of the summer season.
Entry fee and opening info: The bridge is open 24/7 and is free of charge.
Day 5 of Germany road trip itinerary: Visit Buchenwald Memorial Site
Driving Time: Burg Eltz to Buchenwald Memorial Site is 4 hours, one way.
Where to stay? Ramada By Wyndham
We continued our road trip in Germany and headed to the remains of the concentration camp in Buchenwald, as this was our main reason for embarking on our road trip adventure.
After driving for roughly four hours we stayed in Ramada By Wyndham, which was only twenty minutes away from the Buchenwald Memorial.
Buchenwald was a Nazi concentration camp in Germany between 1937 to 1945. If I’m honest, I don’t cope well with horrifying confrontations. Tears ran down my cheeks during my visit to The Killing Fields in Cambodia, and I got goosebumps of discomfort when spotting the metal shoes at the Donau docks in Boedapest.
A visit to one of the many concentration camps did not score highly on my travel bucket list, but as relations are all about to give and take, I agreed to visit the Buchenwald memorial in combination with some other German activities.
More about Concentration Camps Buchenwald
Buchenwald was built in 1937 by the SS. The main purpose of the camp was to imprison anyone considered an ‘outsider’ of society at the time – this included Jewish people, Sinti and Roma people, gay people, homeless people, and more.
Buchenwald became a symbol for the Nazi concentration camp system. As soon as World War II started, people from all over Europe were transported to the camp. Buchenwald was the biggest concentration camp in Germany. Over 280,000 people were imprisoned in Ettersberg and its 139 subcamps.
Prisoners only got pants and a shirt to protect them from the shivering cold. Due to overpopulation and an acute lack of water, typhus broke out in the camp. Experimental medical tests were performed on prisoners to try and find a cure.
The SS forced the prisoners to work for the German armament industry. Prisoners were taken to a crematorium with incinerators next to the camp, where they were shot or killed with an injection and burned instantly. Fellow prisoners had to watch their friends or family members walk inside the building, only to never see them walk out again.
When the Americans came closer to the camp, the SS sent 28,000 prisoners on so-called death marches. 1 in 3 prisoners did not survive this horror. By the end of the war, more than 56,000 prisoners had died as a result of torture, medical experimentation, and starvation. More than 8,000 Soviet prisoners were shot dead in a specially provided murder room.
On April 11 1945 at 15u15, the concentration camp in Buchenwald was liberated by the American army. At that moment, roughly 45,000 people were still imprisoned in the camp – and many still died from exhaustion even after liberation. The hour of liberation is still shown on the clock above the camp’s entrance building.
THE BUCHENWALD MEMORIAL IN NUMBERS
- Dates – Buchenwald Concentration Camp 1937-1945
- Space – 400,000 m2, 3500m of electric barbed wire, 139 subcamps
- Inmates – 227,800 in total: 30,000 minors, 28,230 women and 249,570 men from more than 50 countries
- February 1938: 2728 inmates
- February 1945: 112,050 inmates
- Inmate age range: 2 to 86 years
- Death toll – 56,000 dead
- 1944 men, women, and children were sent to Auschwitz on death transports
Buchenwald is a truly horrifying experience and you will shiver when walking around the remains of this evil place. But it is and always will be part of our history, and it’s important that we never forget what happened here out of respect to all the people who suffered and died and also to prevent such horrors from ever happening again.
Tips and practical information on visiting
Getting there: There is free parking on the Memorial grounds.
Address: Gedenkstätte Buchenwald, 99427 Weimar, Germany
- April – October: Tuesday to Sunday and holidays 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (admission until 5:30 pm)
- November – March: Tuesday to Sunday and holidays 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (admission until 3:30 pm)
- Closed on Monday.
- Closed December 24 to 26, December 31, and January 1
Make sure you reserve sufficient time for your visit – ours took roughly four hours in total.
Ensure you dress warmly – it’s mostly open space with no protection from the wind and rain. Also bear in mind it’s not really ideal for a family trip – it’s not recommended to take children under 12 to the camp.
Download the Buchenwald app on your phone and take your own headphones or earplugs with you to listen to the audio tour for free. Alternatively, you can rent an audio guide at the information center for 5 euros.
Day 6 of Germany road trip itinerary: Explore Weimar
The charming city of Weimar is an ideal town to stay in if you plan to visit Buchenwald on a road trip in Germany.
The Bauhaus Museum Weimar showcases over 300 pieces, giving an overview of the development of the state-owned company Bauhaus in its founding place, Weimar. Bauhaus opened in April 1919 in Weimar and is still a successful export of German culture.
You can easily discover Weimar on foot and take a stroll through the cozy town. Enjoy a combination of historical education and contemporary experiences, and discover everything you need to know about Weimar’s world-known citizens: Goethe, Schiller, Bach, Liszt, Gropius en others.
Whilst you’re visiting, check out Goethehuis, one of the most important examples of historical Weimar. It’s the baroque house of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, where he lived for 50 years, and where his last years are well documented. The number of visitors is limited to ensure it remains well preserved.
Tips and practical information
Accomodation: We stayed in the Ramada By Wyndham and were very happy with the accommodation.
Food: Looking for a restaurant in Weimar? Germany is not particularly known for its haute cuisine, but here are some Weimar restaurants worth checking out during your stay:
- Scharfe Ecke
- 36 Pho Co
Day 7 of Germany road trip itinerary: Visit Schloss Dragenburg in Königswinter and then fly out
We decided to end our Germany road trip with a visit to another fairytale castle. And this time head to the dragon castle, Schloss Dragenburg, in Königswinter.
Schloss Drachenburg or Drachenburg Castle is a private villa, constructed by Stehan Sarter who built the castle in 1882 but never lived in it himself. His nephew Jakob Biesenbach then bought the castle years later from the state.
It is positioned in a beautiful natural setting where you can enjoy a nice walk.
Schloss Drachenburg is the closest of the castles around Cologne Germany, and from here you can head back to Belgium, or fly out from Cologne.
Tips and practical information
Address: Drachenfelsstraße 118, 53639 Königswinter, Germany. There is paid parking available near the castle.
Other places to add to your Germany road trip itinerary
I have listed some of the other road trips Germany stops that you can swap or add to this itinerary
Munich to Wurzburg: If you do not wish to visit many castles on this road trip then swap one day, and assign that to Wurzburg (Munich to Wurzburg is 4 hours away). It is a pretty town with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wurzburg Residence which is worth a visit, along with the Old Main Bridge.
Munich to the Black Forest: The Black Forest is a mountainous region in southwest Germany. You can visit the Black Forest from Munich, and it will take you about 4 hours one way. Spend time hiking, and then relax at the spa or whilst wandering through the vineyards.
German Alpine Road: If the Romantic Road doesn’t excite you then opt for the German Alpine Road aka Deutsche Alpenstrasse. This route takes you through stunning views of valleys and mountain peaks. You can just focus on this route as a single road trip itinerary of 3-4 days.
German Fairy Tale Road: Prefer the German Fairy Tale Road or Deutsche Märchenstraße, then embark on this popular trip that runs from Hanau (central) to Bremen in the north, you will admire the fairytale towns along the route.
So there you have it – you can use this itinerary to plan anywhere from a weekend to 10+ days in the country. I hope you enjoyed this German road trip planner, and are ready to book yours!