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How to Plan the Perfect Weekend Road Trip to Northern Bavaria?


Embark on an unforgettable journey through Northern Bavaria on a weekend road trip. Our expert guide unveils the scenic routes, quaint villages, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered in this enchanting region of Germany.

 

Considered one of the most beautiful regions of Europe, Bavaria is the biggest German state located in the Southeast corner of the country. Blessed with an amazing natural scenery and a rich culture history due to the many different civilisations to have inhabited the region, Bavaria offers something unique to every traveler.

 

As Thomas had moved to Frankfurt, we decided to go on a road trip and rent a car (cheap deals of car rentals can be found in Frankfurt Airport agencies, but be aware of the extra insurance costs often excluded from the deals) to explore the Northern Bavarian region which is only a 3-hour ride away from Frankfurt. It was also the perfect opportunity to try the famous without-speed-limit German highways. As we only had a long weekend to travel, we selected three cities that could not be missed and came up with this itinerary for your perfect road trip to Northern Bavaria.





INTRODUCTION TO BAVARIA

Bavaria is Germany's most visited region, known for its high number of traditional villages, medieval castles, and historic seats of power. The region features vibrant cities such as Munich, famous for its Oktoberfest and cultural scene, and Nuremberg, renowned for its well-preserved old town and imperial castle. However, the most iconic site is Neuschwanstein Castle, a fairy-tale structure nestled in the scenic mountains of Southern Bavaria, drawing millions of visitors each year. Beyond these famous attractions, Bavaria offers natural beauty, from rolling hills and dense forests to the majestic Alps, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

 

Bavaria's popularity is deeply rooted in its rich history, starting with the settlement of Iron Age Celtic tribes. After the Roman Empire's conquests in the 1st century BC, Bavaria became part of the Holy Roman Empire and later an independent kingdom. In 1871, Bavaria joined the German Empire under Prussian leadership while retaining its title of kingdom. Finally, in 1949, Bavaria became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany. This historical evolution has shaped Bavaria's unique cultural and architectural heritage, making it a captivating destination for travelers.


GENERAL INFORMATION

THE ROAD tRIP ITSELF

Embarking on a three-day road trip through Northern Bavaria offers a delightful mix of history, culture, and picturesque landscapes. Starting in Bamberg, with its well-preserved medieval architecture and charming canals, you'll travel approximately 60 kilometres south to Nuremberg, renowned for its historic old town and impressive imperial castle. After soaking in Nuremberg's rich heritage, you'll continue your journey 105 kilometres southwest to the fairy-tale town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is a highlight on Germany's famous Romantic Road. This scenic route, celebrated for its charming medieval towns and stunning countryside, does not include Bamberg and Nuremberg, making Rothenburg an extra special stop on your journey.

 

If you have additional time, consider extending your trip to Würzburg (not covered in this blog post), another cultural gem just 60 kilometers northwest of Rothenburg, known for its Residenz palace and vibrant wine scene. For a more extended adventure, head down to Southern Bavaria to explore the stunning natural beauty and quaint villages, including a visit to Füssen and the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle (more information below). This southern extension offers breathtaking alpine scenery and an unforgettable experience, contrasting beautifully with the historic and cultural richness of Northern Bavaria (Rafael's favourite of course!).

DURATION

For this road trip itinerary, we recommend to have at least 3 days: one day dedicated for the visit of each destination. Each of these cities won't take you more than a day to visit, that's why if you're staying longer, we suggest that you drive south and visit other iconic parts of the region (for more information, check the section below).

ACCOMODATION

We think that staying in Nuremberg is the best option. One of the reason for this is that the city is located half way between all the cities and because it is a very lively town. Also, Nuremberg offers a wide range of hotels at affordable prices. We'd say that the second best option would be to stay in Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber in order to prolong the magic it has, however, we do not know whether the town is very lively at night.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time for a road trip through Northern Bavaria is during late spring and early autumn. In May, June, September, and October, the weather is mild and pleasant, perfect for exploring without the intense summer crowds. These months also feature local festivals like Bamberg's Sandkerwa and Nuremberg's Altstadtfest, providing a rich cultural experience. The region's landscapes are particularly beautiful in spring with blooming flowers and in autumn with colorful foliage, enhancing the charm of these historic cities.


ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

BAMBERG

The first destination of this road trip is Bamberg. Bamberg, also known as the Franconian Rome, is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the early medieval plan of the town and its several well-preserved ecclesiastical and secular buildings dating back to the medieval period. Our advice would be to go and visit this charming town first and spend a full day strolling around its cute little streets. Many points of interests can be found in this typical German town: don't forget to check out the beautiful architecture of the Town Hall, the Little Venice as well as Bamberg Cathedral.


 | For more information about Bamberg, check our post here |




NUREMBERG

The second destination of this road trip is Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German). Although the city of Nuremberg is the biggest city of the three, it does not lack charming sites to visit. However, the city also has a sad history since it hosted the Nazi rallies and, later on, became the site for the trials of war crimes at the Palace of Justice. We'd also suggest that you spend a full day visiting this city that has many points of interest. The main highlights include the Imperial Castle, the Hangman's Bridge, the Nazi Rally Grounds and the Market Square.


 | For more information about Nuremberg, check our post here |



ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER

The final destination of this road trip is Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It is definitely our favorite town. Rothenburg was built during the 13th century on a peak overlooking the Tauber river and then flourished around it. Very tiny in size, Rothenburg has so much to offer. It is the typical German town you have in mind when thinking of colorful and lively villages of Germany. We'd suggest to spend a full day to get lost in its many narrow and colorful streets. When in Rothenburg, make sure to visit the Castle Gardens, the Markt-Platz as well as the iconic house of Plönlein.


 | For more information about Rothenburg, check our post here |



OTHER PLACES IN SOUTHERN BAVARIA

If staying more than three days in Bavaria, you can definitely drive south and visit the mesmerizing town of Füssen as well as the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle. The drive will be definitely worth it as Southern Bavaria is very different from its northern part.

FÜSSEN

This southern Bavarian little town of Füssen looks like a fairy-tale. The city is over 700 years old and is located on the edge of the Alps. Füssen is the ideal starting point for visiting the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle. When visiting this Bavarian town, don't forget to check out the Medieval Castle, the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Leechfall Waterfall.


 | For more information about Füssen, check our post here |



NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE

This famous landmark of Bavaria was built during the second half of the 19th century under the command of King Ludwig II, a nostalgic monarch who, unsatisfied and uninterested with the political situation, preferred to focus on his artistic endeavors for celebrating ancient royalty lines and knights’ legends by building a fantasy world around him. We highly recommend to spend the day visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle and its surroundings.


 | For more information about the Neuschwanstein Castle, check our post here |



OUR FINAL THOUGHTS

Embarking on a road trip through this region of Germany was an absolute delight, leaving us yearning for more time to explore its treasures. With the insights we've shared, we hope you now have a clearer picture of the cities to visit and can plan an itinerary filled with unforgettable experiences.


And now it's your turn to let us know your impressions, thoughts and also tips to visit this region of Germany. Have you already visited Northern Bavaria? We look forward to reading your comments in the section below.


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