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Best Road Trips in Germany

Expatrio 2024-02-15


Your Ultimate Planner for Germany: Road Trip Edition

If you're looking for an epic road trip, you don't have to look far! We have put together the best itinerary in Germany for a great road trip through amazing views in the country.


General Information

According to statista, the most popular means of transport in Germany is the car. In January 2020 alone, the passenger car population in the Federal Republic consisted of around 47.7 million vehicles. Incidentally, in the ranking of the world's largest road networks, Germany is in twelfth place with around 630,000 kilometers. The largest road networks are in the USA, China, India and Brazil.

Did you know that the best-selling car brands in Germany are Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW? Around 644,000 new passenger cars registered in Germany in 2021 were from Volkswagen (VW for short) car brand.

If you are looking for one of the best road trips in Europe, Germany is perfect with its many scenic routes and Panoramastraßen (panoramic roads). Just take a rental car of your favorite brand and start your journey - for example on the “German Fairy Tale Road”! (We'll tell you exactly what that is in the following article). You could also do a Southern-Germany Road Trip and visit the famous Neuschwanstein Castle or one of the absolutely picturesque towns in this wonderful country.

Are you in the mood for some road tripping in Germany now? Then, read our ultimate German road trip guide and learn all about the best and most famous places you should visit during your road trip in Germany!



How to make a great Road trip in Germany

There are several options for a great road trip in Germany. A few facts that might help you even before you plan your Germany Road Trip Itinerary in detail: It's always a good idea to visit the city center of popular German towns like Munich or Berlin. However, it is recommended to arrive by public transport and park your (rental) car at free parking spots or ones with only a little extra cost outside the city. After that, you are free to visit the Old Town of famous German cities like Cologne or take a guided tour of the city center.

To make your German road trip extra special, we recommend focusing on smaller German towns, like the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber or Baden Baden, a picturesque town somewhere deep in the Black Forest. Road tripping in Germany is really fun and relaxing this way. Plus, the accommodations in smaller towns are typically more affordable! And it's usually very hard to get lost, which is also a big plus for many folks.

Before we present you the most popular routes in Germany - road trip edition - here is a few inspirations to get you started: Drive past Lake Constance and witness its breathtaking scenery, stop at the Old Main Bridge which crosses the River Main or really get the best out of Southern Germany by including Neuschwanstein Castle into your German road trip!

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What are the most popular road trips and routes I can take?

No southern Germany road trip itinerary is complete without the famous “Romantic Road”:


Germany's Romantic Road

Are you looking for one of the most beautiful road trips in Southern Germany? The Romantic Road route has many highlights and passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes and fairytale towns in Germany.



On the 400 kilometers from Würzburg to Füssen in the Allgäu region, vacationers pass through some of Germany's most tranquil towns and landscapes. The vacation route lives up to its name: Not only the medieval castles and the magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle, which was intended as a retreat for King Ludwig II, are romantic. The many towns and inns also invite you to linger.

Here are some sights along the scenic route of the Romantic Road:

  • Würzburg Old Town

Have you ever heard of the charming town of Würzburg? The town centre and the Old Town of Würzburg impress with Gothic churches and the Würzburg Residence. The latter was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1981. The lively university town also offers a variety of quaint restaurants and pubs. Other sights include the Old Main Bridge, which crosses the River Main, and the Marienberg Fortress.

  • Tauber Valley

The route also takes you to the Celtic Tauber Valley, known for the festival of the same name (Taubertal Festival) and the romantic vineyards.

  • Rothenburg

Are you into historic buildings, narrow streets and old city walls? Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located in the middle of the Central Franconian river landscape. Especially the medieval Old Town with its narrow, cobblestone streets makes it a popular tourist destination.

  • Augsburg

A well-known stopover on the way to Füssen is the third largest city in Bavaria: Augsburg. The Fuggerstadt served as a Roman army camp as early as 15 BC and is one of the oldest cities in Germany.


German Castle Road

This Southern Germany route covers a whole range of destinations on a great itinerary, with some of Germany's best castles along the way. This road trip takes you mainly through the southwest of the country.



One of the most traditional and well-known vacation routes, the Castle Road, founded in 1954, today connects more than 90 castles and palaces along its course. It runs for around 1,200 kilometers through tourist gems and famous towns steeped in history. Heidelberg Castle (a famous castle because it is the most iconic ruin in Germany) marks the beginning of the trip. Via Schwäbisch Hall, the journey continues to Rothenburg and Ansbach, to Nuremberg and Bamberg.

The romantic itinerary through a rich piece of German culture and history also touches charming landscapes with ever-changing scenery, be it the idyllic river valleys of the Rhine River, picturesque vineyards or bizarre rock formations. Nestled in these romantic landscapes, defiant castles, magnificent palaces, medieval towns and baroque residences lie like pearls on a necklace along the route, offering a journey through historical eras with the flair of days gone by.

A great and somewhat shorter alternative to this Southern Germany Road Trip:

  • The German Wine Road

The German Wine Route is one of the oldest vacation routes in Germany and runs through the wine-growing region of Palatinate, the second largest wine-growing region in Germany. Simply enjoy the local wine or take a guided tour with a wine tasting!


German Alpine Road

The German Alpine Road is a vacation route that leads almost exclusively through the Bavarian Alps in Germany.



The panoramic route is particularly fascinating for its surrounding countryside with its varied landscape of alpine meadows, hilly country, mountain peaks and lakes. Against the panoramic backdrop of the Bavarian Alps, this Southern Germany Road Trip route also passes through picturesque farming villages and historic towns.

This is an example of a Germany Road Trip itinerary for the Alpine Road:

  1. Start at Lake Constance and then pass through the Allgäu region to Füssen to Neuschwanstein Castle and Oberammergau.
  2. Continue your Southern Germany Road Trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Zugspitze (the highest peak in Germany).
  3. Afterwards, the Old Town of Bad Tölz and the Tegernsee Valley offer Bavarian inn tradition as well as top gastronomy.
  4. In Berchtesgaden, you can then visit the popular salt mine on your Germany itinerary.
  5. Finally, you can take a boat trip on the Königssee, which is possible all year round, as well as a tour on the Rossfeld Panorama Road into the Berchtesgaden mountains.


Germany's Fairy Tale Road

The German Fairy Tale Route is also a popular vacation and travel route in Germany. It runs from the Hessian Brothers Grimm town of Hanau in the Kinzig Valley over 600 km to Bremen in Northern Germany, the city of the Town Musicians of Bremen.

Experiencing the German Fairy Tale route means:

  • Following in the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm and their fairytales, sagas and legends from the Main River to the sea.
  • Enjoying the enchanting and varied landscape by car, bicycle or on a hike.
  • Exploring historic half-timbered towns, magnificent castles and palaces full of history and fairytale stories.


Europe Road Trip | German Fairy Tale Route

The Fairy Tale Road is one of the oldest vacation routes in Germany and takes fairytale fans young and old through dreamlike natural landscapes such as the Weserbergland or the Spessart, to magical castles and to idyllic German towns.


What are the best places to visit?

Germany Itinerary: Are you looking for the best places to visit on your German road trip?


1. Southern Germany and Neuschwanstein Castle



Since many visitors choose Southern Germany for their Germany Road Trip, we didn't want to keep it from you: The stunning castle commissioned by King Ludwig II with its impressive exterior and beautifully decorated rooms inside. Yes, the Neuschwanstein Castle is a famous place that many tourists flock to, but it's still a really great experience that should definitely be on any road trip itinerary in Germany!

Our tip for a special experience during your road trip: Get out of the car for a few hours and try a horse-drawn carriage ride to and from the entrance of Neuschwanstein Castle! You can also check here for more sights in Germany for your road trip!


2. Munich's Beer Gardens

Munich - and especially it's city center - is always worth a visit, no matter if you are looking to go to the renowned Oktoberfest or wanting to check out the city's main attractions, including the Old Town Hall and the New Town Hall. This neo-Gothic magnificent building is not only the seat of the mayor right in the city centre, but also known for the famous carillon.

Did you know that you can visit a famous beer hall in Munich all year round and not only at the time of Oktoberfest? Try the Hofbräuhaus München for traditional Bavarian food and the best beer in town. In summer, you can visit one of the many Biergärten (beer gardens) that are scattered throughout the city. Munich can also be a part of any Southern Germany Road Trip itinerary, no matter what time of year!


3. The Spa Town of Baden Baden



Baden Baden is a well-known holiday destination in the Black Forest, but could be an insider tip for overseas travelers. If you want to recharge your batteries from your road trip and completely relax for a few days, a spa vacation is a great experience. Baden Baden is located in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. There you will have the opportunity to focus entirely on feeling good and do something for your soul and body. You will get a wonderful time off from everyday stress!

Tip: For those interested in art, the fascinating Museum Frieder Burda may offer a welcome change from all-day wellness. Afterward, you can enjoy really delicious traditional German food in a wine tavern!


How do I travel to Germany with Covid-19 restrictions?

Currently, the fourth Corona wave with the highly contagious Omicron mutation is again leading to travel restrictions. Numerous countries belong to the so-called high-risk areas. The general rule at present is that anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not recovered must undergo a test when entering Germany - regardless of the means of transport. Children under the age of six are exempt.

Thus, anyone who is not fully vaccinated or recovered must present a current, negative Corona test (PCR test not older than 72 hours, antigen test not older than 48 hours).

Tourist overnight stays are generally allowed under certain conditions. In most cases, the 2G or 2G-plus rule applies. With the 2G-regulation, hotel stays are reserved for vaccinated or recovered persons. For 2G-plus, a negative corona test must also be presented. Please read more about this regulation in our article about traveling to Germany during Covid. In this article, you will learn more about traveling to Germany during the pandemic!


Car rental and parking

For many visitors traveling to Germany from abroad, a rental car is a great idea to experience the country like a local. Did you know that parking in Germany can be quite expensive? There is, however, a pretty easy way to get around this. If you are on your "Germany Road Trip" and would like to visit the Old Town of Nuremberg, for example, you can take advantage of a free parking “hack”:

Simply drive to one of the “Park & Ride” parking spots that are often located at a train station on the outskirts of the city (this is the case in most German cities). There, you can park your vehicle or rental car at no extra cost and simply take public transportation to the city center. Another benefit: You do not have to look for free parking spaces within the city (which is often very tedious) and, of course, you do not have to pay any fees for parking.


What do I have to look out for when visiting with my own car?

Are you taking your "Germany Road Trip" in your own car? Be aware that there are a few mandatory items that you must have in your car when driving on German roads:

  • First aid kit
  • Warning triangle
  • High visibility vest
  • Driver's license
  • Vehicle documents

If you are traveling by car in Germany, please also bear in mind that there is often no posted speed limit. Within built-up areas, for example, you are only allowed to drive 50 km/h, but there is no extra sign informing you of this. This limit applies from the moment you enter a built-up area. Towns are marked with a yellow sign, on which the name of the city is written.

A quick overview over general speed limits in Germany:

  • 50 km/h inside built-up areas
  • 100 km/h outside built-up areas

If a sign indicates otherwise, of course, always adhere to the existing sign. On the Autobahn (the German freeway), a so-called “guideline speed” of 130 km/h applies if no sign indicates otherwise (however, the rule of 120 km/h prevails most of the time on freeways).


What should I pay attention to when renting a car?

We have a few more tips for you when using a car rental company for your road trip in Germany:

  • Compare prices: Ask about surcharges, for example for one-way rentals or airport rentals.
  • Specify age when booking: Many car rental companies require a minimum age for the driver, sometimes there is also a maximum age.
  • Read first, then sign: Get the rental terms and conditions and go through them before you sign.
  • Take out comprehensive insurance: Pay attention to the amount of the deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the rental price. However, your financial risk is then also higher in the event of a self-inflicted accident. Before signing the contract, consider the risk you want to take.
  • Stick to the agreed rental period: If you return the car too late, additional payments may be due, depending on the rental terms.
  • Unnecessary extra insurance and travel insurance: Some car rental companies will reimburse the deductible on comprehensive insurance in the event of a claim. The local car rental company may offer you additional insurance. Therefore, make sure that you do not double insure the deductible.
  • Fuel costs: Clarify before departure whether you need to return the car with a full tank.


Closing note: Road trips in Germany

Germany as a destination for road trips is perhaps a bit understated. While other European countries seem to have more to offer, for example, the sea and beaches with a Mediterranean climate, many of them are simply much less convenient in terms of comfort on the road. This is very important when you consider that on a road trip you are on the street most of the time.

The fact that German highways are of quite high quality compared to roads in other countries gives them a whole other edge. Besides, the best sights can be visited in a relatively short time during a road trip through Germany, since Germany is not that big. This means that even if you are a bit short on time, you don't have to cut back on your German itinerary and you can visit all the best sites you really want to see.

Plus, Germany's central location makes it the perfect place to take day trips to other countries like Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, or Denmark! This way, you can get even more out of your German driving tour and simply “hop” to another country to experience special sights or culinary delights!



We hope this comprehensive Germany road trip planner has helped you choose your destinations (don't leave out Neuschwanstein Castle, the Black Forest and Lake Constance) and given you that little bit of extra helpful information about speed limits and driving in Germany in general.

Find Your Perfect Match 

Search by city, major, or field of study and find your dream study program in Germany.

Find a Course


What is the best road trip in Europe?

Other than a Germany Road Trip, Switzerland is also a great destination for a road trip in Central Europe. Plus, make sure to visit Slovenia with its beautiful landscapes one day!


Is driving in Germany easy?

Germany is known worldwide as a car country and also for the fact that the quality of its roads is very high. In addition, drivers are considerate of each other. This means that driving on Germany's roads is a pleasant experience for visitors.


How many days are enough for Germany road trip?

Germany Road Trip: The perfect time for a road trip in Germany is between 7 and 14 days.

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