Budget Travel Europe

Discover Medieval Germany In 14 Days – A Sample Itinerary

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on
November 29, 2018

Germany is a rather small, yet very diverse country. Gorgeous river valleys, forests, vineyards and the beautiful mountain landscape of the Alps attract nature enthusiasts from all over the world, whereas history geeks can learn about World War II and the Middle Ages while exploring some of the countries’ major cities and small, half-timbered towns. You could easily spend a few weeks traveling around Germany.

This medieval-themed roundtrip gives you the chance to experience places around Germany that played a significant part back in the Middle Ages and have been a famous cultural and traditional gem ever since. With this 2-week itinerary, you will be able to immerse yourself in the real German culture, see half-timbered buildings, marvel at the incredible architecture, have fantastic photo opportunities and visit beautiful fairy-tale castles off the beaten path.

Germany Itinerary

The Route In A Nutshell

Day 1: Arrival in Munich
Day 2: Munich
Day 3: Bamberg
Day 4: Dresden
Day 5: Dresden
Day 6: Jena
Day 7: Weimar
Day 8: Eisenach
Day 9: Frankfurt
Day 10: Marburg
Day 11: Heidelberg
Day 12: Rothenburg
Day 13: Nuremberg
Day 14: Munich

Highlights Of The Trip

– Weißwurst-Breakfast in Munich’s Hofbräuhaus
– Stand on Munich’s Marienplatz and see the magnificent Church of Our Lady
– Sample lots of local beer in Germany’s most traditional beer city and UNESCO town of Bamberg
– Take a walk around Dresden’s gorgeous Old Town
– See the most-photographed German bridge in Saxon Switzerland
– Learn about Germany’s most famous poets Goethe and Schiller in Thuringia
– Visit Wartburg Castle, one of Germany’s most well-preserved fairy-tale castles
– Stroll around Marburg’s medieval and vibrant Old Town
– Enjoy the view from the observation deck at Heidelberg’s beautiful castle
– Take tons of pictures of Rothenburg’s colorful half-timbered houses
– Dive into Germany’s history at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg

14-Day Itinerary

For this trip, I recommend renting a car. This gives you flexibility and the most convenient route options. Generally, it is also possible to make the whole trip by train or bus, though distances may vary as you might have to change trains several times.

This trip starts and finishes in Munich. Since this itinerary has a pretty tight schedule, be sure to add a few extra days here and there if you prefer traveling slowly.

Day 1: Munich

Accommodation: Munich

After you arrive in Munich, make your way to your accommodation, perhaps catch up on some sleep and have a relaxed day.

In the afternoon, get acquainted with the city. Stroll around the pedestrian zone around Marienplatz and grab dinner and a beer at a local restaurant, such as the Ratskeller, which is situated underneath the Marienplatz town hall.

Day 2: Munich

Accommodation: Munich

After breakfast, make your way to Marienplatz and go on a (self-guided or organized) walking tour, which will take you to the must-visit attractions around Munich’s city center.

Have some local Weißwurst Brunch/Lunch at Hofbräuhaus, which is one of the most famous beer gardens in Munich.

In the afternoon, head to the English Gardens. Not only is this park large and full of meadows and forests, but it is also the best way to get away from the noisy streets and busy life in Munich’s city center.

There are tons of things to see and do in Bavaria’s capital city. Check out this guide to learn about the best spots.

Munich Marienplatz

Munich will be the first stop on your medieval-themed trip through Germany.

Day 3: Bamberg

Accommodation: Bamberg

In the morning of Day 3, drive to the Franconian town of Bamberg. The drive will take you approximately 2.5 hours.

I recommend taking a self-guided walking tour around Bamberg’s gorgeous UNESCO-awarded Old Town. You will get to see the famous town hall, small Venice and the cute pedestrian zone. Be sure to sample some of Bamberg’s unique beers while in the city. In fact, Bamberg has ten individual breweries just in the city center and is often referred to as the unofficial beer capital of Germany.

>> See also: Budget Travel Guide: Experience Bamberg In 1 Day   

Old Town Hall Bamberg and Bridge

Bamberg’s iconic town hall is a must-visit attraction when in this UNESCO town.

Day 4: Dresden

Accommodation: Dresden

Toward the end of World War II, the Saxon city of Dresden was almost completely destroyed. What you get to see in this city are buildings that have been reconstructed with a lot of effort. In fact, it’s hard even to tell the difference between the new and old architecture.

Dresden’s Old Town is pretty compact, making it possible to see most of the highlights in just one day.

While on a walking tour around the historic center, I recommend checking out the imposing Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) with its glorious dome, the Semperoper (opera house) with its impressive exterior design and the Zwinger Palace.

There’s so much more to see and do in Dresden if you still have time in the late afternoon or evening.

Dresden City Center

Not only is Dresden a historical gem but it also features some of Germany’s most beautiful architecture.

Day 5: Saxon Switzerland National Park

Accommodation: Dresden

You’ve already covered a lot of history in the last couple of days, so why not head out into the countryside for a change? The beautiful Saxon Switzerland National Park is only a 50-minute drive from Dresden and totally makes for an awesome day trip.

The Saxon Switzerland National Park is part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and a great place for outdoor activities of all kinds. If you have a few spare days, I suggest spending a little more time in the region and exploring several different hiking areas and viewing points.

If you want to visit the Saxon Switzerland National Park on a day trip, I recommend checking out its most well-known attraction, the Bastei Bridge. From here, you may also visit the Felsenburg Neurathen (a set of ruins right next to the Bastei Bridge). A round trip (1.5 hours) starting at the Bastei passing along the Schwedenlöcher (mossy rock formations and ravines) and the Amselsee (lake) will give you an idea of the beautiful and diverse nature this national park has to offer.

Bastei Bridge

The Bastei Bridge is among the most photographed sites in Saxony.

Day 6: Jena

Accommodation: Jena

In the morning of Day 6, make your way to Thuringia’s second-largest city, Jena, which is located around 170 km west of Dresden and pretty much an off-the-beaten-path town in Germany.

Spend the day exploring the main sights and historical attractions Jena has to offer. These include the historic university buildings, the Zeiss-Planetarium, the Optical Museum, and Schiller’s Gartenhaus. I also recommend a visit to the observation deck at the JenTower, from where you’ll have a fantastic view of the Saale Valley.

In the evening, check out the vibrant Wagnergasse, which is full of street cafés, bars, and restaurants.

JenTower View

From the observation deck at JenTower, you’ll have a great view of Jena as well as the Saale Valley.

If you’re a history geek, I highly recommend adding another day to visit the off-the-beaten-path Leuchtenburg Castle, which is only 25 minutes by car. I consider Leuchtenburg Castle one of the most exciting and diverse castle complexes in Germany and a must-visit when in the Saale region. Not convinced yet? Well, find out what this castle has to offer besides its medieval castle grounds!

>> See also: 8 Reasons To Visit Leuchtenburg Castle

By the way, you could also visit Leuchtenburg Castle and Jena in one day, though it is a bit of a hassle.

Leuchtenburg Castle

A real hidden gem in Thuringia: Leuchtenburg Castle near Jena.

Day 7: Weimar

Accommodation: Jena

Since Weimar is only a 30-minute drive from Jena, I suggest visiting the city on a day trip. That means you’ll be able to sleep in the same accommodation instead of changing your hotel again.

Weimar is a small but significant town when it comes to German history. Beside many UNESCO awarded buildings from the Classical Weimar period, the city is most famous for creative minds like Goethe, Schiller, Bach, and Nietzsche, who used to live here in the 18th and 19th century. Many exhibitions and collections display their work and memorialize their lives.

Both Weimar and Jena are good places to try some authentic Thuringian food. You may find restaurant recommendations in this post.

Weimar Herderplatz

Weimar once was the home town of creative minds like Goethe and Schiller.

Day 8: Eisenach

Accommodation: Eisenach

From Jena, make your way to Eisenach, which is about one hour by car.

The main reason I put this town in the itinerary is the nearby Wartburg Castle, which shouldn’t be missed while in the area.

Wartburg Castle is one of Germany’s most well-known fairy-tale castles and a significant historical attraction. You can reach the castle following a hiking trail from Eisenach or taking a shuttle bus up. Personally, I recommend trekking as you will also be able to see the Dragon’s Gorge, a narrow and pretty fascinating natural ravine, on your way back.

>> See also: 7 Reasons To Visit Wartburg Castle

In the late afternoon or evening, take a walk around Eisenach and explore its vibrant city center. If you’re a history geek, consider visiting the Lutherhaus to complement your visit to Wartburg Castle.

Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle is among the most well-preserved and well-known castles in Germany and a significant historic site.

Day 9: Frankfurt

Accommodation: Frankfurt

In the morning of Day 9, go to Frankfurt am Main, one of Germany’s business centers. The reason I included this city in a medieval-themed Germany itinerary is not only the fact that the city is geographically a good stop, but it also offers a wide range of attractions for anyone.

After so many days of sightseeing, it’s totally understandable if you need a break.

Frankfurt is a great stop as you may do whatever you feel like doing. Check out Römerberg in the heart of Frankfurt’s Old Town, which used to be the city center back in the Middle Ages. Here you’ll find the old and new town hall, St. Nicholas Church and the Historical Museum as well as plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars.

If you’re looking to do something different, I may recommend a visit to the Senckenberg Natural History Museum, which is by far my favorite museum in Frankfurt.

Looking for something that has nothing to do with history for a change?

Why not check out the Palm Garden, which is the largest botanic garden in the whole of Germany. Or take a look at Frankfurt from above by visiting the observation deck on top of the 200-meter Main Tower.

Frankfurt Römerberg

Medieval squares, observation decks, skybars, museums, botanical gardens – whatever it is you fancy, Frankfurt has got you covered!

Day 10: Marburg

Accommodation: Frankfurt

Today, you’re going to take a day trip to the small, vibrant university town of Marburg, around 100 km north of Frankfurt.

Once there, try to find parking somewhere close to the city center, for example near Lahnwiesen.

Navigate your way to the majestic St. Elizabeth Church, which is one of Marburg’s significant landmarks.

After visiting the church, make your way up to the Oberstadt, which is the hilly Old Town just below the castle. The cobbled streets with steep steps and half-timbered houses not only give the city an ultimate medieval flair but inspired several of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales. The market square and the 5-century old town hall are among the most noteworthy attractions in the Old Town.

From the Oberstadt, it won’t take long until you reach Marburg’s hilltop castle, Landgrafenschloss Marburg. From here, you’ll have a fantastic view of the entire city of Marburg.

While here, I recommend trying some authentic Hessian food – Hessia is the state where both Frankfurt and Marburg are located. For example, go for some Handkäs mit Musik or Stramma Max.

In the evening, go back to your accommodation in Frankfurt and have an early night.

Marburg Castle

Often overlooked, yet an awesome small German town: Marburg an der Lahn has a vibrant Old Town, a majestic castle and medieval vibes.

Day 11: Heidelberg

Accommodation: Heidelberg

It’s only about an hour drive to get from Frankfurt to Heidelberg. Make your way to your accommodation first, leave your luggage and then head out for an entire day of history, nature, and modernity. There’s lots of stuff to see and do, so set a few priorities. 😉

I recommend strolling around the town’s vibrant historic center. In fact, Heidelberg has a beautiful Old Town with plenty of cafés, restaurants, and squares frequented by the town’s students. Also, if you like shopping, you’ve come to the right place! The city is home to Germany’s longest shopping street. Almost 1.8 km long, this street runs all the way through the town’s charming city center.

Walking around the Old Town, you will also pass some of the must-visit attractions, such as the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge), the Heiliggeistkirche, the Studentenkarzer as well as several museums.

However, Heidelberg’s highlight is probably the Schloss Heidelberg (Heidelberg Castle), which is one of Germany’s most famous castle ruins. Perched 80m above the Old Town and surrounded by beautiful gardens, the castle offers terrific views of the city center and the Neckar River. Consider staying at the castle for the sunset as well.

Heidelberg City View

Heidelberg is likely going to charm you with its vibrant, yet cozy street cafe scene, traditional architecture and, of course, its impressive castle ruins.

Day 12: Rothenburg

Accommodation: Nuremberg

The next day, on your way to Nuremberg, stop over at the famous town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Rothenburg is one of the most picturesque medieval towns in the country and a popular stop on Germany’s Romantic Road. Best explored on foot, Rothenburg’s Old Town still looks a lot like it used to back in the Middle Ages with its Old Town walls and half-timbered houses lining the narrow cobblestone lanes.

Don’t miss the most photographed spot, an intersection with a yellow half-timbered house dividing the two streets leading to the Siebers Tower and the Kobolzeller Tower.

You only have one day in this lovely town, so make most of your stay in Rothenburg.

In the late afternoon, continue driving to Nuremberg. Have a relaxed evening at your accommodation and call it a day.

Rothenburg

Certainly among the most photographed places along the Romantic Road is the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Day 13: Nuremberg

Accommodation: Nuremberg

After breakfast, I suggest doing a walking tour through Nuremberg’s lovely Old Town – here’s a suggested self-guided walking tour!

That way, you’ll get to see the city’s main attractions, which are St. Lawrence Church, the Main Market Square with the Beautiful Fountain, the Imperial Castle, the former house of the famous painter Albrecht Dürer and the Craftsmen’s Courtyard. Also, you will pass Nuremberg’s most photographed street, Weißgerber Gasse, which is full of colorful half-timbered buildings.

If you’re not too tired in the afternoon, I suggest visiting the Documentation Center and the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which is only a 15-minute trip from the city center. Here, you can learn about Germany’s more recent past in an interactive and fascinating exhibition about the Nazi regime and the Third Reich. Afterward, take a walk around Dutzendteich Lake to see the actual Rally Grounds with some remaining buildings, such as the Congress Hall or Zeppelin Field.

In the evening, try some Franconian food and beer in one of the local restaurants in downtown.

>> See also: Budget Travel Guide: Experience Nuremberg In 2 Days

Weißgerber Gasse (c) Ruland

Nuremberg’s Weißgerber Gasse features some of the most colorful half-timbered houses in the whole Old Town. (c) aurorarises

Day 14: Munich

Accommodation: Munich

On Day 14, it’s time to go back to Munich. Depending on the time of your departure, you may still have some time to kill in either Nuremberg or Munich.

How To Extend Your Trip?

If you still have a few days left on your trip, consider visiting either Passau or one of the cities in the Alps (e.g. Garmisch-Partenkirchen). Both places are not too far from Munich and great for 2-3 extra days.

If you have the chance to extend your trip for more than 5 days, here are the best options:

Travel to northern Germany and visit Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig or Cologne

Travel south of Munich and either spend some time in the Alps or in Austria (Salzburg, Innsbruck, Linz, Hallstadt, Vienna, etc.)

You may also continue traveling east and head to Praha in the Czech Republic

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LOTM

Hi there, I'm Lena! I love being on the move around the world - travelling, diving or taking pictures. I've recently started dealing with and writing about ways to make diving more affordable. I enjoy sharing my experiences and tips with y'all, fellow budget backpackers and budget divers! Read more

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