Are you looking for an epic Germany 10 day itinerary that covers some major German highlights? Look no further!

What to see in Germany in 10 days

What is the best travel itinerary for Germany for a 10 day trip?
I crafted this 10 day Germany itinerary that covers these top destinations:

Germany itinerary 10 days

This is a fast-paced trip. Consider slowing it down to 12 or 14 days but if you want to fit in all of these amazing places into 10 days, it is doable!

Travel style for this trip

  • dense forests
  • dreamy castles
  • cobbled streets
  • river valleys with lazy winding rivers
  • alpine lakes
  • mountains
  • waterfalls
  • ancient Roman sites
  • and much more!

All of the towns are smaller towns, no big cities. The largest city on our itinerary is Trier (population 110,636 (2019)) (second biggest city: Füssen Population: 14,236)

Trip Route: Germany itinerary 10 days

Total drive time for the entire trip: around 14 hours

This route was planned to be as efficient as possible, adding as many highlights as possible with as little driving as possible.
You get an incredible bang for your buck, seeing some of Europe’s best attractions, in a very reasonable amount of drive time.

map Germany itinerary 10 days
map Germany itinerary 10 days

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, for more information see my terms and conditions page.

Getting around

public transport

It’s affordable and efficient, but you’re at the mercy of transit schedules. HOWEVER this trip can be done by public transit. Seamlessly plan your route and explore your options with Rome2Rio or the Deutsche Bahn website. New to public transportation? you might find this article helpful: Public Transportation For Beginners.

driving: Germany road trip itinerary

A road trip is the best way to do this trip. If you have reservations about driving in Germany don’t. With some preparation, you won’t have any trouble.

  • 1-Do yourself a big favor and add the GPS onto your car rental, or bring one along. We have this GPS unit from Garmin (purchase Europe maps separately.)
  • 2- You may need an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe. Get one at your local AAA office.
  • 3-Rental Car: I like to start my search at Booking.com or Expedia to get an idea of which companies are offering the best rates and then make my way to the rental car company website to book with the company directly.

Arriving in Germany

First time in Germany? Don’t miss my Ultimate Guide to traveling in Germany! and be sure to avoid these mistakes when traveling in Germany!

Our adventure starts at Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) because I normally find the best flight times/schedules there.

getting money in Germany

You may want to hit the ATM and get some Euros before you leave the airport. It’s the fastest, easiest, often least expensive and best way for travelers to obtain foreign currency. Be sure to use your debit card and not your credit card, cash advance fees are normally astronomical. Don’t forget to refuse the Dynamic Currency Conversion (you want the transaction in Euros, not your home currency. They will charge you to convert it.) Don’t forget, if you need cash for nothing else, you’ll often need it to use the bathrooms!

Pick up your rental car

(one of the easiest and best places to pick up a rental car is at the airport)

Day 1: Rhine River Cruise and Castles

travel time for the day: 1 hour

stay night 1 of 1 : Why not stay in a castle! Get a list of Castle Hotels on the Rhine!

Drive to Rheinstein Castle. Drive time: 1 hour

Rhine River Valley

First up is the beautiful Rhine River Valley for castles and a cruise!

Rheinstein Castle

Cute little Rheinstein Castle is immaculate, compact, and almost homey. It was built in 1316, has a drawbridge, portcullis, a courtyard with a lush garden, and 500-year-old grape vines that still produce grapes…and fantastic views of the Rhine!

Get more details: in the full Rheinstein Castle Article

rheinstein castle Germany part of my epic 2 week Germany itinerary
Rheinstein Castle

Drive to Bacharach. Drive time: 10 minutes

Rhine River cruise

Our next stop is in the tiny town of Bacharach for a short but sweet cruise down the Rhine River. The most scenic section of the Rhine River winds lazily through Germany, its banks littered with castles and adorable villages.

The KD (Koln-Dusseldorer) Line offers a round trip from Bacharach to Sankt Goar Cruise, a good option for a short 45 minute each way pleasant and relaxing ride down the river. My husband enjoyed his very first beer in Germany, my sister-in-law a glass of wine, while I drank up the atmosphere of the beautiful Rhine River.

Rhine River Cruise Collage
Cruise the Rhine River
Rhine River Cruise footage

The cruise stops in St. Goar where you’ll have a 2 hour and 20-minute wait for your return boat to Bacharach, enough time for lunch if you didn’t already eat, and to visit Rheinfels castle.

You may be interested in: Must See Rhine River Castles!

Rheinfels Castle ruins

This castle was built in 1245 AD. Not only is it the best castle ruin on the river it is also still the largest castle on the Rhine. The castle was once 5 times its current size, and successfully withstood an army of 28,000 French soldiers. Impressive!

Get more information: Rheinfels Castle, everything you need to know!

Want to stay in a castle?

Looking for an overnight stay in a castle? You’re in luck because the Rhine is flush with castle hotels! Get my full list of castle hotels on the Rhine, or choose one of these picks:

Burghotel auf Schönburg and Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels best castle stays on the Rhine River in Germany
Photo: Top row: Burghotel auf Schönburg bottom row: Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels

Day 2: Burg Eltz Castle

travel time for the day: 1 hour 15 minutes

stay night 1 of 3 : Cochem

If you feel that you have the time, spend a little more time exploring the area villages such as Bacharach, Sankt Goar, Oberwesel, or maybe hit another of the fabulous Rhine River Castles.

Drive to Burg Eltz Castle. Drive time: 1 hour

Burg Eltz Castle

A trip to the stunning 865 year old Burg (Castle) Eltz will transport you back to medieval times. The castle is currently owned and occupied by the same families who have owned it since it was built!

Get more information: complete visitor’s guide to Burg Eltz.

Berg Eltz Castle Germany, the Medieval Europe castle
Burg Eltz Castle, the Medieval Europe castle that has never been destroyed!

Drive to Cochem Germany. Drive time: 30 minutes

unless you decide to stay at the castle for two nights!

Unique dining opportunity

If you can make it work with your schedule, reserve a table at 1,000-year-old Alte Mühle Thomas Höreth Mill restaurant. You’ll find it’s an easy stop between the River Rhine and Cochem (just 16 km from Eltz Castle!) Reserve a table in the wine cellar!

Alte Mühle Thomas Höreth Mill restaurant

Day 3: Cochem

total drive time for the day: zero!

stay night 2 of 3 : Cochem

Cochem Germany

The Moselle River meanders through Germany and is lined with terraced vineyards, castles, and picture-perfect little wine villages with half-timbered houses. The lazy Moselle cuts right through the small town of Cochem.

Evenings are pleasantly quiet and nighttime in Cochem is a treat, the perfect place for an evening stroll. The lights from the town reflect off of the river and the castle up on the hill, warmly lit and glowing, is a bit reminiscent of Hogwarts.

Today you can slow down the pace a bit and explore Cochem. Some popular options include:

  • Stroll along the river or through the medieval town center
  • wine tastings (ask at the Tourist Information) or come for the annual wine festival the last weekend in August.
  • Take the chairlift up for hikes above the town
  • 1-hour boat ride on the Mosel from Cochem to the adorable town of Bielstein.
  • Geierlay Bridge, Germany’s longest pedestrian bridge is located just 15 miles from Cochem.
  • Reichsburg Castle, this Gothic beauty sits majestically on a hill overlooking Cochem and the Mosel River. You can hike up to the castle or take the shuttle bus up the hill.
Reichsburg Cochem Castle collage
Reichsburg Cochem Castle

where to eat in Cochem:

Alte Wein Wirtschaf-Cochem has a rustic wine cellar vibe. Their Rahmschnitzel (a schnitzel with a creamy mushroom sauce) was seriously tasty!

Day 4: The Roman city of Trier

stay night 3 of 3: Cochem

drive time for the day: Let’s take the train! Trier is a 1-hour direct train ride and easy day trip from Cochem. Check Rome2Rio for times and details. If you prefer to drive, it’s a 1-1.5 hour drive.

Head for the main train station

in Cochem and catch the train to Trier

Trier Germany

Founded in the year 16 BC, the ancient city of Trier is the oldest city in Germany, dating back to Roman times. It was often referred to as “the second Rome.” There are several Roman sites still in Trier today, and the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site (we love to add World Heritage sites to our itineraries!)

Roman sites in Trier include:

  • Porta Nigra Gate (north gate) is an ancient Roman City gate from the year 170 AD.
  • The 1,600-year-old Imperial Roman baths ruins (Kaiserthermen) a large Roman bath complex from the early 4th century. Explore the tunnels below the baths.
  • Roman Amphitheater, built around 200 AD. seated +16,000.
  • Stone bridge over the Moselle River. (Römerbrücke) There was a bridge here as early as the year 17 BC.
  • Rheinland Archaeological Museum (Rheinisches Landesmuseum) has an impressive display of Roman artifacts.
  • Basilica/Imperial throne room (Konstantin Basilika) largest intact Roman structure outside of Rome.

Other ways to spend your time in Trier include:

  • The Tourist Information Center offers walking tours in English, 75 min.
  • St Peter’s cathedral (cathedral Dom) is the oldest Christian church in Germany, constructed in 326 AD! (today the church facade is from the 12th century) This church claims to possess the robe of Christ and a nail from the crucifixion.
Porta Nigra, Roman ruins in Trier Germany
Photo: Porta Nigra, Roman ruins in Trier

Where to eat in Trier

step back into the Middle Ages in the dreamy Wirtshaus Zur Glocke cellar! Make a reservation ahead of time in the 11th century vaulted cellar!

Take the train back to Cochem

Day 5: the Black Forest

stay night 1 of 1: Triberg? Lake Constance?

drive time for the day: 4.5 hours – 6 hours

Drive to Triberg. Drive time 4.5 hours

The Black Forest (Schwartzwald) is known for its dense forests, cute villages, cuckoo clocks and of course delicious Black Forest Cake.

Triberg Germany

Triberg is a cute colorful little village in The Black Forest and is a great place to stop for a little taste of all of the wonderful things that the Black Forest is known for!

The Triberg Waterfall is touted as the highest in Germany. An immaculate little trail though the forest leads you from town the short distance to the waterfall. There are plenty of places in town to get a taste of the famed Black Forest Cake that originated in this area. Just stop into any of the cafes or bakeries as you stroll through town shopping for cuckoo clocks.

Get more information: Triberg in the Black Forest: Germany’s highest waterfall, cuckoo clocks, & black forest cake!

Angie Kunze, We're Not in Kansas Anymore Triberg Waterfall Germany
what a great day at the Triberg Waterfall!
Black Forests cake in Triberg Germany
Black Forests cake, my favorite!

Optional experience: You are near Lake Constance/Konstanz (Bodensee.) Consider overnighting somewhere on this beautiful lake. Top things to do on lake Constance include the UNESCO World Heritage Prehistoric Pile Dwelling Museum (Pfahlbauten Unteruhldingen), an archaeological open-air museum. Seebruhne Opera House is an outdoor floating event venue located on the Austrian side of Lake Constance. (1.5 – 2-hour drive from Triberg)

Prehistoric Pile Dwelling Museum, Lake Constance Germany
Photo: Prehistoric Pile Dwelling Museum, Lake Constance
Seebühne opera house and floating theater Austria
Seebühne opera house and floating theater Austria

Day 6: Neuschwanstein Castle

stay night 1 of 2: Füssen

drive time for the day: 4.5 hours

Drive to Neuschwanstein Castle Drive time: 2.5-3.5 hours

Optional experience: German Alpine Road (Deutsche Alpenstraße) is a scenic drive that runs along the Bavarian alps from between Lake Constance and Königssee.

Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles

The stunning fairy tale Neuschwanstein Castle, King Ludwig’s masterpiece, is the gem of Bavaria. Beautiful Bavaria, my absolute favorite area of Germany! Neuschwanstein is one of the most recognizable sights and one of the most famous places in all of Germany. On the opposite hill sits sunny Hohenschwangau Castle. It is easy to visit both on the same day.

Get more information: I have an informative article on how you can see both Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. The article includes optional experiences in Füssen, in case you have more time to spend.

Neuschwanstein castle Germany as seen from Mary's Bridge
Photo: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany’s most famous landmark
Hohenschwangau castle germany
Hohenschwangau Castle

Day 7: Zugspitze, Eibsee, Ehrenberg, Highline 179

stay night 2 of 2: Füssen

drive time for the day: 3 hours

Drive to Eibsee Lake/Zugspitze Mountain Drive time: 1.5 hours

Eibsee Lake

Eibsee is a beautiful emerald-green alpine lake at the base of Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany. There’s a 4.7-mile walking trail that circles the lake, where you’ll be treated to views of the surrounding mountains.

boat rental Eibsee Lake Germany
photo: boat rental with fantastic views!

Zugspitze Mountain

Take a trip up Zugspitze Mountain for panoramic views of the surrounding alps.

Get more information: How to see Eibsee Lake and Zugspitze Mountain

Photo: Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest Mountain, German Landmarks
Photo: Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest Mountain

Ehrenberg Castle and Highline 179 Suspension Bridge

Let’s make a quick stop in Austria! These wonderful sites are literally on your driving route (one stop, two attractions!)

Ehrenberg Castle
Ehrenberg Castle, one of Austria’s famous landmarks, was built in 1295. Its ruins are situated high up on a mountain in the Austrian Alps. The castle ruins have a great feel and the views from up there…stunning!

Highline 179 Suspension Bridge
Thrill seekers will want to pay the extra cost to access Highline 179 Suspension Bridge, the longest Tibetan style pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. I preferred to wait for my husband on solid ground!

Get more information: in my Ehrenberg Castle, Highline 179 article.

Ehrenberg Castle ruins collage Austria
Ehrenberg Castle
highline 179 suspension bridge Austria Landmarks
highline 179 suspension bridge

Day 8: Romantic Road and Rothenburg

stay night 1 of 2: Rothenburg

drive time for the day: about 3 hours

Drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber drive time 2.5-3 hours

Optional experience: If you prefer to take the scenic route the Romantic Road runs from Füssen to Rothenburg. There are some cute little villages along the way but if I’m honest, I’d prefer to spend my time in the cutest of all medieval towns in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber!

map of towns along the romantic road Romantische Straße Germany
Romantic Road Map: photo courtesy en.schwangau.de website

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany is a medieval village. It’s the quintessential, too-adorable-for-words, little German village. This amazing little town keeps calling me back again and again!
For a town this size there’s actually a lot to do in old town Rothenburg!

Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Museums: Choose from some very good historical museums but the one you simply can’t miss is the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum. Nearly everything contained in this sizable museum is an actual medieval artifact including shame masks and the real Iron Maiden!
  • Käthe Wohlfahrt: Rothenburg has one of the best Christmas markets in Germany but at the Käthe Wohlfahrt store in Rothenburg it’s Christmas all year long! In addition to the retail stores there’s an impressive Christmas museum (small charge for the museum but not the store.)
  • Rothenburg wall walk: Stroll along the over 1,000-year-old mile-and-a-half long town wall.
  • Magical after dark: Rothenburg is magical and romantic after dark. Explore on your own, or take the Night Watchman’s highly informative guided tour.

More things to do in Rothenburg: Find out everything you need to know about Rothenburg! OR use this 3-day Rothenburg Itinerary!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the best medieval towns in Germany
The Plönlein, the main attraction in Rothenburg, one of the best medieval towns in Germany!
torture masks criminal torture crime and punishment museum rothenburg ob der tauber germany bavaria
photo caption: torture masks at the Criminal Museum in Rothenburg
after dark rothenburg ob der tauber germany at night
photo caption: Rothenburg after dark: The Night Watchman Tour

Where to stay in Rothenburg

There are lots of places to stay in the city center, but these are my favorite stand outs:

Gotisches Haus (the Gothic House) This 700-year-old building has accommodated emperors and crown princes. A stay in this gem will transport you to a time long ago.

book it now on booking.com!

Altfrankische Weinstube. This 650-year-old gnome house is tucked away from the crowds and is as cozy as it gets!

book it now on booking.com!

where to eat in Rothenburg

At Zur Holl (To Hell) you can dine in a 1,000-year-old building! The pork steaks with a creamy chanterelle mushroom sauce are delicious! For the first time in my life the waitress came and asked if we wanted more food! Make a reservation!

Need more options: get more info on eating in Rothenburg

Day 9: Rothenburg

stay night 2 of 2: Rothenburg

drive time for the day: zero!

Fill out your itinerary with the best things to do in Rothenburg! Rothenburg deserves at least two days! Go ahead and fill day two with your top picks that you didn’t get to yesterday!

Day 10: Wurzburg Palace

stat night 1 of 1: near the airport

drive time for the day: 2 hours

Drive to Wurzburg Palace Drive time: 1 hour

Wurzburg Palace

This impressive palace in Northern Bavaria is the last stop on this fantastic Germany vacation. The 18th Baroque style Residenz Palace in Wurzburg , a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest palaces in Germany, is right on your way to the airport and a must see!

Drive to Frankfurt International Airport: 1 hour

a quick 75 miles down the autobahn. (If you happen to be flying home from Frankfurt Hahn instead it’s another 75 miles.)

Drop of your rental car.

I like to ditch mine the day before I fly out so I don’t have to deal with it on flight day.

when is the best time to visit Germany?

Germany experiences four distinct seasons, each with its own unique charm and appeal.

Summer: Summer months (June to August) are popular for outdoor activities, festivals, and sightseeing. However, this is also peak tourist season, which means higher prices and larger crowds.

Winter: Winter (December to February) can be cold and dark, but also has a snow-capped snow globe like charm and winter sports are popular this time of year. Prices are lower and crowds are sparse (outside of Christmas Market season, which is also high season in Germany), but many things are closed down for the winter. If you have never experienced German Christmas Markets, I highly recommend it!

Shoulder season: Both Spring (April to May) and fall (September to October) are considered shoulder seasons. These months offer mild weather, lower prices than the summer season, and fewer tourists and are the best time to visit Germany.

where (and what) to eat

My favorite place to search for the best places to eat is TripAdvisor. You get customer review ratings and lots of photos!

German food
Ah, German food… my all-time favorite!
I’ve got an entire article on foods you MUST try when in Germany!

cost of a 10 day trip to Germany and money saving tips

the cost

How much can you expect to spend on this Germany trip?

(2023 rates)

Hotel (based on double occupancy)$1,600 (10 nights)
rental car$350
Tours and admission$435.00 (does not include any of the optional experiences)
estimated total for two people= $2,385 (plus the cost of food/drinks)
(prices are an approximation)

Don’t forget to add the cost of airfare (we fly free, learn how here!) PLUS sign up for “Going” (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) to get FREE flight deals sent to your inbox! see the world for less!

Protect yourself with trip insurance (one of my #1 travel tips)
Trips to Germany cost money. Protect your investment with “cancel for any reason” trip insurance. Shop for one at the Travel Insurance website! but don’t delay, most CFAR policies need to be purchased within 14-21 days of your initial trip payment, depending on the policy.

Discount Cards

Many towns and regions have discount cards available to guests and visitors. Inquire at your hotel or the Tourist Information office in town.

frequently asked questions

Which is the best month to visit Germany?

If I had to choose just one month, it would be September. It’s warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities, the crowds are beginning to dissipate, and summer prices are a thing of the not-so-distant past. I love to visit Germany in September because we can dine outside at outdoor cafes and sunny beer gardens most days, and the landscape is still lush and green. Flowers still bloom in window boxes, and grape vines are laden with fruit.

Is ten days enough time to properly visit Germany?

While 10 days is not enough to see everything this wonderful country has to offer, it is enough to see some of Germany’s best highlights! After getting a taste of what Germany has to offer, you’ll be itching to come back for more!

Plan your Germany itinerary 10 days

Want to create your own unique Germany Road trip? Plan the perfect trip in just 6 simple steps! I’ve got an article gear specifically for traveling in Germany. Looking to plan Germany travel on a budget? I’ve got tips! Don’t miss my German souvenir guide! And don’t forget to pick up the best European travel guide on the market! Wondering how you’ll pay for all of this? I’ve got tips on how you can easily save for a trip to Europe!

Check out my Travel Resources page to learn how to get the best deals on airfare, rental cars for your Germany road trip, accommodations, language learning resources and more!

Nervous about not speaking German? No problem! I have a guide to overcoming the travel language barrier so you can relax and enjoy your travels! Although not necessary, since most Germans that work in the tourist industry speak English, it is helpful to learn a few of what I like to call the niceties. It goes a long way with endearing you to the locals!

Consider using these:

Bavaria USA!

Can’t make it to Germany yet? Check out the ridiculously cute Bavarian town surrounded by mountains in Leavenworth Washington USA!

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