Germany Travel Guide: Car Rental, Route, Costs, Entertainment

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

Let’s start the German story!



In this article, you will find route ideas, nice places to visit, prices, our opinion, places we liked to stay in, and our car rental experience in Germany.


Car rental in Germany


Here are some details and numbers about our car rental experience in Germany.


We rented a car in advance through the Europcar service.

Under the terms of the lease, the car was supposed to be a Volkswagen Focus or similar. As a result, we got a brand new Opel Adam with a mileage of 2 thousand km.



Renting a car for a week turned out to be € 120. A deposit of € 300 is given upon return. Insurance is fully included in the rental price.

Gasoline cost us € 200, we drove 2,200 km. The car is given out with a full tank, upon return the tank must also be full.

On average, petrol in Germany costs € 1.55 (on the autobahn € 1.79, in the city € 1.39).


And most importantly, car rental turned out to be much cheaper than public transport.


Route in Germany


It was our first trip to Germany, so we had must-see places like the Bavaria region. And also we wanted to visit the capital Berlin. Therefore, our route lined up along the most interesting places in the north, east, and south of Germany.

Also, during the trip, we slightly corrected the route and made a short stop in the Czech Republic, which may also be a good idea for you.

As a result, we got the following route: Stuttgart > Heidelberg > Frankfurt > Berlin > Dresden > Saxon Switzerland National Park > Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic) > Nuremberg > Munich > Garmisch-Partenkirchen > Neuschwanstein Castle > Ulm


It was an active trip, and we had 7 days to see all attractions.


Next, I will tell you more about the places we visited and our impressions.

Also, I want to note that our impressions on this trip are like a wave. At first, we were not delighted, but the further, the more positive impressions. Therefore, towards the end of the article, there will be more delight and wonderful places that I will recommend.


Stuttgart and Heidelberg


Stuttgart is a small quiet town with a lovely center.

All its main attractions are located in the center: the ancient Monastery Church and the Old Castle.


Also, in Stuttgart, you can enjoy the Mercedes-Benz & Porsche museums, delve into the history of these car brands and see legendary models with your own eyes.



Of course, after visiting the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, you want to fly away on the wings of the fantastic 300 SL.


Walking around the museum you find yourself in a time machine. From the very beginning, you live the evolution and development of Mercedes-Benz. Meet legendary models and super modern concepts. And the audio guide deepens the history. If you wish, you can go to any exhibit and listen to details.



Further on the way, we visited the cozy city of Heidelberg and its ancient castle (the main residence of the Electors of the Palatinate until the end of the 17th century).


Frankfurt


Frankfurt is ambivalent. It is the money capital of Germany. One of the most important cities in the world economic system.


On the one hand, here you can arrange yourself a great shopping, marvel at skyscrapers, see ancient sights, and even meet wild hares right in the city center!



On the other hand, there is also the dark side of the city. For example, right in the center of the city, there is a quarter where every day all addicted to drugs gather because doses are given here every day. We even got stuck in a traffic jam right in that place and had to watch this not pleasant picture. Brothels are within walking distance of the world's banks, and you can smell urine on the streets.

Sorry for the details, but this side of Frankfurt is very vividly remembered in our memory because we were not lucky enough to rent a room in this unfavorable place. So, before booking accommodation in this city, check that it is away from the red light district. This is the most unsafe area of ​​the city.



To get a positive experience in Frankfurt, I advise you to visit:

  • The central square of the Guardhouse

  • Church of St. Justin (one of the oldest in Germany)

  • Banks quarter

  • Frankfurt Cathedral (you can visit the observation deck for € 3)

  • Central square Römer


Berlin


Berlin for us was not love at first sight. This city does not instantly charm and you are unlikely to feel the thrill walking along its streets with square gray houses.


As the locals told us, it takes at least 3 days to get to Berlin, or even more, to feel and understand the city. To feel its youthful spirit and fast rhythm.


For the first time walking through the historical sites of Berlin, you start to think about the importance of historical events associated with these places.


Must-sees in Berlin:

  • Brandenburg Gate. This is the first city gate of Berlin

  • Reichstag Building. You can get to the observation deck for free if you sign up on their website online 3 days before visiting

  • Berlin Wall. It existed for 28 years and 1 day. There are several places where fragments of the wall have survived, but most of all I remember the East Side Gallery, where one of the most famous graffiti in the world is located «Brotherly Kiss»

  • Checkpoint Charlie



  • Gendarmenmarkt square. One of the most beautiful squares in the city

  • Kaiser Wilhelm Church. One of the most recognizable landmarks in West Berlin. The old part of the church was left destroyed, which gives it a special mystery.

  • Streets of East Berlin. It is worth taking a walk if you want to feel the Soviet influence

  • Berlin Cathedral. It is unforgivable for a tourist to leave without a photo of this attraction :)

  • Church of Nikolaikirche. The oldest church in Berlin. The atmosphere here is very pleasant, the bells play nice melodies. You can also listen to organ music here

Hope you enjoy this city!


Dresden


The monumental Dresden is mesmerizing!


The center of Dresden is small, but striking in its grandeur. All sights can be slowly walked around in 2-3 hours.


Beautiful and a bit harsh architecture takes you to ancient times and it's hard to believe that during World War II the city was actually destroyed!

The inhabitants of the city rebuilt the entire center with their own hands piece by piece. This is an incredible feat.



All Dresden attractions are within walking distance:

  • Dresden Castle

  • Cathedral

  • Dresden Opera

  • Museum Grünes Gewölb

  • Brühl's Terrace. It is very beautiful to walk on this promenade in the evening

  • Zwinger. This is a palace and park complex. Here you can visit the famous art gallery and porcelain museum

  • Frauenkirche. Church of the Virgin (18th century)

  • Kreuzkirche temple


Also, not far from Dresden is located Moritzburg castle, where the soviet film «Three nuts for Cinderella» was filmed. We have visited this place on our way from Berlin to Dresden.


There are a lot of tourists in Dresden, a beautiful center, but we were bored walking around the city when saw the main attractions within 2 hours.

Therefore, if possible, it is worth visiting interesting locations nearby, so we did. For example, just about 30 km from Dresden, you can visit the beautiful Saxon Switzerland National Park.


Saxon Switzerland National Park


This park can confidently be called one of the most beautiful in Germany. Nature simply amazes the imagination and paints absolutely fantastic landscapes, like from films about other planets. The feeling is that you are in some kind of fairy forest.



The most famous attraction of this park is the Bastei Bridge. This bridge was built two centuries ago between two sheer cliffs in an incredibly picturesque place. This is a must-see in Germany.



It was very funny when we went up the mountain, and the bridge was still not visible. «Well, where is this bridge?» we wondered. It seemed that there was nowhere to go further. And suddenly we realized that we were standing on it. Therefore, we do not see him.

Another 500 meters up, and we saw the bridge the way it is painted on postcards.


Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic)


Karlovy Vary was an unplanned location. This small but well-known city fit perfectly into our route from Dresden to Nuremberg.


In the Czech Republic, it was interesting for us to visit Prague and Karlovy Vary.

In Prague, we already had a wonderful New Year's weekend earlier. You can read more about this city, its attractions, and entertainment in the article Destinations in Europe to Celebrate New Year.

Therefore, we decided to make a short stop in Karlovy Vary in order to put a tick on all cities of the Czech Republic that interested us.



Karlovy Vary is a well-known spa town. We have heard about this city from our parents.

It is very beautiful, quiet, and calm here, everything is done for the comfort of vacationers. We walked for a couple of hours and tasted the thermal water.

It is worth going here for the purpose of recovery and relaxation from the hustle and bustle.


Nuremberg


Nuremberg is a city where you want to stay a little longer.


Walking along its streets, you can enjoy the old half-timbered houses and a particularly cozy atmosphere. I especially liked that the residential areas are as cozy and beautiful as the center.


To see all the most famous sights, tourists are advised to walk the Historical Mile, which starts at the Tower of Our Lady and ends at the Meat Bridge.



And here is a list of places that I recommend seeing in Nuremberg for an unforgettable time:

  • Nuremberg Fortress

  • Market square. Is a historic civic landmark that has been the center of activity in the city since the 14th century

  • Frauenkirche

  • Church of St. Lawrence

  • Church of St. Sebald



  • House-Museum of Albrecht Durer

  • German National Museum (the largest museum in the country)

  • Palace of Justice. One of the most famous historical sites of WWII

  • House of Nassau. Considered the oldest building in the city

  • Fountain «Marriage Carousel». The author wanted to show the light and dark sides of family life

  • Wonderful fountain (14th century). Located in the central square


We got from Nuremberg exactly those impressions that we expected from the cities of Germany. One of our favorites for the trip. We definitely recommend visiting!


And from Nuremberg, we went straight to Munich.


Munich


The further we went, the more we liked Bavaria.


Munich is in my favorites during this trip. It is a great city to live in.

What to see? Where to go?

  • We started our walk from the Munich residence. This is the historical residence of the kings of Bavaria

  • The central square is Marienplatz where the Old and New Town Halls are located. At 17:00, the famous clock shows the performance of the figurines. Opposite the Town Hall is the Golden Statue of Mary. There is a tradition that says that you need to wet your wallet in the Fish Fountain so that you always have money

  • Azamkirche Church in Baroque style. It was originally built as a private church, but after the protest of local residents, it was opened to everyone



  • St. Peter's Church the oldest church in Munich

  • Nymphenburg Palace. You should come here for a morning run, and you can also feed the swans here

  • The Frauenkirche Towers are the tallest cathedral and building in Munich. In Munich, it is forbidden to build buildings above the Frauenkirche



  • English garden. The people of Munich are very lucky to have such a large green area. It is one of the largest urban parks in the world. A favorite vacation spot for locals

  • Hofbräuhaus is the largest pub in the world! This is definitely a must-visit

  • Bavarian sausages, famous pretzels, and local beer are a must

  • Oktoberfest is one of the most famous festivals in the world. A paradise for beer lovers and unforgettable experiences! If that's about you, October is the best time to visit Munich.


Garmisch-Partenkirchen


We came to Garmisch-Partenkirchen to visit the highest point of Germany Zugspitze.


Here located one of the largest and most popular resorts in the Bavarian Alps.

And directly from this village, you can get to the top of Zugspitze.


We stayed at the H + Alpina hotel, and we had a positive experience of staying there.

For a night for two, we paid € 90.

This hotel has a sauna, a swimming pool, gym and breakfast included. There are small children's play area and many other goodies. Perhaps ideal for families, especially with children.



There are two ways to get to the highest point in Germany, the Zugspitze (2,962 m):

1. Cable car

2. Mountain train

The ticket costs about € 50.


In our case, the cable car was closed, because it works only in warm seasons. Therefore, we traveled by mountain train to the terminal station (about 2,800 m), and from there on the lift, which delivers to the top.


At the top, there is a panoramic restaurant complex with observation decks.

On the one hand, a view of the snow-capped mountains opens, and on the other, on the Eibsee lake.



If you brought your equipment with you, you can climb to the highest point (you can only climb there on your own).


Also, it is important to mention that a sharp difference in height may make your head spin a little. And the descent down is possible only according to the schedule of the lift.


I am incredibly glad that my dream to visit the Alps has come true! Now I dream of going to a ski resort in the Alps. And also, my dream was to see with my own eyes an azure alpine lake. And it happened in the face of the fabulous alpine lake Eibsee!


I was so happy when we got to the Eibsee lake, which is located right at the foot of the Zugspitze. The beauty of this place can not be described!

It was love at first sight, perhaps this place impressed me the most of all during the whole trip. Seeing off the sunset is especially wonderful!


To get the best impressions, I always strive to visit the most wonderful nature places in the country. Indeed, most often I get the most vivid emotions seeing natural attractions.


Neuschwanstein Castle


This place is definitely worth a visit if you want to feel like in a real fairy tale. After all, as they say, Neuschwanstein is the prototype of Disneyland and the logo of the Walt Disney company.



This castle is located right in the Alps at the top of the mountain.

You can freely walk to the castle.

The most beautiful views of it are from Maria Bridge.

To get inside the castle you need to buy a ticket for a group tour.

The ticket can be bought near the information desk in the village at the foot of the mountain. One ticket cost us € 13. After that, you will need to walk about 15 minutes uphill.

The exact starting time of your tour is indicated on the ticket.



To be honest, we didn't plan to visit the castle inside. But after asking the locals how to get to the castle, they showed us the way to the ticket office so convincingly that we believed that we would not see the castle without a ticket.

So we got inside for the excursion and I can definitely say that it was worth it!


Although I read reviews on the Internet that it was gloomy and empty inside. But I got a completely different impression.

First, I was struck by the incredible decoration and rich imagination of King Ludwig. You involuntarily imagine with what trepidation every detail in the castle was chosen.

Secondly, the views from the castle are stunning. The Alps are all around and at the foot of the mountain, you can see the village and a beautiful lake.

Thirdly, I was impressed with the modern technologies at that time that were introduced into the castle (water supply, steam heating, telephones).


But be prepared for the fact that this place is very popular, and the number of tourists per square meter is off the scale. And photography is prohibited inside the castle.

Everyone has a different impression of Neuschwanstein Castle. To some, it seems fabulous and beautiful, while to others it seems gloomy. But in any case, this place will not leave you indifferent and I recommend visiting it.


Ulm


We got to Ulm by accident, however, walking for a couple of hours around this lovely city, we managed to feel its beauty. This is a university town on the banks of the Danube.



If you are lucky enough to visit Ulm, here are must-see places:

  • Ulm Cathedral, which holds the status of the world's tallest cathedral with a height of 161,5 meters. On the lower part of the spire (143 meters), there is an observation deck, which can be reached by 768 steps. Ticket price € 3.5

  • Fishermen's quarter. Here you can enjoy traditional half-timbered houses, winding streets, and numerous stone bridges. Most of the buildings in the quarter stand right on the water, so this place is even compared to Italian Venice

  • Ulm Town Hall is the city's most recognizable sight

  • The leaning house is a half-timbered house located on the banks of the Blau River and is found in many tourist photos of the city of Ulm

Why visit Germany?


Why is it worth visiting? Here are some interesting facts and my impressions of this country:


  • Did you know that Germany is in the Top 10 most visited countries in the world?

  • I remember the well-groomed houses with sharp roofs, calm quiet streets. Cleanliness and tidiness in everything. It feels like Germans don't know what stress is.

  • I will never forget the German Autobahns, on which the Germans fly like crazy 200 km per hour. And we pressed as much as possible into the right lane with our modest 120 km per hour, while everyone was overtaking us, even smarts.

  • German radio accompanied us all the way. How they love to talk! After each song, talking began in a language we did not understand. And in general, it's funny, but 90% of the content on German radio is talk and news.

  • Bavaria with its delightful architecture and incredibly beautiful nature makes you fall in love!

  • Quality food in supermarkets could not fail to please us. Germans are proud of their quality and boldly write «made in Germany» on the packaging. If it says that a sausage contains 98% pork, then it really is! We spent about € 130 on food in 7 days.

  • And cyclists are everywhere here, both in big cities and in small villages. And for some reason, we also remember that a lot of Germans wear glasses. This gives them a particularly smart look.

  • The smell of manure suddenly became our association with Germany! Yes, yes, when we just went out of the plane, our first impression was a pungent smell of manure. And this smell accompanied us on the road throughout the region. In fact, it is very cool that the Germans take such care of their entire land. And they also successfully use alternative energy. Windmills and solar panels are encountered throughout the country.

  • Of the cities, I liked Munich the most, and my husband liked Nuremberg.

  • The whole trip cost us about € 1200 euros for two for 7 days (with flight, meals, accommodation, leisure, transport), which is quite inexpensive considering how much we saw.

  • And of course, you will remember the German beer! You can't just come to Germany and not try the local beer with sausages.


Summing up, this country will leave more impressions than can be expected!


And do not forget to join me on Instagram to get more travel & photo inspiration :)









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