Self Drive Tours – The Best Top 10 Road Trips in Germany

When it comes to self drive tours our top 10 road trips in Germany range from stunning mountains to dense forests, charming villages to medieval ruins.

Germany is a world of wonder for every type of traveler—especially for self drive tours and travelers with a car. Some of the most beautiful driving routes in the world can be found there, from Alpine passes to world-renowned wine routes to fairy tale inspiring towns and villages.

Before we dive into our list, while we do feel that Germany is an incredibly safe place to drive, it’s always important to prep before driving in any foreign country with different rules, regulations, and etiquette. To feel confident taking on a road trip in Germany, we recommend prepping with our driving guide, featuring quick video tutorials, our patented driving tours, and PDFs to take with you on the road!

Once you feel ready, the next (and most difficult) step is to try and choose from this incredible list of Top 10 Road Trips in Germany!

1. Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) 

top 10 road trips in Germany - Romantic Road

Why go? This famous and scenic tourist route stretches approximately over 200 miles from northern Bavaria to Füssen, a charming town in southern Germany. Along the way, it passes through picturesque landscapes, medieval towns like the beautifully preserved towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen, and Augsburg, and historic sites, including Würzburg Residence, the Marienberg Fortress, Hohenschwangau, and of course Neuschwanstein Castle, storied to be the source of inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
What to know: It’s advisable to plan your trip in advance, considering the time of year you’ll be traveling. The Romantic Road can be particularly beautiful in the spring and summer when the landscapes are lush and colorful. However, this also means more tourists (so book accommodations, or reservations for certain cultural sites, in advance). Winter can be magical but also comes with the possibility of snow and icy road conditions. In general, Germany has strict traffic regulations, so it’s important to follow speed limits, road signs, and other rules especially in smaller towns. (For more info, check out our blog post What to Know About Driving in Germany”)

2. Black Forest Route


Why go? This Black Forest Route is known for its scenery as much as its culture, making it the perfect road trip in Germany. The dense forests its named for are known for their stunning beauty, but the region also features open meadows, serene lakes, and charming villages. Attractions include the Triberg Waterfalls, Freiburg’s historic old town, and the Black Forest Open-Air Museum. This region is also known for its cuckoo clocks, traditional wood carving, and delicious cuisine.
What to know: Some sections of the route can be challenging for drivers as they are narrow and winding and include some steep ascents and descents. However, we think this is part of what makes this one of the most picturesque road trips in Germany. By maintaining a safe speed and paying attention to the road, most drivers shouldn’t have any concerns. The winter does bring some changing road conditions, so plan ahead if traveling in the snowier months.

3. Castle Road (Burgenstraße)

Why go? Driving the Castle Road is highly recommended for travelers with an interest in history and architecture. True to its name, this tourist route takes you past numerous castles and palaces as you travel from Mannheim to Prague (in the Czech Republic). There are too many famous sites to name, but some highlights include Heidelberg Castle, Schwetzingen Palace, Hirschhorn Castle, Eberbach Monastery, Burg Guttenberg, Zwingenberg Castle, Burg Breuberg, Burg Wertheim, the towns of Neckarsteinach, Michelstadt and Miltenberg, and plenty more. The road is quite long (approximately746 miles), so we suggest doing some research to determine the sites that are most interesting to you!
What to know: As mentioned, the road is long—it’s not meant to be done in a single day, so plan ahead to ensure you hit the sites you’re interested in and can plan for accommodations along the way. Keep in mind the route crosses the German-Czech border. Additionally, if you’re traveling with a rental car, the rental agency might have specific policies or requirements regarding crossing international borders.

4. German Alpine Road (Deutsche Alpenstraße)

Why go? Driving the German Alpine Road (Deutsche Alpenstraße) promises some of the most stunning vistas around. Stretching almost 300 miles through the Bavarian Alps, this road takes you through the stunning mountain passes, pristine lakes, and charming Bavarian villages. Highlights include Lake Chiemsee, Berchtesgaden, Ettal Abbey, Oberammergau, Wieskirche, Linderhof Palace, Bad Tölz, Ruhpolding, and the Zugspitze (Germany’s highest peak). 
What to know: Plan ahead as the route is best seen over multiple days. During busy months, accommodations may be busy, so get reservations in advance. Like any mountainous region, be prepared for narrow, curvy roads with elevation changes. You’ll also want to take precautions in winter due to possible snow and ice conditions. For any road trip in Germany, you should also familiarize yourself with speed limits and road signs, as German driving rules can be strict (to prepare, check out our driving guide!)

5. Moselle Wine Route: 

Why go? The Moselle Wine Route is fantastic (and relaxed) road trip in Germany. The route winds along the Moselle River, of course passing through scenic vineyards. Depending on the time of year you visit, you might have the chance to participate in local wine festivals and events, so do some research ahead of time. More than just wine, you’ll also encounter historic towns and villages along the way.
What to know: This route isn’t as challenging as the forest or mountain routes we’ve highlighted. In fact, many travelers find it quite relaxing and picturesque. However, with the main reason for visiting the region being wine tasting, we recommend assigning a designated driver for safety. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair your driving ability, and driving with a BAC above the limit can result in serious legal consequences as well.

6. Eifel High-Altitude Route (Eifel-Höhenstraße)


Why go? The Eifel High-Altitude Route is a scenic driving route through the Eifel region in western Germany. A road trip here offers travelers plenty of variety, featuring scenic towns like Daun, Bitburg (home of Bitburger brewery), Prüm, Blankenheim, Hillesheim, as well as natural beauty at Eifel National Park, Schwarzer Mann, and Teufelsschlucht. Motorsport enthusiasts also frequent the route as it’s home to the famous Nürburgring racetrack.
What to know: The hilly regions of the route can be narrow and winding, but in general, the roads are very well-maintained. Some villages and viewpoints might have limited parking, so plan ahead and be prepared to walk. However, in general, this trip is pretty safe as long as you take standard driving precautions.

7. Fairy Tale Road

Why go? One of the most unique and enchanting road trips in Germany, this route connects towns and sites associated with the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and other folklore. Appealing to families with children, kids can connect with beloved characters from classic tales like Cinderella, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and more. The landscapes you’ll drive through evoke the enchanting settings of fairy tales, from dense forests to rolling hills and romantic castles.
What to know: The Fairy Tale Road offers a different perspective than other routes, taking you to less touristy areas that still offer plenty of charm and history. It’s generally thought of as an easy drive route. Plus, it’s very family-friendly, with many stops along the way. Because it connects so many towns and sites, we recommend researching ahead of time to plan for what would appeal most to your group. As with any other road trip, you should familiarize yourself with local road regulations (our driving guide can help), but it should generally be an enjoyable and whimsical journey for any travelers.

8. Bavarian Lakes and Mountains

Why go? Not a specific driving route and more of a region to explore, the stunning Bavarian region offers non-stop beauty and culture for travelers. While there are too many sites to name here, some highlights include: Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the surrounding region (including the Zugspitze), Neuschwansteinand Hohenschwangau Castles, the charming towns of Füssen, Oberammergau, and Mittenwald, as well as stunning Lakes like Walchensee, Kochelsee, and Chiemsee. Of course, the capital of the region, Munich, is the perfect place to start or end a road trip here.
What to know: This area is generally safe and easy to drive in. Like other mountainous regions, be prepared for some narrow and winding roads. You’ll also likely encounter tolls on some highways. Some cities, including Munich, have environmental zones that require an “Umweltplakette” (emissionssticker) to enter—check ahead of time to avoid fees. For more info on road signs and regulations, check out our driving guide and avoid any unnecessary issues.

9. Saxon Switzerland National Park

Why go? Driving through Saxon Switzerland National Park (Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz) can be a beautiful and rewarding experience, allowing you to explore stunning landscapes, rock formations, and natural beauty. This unique route takes you through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, with impressive rock formations, lush forests, and the beautiful town of Dresden as a starting point. Because it’s primarily a protected natural area, there are restrictions on driving within the park. However, it’s helpful to have a car to drive to the park’s outskirts for access to trailheads and significant landmarks like Bastei Bridge.

What to know: As mentioned, cars are not allowed at many places within the park. Be prepared to park in nearby towns like Bad Schandau and Rathen and then take public transportation to trailheads. Plan ahead in peak season as many parking areas have limited capacity.

10. Wine Route (Weinstraße)

Why go? Driving along the Weinstraße, also known as the German Wine Route, is a delight for wine enthusiasts as one of the oldest wine routes in the world. Running through the Palatinate region, this road runs through vineyards and other wine-related attractions on its way from Bockenheim to Schweigen-Rechtenbach at the French border.

What to know: The route has several narrow, winding sections, so take your time and mind your speed. While wine tastings are tempting, we also recommend assigning a designated driver for your journey—both for your safety and to avoid any fines (or possible imprisonment) under Germany’s strict drinking laws. Certain times of year (like harvest in the fall) can bring traffic and limited parking, so plan accordingly. Otherwise, enjoy and make sure to stop along the way to take in the scenery!

Exploring Germany by car is a beloved activity for tourists and expatriates alike. With a valid driver’s license, (see  our article on obtaining an IDP) a you’re free to experience the thrill of the Autobahn and reach your favorite destinations swiftly. The ease of navigating Germany’s roads makes every journey a delightful adventure, our top 10 road trips in Germany are the perfect self-drive tours that allow you to soak in the beautiful scenery at your own pace.