10 Fun Travel Tips for an Epic Germany Road Trip

Germany Nothing Familiar

When starting off on our road trip through Germany we had so many questions. Where should we eat? Is driving in Germany difficult? What towns should we stop in, and how fast is the autobahn Germany speed limit? No need to worry! We break down all our top Germany travel tips for you from our own road trip experience. 

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10 Fun Tips for an Epic Germany Road Trip

1. Stock up on Snacks

When you think of the essentials for a Germany road trip snacks have to be at the top of the list. So where do you go when you’re looking for some grub that won’t break the bank?

Your first stop should be the local markets for fruits and goods. If there are other things you need that you can’t find at one of the many popup markets in Germany, head to Aldi.

Aldi is a cross to us between a grocery store and a deli, but you can really find anything there! They have chips, fruit, and fresh-baked bread with literally hundreds of meat and cheese options.

We should note this is definitely debatable depending on who you ask. Similar discount grocery stores include Lidl and Edeka, but Aldi is our personal favorite.

Visiting Germany Road Trip

2. Don’t Book Ahead on Your Germany Road Trip

As much as you may like to plan out your trip, we urge you to resist that temptation and live a little! On the Romantic and Alpine roads, you will pass through so many amazing small towns you’ve never heard of. Some places you’ll obviously like more than others, and the ones you LOVE will be tough to move on from.

It’s important to give yourself options and not be strapped into an itinerary on a trip like this. Especially when a lot of the best places to stay will be found as you go! This is how we did our trip and we wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

However, there are obviously some exceptions to this point. Make sure to research the time of year you’re visiting and if any special events are going on. In these scenarios, it would be wise to do some advanced planning!

→ Driving the Romantic Road in Germany & Our Top 5 Highlights

Germany Road Trip

3. Avoid Buying Things at Rest Stops

Our next Germany travel tip is something you’ll find a little tricky on the road. While it’s common in Europe to pay to use public restrooms, they work a little differently than those you’ll see on your road trip through Germany.

After you pay and use the lavatory at a highway rest stop you’ll get a receipt which can actually be used as a credit at the store. The only issue with this is that everything is super overpriced here.

So where does that leave us? Well, you’re basically forced to buy the cheapest thing or you lose your credit. So… How about a German chocolate bar?

I guess the Autobahn Germany speed limit isn’t the only thing you’ll have to worry about on the highway. Yet when life gives you bathroom credits, make Bavarian chocolate?

Road Trip Through Germany

4. Dip into the Surrounding Countries

While Germany has plenty to see on its own, it’s almost irresistible not to visit other countries since they’re so close. Once you get down to the southern part of the country you’ll be driving through border towns, specifically ones that run along Austria and Switzerland.

It’s super easy to cross, but make sure to buy the correct toll passes to avoid a hefty fine. For example, the Austria toll passes can be purchased at gas stations as soon as you get close to the border.

→ German Alpine Road Guide: How to See Bavaria & Austria in One Week

Road Trip Through Germany and Austria

5. Avoid the Autobahn

If possible, avoid the Autobahn on your Germany road trip. I’d be lying if I told you it’s not exhilarating to fly at the seat of your pants on a road with no speed limits.

Yes, that’s right… The Autobahn Germany speed limit doesn’t exist for long sections of the highway!

However, if you do that the entire time you’re going to miss out on the beautiful countryside of Germany. The backroads offer a glimpse into the majestic nature that you simply won’t get on the highway.

If you do happen to drive on the Autobahn make sure to stay in the right lane unless you’re ready to go fast!

Autobahn Germany speed limit

6. Don’t be Aggressive on Tight Roads

While we’re on the topic of driving in Germany you should know to be particularly careful on the backroads. A good portion of the countryside roads of Germany are only one lane. This means there’s no line in the middle of the road splitting it into two like you’re used to.

The hairpin turns of the Alpine road can be borderline terrifying at some points when you can’t tell if there’s another car coming around the corner. Our Germany travel tip is to drive slow, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Take your time and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Driving in Germany

7. Eat Local on Your Road Trip Through Germany

Once you run out of snacks you’re gonna need a place to eat! I think this almost goes without saying, but do your best to eat at the local German bars and restaurants. The traditional food here is some of the best in Europe, especially if you’re a meat-lover.

Not to mention Germany is known for having the best beer in the world as well! Resist the temptation to grab something quick on the road, and dive into the local establishments when possible. Honestly, this is probably the most important of all our Germany travel tips!

Road Trip through Germany

8. Time Frame of Your Germany Road Trip

Although you’ll want to see as many places as possible, it’s important to understand your time frame. Assuming you have about 7-10 days for your road trip through Germany, then that gives you ample time to see all the good spots.

We limited ourselves to 2 hours of driving a day and found that to be the best way to travel. Any day where we went over 3 hours we would end up exhausted from the road.

Also, rushing around trying to see too many places won’t be fun either. Trust us, if you take things slow you’ll have a way more enjoyable time.

Road Trip Through Germany

9. Stay Out of the Big Cities

We’ve written plenty about how great the big cities like Berlin and Munich are, but you’re Germany road trip isn’t the time to see them!

In fact, driving into the cities is a good way to screw yourself over. The traffic of the city is a surefire way to complicate things especially if you’re already not used to driving in Germany.

In addition, the hotels in Germany’s many metropolises often charge extra for parking or don’t have any on-site at all. Instead of going through the hassle of the city, stick to the backroads and beautiful countryside of Germany.

If you need to see a place like Berlin, use it as a jumping-off point instead of a stop-through.

Driving in Germany

10. Swim in the German Alpine Lakes

Looking for a way to cool off after a long day in the car? Swimming in one of Germany’s many alpine lakes is the best way to do so! You’ll pass through an endless amount of jaw-dropping nature on your road trip through Germany, and the simple rivers and lakes are some of the best parts.

Germany’s lakes are also some of the cleanest in the world which means the water is crystal clear. Our absolute favorite was Lake Königssee, but you’ll find there are plenty of amazing lakes to choose from.

Germany Road Trip and travel tips

We hope these fun tips help you out on your next road trip through Germany! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Safe Travels,
Brigitte and Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

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Germany Travel Planning 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic Germany road trip! 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can find everything from a Hamburg harbor cruise, to a Berlin walking tour, and day trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein castle

 Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Germany than driving or taking the train! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Germany Travel

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4 Comments

  1. kevin richardson
    May 24, 2021 / 7:02 pm

    I enjoy reading any article about best ways to travel in Europe

    • Brigitte & Jake
      May 24, 2021 / 10:38 pm

      Absolutely!

  2. Angie Kalmar
    August 4, 2019 / 12:48 pm

    Liked your article and it’s good to know we need not worry about reserving ahead of time. But when I went bicycle touring in Germany I did make a few reservations at very touristy spots like Garmisch. I did that online through German websites – not the commercially aggressive sites like Bookings. These were German sites, and most often in German, with an option for English, and I look for gasthauses, zimmerfrei and BandB rooms. Absolutely NO impersonal hotels. Can you give me the websites of some of these GERMAN sites please.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      August 5, 2019 / 3:50 pm

      Hi Angie! It would be wonderful if you could share the German websites you used! Cheers

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