Road trip through Germany: The 10 most beautiful vacation destinations by car

Adventurous backpacking through Thailand, a relaxing cruise on the Caribbean Sea or a road trip through the spectacular national parks of the USA – due to the Corona travel restrictions, we will have to say goodbye to these vacation plans for the time being. The alternative: Home vacation in Germany. Sounds boring? But it is not! We have picked out the 10 most beautiful places in Germany, which you can travel quite relaxed by car. Where the trip could go, we tell you in this article.

round trip germany map

Tip: Before you start your road trip through Germany, it’s worth taking a look at our article Going on vacation by car. Learn about proper vehicle loading, route planning, dealing with travel sickness and other useful tips.

1. The Wadden Sea: Endless expanses

Vacations at the North Sea – rushing sea, long sandy beaches, grassy dunes. Here begins our round trip through Germany. A special highlight is the Wadden Sea of the North Sea, which forms the largest contiguous mudflat landscape in the world. Endless expanses, a boundless horizon and a huge variety of animals and plants await you. The Wadden Sea is not only home to lugworms, but also seals, harbor seals and porpoises. Twice a day the low tide ensures that you can explore the Wadden Sea on foot.

hike in the tidal flats

In addition to the mudflat hike, the region offers many other exciting activities: ship excursions, seal watching, an overnight stay in a beach chair – and of course the whole range of water sports. Drivers can discover the North Sea coast along exciting routes: from small fishing villages and dreamy harbors to the seemingly endless horizon of the Wadden Sea.

From the Wadden Sea to the Eifel
Length of the route: approx. 470 kilometers
Duration of the drive: 4h 50 min

2. The Eifel: volcanoes and castles

Medieval castles, impressive volcanic craters, half-timbered idylls and vineyards – the Eifel is a historic low mountain range in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, framed by the Rhine and Moselle rivers. From the Wadden Sea to the Eifel you drive about 5 hours by car. Until 10.000 years ago there were active volcanoes here, which today invite you to go hiking. This is the best way to experience the Eifel in all its facets – from the Devil’s Gorge to the wooded mountain ranges and the romantic Eltz Castle.

Tip: With a fuel discount credit card you can save quite a bit on fuel costs during your road trip. Read more about it in our article Tankkarten& Credit cards with fuel discount.

eltz castle in the eifel

This is located in a picturesque valley on a rocky head and looks back on 850 years of history. Eltz Castle is one of the most popular castles in Germany and should not be missed on any itinerary. However, the castle can only be reached on foot – you can easily park your car in the nearby parking lot. Otherwise, country roads through extensive fields and hilly forest areas offer relaxing car rides with impressive panoramas.

From the Eifel to the Black Forest
Length of the route: approx. 420 kilometers
Duration of the car trip: 4h 30 min

3. The Black Forest: fairytale waterfalls

Evergreen forests, high waterfalls and impressive rocky gorges: Welcome to the Black Forest, Germany’s highest and largest contiguous low mountain range. After about 4.5 hours you will reach the Black Forest from the Eifel by car. The deep and dark forests have already inspired the Brothers Grimm for their fairy tales. Special highlights in the Black Forest are the Hollental with its 600 meter high rock walls as well as the Triberg waterfalls.

black forest waterfall

Tip: You are traveling with children? How to master long car journeys with your offspring and which child seats are suitable, you will find out in our article Car driving with child.

With a height of 23 meters, the Rhine Falls in the Black Forest are among the three highest waterfalls in Europe. Don’t forget to try the world famous Black Forest cake! For drivers, the Black Forest has various panoramic roads ready to explore the area. Idyllic villages, impressive viewpoints and wild nature are just some of the highlights of the so-called vacation routes.

From the Black Forest to Lake Constance
Length of the route: approx. 140 kilometers
Duration of the car trip: 1h 45 min

4. Lake Constance: Not only a must for water rats

Sparkling water, historic old towns and the spectacular mountain panorama make the 63-kilometer-long Lake Constance in the foothills of the Alps one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in Germany. That is why it must not be missing on our road trip. Lake Constance is fed by the Rhine and invites visitors to sail, surf, swim and cycle – a ca. 260 kilometer long circular route around the lake provides varied perspectives.

Tip: For a road trip you need a lot of storage space. Find out here which cars with large trunks are the best travel companions and how to get from A to B safely with a roof box.

lake constance lindau

In addition to the colorful fruit blossoms in spring, the diverse islands in Lake Constance are also worth mentioning. Especially the flower island Mainau and the old town of the island Lindau are worth a visit. By the way, you can drive to the island of Lindau by car. In addition, car ferries provide flexible transport across the lake from A to B.

From Lake Constance to Berchtesgadener Land
Length of the route: approx. 340 kilometers
Duration of the car trip: 3h 40 min

5. Berchtesgadener Land: Impressive mountain scenery

From the foothills of the Alps deep into the mountains in less than 4 hours by car: In the outer southeast of Bavaria, on the border with Austria, lies the Berchtesgadener Land region. The landscape invites you to marvel with its deep valleys, high mountains, crystal clear mountain rivers and mysterious moorlands. The Berchtesgaden National Park, with its more than 20.000 different animal species by the way the only German national park in the Alps.

Tip: If you run out of gas on the road, these fuel apps will help you find the nearest gas station with the cheapest prices.

Surrounded by the panorama of the national park and the imposing peak of the second highest mountain in Germany, the Watzmann, the emerald-green Konigssee stretches out. Other sights in Berchtesgadener Land are the historic Kehlsteinhaus and the 500 year old salt mine.

berchtesgadener land koenigssee

Boredom is guaranteed not to arise during this stopover on our round trip through Germany: Whether hiking, mountain biking, climbing, skiing or paragliding – the mountains of Berchtesgadener Land have something to offer for every adventurer. But the region also has exciting routes in store for motorists. The German Alpine Road is the oldest panoramic road in the Alps and leads along famous sights like Neuschwanstein Castle, Zugspitze or Chiemsee Lake.

From Berchtesgadener Land to the Bavarian Forest
Length of the route: approx. 200 kilometers
Duration of the car trip: 3h

6. Bavarian Forest: jungle feeling guaranteed

Our car route through Germany makes another stop in Bavaria – in the Bavarian Forest. The approximately 100-kilometer-long low mountain range lies on the border between Bavaria and the Czech Republic and is considered to be the largest forest landscape in Central Europe. Dense forests, romantic lakes, high moors and enchanted castles make the Bavarian Forest one of our top travel destinations in Germany.

bavarian forest lake

Tip: If you are a dog owner, a vacation in Germany by car offers the advantage that you can easily take your dog with you. Tips for transporting dogs and how to get your four-legged friend used to long car rides can be read in our article Dog in the Car.

In addition to an exciting primeval forest hike, the Bavarian Forest also offers Germany’s longest treetop trail with a viewing platform at a height of 40 meters. If you want to go even higher, you can climb the 1455-meter summit of the Grober Arber mountain. Incidentally, the craft of glassmaking has a long tradition in the Bavarian Forest. Along the 250 kilometer long glass road you can admire the art of glass blowing from the car.

From the Bavarian Forest to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains
Length of the route: approx. 430 kilometers
Duration of the car ride: 4h 20 min

7. Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxon Switzerland: Whimsical Rock Formations

On our way to our next destination within Germany, we leave the Alps behind and, after a drive of just under 4.5 hours, head for the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxon Switzerland. This is located on the upper reaches of the Elbe in Saxony and to some extent in the Czech Republic. Mysterious gorges, whimsical rock formations and castles rich in culture transform the low mountain range built of sandstone into a magical place.

elbe sandstone mountains germany

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The most popular destination is the Bastei, a famous rock formation with a bridge almost 77 meters long. Tourists can reach the ruins of Felsenburg Neurathen via this bridge. Another highlight of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains is the Konigstein Fortress, one of the largest mountain fortresses in Europe. The proximity to the Elbe River makes for a varied day program: Here you can rent kayaks, cross the Elbe on a raft, explore caves and book a quad tour. By car you can explore the breathtaking panorama of Saxon Switzerland along numerous curves through steep rocky gorges.

From the Elbe Sandstone Mountains to the Harz Mountains
Length of the route: approx. 280 kilometers
Duration of the car trip: 3h

8. Harz Mountains: The Mysterious Myths of the Brocken

The highest mountain range in northern Germany lies at the intersection of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. You can reach the Harz Mountains from the Elbe Sandstone Mountains after about 3 hours by car. Deep forests, bizarre rocks, millennia-old moors and the legendary Brocken mountain give the Harz mountains a very special atmosphere. Mysterious myths have surrounded the 1141-meter-high Brocken mountain since the 17th century. In the 19th century the mountain was considered the main meeting place of witches. To this day, the Walpurgis Night is celebrated every year on the night of the first of May.

Tip: You would like to plan your vacation trip with an e-vehicle and need a reliable charging station finder for it? Thanks to helpful electric car apps, nowadays you can not only work out a suitable route, but also find charging stations very quickly and easily.

harz brocken railway

The Brocken tour is the highlight of any trip to the Harz Mountains. It’s up to you if you want to hike up, take the famous Brocken train or be pulled up by a horse-drawn carriage. Other exciting activities in the Harz Mountains are e.g. Climbing, summer tobogganing and bungee jumping. A 292 kilometer long car route takes you right through the Harz National Park, so you can easily explore the rugged mountains and picturesque half-timbered villages with your car.

From the Harz Mountains to the Lower Oder Valley
Length of the route: approx. 280 kilometers
Duration of the car trip: 3h

9. Lower Oder Valley National Park: an oasis of tranquility

Enough of the mountains? You long for flat land and endless expanses again? Then look forward to our next stop on the Germany road trip, which you can reach by car from the Harz Mountains in about 3.5 hours. The Lower Oder Valley National Park is located on the lower reaches of the Oder River in Brandenburg and is the only floodplain national park in Germany.

Important: Plan enough stopovers for a safe drive to your vacation destination. We have compared the top 10 most popular motorway stations in Germany for relaxing breaks!

lower or valley brandenburg

On over 10.000 hectares of green meadows and gentle rivers are home to a great variety of flora and fauna. More than 145 different bird species settle down to breed in the Lower Oder Valley. And also people can find peace and deceleration here. The best way to explore the unique river floodplain is by canoe.

From the Lower Oder Valley to the Mecklenburg Lake District
Length of the route: approx. 150 kilometers
Duration of the car trip: 1h 45 min

10. Mecklenburg Lake District: A lake addiction spot

Have you ever heard of the “land of 1000 lakes”?? To be exact, there are 1117 lakes, which make the Mecklenburg Lake District the largest networked water sports area in Europe. The landscape stretches across Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein. You can get there quickly from the Lower Oder Valley: Only ca. 1 hour and 45 minutes by car to the Mecklenburg Lake District. Frolic on the water with numerous activities: Boating, swimming, diving and sailing, the choice is yours. Those who prefer to stay dry can embark on a journey into the past. The Mecklenburg Lake District offers a historic cultural landscape with countless estates and manor houses.

Tip: During a road trip through Germany in the summertime it can get very hot in the car – especially if you get stuck in a traffic jam. In our article “Air conditioning or automatic climate control? The perfect companion through the summer” we tell you how you can keep a cool head even in this case.

mecklenburg lake district

If you want a special kind of accommodation, you can rent a houseboat without a boating license. This way you can enjoy the ride on the water during the day, before you find a suitable spot on the shore and spend the night there in the evening. By the way: The Mecklenburg Lake District offers a breathtaking view of the starry sky at night. But also by car you can explore the land of 1000 lakes. Through the Bear Forest in Muritz, along the coasts of numerous lakes to the Biosphere Reserve, the car route through the Mecklenburg Lake District guarantees you a varied tour.

From the Mecklenburg Lake District back to the Wadden Sea
Length of the route: approx. 450 kilometers
Duration of the car trip: 4h 30 min

The right car for your road trip through Germany

Why wander far and wide when the good stuff is so close by? Vacationing at home is trendy – without expensive flights or train rides. All you need is a reliable car. If you are still looking for a suitable vehicle for your road trip through Germany, we recommend you to have a look at to look around.

Tip: Go on vacation with an electric car? That goes! Find out how it works and which e-models offer a particularly long range in our article Traveling with an electric car.

Whether you’re looking for a station wagon, an off-road SUV or a summer convertible, we’re sure to have the right car for your trip to Germany at great rates. We wish you a good trip!