Last year I had so many travel plans in Europe but they all fell through because of Covid. I was bummed, but then Summer came and a few countries opened up and even though it wasn't what I had planned, it ended up being the best road trip ever! Normally, I've heard of most of the places I'm going like we've all heard of Tuscany, Venice, Barcelona, Algarve and so on, so you got expectations... But this time, I had NO IDEA what to expect and luckily I was in for a breathtaking surprise! So get ready for my itinerary because it will make you want to visit Germany, Austria and Slovenia so badly!!!
THIS GUIDE WILLL INCLUDE
Important things to know before going
Map of the trip
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING
The German highways are toll free, but there's toll roads in Austria and Slovenia so have cash ready
You need to buy motorway vignettes for Austria and Slovenia. There's a few options, you can either find them at the gas stations near the borders or buy them online beforehand. It's pretty easy to find at the gas stations, just make sure to start looking a while before your crossing the borders to the countries to be on the safe side!
Here's the vignette prices & rules for Austria: https://www.tolls.eu/austria
Here's the toll vignette prices & rules for Slovenia: https://www.tolls.eu/slovenia
In Austria you'll have to drive through a few mountain pass, so make sure your brakes etc. are in good condition
There's a lot of places – especially restaurants – that don't take credit card so bring euros in cash
If you don't have data, I'd advice you to get the free app "maps.me" and download the areas you're going to visit. I always use this when travelling without internet, so I don't get lost. I also like to pin all the places in the app beforehand, so I don't have to look for them when I need it!
1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
2. Berchtesgaden, Germany
3. Hallstatt, Austria
4. Bled, Slovenia
5. Postojna, Slovenia
DAY 1 – ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER, GERMANY
First stop on the itinerary is the medieval town Rothenburg ob der Tauber – it's the perfect little day trip which is probably why it's also one of the most visited towns in Germany!! For the best experience, arrive before 9am, before all the day trippers arrive, but honestly, we stayed a half day and we loved it – tourists or not!
First we went to Plölein, the most famous photo location in all of Rothenburg, so we wanted to do this as early as possible. It's right next to the big square in the middle of the city, which is probably one of the reasons it's so wellknown. After that, we went to Markusturm & Röderbogen – a beautiful gate. After the photoshoot was done, we just wandered the city and found the cutest stores. Even though it was July, we couldn't help ourselves and went into the biggest Christmas shops I've ever seen!! The city is surrounded by a wall, the Town Wall, and you can walk the wall for free. There's stairs to get up there all around the wall. It's provides a great overview of the city!
Restaurants and cafés are pretty expensive here, but visiting the city is completely free, so it's okay I think. After lunch, we drove the 4 hours down to Berchtesgaden to find a place to sleep.
DAY 2 – KÖNIGSEE, BERCHTESGADEN
Our first day in Berchtesgaden was spent at Lake Königsee. We went to the Bayerische Seenschiffahrt Königsee to take the boat to Obersee and see lake Königsee from the water. We took the boat at 8am – the earliest departure – so we could be the first ones (it gets crowded really fast).
The boat ride back and forth is 19€ and leaves every 15 minutes, so you never have to wait for long though. The boat ride has two stops: Saint Bartholomeus & Salet. First stop is Saint Bartholomeus, but we saved this for the trip back. Instead we waited for stop two, Salet, which takes you to Lake Obersee. Here you can take the most beautiful hike to Fishunkelalm (about 45 minutes), which takes you all the way to the other side of the lake. This is the place with the iconic and picturesque boat house!
Most people take the first stop first (Saint Bartholomeus) which means you'll have Obersee more to yourself. Also, the best view of Saint Bartholomeus in my opinion is really from the boat itself... On the way back we made the mistake of going too late, so we had to stand in line for a very long time. It's better to head back before/around noon, because it gets really crowded, when every one wants to go home in the afternoon.
After you've taken the boat back and forth, you can also hike around Königsee. There's these natural infinity pools right next to the lake, that you can hike to and swim in. You can actually see them from the boat if you look closely! We wanted to go, but ended up going the wrong way so I'm saving you the trouble of that and I will try to explain how to get there (the right way haha). Start at the visitor center (where you took the boat back and forth earlier) and follow the track to the view point "Malerwinkel". If you standing at the boat dock looking at the lake, it is to your left. At some point, the road splits in two – the left is the way to get to the pools, while the right will take you down to the lake.
DAY 3 – PANORAMASTRASSE & MARIA GERN
We set our alarms really really early, to drive to Rossfeld Panoramastrasse for sunrise. The road costs 8€ to enter, but it is SO worth it! It is Germany's highest panoramic road and has the best views of the Berchtesgaden Alps, Salzburg and the Salzach Valley. It's a circular route, so you can drive all the way around so you won't miss a thing!
After taking in all the natural beauty from above, we drove to Maria Gern – a beautiful lush green area in the mountains with a gorgeous little pink church. This is exactly what I imagined the Austrian/German alps would look like in the Summer time! We parked the car at the church, and went exploring for hours and had a picnic in the grass.
DAY 4 – HINTERSEE, RAMSAU
We started the day slowly and drove to Lake Hintersee. Yes, Berchtesgaden is famous for the lakes and mountains if you hadn't guessed it yet ;-) Lake Hintersee is located in Ramsau only a 15-minute drive from Lake Königsee. On the way there, you follow the crystal clear river all the way. It's the most turquoise river I've ever seen. So turquoise that you'd think it was edited!!
At Lake Hintersee we parked the car, and walked around the emerald green lake and enjoyed the mountain scenery. After a picnic at the lake, we hiked to the suspension bridge in Klausbachtal (an easy hour hike) to see the Ramsau Dolomites up close.
On the way back to Berchtesgaden, we stopped in Ramsau city to snap a photo of the picturesque church St. Sebastian – one of the most pictured churches in Bavaria. It was also a perfect change to see the river up close and be in awe of all of the beauty.
Back at our hotel, we got ready to drive the two hours to Loser Alm. We stayed at JUFA Hotel Altausse, which we really recommend to be as close to the entrance to the Loser Alm mountain pass as possible (or you will have to wake up extremely early to be there for sunrise).
DAY 5 – LOSER ALM & HALLSTATT, AUSTRIA
We woke up way too early once again, to go see the sunrise from Loser Alm – which was all worth it! This might be my favourite view ever. I could look at the pictures from here forever... It costs 10€ to drive into the mountain pass. If you want to find this exact location it's the parachute platform right above Loserhütte – which you can find on maps.
After seeing the sunrise, we went back to JUFA Hotel Altausse and had breakfast – they have a pretty nice buffet ;-) and an hour of driving later, we arrived in the little Austrian village Hallstatt. The European fairytale city is actually the one that inspired the look of Arendelle – the city in Frozen. The city is so small you can walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes and it's full of tourists, but it's worth a brief visit if you are in the area.
We wandered around Old Town and the Market Square, which is really the best thing to do. It honestly looks like a fairytale city. Then we headed to the main viewpoint to see the famous postcard view of Hallstatt (Aussichtspunkt Hallstatt on Google Maps). For an afternoon treat, we stopped at Taglich Friesch Gebacken – a little bakery with wooden exterior and lots of Austrian charm. Famous for the foam rolls, which is pastries wrapped in a fine wafer and packed with the most delicious sugary, fluffy cream. We didn't stay overnight in Hallstatt, but if you want to, find a city nearby because the prices in Hallstatt are STEEP! We drove three hours down to Bled, Slovenia instead.
DAY 6 – BLED, SLOVENIA
One of the best things to do in Bled is to rise early and watch the mesmerising sunrise over Lake Bled. My favourite sunrise view points are Ojstrika viewpoint and at the west end of the lake – so you have the breathtaking alps in the background. We started our day 6 by taking the Ojstrika sunrise hike!
In general, hiking in the mountains surrounding Lake Bled is a must do! You'll be rewarded with the most breathtaking views of the lake. After Ojstrika you can keep hiking from the main trail and go to Maja Osojnica (25 minutes further) and/or Velika Osojnica (30 minutes further).
TIPS FOR THE OJSTRIKA HIKE:
The hike starts in Velika Zaka (next to Camping Bled: You can park here for 3 euros/hour)
If your having trouble finding the trailhead, here are the coordinates (46.361271, 14.083106)
It takes 20-25 minutes to reach the top
The trail becomes steeper and narrower near the top so wear good footwear
Theres sign posts & a trail in the forest – make sure to look for the signs or you might miss the turn to Ojstrika
After the hikes, we bought some breakfast and rented a row boat to explore the lake and work on my rowing skills (they are really bad). The rentals open at 10am and you can find them all around the lake and in different sizes and price ranges. You can also find boats you do not have to row yourself, but they are a bit more expensive and less charming if you ask me... One hour costs between 15-25 euros + 10€ for every hour after that. We docked our boat at Bled Island (the iconic island in the middle of the lake) and went exploring for a bit. You could also bring some lunch and eat it out here! We only rented the boat for an hour, so we went back to the rental and spent the rest of the day at the lake, swimming and tanning. There's lots of green areas and docks just for taking a dip in the cold water.
DAY 7 – POSTOJNA, SLOVENIA
We watched the sunrise from the lakeside before we drove to Postojna cave and castle – a one hour drive from Bled. First stop was the ticket stand at Postojna, to buy a ticket for both, and hopefully avoid some of the queues. We then drove to the castle, Predjama Castle, to see that first before it got crowded. A fairytale castle caved into the rocks! The castle is only a few kilometres from Postojna Cave, so it was a short drive. It's the largest cave castle in the world, which is pretty cool. Behind the castle, there is a network of secret tunnels that has been there for the last 800 years.
We then went back to Postojna, to visit the caves and see the cave formations that's been formed by tiny droplets over millions of years – how cool is that! There's 24 kilometres of underground passages, so we took the underground train to see some of the fascinating subterranean environment.
Europe is not the cheapest place to travel, but it's possible to do it fairly cheap if you want! I've written down all of our expenses to give you an idea of what a trip here would cost approximately. You can definitely do it both cheaper and more expensive. Food, parking and hotels are pricey, but lots of the places are free to visit!
Here's what one person spent on... (calculated from the the fact that we were two to share the costs)
Hotels: 35€ per night (210€ in total)
Food: 20€ per day (140€ in total) – we chose hotels with breakfast included and apartments with kitchen
Tolls & vignettes: 35€
Rothenburg ob der Tauber (parking): 3€
Königsee (boat ride & parking): 25€
Rossfeld Panoramastrasse (entrance): 4€
Hintersee (parking): 5€
Loser Alm (entrance): 5€
Hallstat (parking): 5€
Bled (boat rental & parking): 18€
Postojna (entrance & parking): 38€