My wife and I are going to Europe this summer (for 15 days) We're going all over and I have most of the trip figured out except Germany. We start in Germany at Cologne where we'll be visiting a friend on July 19th. On Sunday the 20th, in the afternoon, we'd like to head down to the "Romantic Rhine" between Koblenz and Rudesheim and stay the night in one of the villages. We'd like to tour this area on Monday the 21st (including a short river cruise) and stay another night in the area. On Tuesday we'd like to go to Rothenburg and go on the night watchman tour, everyone is recommending. On Wednesday we'd like to be in Munich for dinner and stay there that night. Thursday morning we plan on leaving by train to Venice. (I should also say that this isn't my first trip to Europe or Germany, but it is my first trip to the Rhine valley and central Germany, I've been to Cologne and Munich before.)
Keeping in mind that we are generally heading south across Germany does it make sense to start our Rhine valley tour in Rudesheim and go north in order to go downstream as many posts have suggested?
Which villages would you suggest staying in? I've been told that Rudesheim is nice and read that Bobbard is too.
We're open to the idea of renting a car in Germany, but from reading posts it doesn't seem like one would be needed for the Rhine valley part of the trip, that it could be done with trains and ferries, is this correct? We could just take a train down from Cologne.
I was thinking a car might be handy when we leave the Rhine valley and go to Rothenburg, it might allow us to see more, and maybe if time allows check out some of the Romantic road on the way to Munich, is this a good idea?
Is it better to rent a car ahead of time or rent in Germany?
Any additional tip on things to see or avoid in our short time in Germany would be much appreciated!