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madison asked

Should I drive or train?

First of all, I'm not 100% sure that I'm going to be in Heidelberg. I'm going to be in Rothenburg ob der Tauber for two nights and then I'm currently scheduled to go to Stuttgart. Only going to Stuttgart because it was on the way to strasburg France. I will have a rental car and was planning to drop it in Stuttgart. I'm still struggling with two nights in Stuttgart and thought about going to Heidelberg. But then I saw it takes 4 hours to get from Heidelberg to strasburg France by train. I don't want to waste that much time. So should I keep the car and just drive to strasburg from Stuttgart? Is it easy to go over the border as an American from Germany into France with a car? I would then return the car and strasburg and train the rest of the trip.

I'm coming the first week of December and I welcome any thoughts on whether I should choose Heidelberg over Stuttgart or I could do one night in each town if I have a car.

My trip is 11 days long.

Heidelberg (Germany) Strasbourg (France)

1 Answer
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answered first by
Mary from Leicester
1. > Is it easy to go over the border as an American from Germany into France with a car?
Of course it is.
Both Germany and France are part of the Schengen Area, which is made up of 26 European countries. There are no border formalities between Schengen countries. There is, of course, still a border between Germany and France but there are no regular border checks and no passport control. And there's absolutely no need to worry about 'being an American' crossing borders in European Union countries.
If you do rent a car make sure a) your rental agreement allows you to take the car out of Germany b) that vehicle insurances cover you for both countries and c) either the car is already kitted out to meet French legal requirements (e.g. reflective 'vest', warning triangle, spare lightbulbs) or that you know what to buy and where to buy it before you reach the French border.
2.
>I saw it takes 4 hours to get from Heidelberg to strasburg France by train. I don't want to waste that much time.
I don't know where you 'saw' that information but that journey does not take 4 hours by train.

Use the official German railway website in English linked below. You'll see that the fastest connections between Heidelberg and Strasbourg take less than 2 hours and even the slowest takes less than 3.
https://www.bahn.com/en
But perhaps you mistyped and meant it 'takes 4 hours' by train from Rothenburg Ob der Tauber to Strasbourg? That train journey takes about 3.5 hours. Driving will also take about 3.5 hours and more if there is traffic congestion.

Driving between Heidelberg and Strasbourg will take you about 2 hours and more if there's traffic congestion.
You're coming in December. Are you happy about driving in icy and/or snowy conditions? Have you any experience in doing so?
I've been driving for many decades but when a journey takes much the same time by car or train I always choose the train because a) you see much more b) it's safe and comfortable c) it's much less stressful d) there's no traffic congestion with the train e) there's no hassle or cost of fuel & parking and f) train is by far the greener option.... but it's your choice.
3. >whether I should choose Heidelberg over Stuttgart 
That's entirely up to you. 
Stuttgart has some historical interest but was very badly damaged by bombing during WW2. Heidelberg suffered very little war damage and thus, imo, has more historical and architectural interest. It's also much smaller than Stuttgart and therefore, imo, more attractive.



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