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Most sat navs will try to make you take a direct route from Liege to Nurburg through very rural countryside, but the quickest way is to stick to the Autobahns and come in from the east side. Note that an A road in Germany is an Autobahn (blue sign), and a B road is a Bundesstrasse (yellow sign), which is like a single or double lane A road in the UK.
For the simplest route from the UK to Germany:
As you come down the A61 you will see signs for the Nurburgring that will take you either on the B257 or B267. They are actually shorter routes but take longer because they meander through the countryside. Apparently it is a nice ride on a bike but I just find it wearing in a car.
On the way back your sat nav will probably try to take you back west from Adenau via the B258 to the E1. It is quicker to drive East on the B412 or Northeast on the B257 until you find signs to Koln. Follow them and then look for the E40 and stay on it, following signs to Brussels, then Ostend, then Calais / Dunkerque.
Detailed route from the UK and Europe to the Nurburgring
Enter your starting point and the Google Gadget below will display a map and route instructions. It will also give an approximate distance (including sea crossing if appropriate) and estimated travel time. Click the "View Larger Map" tab to customise your route. For most cities in the UK it will assume you want to take the Channel Tunnel; you might find it easier to follow the route if you enter Calais or Dunkerque as your starting point.
Google Maps by default calculates the quickest route and will use motorways for most of the journey.
Approximate distances by road from some major cities outside of Germany:
Brussels is a good stopover point if you are coming from the UK and want to break up the trip into two legs. You can also find photo-directions here for three of the most popular routes:
Tobacco Alley in Belgium
Just 20km east along of Dunkirk along the E40 is a town called Adinkerke where you can get cheap tobacco products in bulk. 20 B&H were €57 or £45 in February 2014. It's worth checking out if you are a smoker. Tobacco Alley link
Getting to the Nurburgring by public road transport
Don't. Fly to Hahn and rent a cheap car instead. The Nurburgring is in the middle of the triangle between Luxembourg, Cochem and Gouvy on the map below (look in the southwest corner) and is poorly serviced by the rail network. The Nurburgring is in the middle of Luxembourg-Cologne and Liege-Koblenz in the bottom left of this picture (click to expand).
If you are flying in to Germany, fly to Frankfurt Hahn, Frankfurt Main (closer to Frankfurt but further away from the Ring), Koln/Bonn (about 70km away), or Dusseldorf. More detailed guides will follow, but for now use the Deutsche Bahn travel website to plan a route, and try as many alternatives as you can.
In the end you may find it easiest to hire a car, or get a taxi if you are in a group of people
Ben's original travel advice for public transport from Frankfurt Hahn is:
Total ticket cost about €25 (one-way).