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Visiting Germany

Orlando, Florida
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Visiting Germany

I am planning a family trip to Germany this summer and have lots of potential places to visit on my list. I have two teenage daughters ages 16 and 18. We were thinking of visiting Berlin, Heidelberg and the Rhine River area and Munich. However, I have seen some great comments about Salzburg and Innsbruck. I love the Alps and was wondering if you think we could see them all. We have two weeks and will travel by train. If seeing it all is too much. What would you leave out? We definitely want to see some castles, beautiful scenery and historical sites. I was looking at the home town of The Brothers Grimm and the Black Forest. Lots of ideas and need some help sorting through them all!

Philadelphia...
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1. Re: Visiting Germany

For 2 weeks at a reasonable pace, you could see a good bit of your wish list but not nearly all of it. Berlin-Munich by train is over 6 hrs, Berlin-Heidelberg about 5.5 hrs. Definitely doable trips, but travel time adds up. You can consult train times at bahn.de

For a MINIMUM, I'd plan on 2 nts in small towns, 3nts in Munich, and 4 min in Berlin. Obviously there are advantages for an even slower pace - you get to know the area better, you save the hassle of checking in and out of hotels, and you save time and money on transport. But that's a good minimum to start with. Which means you're looking at 4 different destinations (at most) over 2 weeks.

I'd focus on 1 or 2 regions (in Germany, called states or "Laender") - or one major city and 1 region. With that, prioritize what you want most out of your vacation:

- Castles and Alps?: Either Bavaria and Austria or Baden-Wurttemberg and Austria or Switzerland.

- River and Castles?: SW corner of the country, you can even include the Black Forest, though I need to warn you that area, while perfectly nice, is a little overhyped

- City/History and Alps?: Berlin, then fly to Alpine destination

etc...

I personally like variety, not 2 weeks of castles and churches, not 2 weeks of major cities, so I think a mix is useful for a vacation.

ortonville
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2. Re: Visiting Germany

You may want to take a look at, http://www.mikesbiketours.com/munich/, Mikes Bike Tours as a day trip from Munich. My husband and I did the castle tour in September and really enjoyed it. The bus to the Castle was very comfortable and once there, they handled everything. The area is so beautiful. We biked, swam in a lake, did an alpine ride,walked through a gorge and the saw the Castle. We got back to Munich bout 8:00. Alone, I don't think we would have been able to do all that, using public transportation.

After we left Munich, we went to Heidelburg. We stayed in a hotel near the central train station, and took the tram to the castle. It was very easy to do from that location.We loved the castle tour and the surrounding area. Lots to see and nice little restaurants in the area, but we really only needed that one day there. We were ready to leave the next day. I am glad we had more days in Munich and less in Heidelberg.

Columbia, Missouri
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3. Re: Visiting Germany

I agree with oedip on his post. We did 2 nights in small towns and more in Munich for the reasons he/she mentioned.

This was our Bavaria trip in September of 2010, my favorite trip of all time, if you care to look at it. It was a very nice pace, we are not into rushing. I really can’t speak about much of Germany, and I really only know a little about the 4 cities we visited. But I do know it was fantastic and you will love it. Bear in mind this was our first trip to Bavaria (Bavaria is one of the states of Germany as mentioned before). The purpose of the trip was to scratch 2 things off my bucket list, 1. Germany, where my grandmother was from and 2. OKTOBERFEST!!!! We wanted to add a few other things like Kehlsteinhaus (Hitler’s Eagles Nest) and Schloss Neuschwanstein mainly. So our trip was:

1. Flight into Munich, hop right on a train to Füssen. The train ride (about 2 hours) to Füssen was one of the highlights of the trip for me (use the public transportation whenever possible). Probably a combination of things, First fresh air after long trip + First vision of Germany + First sight of the Alps + First sight of Schloss Neuschwanstein ect. ect. We stayed 2 nights in Füssen which was great. We stayed in the heart of the Altstadt at a place called Hotel Zum Hechten, the hotel and the location was fantastic. Neuschwanstein was really cool as was the surrounding area, we didn’t tour Hohenschwangau (which you should probably, your daughters would like both). The restaurant Gasthof Krone was very good.

2. We then hopped on a train to Innsbruck Austria. Another great train ride (about 2 hours). We stayed 2 nights in Innsbruck which was perfect. We stayed in the heart of the Altstadt at a place called Hotel Weisses Kreuz, the hotel and the location was fantastic. Mozart stayed there also (not at the same time we were there). Innsbruck is at the base of the Alps and we took a vernacular/gondola ride up, very cool.

3. We then hopped on a train to Salzburg Austria. Another great train ride (I think about 2 hours also). This time we stayed 3 nights there and we stayed at a place called Haus Reichl Reiterweg. It was on the outskirts of Salzburg. The place was fantastic but a little far out for us. Next time we would stay as close to the Altstadt as possible. The reason to stop in Salzburg was to be close enough to go to the Eagles Nest (AWESOME!!) which is really in Berchtesgaden. We loved Salzburg and would definitely go back, but the area of Berchtesgaden looked so nice I think we would maybe go there next time too. The open markets in Salzburg were very nice. We went up to a restaurant/beer garden called The Stieglkeller a couple times. It was great, we took some fantastic pictures overlooking Salzburg at dusk! We didn’t do any of the Sound of Music things (which your daughters might like, so sit down as a family and watch “the Sound of Music” right before you go).

4. We then hopped on a train to Munich. Another great train ride (again about 2 hours I think). We stayed for 6 days in Munich at a place called Pension Westfalia. The place was ok but the location was perfect. Right across the street from Oktoberfest. There is too much to go into about Munich, so I’ll go over a few high points but feel free to ask me about anything you wish. Loved Munich, Loved Hofbrauhaus, Loved Oktoberfest, the Dachau site is a must see and we wished we would have spent a little time to see the actual city. We enjoyed Marienplatz and Loved the Viktualienmarkt. I reviewed some things for these cities here on TA if you care to see them.

I know you won’t be going during Oktoberfest, but Munich does deserve a more few days compared to the smaller cities, plus you can just stay there and use the extra day or 2 for day trips to surrounding towns using the trains, and not have to pack up and change hotels as mentioned in the previous post.

Using public transportation is fantastic, we found it very easy use and VERY cheap, almost everyone speaks English and is very helpful. We chose not to do a car because I’m not familiar with driving there, it seemed to be much more complicated than the trains and it was WAY more expensive. I don’t think we spent more than 175-200 Euro for all our trains/busses/trams for the 13 days we were there. The car we looking into was going to be 2 or 3 times that, plus the cost of gas, parking etc. The trains gave us a chance to rest and enjoy the views of the beautiful country side going from city to city. But having said that, there is no freedom like the freedom of a car.

Also, stay IN or as close to the Altstadt (old town) as possible. Especially in the smaller towns, there is just more things going on and closer to things to do and eat.

We are going back in September of 2013 and we can’t wait. This time we are going to Mittenwald Germany (2 nights), Berchtesgaden Germany (2 nights), Hallstatt Austria (2 nights), Vienna Austria (4 nights) and Munich Germany (5 nights) for Oktoberfest.

I’ve a link to my own web page that has our photos from the 2010 trip if you care to see them as well. They are under the titles of Füssen, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Munchen. If you have any questions please let me know. And PROST!!

http://whitefamilyckmpr.shutterfly.com/#

Paradise, California
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for Rhineland-Palatinate
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4. Re: Visiting Germany

"We were thinking of visiting Berlin, Heidelberg and the Rhine River area and Munich. However, I have seen some great comments about Salzburg and Innsbruck. I love the Alps and was wondering if you think we could see them all. We have two weeks and will travel by train. If seeing it all is too much. What would you leave out? We definitely want to see some castles, beautiful scenery and historical sites."

I think you can do ALMOST all of that with careful planning and open-jaws flights. For example:

-Fly into Berlin (5 nights.)

-Train to the Rhine (not something to leave out if you want to see some great scenery and real castles - there are 40 along a 40-mile stretch of river!) Catch an early train (6:30?) catch a couple of Z's on the train and get there just after noon. See Marksburg and Rheinfels Castles, take a train ride up the Mosel river to Cochem (3 nights.)

http://www.st-goar.de/17-1-.html

http://www.roadstoruins.com/marksburg.htm

www.marksburg.de

trekearth.com/gallery/…photo24814.htm

…westhostsite.com/images/2011/06/Cochem_Germ…

-Train to Munich (early a.m. again) and get there around noon (5-6 nights.) Daytrip options: Salzburg (doable, 1.5-2 hours each way.) Herrenchiemsee (Ludwig's palace, on an island in Chiemsee lake, only 1 hr. from Munich to Prien.)

home.arcor.de/oberpfalz-nord/chiemsee.htm

Nymphenburg Palace (short ride from central Munich by public transport.)

schloss-nymphenburg.de/englisch/…index.htm

You may wish to visit Dachau concentration camp, a short ride from Munich, as well.

Fly out of Munich airport.

Edited: 11:30 am, October 31, 2012
Munich, Germany
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5. Re: Visiting Germany

Forget Heidelberg and visit Salzburg and possibly Innsbruck (or Vienna?) instead. You could, for example, book your flight to Berlin, visit the city, then get a cheap flight with Air Berlin to Munich, take the train to Salzburg, then visit Innsbruck and Vienna, and fly back to Berlin from Vienna.

Check their prices at www.dba.de

The airline is in trouble financially, but I guess they should still make it until next summer. Their flights are so-so, but what I really like is that you don't have to book a return ticket, but can book a ticket from Berlin to Munich, then from Vienna to Berlin, and it won't cost you a lot more than a normal return ticket from Berlin to Munich would cost with any other airline. (Ok, it's a bit more expensive because Vienna is abroad, but not much.)

Bautzen, Germany
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6. Re: Visiting Germany

>" I was looking at the home town of The Brothers Grimm and the Black Forest."

I hope you know that Hanau was completely destroyed in WW2 (only 7 buildings survived)? And the folk tales originate from a different region of Germany, mostly Northern Hesse and Lower Saxony.

Karlsruhe, Germany
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7. Re: Visiting Germany

>>" I was looking at the home town of The Brothers Grimm and the Black Forest."

>I hope you know that Hanau was completely destroyed in WW2 (only 7 buildings survived)? And the folk tales originate from a different region of Germany, mostly Northern Hesse and Lower Saxony.

Agree with Martin, Hanau is a promising competitor for the title of Germany's Ugliest City. If you want to walk in the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm you may want to visit the city where they spent their student years, which is a lot more fairytale-like, Marburg: http://www.marburg.de/en/24698

Orlando, Florida
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8. Re: Visiting Germany

Thank you all for your valuable tips and sample itineraries. They were really helpful!

Adelaide, Australia
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9. Re: Visiting Germany

Can I add my vote for Salzburg....

stay in the old town, visit the fortress, stroll alleys, Mirabell Gardens, easy day trip by public bus to Berchtesgaden and lake trip/ then cable car to Mt Jenner.

Next time I will add Hohenwerfen and ice caves to our Salzburg visit.

Adelaide, Australia
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10. Re: Visiting Germany

btw....lovely photos, cardinal5...