Tugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 6001 posts, RR: 10 Posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5310 times:
OK here's the situation, I am travelling to Weimar, Germany in early October, departing SAN. I will be there for three days but in Germany for a total of 10 days before returning. I figure I will sight see a bit and go to Frankfurt and Berlin or Prague during my free time. With that plan I will need either a rental car or a Eurail Pass to go where I want. So here are the questions:
What is the best way to do this?
I can't fly into Weimar, and I think the best thing is to fly into FRA and travel from there. But LEJ is closer. And is the rental car or Eurial better? I don't know which is "better", the car gives me more local freedom but Eurail is what many people say is easier.
Also I don't know yet what airline I am going on to get there. The company may specify or I may get to select it myself. No matter what I will be going coach, don't get the luxury of anything else. But if I get to select, is it better to go by A330, 777, 767, 757, A340, 747 (No real surprise, these are what I have found as being available for this route) Which will give me a better coach experience? I have heard that the 767 may be the best as it is a wide body but since its not a "premiere" one some say the service is often better. The idea of 8 hours in a 757 doesn't thrill me at all and I just don't know the 330. And I kinda expect the 340, 777, and 747 to have similar "wide body coach" products.
So any suggestions? I am hoping some here will have suggestions or answers on this. I obviously have time to book it (Oh yeah, what is the best time to book? 3 months ahead, three weeks, .....???)
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
PanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 10099 posts, RR: 31
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 5270 times:
FRA is the best choice for gateway. Get a Eurailpass and travel by train, preferrably 1st class. Weimar is about 2 1/2 hours and it is a comfortable ride. You may not be able to take a rental car into Czechia, they are EU now biut teh theft rate is still high and rental car companies prohibit usually trips to the East.
Visit Leipzog and Dresden on the way to PRG and BER is of course worth a visit. Enjoy your stay.
Kole Feut un' 'en steiffen Wind gifft 'en krusen Buedel un' 'nen luetten Pint
Tomaeroeng From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 5227 times:
if its your first time visiting germany, and you are travelling alone, i d not take a rental car, unless it has a GPS installed (which likely it wont as long as its not a top car). travelling by train is much more conveniant, as long as you dont want to visit the countryside. connections from weimar to berlin, to munich or to prague are mostly just as fast than going by car.
If I were you, I d spend 2 days in Berlin, a day in Dresden, Prague, from there on to Salzburg, Munich and back to Frankfurt. The city of Frankfurt itself is not spectacular or original imho.
One more advice. Try to make reservations in German high speed trains, unless you plan to spend your time in the aisle with your luggage, having fellow travellers climbing over you ever minute.
SailorOrion From Germany, joined Feb 2001, 2058 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5193 times:
I can't say I could recommend using a German train to anyone, but that's just personal preference. I'm almost always faster using a car. Frankfurt is a great city to spot, but there's not too much to see from a sightseeing point of view.
The Berlin-Dresden-Prague-Salzburg-Munich route suggested above is actually very very good, but it misses Leipzig. It also gives you the option of not returning to FRA, but flying out MUC-ORD-SAN or MUC-DEN-SAN or even MUC-LAX. A really nice route to get to Leipzig would be SAN-PDX-FRA-LEJ. Stay in LEJ for like 2-3 days (get over the jetlag) and then continue to Weimar. From there to Berlin-Dresden-Prague-Salzburg-Munich. Drop me a mail and we might meet in MUC if you (and I) find the time
Haggis79 From Germany, joined Jun 2006, 1096 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5189 times:
I don't think there's a real big difference between the single widebodies when travelling coach when travelling alone - if you want to be seated on the window you have at least one seatneighbour next to you either way.
Regarding airlines I'd strongly recommend AF over the pond - imho they have the best eco product of the lot. Plus, they also fly from CDG to LEJ, so you could avoid FRA, which I think is not a very nice airport - MUC is a lot better.
So you could do something like fly to LEJ - do your stuff in Weimar, then go to Berlin, then Dresden, Prague, Salzburg, Munich and fly from MUC. But of course there's a hell lot more to do and see in Germany.
Just to name a few: Hamburg is imho a very nice city, too. There are those "cute little towns" like Passau, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Rothenburg (I'd prefer Freiburg). Nuremberg (my hometown) is also not bad - one of the largest castles in Germany is right in the middle of the city and there's an excellent exhibition about Germany in the 3rd Reich at the "Reichsparteitagsgelände" - so if you're interested about that part of our history as well it would be a good thing to visit. And the list goes on.... (Lake Constance, the river Rhine, Frankfurt, Cologne...)
If you want to stick to the schedule suggested above and include a little bit more you could either go from Munich to Freiburg and fly home from BSL via CDG or you do a little Salzburg-Passau-Munich detour...
Regarding transportation I'd say if you don't have too much luggage take the train - you see a lot more of German countryside from the train and you avoid riding the Autobahn which can be stressing for people who aren't used to it.
FD728 From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5104 times:
I can only agree with those suggested sightseeing routes.
However, you could also fly into Erfurt, which is really close to Weimar. Check LH or UA fares whether or not they are affordable. The routing would then look something like SAN-DEN-MUC-ERF and via MUC and IAD on the way back. You would get to travel on the A340 and 777 plus the Dornier 328 between MUC and ERF.
Chase From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1054 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 4977 times:
I've done both in Germany, and I would recommend the train, unless you're planning on spending a lot of time way out in the boondocks. For longer trips, look into the overnight trains, as you'll save money by paying for one less hotel night, and you'll not waste precious awake-time sitting in a metal box.
I agree with the above recommendations for Berlin, Munich, and especially Prague even though that's not in Germany. Neuschwanstein castle is very cool but not sure about transportation there.
Brons2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3019 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4740 times:
I've been a frequent visitor to the wonderful country of Germany the last few years and I have some comments.
Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2): You may not be able to take a rental car into Czechia, they are EU now biut teh theft rate is still high and rental car companies prohibit usually trips to the East.
We were able to take a rental van from Herford, Germany to Prague, but probably only because it was rented by our German frends. I 2nd the recommendation to use the trains, they're very convenient especially for a single traveler. In the case of the rental van, we had my American family of 4 and our German friends' family of 4. That made car travel worth it at 75 EUR a day for the rental. But alone, the train is a no brainer.
Quoting Tomaeroeng (Reply 3): One more advice. Try to make reservations in German high speed trains, unless you plan to spend your time in the aisle with your luggage, having fellow travellers climbing over you ever minute.
Yes. Always use the ICE trains, the Inter-City-Express. (yes, they do have an English name) They're really fast. The other trains range from not quite so fast to horrendously slow in the case of the RB regional trains. Some of the high speed ICE trains go in excess of 300 km/h (180 MPH)
As for your flights...I would fly to any EU gateway from SAN and then utilize Ryanair, Easyjet or Germanwings to get closer to your destination. You're an airliner geek. Act like one! On my 2005 trip, I flew with Southwest, British, Ryanair, Easyjet and Hapag-Lloyd Flug! Ports of call included AUS BWI LHR LTN BSL HHN PSA CIA FKB STR AYT DUS and DTM!
Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
HMan From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4624 times:
I don't know how important that is to you, but if I wouldn't live here I would absolutely want to take a rental car just because of the missing speed limit on the Autobahn to finally see, what cars are built for .
I don't care too much about train rides. As somebody mentioned above, you're almost always faster taking a car unless you do trips like HAM-MUC or MUC-BER in the rush hour. Also, if you want to see stuff besides the big cities (starting with Weimar or Neuschwanstein) you might miss a car really fast.
Shane From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 4519 times:
Sixt will rent you one of their lower-end cars to drive into the Czech Republic. You'll probably wind up with a Ford Focus or something, so don't expect too much fun on the Autobahn if you do decide to go this route. Be sure you tell them in advance where you plan to take the car. Also, bring your passport to the rental office. Your U.S. drivers license isn't enough for them. Another consideration: your GPS unit will probably be in German, and may not cover the Czech Republic.
As for the flights: My best recommendation would be SAN-SFO on UA then SFO-FRA on LH. You could also connect in LAX. Germanwings is a good, cheap way to go once you're over there, but book ahead to get the deals!
WJV04 From Canada, joined Jun 2001, 585 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4475 times:
Dont forget, that you need a visa to even visit Prague. This may not be true for a US citizen, however I found out the hard way when I was told I need a visa to even enter the country, so I took advantage of my eurail pass and took the same train I was on right back to Berlin.
SJCRRPAX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4468 times:
Quoting HMan (Reply 13): I don't know how important that is to you, but if I wouldn't live here I would absolutely want to take a rental car just because of the missing speed limit on the Autobahn to finally see, what cars are built for
I agree with you on the car, This dude should however already know about missing speed limits since down in SAN they don't really pay much attention to them anyway. Really not that much difference from A7 in Germany or I15 and I5 in SoCal. If you get a car, get the GPS as German cities are impossible to navigate without one.
Brons2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3019 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 4452 times:
Quoting WJV04 (Reply 15): Dont forget, that you need a visa to even visit Prague. This may not be true for a US citizen, however I found out the hard way when I was told I need a visa to even enter the country, so I took advantage of my eurail pass and took the same train I was on right back to Berlin.
I did not need a visa to enter the Czech Republic via car.
Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
Trintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3272 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4345 times:
Are you a US citizen Tugger? If so no visa is needed for the Czech Republic. Canadians have also been exempt from visas for Czech Republic since 2004, when the nation joined the EU. Apart from the UK and Eire, all EU nations have virtually the same entry requirements pertaining to visas although the new members have not implemented Schengen as yet. It will be best to check with the Czech Embassy before you go as things can and do change. Have fun!