AKLDELNonstop
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Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:00 am

Hi All,

I am planning my first ever trip to Germany with a group of friends towards the last week of August and needed some help with the itinerary. We will have about eleven days - Friday to the following Monday. I know this is nowhere near enough time to see Germany properly but unfortunately we only have about 11 days at our disposal. The idea is to see the highlights and cover as much as possible. So I was hoping people familiar with Germany (including of course the Germany based members in the forum) would be able to help me with my itinerary.

The things I really want to see are
1. Berlin (East and West Side, Brandenburg Gate etc. etc.)
2. Rhine Valley
3. Munich
4. Dachau ( Is this recommended? Is there a museum/memorial here? I do love my history so don't want to miss out on historic sights)
5. Neuschwanstein Castle

My tentative itinerary based on internet research as of now is

Day 1 Friday - Arrive Frankfurt in the afternoon and rent a car. See Frankfurt city. Overnight in Frankfurt
Day 2 Saturday - See the Rhine valley and then drive to Baden Baden. Overnight in Baden Baden
Day 3 Sunday - See Black Forest. Overnight in Baden Baden
Day 4 Monday - Drive to Munich via Neuschwanstein Castle. Overnight at Munich
Day 5 Tuesday - See sights in Munich. Overnight in Munich.
Day 6 Wednesday - See Dachau. Overnight in Munich
Day 7 Thursday - Drive to Dresden. Overnight in Dresden (not so sure on this one)
Day 8 Friday - See Dresden. Drive to Berlin. Overnight in Berlin
Day 9 Saturday - Berlin. Overnight in Berlin
Day 10 Sunday - Berlin. Overnight in Berlin
Day 11 Monday - Fly back

Unfortunately Days 1 and 11 are fixed but I would love some input on how to structure the rest of the itinerary. And would also love input on whether I am missing out on things I really shouldn't miss out on.

Thanks in advance!

AKLDELNonstop
 
rabenschlag
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:19 am

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Thread starter):
Day 1 Friday - Arrive Frankfurt in the afternoon and rent a car. See Frankfurt city. Overnight in Frankfurt
Day 2 Saturday - See the Rhine valley and then drive to Baden Baden. Overnight in Baden Baden
Day 3 Sunday - See Black Forest. Overnight in Baden Baden
Day 4 Monday - Drive to Munich via Neuschwanstein Castle. Overnight at Munich
Day 5 Tuesday - See sights in Munich. Overnight in Munich.
Day 6 Wednesday - See Dachau. Overnight in Munich
Day 7 Thursday - Drive to Dresden. Overnight in Dresden (not so sure on this one)
Day 8 Friday - See Dresden. Drive to Berlin. Overnight in Berlin
Day 9 Saturday - Berlin. Overnight in Berlin
Day 10 Sunday - Berlin. Overnight in Berlin
Day 11 Monday - Fly back

Just some quick thoughts on your plans:

Day 3: I am not sure whether you can "see" the black forest, as it is, well, a large forest area (and perhaps not even outstanding by international standards, but this is my humble opinion). Again in my humble opinion, you may be able to find more exciting places than Baden Baden. My recommendation is to be very clear to yourself as to why you want to go there. In my view, it is not a no-brainer-have-to-go-there location.

Day 7: Stopping in Dresden on your way to Berlin will be interesting if you are into baroque architecture. Staying over night will be wise because driving from Munich to Berlin in one day will be a bit draining.

Have a pleasant trip!
 
AKLDELNonstop
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:58 am

Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 1):
Day 3: I am not sure whether you can "see" the black forest, as it is, well, a large forest area (and perhaps not even outstanding by international standards, but this is my humble opinion). Again in my humble opinion, you may be able to find more exciting places than Baden Baden.

Thanks this is just the type of information I am looking for. Would you recommend staying over in Stuttgart? Is there much to see there?

Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 1):
Day 7: Stopping in Dresden on your way to Berlin will be interesting if you are into baroque architecture. Staying over night will be wise because driving from Munich to Berlin in one day will be a bit draining.

I do plan to stay a night in Dresden. And yes, I do like architecture.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:10 pm

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Thread starter):
Day 1 Friday - Arrive Frankfurt in the afternoon and rent a car. See Frankfurt city. Overnight in Frankfurt

I understand this day is already fixed, but I don't see why you would want to rent a car. You don't need it to discover Frankfurt or its surroundings. Worse, you will be jet-lagged, and driving will be a drag.

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Thread starter):
Day 3 Sunday - See Black Forest. Overnight in Baden Baden

In my opinion it is better to see Freiburg im Breisgau instead of Baden Baden. Baden Baden is a spa and casino town, Freiburg is a university town that has more to offer for younger folks. Besides, Freiburg is situated in the middle of the Black Forest, not bordering it like Baden Baden. In Freiburg you could see the old town and walk up the adjacent Schlossberg to enjoy a nice view over the city and the surrounding Black Forest.
But I agree witrh Rabenschlag: The Black Forest is actually nothing special but just a ... well: forest with some hills thrown in. Freiburg is nice, though, and if you can manage to see Lake Constance on your way to Neuschwanstein: the better.

If you want to see Neuschwanstein from the inside, remember there it will take a *long* time for you in the queue (or on the visitors platform) to wait foryour turn. You can pre-book your tickets online which I highly recommend if you don't just want to see the castle from the outside. The tickets will also include a tour through Hohenschwangau castle. Many say it is more interesting. I have seen been both from the outside only, so I can't tell.
Anyway,your tour from Freiburg or even Baden Baden to Neuschwanstein will be time consuming. Consider spending one night in Füssen before heading to Munich, and then don't go the direct route but follow river Isar, drive along Sylvenstein Stausee, enjoy a coffee in Bad Tölz's Marktstaße and "climb" up Kalvarienberg.

As for Dachau: Dachau has a nice old town, but after seeing Füssen, Bad Tölz and Freiburg it is really not that interesting. The concentration camp: yes, there is a memorial, but there is very little left of the original camp. You won't have the feeling to get beamed back to the 40s. The museum is good, though, and of course a depressive, sad feeling will be there and can indeed be overwhelming.

Since you seem to like history: You may want to do a day trip to Potsdam (take the S-Bahn) and see Sanssouci Palace, the Dutch Quarter and Cecilienhof. History wise, Potsdam has a lot to offer.
Edit: Potsdam is near Berlin, not Munich in case you don't know.

And another thing:
It is Freiburg im Breisgau (there is another, smaller Freiburg someplace else in Germany), and it is Füssen or Fuessen *not* Fussen. Keep this in mind when you feed your TomTom or buy train tickets at a vending machine.

[Edited 2012-04-23 05:14:45]
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NoUFO
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:11 pm

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Reply 2):
Would you recommend staying over in Stuttgart? Is there much to see there?

No, there's the Mercedes and the Porsche Museum, but that's it. Stay in Freiburg if you want to see the Black Forest.
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AKLDELNonstop
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:11 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 3):
I understand this day is already fixed, but I don't see why you would want to rent a car. You don't need it to discover Frankfurt or its surroundings. Worse, you will be jet-lagged, and driving will be a drag.

The car will not really be used much on the first day. Just to go to the hotel from the airport. But it saves us time the next day as I do not have to go to a car rental again.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 3):
Freiburg is nice, though, and if you can manage to see Lake Constance on your way to Neuschwanstein: the better.

Thanks for that. I will look it up.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 3):
If you want to see Neuschwanstein from the inside, remember there it will take a *long* time for you in the queue (or on the visitors platform) to wait foryour turn. You can pre-book your tickets online which I highly recommend if you don't just want to see the castle from the outside.

Thanks for the tip. I would want to see it from inside if I am going all the way there, so buying the ticket online makes a lot of sense.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 3):
Since you seem to like history: You may want to do a day trip to Potsdam (take the S-Bahn) and see Sanssouci Palace, the Dutch Quarter and Cecilienhof. History wise, Potsdam has a lot to offer.
Edit: Potsdam is near Berlin, not Munich in case you don't know.

Yes, a day/half day tour to Potsdam is on the agenda from Berlin.
 
Rara
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:49 pm

Good itinerary.

If you consider giving the Black Forest a miss, then maybe you needn't go that far south. Instead of Freiburg, you could also stay in Heidelberg (which from my experiences is sort of comparable, small but touristy university town), which would give you more time of the Rhine valley day. The interesting parts aren't really on the route from Frankfurt to Freiburg/Heidelberg, but rather between Wiesbaden and Koblenz. Loreley, St. Goar, the Rhine castles and so on. Saving two hours on the trip would give you more time for those. And because you can take the Autobahn, it'd even reduce the drive to Schwangau the next day.

I too would keep Dresden on the itinerary. It's surprisingly nice.
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signol
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:18 pm

Here's an idea...

Day 1. Arrive. Stay in Frankfurt.
2. rent car, head to Rhein valley (eg. Koblenz. Nice castle, nearby Mosel valley for vineyards, castle Burg Eltz, Cochem). Stay in Rhein area.
3. Drive to Munich - roughly 6h.
4. Drive out to Neuschwanstein. Return to Munich. Return car in evening.
5. Day in Munich, beer halls, BMW World museum, etc.
6. Day to Dachau by local train (Munich S-Bahn suburban route)
7. Fly or train Munich - Dresden. See Dresden.
8. Dresden-Berlin.
9. Berlin
10. Berlin
11. Fly back.

Basically, I don't think you need a car for your whole trip, and would enable you to see some of the country by DB's excellent (including ICE) trains.

My company has its head office in Munich, so I'm there more often than anywhere else in Germany.

signol
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NoUFO
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:46 pm

If you choose to take the train:

German Rail Pass:
http://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/prices/germany/germanrailpass.shtml

Laendertickets:Check Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg
http://www.bahn.com/i/view/DEU/en/prices/germany/laender-ticket.shtml
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flanker
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:51 pm

Don't forget to visit Audi at Ingolstadt!!!!
Calling an illegal alien an 'undocumented immigrant' is like calling a drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist
 
AKLDELNonstop
Topic Author
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:28 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 6):
If you consider giving the Black Forest a miss, then maybe you needn't go that far south.

From all the replies that definitely seems to be a trend. I think Baden Baden is out of my list then.

Quoting Rara (Reply 6):
The interesting parts aren't really on the route from Frankfurt to Freiburg/Heidelberg, but rather between Wiesbaden and Koblenz. Loreley, St. Goar, the Rhine castles and so on.

Yes this was the one thing that the various tour websites did explain in detail. I think we would drive up to Heidelberg and then do the boat rides and also spend a day in the Rhine area.

Quoting signol (Reply 7):
Day 1. Arrive. Stay in Frankfurt.
2. rent car, head to Rhein valley (eg. Koblenz. Nice castle, nearby Mosel valley for vineyards, castle Burg Eltz, Cochem). Stay in Rhein area.
3. Drive to Munich - roughly 6h.
4. Drive out to Neuschwanstein. Return to Munich. Return car in evening.
5. Day in Munich, beer halls, BMW World museum, etc.
6. Day to Dachau by local train (Munich S-Bahn suburban route)
7. Fly or train Munich - Dresden. See Dresden.
8. Dresden-Berlin.
9. Berlin
10. Berlin
11. Fly back.

Basically, I don't think you need a car for your whole trip, and would enable you to see some of the country by DB's excellent (including ICE) trains.

That is very helpful thanks. I like the idea of splitting up transportation between car and train. Although that said, I may keep the car till Dresden and take a train from Dresden to Berlin. I hear the roads going north from Munich are very pretty.

So my modified itinerary based on the suggestions above would look something like this.

Day 1 - Arrive Frankfurt. See Frankfurt.
Day 2 - Drive to Heidelberg. Rhine cruise covering St. Goar etc. and then stay in Heidelberg.
Day 3 - Drive to Freiburg im Briesgau. Overnight at Frieberg
Day 4 - Drive to Munich via Lake Constance and Neuschwanstein (Is it possible to do both in a day). Overnight at Munich
Day 5 - See Munich, BMW museum, beer etc. Overnight at Munich.
Day 6 - Drive to Dachau, hang out in Munich. Overnight at Munich
Day 7 - Drive to Dresden, Return car. Overnight at Dresden
Day 8 - See Dresden. Take evening train to Berlin. Overnight at Berlin
Day 9 - See Berlin. Overnight at Berlin
Day 10 - Potsdam. Overnight at Berlin
Day 11 - Fly back

How does that sound?

Thanks a lot for all the ideas guys. This has been very helpful.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:47 pm

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Reply 10):
Drive to Munich via Lake Constance and Neuschwanstein (Is it possible to do both in a day). Overnight at Munich

Yes, but only barely.

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Reply 10):
Frieberg

Freiburg (im Breisgau)! The "ei" in "Frei" is pronounced "I", wheras "ie" as in "Frie" is pronounced "ee". And "berg" means mountain, while "burg" means castle.
Pardon me for being so pushy, but there's probably a Frieberg someplace in Germany, and when you feed your TomTom with it ... I came across some English speakers on another forum who confused Füssen with Fussen or something along that line and drove north or east rather than south.
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andz
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:00 am

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 3):
In my opinion it is better to see Freiburg im Breisgau instead of Baden Baden. Baden Baden is a spa and casino town, Freiburg is a university town that has more to offer for younger folks. Besides, Freiburg is situated in the middle of the Black Forest, not bordering it like Baden Baden. In Freiburg you could see the old town and walk up the adjacent Schlossberg to enjoy a nice view over the city and the surrounding Black Forest.
But I agree witrh Rabenschlag: The Black Forest is actually nothing special but just a ... well: forest with some hills thrown in. Freiburg is nice, though,

My favourite place in Germany...

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Reply 10):
Drive to Freiburg im Briesgau. Overnight at Frieberg

I can recommend a couple of hotels in Freiburg, Rheingold is very close to the station (less than 100 metres) then there is Park Hotel Post and Hotel Victoria in the same street.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:08 am

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 11):
Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Reply 10):
Frieberg

Freiburg (im Breisgau)! The "ei" in "Frei" is pronounced "I", wheras "ie" as in "Frie" is pronounced "ee". And "berg" means mountain, while "burg" means castle.
Pardon me for being so pushy, but there's probably a Frieberg someplace in Germany, and when you feed your TomTom with it ... I came across some English speakers on another forum who confused Füssen with Fussen or something along that line and drove north or east rather than south.

For the correct pronounciation remember the following sentence:
"Eisenhower´s niece"

Jan
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ozglobal
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:17 pm

My input:

- Don't, above all, try to be "comprehensive". It will only prevent you from really 'being there'.
- Visit fewer places, stay longer.
- I suggest the little known medieval town of Goslar, in the hills on the former East-West boarder west of Berlin. Here the Saxon kings were anointed and the town is wonderfully preserved.
- In Berlin, walk the backstreets between the Synagogue and Fredrichstrausse, full of internal courtyards, artists and newly revived residential areas. You can start at Hackershermakt.
- In Munich, the old Dominican monestry now brauhouse the city centre, and the English Gardern
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NoUFO
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:21 pm

Quoting ozglobal (Reply 14):
I suggest the little known medieval town of Goslar, in the hills on the former East-West boarder west of Berlin.

130 miles as the crow flies, which is too far I dare say. Quedlinburg is similar and a bit closer to Berlin. Or take Görlitz which is relatively close to Dresden, but his itinerary is already packed, and I would rather wipe something of the list.
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speedbird217
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:09 pm

I really would recommend to visit Hamburg. The only problem is that it probably also takes 2 days, and it would be kind of a detour on your route if you decide to go to East Germany.
It would be really interesting, because it is very different if you compare it to places like the South of Germany, especially the people. And it also has such a rich history and is just a great place to be. You could probably drop Dresden and go from Munich via Hamburg to Berlin. It shouldn't be a problem to take the high-speed train or shoot some 50 Euro tickets on Lufthansa from Munich to Hamburg.
 
rabenschlag
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:48 pm

Quoting speedbird217 (Reply 16):
I really would recommend to visit Hamburg. The only problem is that it probably also takes 2 days, and it would be kind of a detour on your route if you decide to go to East Germany.
It would be really interesting, because it is very different if you compare it to places like the South of Germany, especially the people.

Like them being a bit uptight?

Quoting speedbird217 (Reply 16):
And it also has such a rich history and is just a great place to be. You could probably drop Dresden and go from Munich via Hamburg to Berlin.

Dropping Dresden for Hamburg? I don't know. Honestly, I think Dresden has more unique sights than Hamburg. Hamburg is of course rather pleasant by itself, but not truly exceptional on any dimension (perhaps except prostitution).

Just my 2 ct.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:20 pm

Quoting ozglobal (Reply 14):
- I suggest the little known medieval town of Goslar, in the hills on the former East-West boarder west of Berlin. Here the Saxon kings were anointed and the town is wonderfully preserved.

Loads of mining museums around there as well. The place was famous for it´s history in metal (silver, gold, copper, tin, lead etc.) mining from the early middle ages onwards. It is also the place where the first mining academy was founded.

Jan
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NoUFO
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:58 pm

Look, their itinerary is already pretty demanding. They can save other cities then those already on the list for a future visit.
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speedbird217
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:06 pm

Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 17):
Like them being a bit uptight?

Who exactly are you referring to now?

Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 17):
Dropping Dresden for Hamburg? I don't know. Honestly, I think Dresden has more unique sights than Hamburg. Hamburg is of course rather pleasant by itself, but not truly exceptional on any dimension (perhaps except prostitution).

Just my 2 ct.

Everybody has his preferences. I just think Hamburg would be a nice contrast to his itinerary and offer him a different side of Germany.

And saying that Hamburg is not exceptional, well they got one of the largest harbors in the world, a world-famous red-light district and bar scene, they played a major role in German history for a long time with the Hanseatic League, and the city offers so much more.
What exactly do you think it is that makes Dresden so exceptional, compared to Hamburg?
 
N174UA
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Tue May 01, 2012 3:14 am

Having been to Germany 4 times:

I think your itineary is very demanding, and I hope you've built in expected traveling times along the way. I would considering scaling it back, so that you can enjoy more of the top 4 or 5 cities, or perhaps focus on southern Germany this trip, and save northern/eastern Germany for another time.

This is just me, but unless you want to drive at high speeds on the autobahn for bragging rights, I would seriously consider instead buying a Deutsche Bahn (DB) pass, espeically for the longer trips. Taking a night train between Munich and Berlin or Dresden can save you the hotel cost, too. It will give you a great opportunity to see and enjoy the surrounding countryside. I have used DB on every trip, and speak very highly of it, I've never had a bad experience. The pass is the best way to go, however. There is an app you can download for the timetable, as well.

Neuschwanstein: Buy the tickets online, absolutely. Your time inside is a mere 45 minutes, and the real enjoyment is being outside. Be sure to hike up to Marienbrucke (Mary's Bridge) for an amazing photo opportunity. Hohenschwangau, right across from Neuschwanstein is much more interesting, and there's more to see.

Burg Elz: I was there in Oct. 2010, and there was scaffolding and cranes all over it. You can still see the castle of course, but the postcard picture from a distance...not going to happen, unless they finished their construction already. Oh, another thing...if you do go here, it's a bit of a walk from the Cochem train station, and the trail to Burg Elz is behind the restuarant, not by a tiny little bridge by a stream, which I took...  

Dachau: An easy 45 minute or so train ride from downotown Munich. There's a museum there, watchtowers, and outlines of barracks, and a small gas chamber, but that's really about it. Probably 2 hours in the museum and a stroll around the grounds is sufficient.

Munich: Consider doing a walking tour of the city center. For about 10 Euros, this a great deal. On a nice day, the Englischer Garten is the place to be, and also walk along the Isar River, then a stein of beer and a pretzel under the chestnut trees by the Chinesische Turm (pagoda). A quick subway trip up to Olympic park is worth it, and BMW Welt (World) is right across the street. Go through the big building first, and if time, the museum is across the street.

Salzburg: If you have time, it's a 2 hour train ride east of Munich. If you like Mozart, it's for you. Hohensalzburg Castle above the town offers 360 views of the city. Possibly doable in a day.

Medieval town: It's a little out of the way, but Rothenburg ob der Tauber is well worth a night stay...and take a guided walk at night led by the Night Watchman! Walk along the top of the city wall, too.

Berlin: Definitely do a walking or bike tour, and there are several to choose from, based on the topic of your choice. As you like history, a few hours in the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie Museen is a must for you. Potsdam is another must-see. Cecilienhof is well worth it, as is Sansoucci. You can also take a free tour of the Reichstag...be sure to walk to the top of the glass dome.

Dresden: I was only there for a night in 2004, but it is worth a night's stay. For me, the train ride through the former East was amazing to see, from the train. Chemnitz and Zwickau were like ghost towns it seemed. Walk along the Elbe in Dresden, and go through the Frauenkirche. Baroque architecture all over...it was once (still is?) considered the Florence on the Elbe. People there were ok, not overly friendly to westerners, but not rude either. I definitely sensed a difference in attitudes compared with Munich, Bonn, etc. Still...see Dresen...you'll be glad you stopped.


I'm starting to sound like a tour guide...so I'll stop. I love Germany, and have always had a great time on each visit, except for Cologne, but I digress. I'm envious of your trip...have a great time!

N174UA
 
AKLDELNonstop
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Tue May 01, 2012 3:23 am

Quoting andz (Reply 12):
I can recommend a couple of hotels in Freiburg, Rheingold is very close to the station (less than 100 metres) then there is Park Hotel Post and Hotel Victoria in the same street.

Thanks for that. This is helpful information. I doubt there will be too many SPG properties in Freiburg, so it would be good to stay at a small local establishment.

Quoting ozglobal (Reply 14):
- In Berlin, walk the backstreets between the Synagogue and Fredrichstrausse, full of internal courtyards, artists and newly revived residential areas. You can start at Hackershermakt.
- In Munich, the old Dominican monestry now brauhouse the city centre, and the English Gardern

Thank you. Again helpful information.

Quoting speedbird217 (Reply 16):
I really would recommend to visit Hamburg. The only problem is that it probably also takes 2 days, and it would be kind of a detour on your route if you decide to go to East Germany.

I will unfortunately have to exclude Hamburg in this particular visit in favor of Dresden and Berlin. But I am sure I will make more trips to Germany in the not so distant future. The other place that I wanted to see in Germany that will have to wait for a later trip is Cologne.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 19):
Look, their itinerary is already pretty demanding. They can save other cities then those already on the list for a future visit.

  

Thanks a lot for all the help. This has been great.
 
AKLDELNonstop
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Tue May 01, 2012 3:45 am

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
I think your itineary is very demanding, and I hope you've built in expected traveling times along the way. I would considering scaling it back, so that you can enjoy more of the top 4 or 5 cities, or perhaps focus on southern Germany this trip, and save northern/eastern Germany for another time.

This is just me, but unless you want to drive at high speeds on the autobahn for bragging rights,

It is a little demanding I agree, but I really want to see Berlin and Munich on this trip. Also I love driving so I do want to experience some of the autobahn at least. That said I am considering dropping of the car in Dresden (instead of Berlin) and taking a train from Dresden to Berlin.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
Neuschwanstein: Buy the tickets online, absolutely. Your time inside is a mere 45 minutes, and the real enjoyment is being outside. Be sure to hike up to Marienbrucke (Mary's Bridge) for an amazing photo opportunity. Hohenschwangau, right across from Neuschwanstein is much more interesting, and there's more to see.

Thank you, this is very helpful. I need to note all of this down so I don't miss out when I am there.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
Burg Elz: I was there in Oct. 2010, and there was scaffolding and cranes all over it. You can still see the castle of course, but the postcard picture from a distance...not going to happen,

Is this the place from where you get a good picture of the castle?

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
Munich: Consider doing a walking tour of the city center. For about 10 Euros, this a great deal. On a nice day, the Englischer Garten is the place to be, and also walk along the Isar River, then a stein of beer and a pretzel under the chestnut trees by the Chinesische Turm (pagoda). A quick subway trip up to Olympic park is worth it, and BMW Welt (World) is right across the street. Go through the big building first, and if time, the museum is across the street.

Walking tour sounds good actually.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
Salzburg: If you have time, it's a 2 hour train ride east of Munich. If you like Mozart, it's for you. Hohensalzburg Castle above the town offers 360 views of the city. Possibly doable in a day.

Been to Austria before, including Salzburg, Innsbruck and Vienna. Absolutely loved that trip. The castle in Salzburg actually has some fantastic views of the surrounding area.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
Berlin: Definitely do a walking or bike tour, and there are several to choose from, based on the topic of your choice. As you like history, a few hours in the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie Museen is a must for you. Potsdam is another must-see. Cecilienhof is well worth it, as is Sansoucci. You can also take a free tour of the Reichstag...be sure to walk to the top of the glass dome.

Again, very helpful.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
Walk along the Elbe in Dresden, and go through the Frauenkirche. Baroque architecture all over...it was once (still is?) considered the Florence on the Elbe.

Hmm interesting.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
I'm starting to sound like a tour guide...so I'll stop.

This is actually very helpful information. Having never been to Germany nor having many German friends, this forum has been an excellent source of information. Any other tips you can add would be very welcome.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
I'm envious of your trip...have a great time!

Thanks. I actually haven't made a trip to a new country to visit in a long long time, which is a shame really given that I travel over 100k miles a year (a lot of it internationally). Most of my travel lately has been for work. So I am really looking forward to this, rather short, trip.
 
Kent350787
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Tue May 01, 2012 3:48 am

I agree with PPs that you have chosen a very demanding itinerary, and that you really ought to consider train travel (although broken period car rentals will drive that cost up). Two days in Berlin alone barely scrapes a small part of the surface of that city, and there are many other glorious places in Bavaria apart from Munich (eg. Regensburg, Bamberg, and the Bavarian Alps rather than the Black Forest).

Rothenberg ob der Tauber (especially the doppelbrucke) is a fine toytown visit - in fact, the whole "romantic road" is famous for a reason. I like Nordlingen (where exterior for the original Willy Wonka movie were filmed) and Dinkelsbuhl too.

Stuttgart is fine for a stopover, especially if you're into cars at all, with both MB and Porsche Musea there. Praga Cemetary in the afternoon and a walk up to the Weissenhof estate if you're into modern architecture.
 
N174UA
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Tue May 01, 2012 5:03 am

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Reply 23):
Is this the place from where you get a good picture of the castle?

There's a few viewpoints on the trail up to Burg Elz that you can take a picture. Without cranes and scaffolds, it would be something right out of a fairytale. Do some research on it, to see if the construction is still going on. Personally, it's a ways off the beaten path, and you need almost a full day. Maybe an idea for another time...do a Rhine River cruise on your next trip to Germany, and do BE on that trip. I don't think you'll have enough time on this trip, frankly, to squeeze it in.

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Reply 23):
Any other tips you can add would be very welcome.

Point-to-point train travel is expensive in Germany, unlike Spain, Italy, et. al. I would buy a pass good for a few days, and use that for that for the longer trips. With gas prices, and the driving you'll be doing, you might be better off with a pass, but I'll leave that to you. Perhaps consider renting a car for the day and driving on the autobahn?

Learn some basics in German, if you haven't already. Numbers, greetings, food, drinks. Some German words are fairly self explanatory, a many English words are derived from German. Still, knowing some German and trying to use it will enrich your experience.

Ask locals for ideas on restaurants wherever you go. Natives will appreciate that! Avoid the touristy type places. For example, In Munich, go to Paulaner just down from the Glockenspiel, rather than the Hofbrauhaus. Go to a local bakery, buy food at a farmers market, you get the idea. I'm from Seattle, yet the only reason I went into a Starbucks was to get the collector mug! I always bought from smaller German places...and much better coffee, I might add..
 
NoUFO
Posts: 7397
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Wed May 02, 2012 6:46 pm

Quoting AKLDELNonstop (Reply 23):
That said I am considering dropping of the car in Dresden (instead of Berlin) and taking a train from Dresden to Berlin.

That's fine, but last time I went from Berlin to Dresden by train the route was still far from a high speed track.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
Be sure to hike up to Marienbrucke (Mary's Bridge) for an amazing photo opportunity.

Definitely! This is a must! I thought that was obvious, and if it isn't than it is still a must!

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
On a nice day, the Englischer Garten is the place to be, and also walk along the Isar River

Right, I love going along the Isar river. Water attracts me, and Isar is possibly the most beautiful river I ever came across (and it hurts to say so, because I'm from Germany's north). If (and that's a big if) it had stayed dry for a couple of days, Isar is translucent turquoise like you would picture water in the Carribeans. Else it is a muddy stream.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
Medieval town: It's a little out of the way, but Rothenburg ob der Tauber is well worth a night stay...and take a guided walk at night led by the Night Watchman! Walk along the top of the city wall, too.

There are other medival towns that aren't that touristy. At another time ...

Quoting N174UA (Reply 21):
You can also take a free tour of the Reichstag...be sure to walk to the top of the glass dome.

You need to RESERVATE AT LEAST 2 DAYS IN ADVANCE now:
http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/kupp.html

Quoting kent350787 (Reply 24):
Two days in Berlin alone barely scrapes a small part of the surface of that city, and there are many other glorious places in Bavaria apart from Munich (eg. Regensburg, Bamberg, and the Bavarian Alps rather than the Black Forest).

  
Only that the Black Forest is not in Bavaria. 
Quoting N174UA (Reply 25):
buy food at a farmers market

And another   

[Edited 2012-05-02 11:47:37]
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Kent350787
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Wed May 02, 2012 10:40 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 26):
Only that the Black Forest is not in Bavaria.


  Of course I meant that I find the Bavarian Forest is just as attractive as the Black Forest which is a long way from Bavaria  
 
na
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Thu May 03, 2012 4:00 pm

Frankurt with the Rhine valley, Munich, Dresden and Berlin is pretty much for a week, as you will be all over the place, missing some great sites you could see when not spending too much time getting from one end of the Republic to the other.

I would drop Munich for Hamburg, which is only 2 hours from Berlin by car or train. Munich is nice, but for me Hamburg is nicer. Wonderful hotels to stay in, the most beautiful residential areas of any German city, a great shopping district, a boat ride in the harbour or on the beautiful Alster channels with a rowbaot by yourself, Blankenese and St.Pauli (the famous night-out district which is much more than just red light).

If you want to visit a KZ memorial, Dachau isnt the only place worth visiting in Germany, as you can also go to Bergen-Belsen (near the picturesque city of Celle, 1h15min south of Hamburg), which has the most modern museum devoted to the victims of the nazi terror. Absolutely recommended.

Drop Neuschwanstein, I have never been there but there are dozens of places in Germany I would advise you to go to before I visit that overly touristy place. Out of Frankfurt you could do a day tour to the southeast to visit the wonderful small Mespelbrunn palace and the medieval city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber (combined certainly more interesting than Neuschwanstein), and the other day a tour down the Rhine valley from Wiesbaden up to Bonn (each year I do the southern part of that Rhine tour by bike or convertible).

So I would recommend:

Stay in Frankfurt 2 nights. First day see the city (one advice, dont spend the first evening in so-called Alt-Sachsenhausen, the noisy tourist-only pub district in this otherwise nice quarter), second day rent a car, drive to Mespelbrunn (45 minutes east of Frankfurt), and Rothenburg (1h30min southeast), that night return to Frankurt area or go sleep in nearby Wiesbaden, which has lots of grand old Buildings. Third day see the Rhine Valley at least from Eltville up to Koblenz (northward on one side, back to the south on the other). Spend the third night in a nice Rhine valley hotel. Next day drive down to the Black Forest, cruise around, then take the Schwarzwald-Höhenstrasse to Baden-Baden. Sleep the fourth night there. When going back to Frankfurt you could visit Heidelberg the next day and then droop the car at FRA to fly to Berlin. Fifth, sixth and seventh night in Berlin. Visit the city for two days and dont forget nearby Potsdam on the third. Then make a daytrip (a very long day) to Dresden. Visit the Frauenkirche, Semperoper, and Palaces, take a boatride to Pillnitz Palace (directly on the river Elbe one hour from the city by boat). Sleep there and go to Hamburg the next day, or better, take a night train. Then a 3/4 of a day for the car trip to Bergen-Belsen to have a nice day in Hamburg at the end of your trip. Sleep in a classy hotel there and the next day take the plane to FRA to fly home. (I hope I counted the days right)
 
NoUFO
Posts: 7397
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Thu May 03, 2012 8:59 pm

Quoting na (Reply 28):
Munich is nice, but for me Hamburg is nicer. Wonderful hotels to stay in, the most beautiful residential areas of any German city

I spent 15 years in Hamburg and so far 4 years near Munich, so I know both cities well and would say they are different. When it comes to beauty, I guess most would say that Munich is more beautiful than Hamburg.
As for the most beautiful redidential area, to me that's still Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin which I happen to know like the back of my hand.

Quoting na (Reply 28):
Drop Neuschwanstein, I have never been there but there are dozens of places in Germany I would advise you to go to before I visit that overly touristy place.

Why? He wants to see Neuschwanstein so let him do it; I can understand him well. The castle makes people from all around the globe travel to Bavaria, and there is a reason for that. I use to avoid overly touristy places, but I was there in February last year, and I don't even think of regretting it. After all it is not just the castles (there are two) but the scenery as well with lake Alpsee and the mountains.
Besides, you seem to have no difficulties recommending other tourist hotspots such as Rothenburg which is a lot less unique than Neuschwanstein. And why do you suggest to see the Frauenkirche in Dresden but not Neuschwanstein? Sure, Frauenkirche is nice, but it is touristy as well - and fake.

Quoting na (Reply 28):
Stay in Frankfurt 2 nights.

Sorry, but I need to object again. With this little time at their hands the last they should do is spend more time in Frankfurt than they have to. Frankfurt might be a good city to live in, but for 1st timers in Germany: A definite 'No'!
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na
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Fri May 04, 2012 12:01 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 29):

I suggested to drop Munich because that saves travel time.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 29):
Why? He wants to see Neuschwanstein so let him do it

dito.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 29):
Besides, you seem to have no difficulties recommending other tourist hotspots such as Rothenburg which is a lot less unique than Neuschwanstein.

As I said, only to save travel time, and Mespelbrunn and Rothenburg together seems the better alternative to me.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 29):
And why do you suggest to see the Frauenkirche in Dresden

Because he wants to see Dresden and its one of the main sights there.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 29):
Stay in Frankfurt 2 nights.
Sorry, but I need to object again. With this little time at their hands the last they should do is spend more time in Frankfurt than they have to. Frankfurt might be a good city to live in, but for 1st timers in Germany: A definite 'No'!

I didnt say he should visit Frankfurt itself for two days (then Munich is definitely the better city to see), I meant he should get a hotel there to do trips to Rothenburg and the Rhine valley because its right in the middle.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 29):
When it comes to beauty, I guess most would say that Munich is more beautiful than Hamburg.

Not the ones I know. I have not lived in either city, but have visited both numerous times. As for me, I´m more a coast guy than a mountain guy so that influences my preference for Hamburg.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Fri May 04, 2012 12:28 pm

Quoting na (Reply 30):
I´m more a coast guy than a mountain guy

Same here. Only that there isn't a coast in Hamburg nor are there mountains in Munich.  

On clear days you can see the Alps in the background when you climb up 'Old Peter' in Munich, but you can't see the coast in Hamburg. I love water, and I have to say I like Isar better than Elbe.
I think it boils down to personal preferrences but I would agree that, while every tourist visiting Germany considers putting Munich on his/her itinerary, Hamburg is often forgotten.

What bugs me in Hamburg (and was one reason among others why I moved to Berlin) is that the red clinker stones most houses are made of, together with the frequent gray 'carpet clouds' that seem to suffocate colors make the city appear darker than Munich or Berlin.
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rabenschlag
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Fri May 04, 2012 2:17 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 31):
Same here. Only that there isn't a coast in Hamburg nor are there mountains in Munich.  

On clear days you can see the Alps in the background when you climb up 'Old Peter' in Munich, but you can't see the coast in Hamburg. I love water, and I have to say I like Isar better than Elbe.
I think it boils down to personal preferrences but I would agree that, while every tourist visiting Germany considers putting Munich on his/her itinerary, Hamburg is often forgotten.

What bugs me in Hamburg (and was one reason among others why I moved to Berlin) is that the red clinker stones most houses are made of, together with the frequent gray 'carpet clouds' that seem to suffocate colors make the city appear darker than Munich or Berlin.

I think Hamburg is quite attractive as a city to live in (depending on one's income, of course), but for a tourist? I don't think so. What are the main attractions that were mentioned in this thread?

* Nightlife in general. Ok, that may be outstanding in Hamburg, but as a tourist, this is often more a side attraction - unless, of course, you travel to party.
* Red-light district. Of course, this is a matter of personal taste, but I think that this is rather a reason to avoid Hamburg.
* The harbor was mentioned. If you get your kicks from looking at container vessels, then go. But a large harbor as a tourist attraction? They are all the same no matter where you are, so nothing special.
* The city is "nice" in a very general way. Yes, it is, but that again is, IMHO, no tourist attraction. Also, one must acknowledge that the city is also nasty in some ways. E.g, terrible post WW2 architecture.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that it is a nice city and I love Germany's north, but I fail to see Hamburg as a special attraction for foreign visitors with a rather tight schedule.
 
globeex
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Fri May 04, 2012 6:13 pm

I actually know most of your potential stops very well. I grew up near Frankfurt, have been living in Munich for 6 years. Members of my family studied in Dresden and Heidelberg and often visited people in Freiburg.

So, if it was me I would do the following:

1. Day: Arrive, get your car and get in the centre of Frankfurt. Personally I don't find Frankfurt that exciting or at least not as exciting as the other cities you want to visit.

2. Day: Go to Rüdesheim. That is right in the heart of the Rhinevalley and about 40min from FRA by car. There you can get on a boat at make a nice tour on the Rhine hop on and off and visit castles along the rhine (you can easily spend 7-8 doing such a trip while getting on and of visiting the sights along the way. climb up (or take the cable car) to the Germania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niederwalddenkmal) where you have great view down. On the end you can either go back to Frankfurt or stay overnight here and have a nice dinner (some very nice restaurants).

3. Day: (I wouldn't go to Freiburg. Eventhough it is a very nice town it is kind of out of your way.) Drive to Munich via Heidelberg. Start early after breakfast and drive to Heidelberg (about 1:15h). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidelberg). Heidelberg does have a beautiful city centre with lots to see. Spend most of the day there. Spend it walking around having coffee in the sun etc. Then keep going (late afternoon) further to Munich (about 3h). Arrive in munich in the late evening.

4. Day: Visit the Camp in Dachau. (Takes you with drive and visit around 3-4 hours). Go back for a late dinner (maybe 13:30) to the city centre and spend the day here. Lots to see

5. Day: Start early and go to Castle Neuschwanstein (and the castles around). Get back from there in the early afternoon and have dinner in the Beergarden of the Seehaus in the English Garden (http://www.tradebit.de/usr/stock-photos/pub/9002/711.jpg) and (http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:de:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&hl=en&biw=1138&bih=541&ie=UTF-8&q=seehaus+m%C3%BCnchen&fb=1&hq=seehaus&hnear=0x479e75f9a38c5fd9:0x10cb84a7db1987d,Munich,+Germany&cid=0,0,2424373602807528898&ei=_hekT_T9Jqn24QTk67TCCQ&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&resnum=2&ved=0CBYQ_BIwAQ). Enjoy a beer and an some nice food.

6. Day: Drive to Dresden via Nuremberg. Drive to Nuermberg (about 1:45h). Visit the city centre and as you like history visit the Nazi party's rally ground (http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:de:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=n%C3%BCrnberg+ns+dokumentationszentrum&fb=1&hq=n%C3%BCrnberg+ns+dokumentationszentrum&cid=0,0,8289674038903365308&ei=dxmkT_b2CKX44QSb2MXICQ&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CBYQ_BIwAA). After that go further to Dresden (about 3h) where you arrive late evening. From here on I would get rid of the car as you won't really need it anymore.

7. Day: If the weather is nice rent a bike (or take a boat trip) to palace pilnitz. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillnitz). For the afternoon walk around in dresden enjoy the castle and the Frauenkirche. I highly recommend getting tickets (if possible) the semper opera (in my opinion the nicest opera in Germany)., (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semperoper).

8. Day. In the moring you visit everything (major) you didn't manage the day before. I.e. the "Zwinger" churches etc. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwinger). After lunch you take the train to Berlin (2:40h).

Day 9-11: Enjoy Berlin! (don't miss out on the palace Sans Souci (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanssouci) in Potsdamm (!).


Hope I could help.
As you may presently yourself be fully made aware of, my grammar sucks.
 
AKLDELNonstop
Topic Author
Posts: 320
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Thu May 10, 2012 3:27 pm

Thanks a lot for all the suggestions. This has been very helpful. Still working on the final itinerary and will post it up once its final.
 
slider
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Thu May 10, 2012 4:42 pm

Quoting signol (Reply 7):
2. rent car, head to Rhein valley (eg. Koblenz. Nice castle, nearby Mosel valley for vineyards, castle Burg Eltz, Cochem). Stay in Rhein area.

Concur--the whole Mosel valley is a wonderful place! Great wine too!
 
us330
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RE: Itinerary Help For First Trip To Germany

Thu May 10, 2012 9:54 pm

You'll love Berlin if you are a big time history buff, like I am. After college graduation, I was there for three full days and nearly burned my soles out walking and exploring the city--and I still feel like there was stuff I didn't see (and I didnt even make it over to Potsdam, either). W respect to Hamburg, I didn't think it was anything special. In hindsight, I would have rather had the extra half day in Berlin (stopped over in Hamburg to break up the Copenhagen-Berlin train ride).

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