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Germany with our 2 girls....help with itinerary

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Hello Fodors Family,

I come to you for suggestions and ideas regarding a trip to Germany in June. First a little about us... My husband and I are in our early 40's and we have 2 girls ages 10 and 7. We are all seasoned travelers and are comfortable moving around in europe by train, foot and car. We've been to Prague, scotland, Austria, England and a whole host of other countries in Europe. We live to travel and do an annual trip if we can afford it. We like the unbeaten path and a enjoy creature comforts considering the kids are with us. We typically stay in apartments( easy to make meals if needed) plus more space, B&B and on occasion hotels if no option or if its a short visit. We have driven in Austria before but this trip the hubby and I have decided to train instead.

So Here is the Itinerary:

Fly into Berlin- 4 nights( very late night arrival on the first day)-possible day trip somewhere close an option.
Train to Bamburg- 1 or 2 nights?
Train to Nuremberg- 1 0r 2 nights?
Train to Fussen- to see the castles mainly- not sure how many nights 1 or 2?
Train back up to Munich for 3 nights and fly out

Need help determining who long in each place. we have a total of 12 nights

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    Sounds like a great trip for your family, and that the girls have travelled with you before is fantastic - nothing like starting early for good training!

    Berlin is an amazing city, and as you're arriving late on your first night, you may be off to a slower start the following morning, so perhaps plan for that. A trip to the Tiergarten & Zoo might be a night way to ease into Berlin life. Follow that with a visit to KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Western)especially the 6th floor for the food hall - even to just wander amongst the pretty displays (look out for the chocolate room!). You could go up the TV Tower later in the day to end your first day with views (if the weather plays along) and that way you're not doing too much in terms of attention span (for all of you!) but still getting an idea of the city. Then you can tackle things like the Museum Insel buildings, Currywurst stands (THE Berlin food), East Side Gallery, Scheunenviertel, Kollwitz Platz (for ice cream and a great playground for all ages), the DDR Museum...I could go on but that should do you!

    3 full days in Berlin will be good. You may not have time for a daytrip, unless you add a day, but if you find you still want to, then look at going to Potsdam and then on to Sanssouci Palace, the Summer palace of Frederick the Great.

    Bamberg for 2 nights will give you 1 and a bit days, and considering it will take around 4hrs you might want the extra time in the city. Not sure what is drawing you to Bamburg, it is stunning but depends on how much you want to see, so hard to suggest exactly how many nights will suit.

    Nuremberg/Nurnberg is an interesting place, depends on what you're planning to see and do there as to whether you need 1 or 2 nights. If you're coming from Bamburg, I'd say 1 night as you'll have 1 and a half days to play with, it's not a long train ride.

    You may find that having a car around the Fussen area makes it easier to access the castles, lakes and sights. You'll need 2 full days ideally, but if you only do 2 castles then 2 nights (1 full day) will work.

    There are four of Ludwig II's castles to consider: Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee. Neuschwanstein is the most popular, and in June it will be quite busy, so perhaps book ahead for a tour if you want to go inside. Touring inside Linderhof is also worth it. It's small and perfectly formed and the only completed interior. Plus the gardens are amazing, lots of hidden treasures as well as the fountain and viewing area at the front of the palace. Herrenchiemsee is amazing - a mini-Versailles faithfully reproduced. You need to take the ferry across, so will have to time your journey to fit the rest of your day. Hohenschwangau is right near Neuschwanstein, it overlooks the main parking area below both castles, and there are more completed rooms inside than in Neuschwanstein (which is quite bare) with less visitors. In fact, I'd go so far as to say Neuschwanstein is best seen from the outside (walk up and over the bridge behind it for great views - watch the crowds), whilst you should go inside at least one castle, up to you which one.

    To throw a spanner in the works, albeit a fun one, have a look at the Brothers Grimm fairytale path www.deutsche-maerchenstrasse.com/en/brothers-grimm/introduction/ You aren't planning on visiting any of the towns on the route, but if there is something that catches your eye and you think you might prefer it to Bamberg or Nuremberg (nothing wrong with Bamburg or Nuremberg, just an idea) then you could work out a different itinerary.

    You could drive to Munich, drop the car off and then have car-free time in Munich itself. 2 full days will be good for an overview of the city, but that mean the city only, no other day trips.

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    Bamberg is wonderful. But I suggest you consolidate your 2 stays in northern Bavaria into one - Nuremberg - and daytrip from there to Bamberg on one day and back by train. It only takes 45 minutes to get to Bamberg by direct regional train. It's also quite cheap - 16.80€ round trip for your whole family using the Tagesticktet Plus daypass. Buy it from a Nuremberg station ticket machine.

    http://www.vgn.de/en/dayticket?Edition=en&p=1

    The pass is good at any hour of the day and is good not only for the train but for all public transport (tram, subway, bus, etc.) transport within Nuremberg and Bamberg.

    None of Ludwig's buildings are "castles", even if it's common in English to refer to them this way. They are all late 19th-century palaces. Since your time is short, I would opt for Herrenchiemsee on a day trip from Munich and skip Füssen and the N'stein tour (it's only 1 hour round trip to Prien am Chiemsee by train, where you shuttle to Herrenchiemsee; it's 2 hours each way to Füssen and longer still to get to the overtouristed Neuscwhanstein and Hohenschwangau by bus.)

    Chiemsee Lake: http://home.arcor.de/oberpfalz-nord/luftbilder-s/chiemsee.jpg

    Nuremberg has a real castle - the Kaiserburg.

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    Staying in one place and doing day excursions is preferable to checking into and out of hotels every other night - once you have an apartment and kitchen and fridge and found a shop around the corner, you relax and lead a "normal:" life with the kids. After Berlin I suggest staying in Nürnberg and making trips to places like Bamberg (45 minutes by train), Rothenburg ob der Tauber (70 minutes), and others in the region.

    For apartments, even short-term, look at www.housetrip.com

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    We are travelling with our 7 and 9 year old daughters to most of the same places in July! We will be gone nearly 6 weeks. We are staying at Pension Peters in Berlin for six nights. They have larger family room but it doesn't look like a fancy place. http://www.pension-peters-berlin.de/ We are staying at a brewery/hotel between Bamberg and Nuremberg called Lowenbrau - http://dev.garger.tv/loewenbraeu_old/ Again, we have a family room and plan to visit an amusement park - either Playmobil Park near Nuremberg, Erlebnispark Scholss Thurn, or Freizeit-Land Geiselwind. There's nearby luge in Pottenstein. We also love beer and beautiful towns so we are eager to explore this area! We will have a car though. We are only staying 2 nights here.

    In 2011, we took another European trip where we stayed near Ludwig's castles. Here's a link to our blog from 2011. You can see our Fussen section http://familyineurope.travellerspoint.com/8/ I can look up the place we stayed if you're interested. It was an apartment that was reasonably priced. You would need a car to stay there though! We found plenty to do for four nights here.

    We are staying at Hotel Brack in Munich for 3 nights this coming summer. You can probably see we stay at reasonably priced hotels! We are renting apartments in other cities (Prague, Amsterdam, Bruges) for other parts of our trip. Please let me know if you have any questions. Always fun to read about others who travel with kids!

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    Thank you so much for all the input...truly a wealth of knowledge on this forum. I guess the question of Bamberg VS. Nuremberg is something I need help with. Bamberg being a unesco city and home of great Beer(for the hubby) drew me to it. Any pro's or cons?

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