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Need help completing my itinerary for Christmas in Germany

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I am looking for suggestions for our first 6 nights in Germany in late December. This will be my 10th visit to Germany and I am looking for a new experience with enough to do over the holiday period to keep us occupied.

We have flights into Frankfurt on 22 December (the only city we can get to non stop from our home airport) and out of Berlin on 1 Jan. We have hotel reservations in Dresden for one night on 27 December which can be changed, and our only firm plans are to arrive in Berlin on 28 December.

I have 6 nights to organize and have been using the DB website, the internet and guide books to try and put together a trip that will allow us to experience some new areas while not requiring extensive train rides. But I am really struggling to come up with something appealing.

We are active, will be using only public transport and for the 6 nights would like to base in 2 places, max 3. I would love for at least one to be all about the outdoors so we could enjoy some mountain scenery, lots of walking and be in a place where there is enough to do to keep us busy. We will have time for museums and similar in Berlin, a city we really enjoy.

Ideally we would like to find two spots that are not too far off the route from Frankfurt to Berlin. We have spent time in Wurzurg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Regensburg. Of those we enjoyed Regensburg and Wurzburg the most and Nuremberg he least. We have traveled quite a bit in Bavaria as well and love the area but would really like to do something new.

I have read about the Harz mountains but do not really know what cities/towns might work best for us. A few nights at a spa/wellness resort would be lovely at the beginning of the trip, as long as it offers access to a town where we can find restaurants and pubs and to plenty of outdoor daytime activities. We would be interested in snow mobiling, snow shoe hikes but not skiing.

I would like to keep our train rides to 3 hours or less if possible. We will head to our first stop by train upon arrival into Frankfurt.

One option I am considering is a train to Munich upon arrival and 2 nights there, followed by three nights in Salzburg and one in Dresden before heading to Berlin.

We have been to all of these before (more than once) so this is not ideal and I know the travel from Salzburg to Dresden will be long. I came up with this mostly because we can get in our scenery and mountain fix in Salzburg and Munich is a fairly easy journey from Frankfurt on arrival.

We have also spent time in GP, Fussen, Chiemsee and other areas nearby to Munich.

I looked at heading to Innsbruck for 2-3 nights and then making our way to Berlin, stopping somewhere along the way. It is that one place midpoint that is elusive for me to identify.

We have already been to Cologne and did not care for it very much. I do see that Hamburg is a possibility but not sure we will find it delivers what we are looking for based on the guidebook information.

We will have a Germany and Austria train pass with five days of travel so are covered to travel as needed.

If you can offer any ideas or suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.

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