About a Week in Germany

Dec 26th, 2018, 04:14 AM
  #21  
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Lunitsch,
We have long ended the phase of our travels that involves changing base hotels with luggage 4 times or more on a trip as well as going on day trips that are substantially longer than an hour (could hit 1:30).

Last year we were in Paris (been there maybe half a dozen times over the years) for about 10-11 days but that included an overnight day trip to Bruges (was there about 10-12 years ago) and an overnight day trip to Tours for chateaux country for two nights. I define an over night day trip as one in which we keep our base hotel, leave our luggage and take with very little to carry. We then trained to Aix-en-Provence (had been there about 6 years earlier) before returning home.

The year before we were in Florence and Rome (have been there 2-3 times each) before spending 5 surprising days in Lisbon with a day trip to Cascais.

As you can see this isn't our first trip. We often repeat places we've been to and like and try to add things in those places we haven't gone to or done and then add a place we've never visited.

For this trip, and depending upon what gets changed we'd base ourselves in Amsterdam (we've been there twice over the years but not recently and never really did any day trips from there). Then we'd move to somewhere in Germany where we have never been. At this time the Frankfurt area is the strongest contender.

As we get older we've also adjusted our approach. We definitely pamper ourselves more both in how we travel and where we stay.

Thanks for all of the suggestions and please, please keep them coming. Many are very relevant and all make me think.
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Dec 26th, 2018, 10:02 AM
  #22  
 
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I actually based in Darmstadt and really liked it - few other tourists and as any German post-war city very very nice. All those cities are slo close together that staying in one and relaxing in another is not impossible.
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Dec 27th, 2018, 05:32 AM
  #23  
 
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When the highest diversity of day trip destinations of appr. one hour by train is your prime concern, Frankfurt will be your first choice.
For a picture-postcard perfect village, go to Michelstadt.
Heidelberg would be another obvious choice for "old Europe", but much larger than Michelstadt.
When you fear timber-frame overkill, go to Würzburg for a dose of Franconian baroque.

Eventually, it will depend on how many day or half day trips you want to take and what you expect from your base.
So far, it's still a bit vague what you mean when you say that your base should offer enough to keep you entertained when your not on those day trips.. restaurants? historic city centers? parks and gardens? shopping?
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Dec 27th, 2018, 08:28 AM
  #24  
 
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So far, it's still a bit vague what you mean when you say that your base should offer enough to keep you entertained when your not on those day trips.. restaurants? historic city centers? parks and gardens? shopping?>

And Frankfurt would have as many as any - no castle really but esteemed art museums - some nice parks with hot houses full of tropical flowers and Sachanhousen (sp?) Frankfurt's famous area of pub and restaurants serving its famous apple wine or whatever they call it. And shopping galore.
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Dec 28th, 2018, 05:06 AM
  #25  
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I think it's a matter of deciding whether to base in the Romerberg area of Frankfurt reasonably close to the train station or in Mainz.
There seem to be pros and cons for both.
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Jan 19th, 2019, 04:46 AM
  #26  
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I've tried to keep day trips to no more than an hour train ride. However, I could be convinced if worthwhile.

I'm thinking of one of either Cologne or Baden-Baden from Mainz.

Comments on those two would be much appreciated.

Thanks.
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Jan 19th, 2019, 05:12 AM
  #27  
 
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I'm chiming in a bit late but--
My husband traveled to Frankfurt many, many times with business; 3 times I joined him and spend days and days traveling solo via trains. I think Frankfurt is a terrific hub--and quite undervalued as a city itself.

1. Check out Frankfurt on Foot--https://www.frankfurtonfoot.com/ It's a walking tour run by a couple of American ex-pats that will give you an excellent intro to Frankfurt's history and some of the major old city sites, as well as the new.
2. As mentioned above, there are some excellent museums along the river. The Botanical Gardens are fine, too, plus as said shopping and strolling and good food.
3. From the central train station, you can do day trips to so much. I love Mainz and would have it high on a list of day trips, but I'd base in Frankfurt; I think you'd have more direct routes.
It took me 2 days to see the Rhine Valley things I picked, via trains and ferries and feet, but in your short week, I'd definitely go once.
Weisbaden, Speyer, Worms, Michelstadt, Budingen, Marburg, Limburg were all faves via train.
Cologne while a bit further ride also has major sites really near the station, so definitely recommend. If go to Cathedral, check if there's an English tour available that day; mine was led by a lady who remembered walking in the rubble of the bombed church as a tiny girl.
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Jan 19th, 2019, 05:52 AM
  #28  
 
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If you base yourself in Mainz you pretty much lock yourself in destinations along the Rhine. It's a much narrower range of options than Frankfurt. Mainz is great if you depart from Frankfurt airport and search for a nice more quiet place where you can spend the night before the flight. But I'm rather sceptical about its potential as a base town.
Not sure how Cologne qualifies as a day trip. Even if you don't care about the three main museums it doesn't strike me as a place one can "do" in one day. Unless all you care about is the cathedral. But its main attraction are rather scattered especially the twelve Romanesque churches and certainly less the rather unfortunate rebuilding after the war as a whole. Baden-Baden makes really no sense from Mainz and is one of those puzzling cliches destinations. There are at least 10 places on the way south that are closer and make more sense.
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Jan 19th, 2019, 07:27 AM
  #29  
 
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I enjoyed Baden-Baden for a day - but come early to be able to take the tour of the ornate old casino and hear stories about the rich and famous who wagered her around turn of century when Baden-Baden was the lace to be seen and wager. And walk through the park-like setting to a nice abbey at end. But trains only go to edge of Baden-Baden and you take a bus the few kilometres to Baden-Baden.

Cologne Cathedral is awesome - right by train station and great pedestrian shopping area - a vibrant Turkish section and those Romanesque churches but in general a modern town - I'd hit the cathedral area and maybe head to Bonn, a neat city rarely mentioned here and back to Mainz.
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Jan 19th, 2019, 09:58 AM
  #30  
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I've also noticed that some of the trains for day trips are not very convenient from main but a lot more direct from Frankfurt.

If we were to move our base to Frankfurt instead, in what area should we consider staying and still be convenient to the train station?
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Jan 19th, 2019, 11:39 AM
  #31  
 
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Frankfurt also has a Frankfurt-Sud train station in a nice quiet area with trains everywhere.
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Jan 19th, 2019, 03:59 PM
  #32  
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If we switch to base in Frankfurt we'd most likely want to be reasonably close to the main train station. No more than 15-20 min walk.
We'd also like to be in the tourist area where there are hotels and restaurants.

Any recommendations?
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Jan 20th, 2019, 01:31 AM
  #33  
 
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" 've also noticed that some of the trains for day trips are not very convenient from main but a lot more direct from Frankfurt."

Of course!
Mainz is a excellent base for the Rhine axis (Cologne - Remagen - Drachenfels - St. Goar - Ruedesheim - Worms - Speyer - Heidelberg....), for the Mosel Valley, for the Pfalz, for the Hessian capital Wiesbaden, etc.,
but not for Northern Bavaria, Thueringen or most parts of Hessen.
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Jan 20th, 2019, 03:31 AM
  #34  
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Still undecided about basing in Mainz or Frankfurt.

I'd really appreciate hotel recommendations for both that would have us fairly convenient to the train station while still being in a tourist area with hotels, restaurants and a nice walking around area with people.

Thanks.
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Jan 20th, 2019, 05:58 AM
  #35  
 
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The obvious hotels a few steps from Mainz railway station and less than a mile from the historic center with tons of restaurants etc. are
Hotel Schottenhof
Hoel Koenigshof
Hotel Hammer
AC Hotel Mainz by Marriott
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Jan 20th, 2019, 06:23 AM
  #36  
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Thanks.

Any suggestions for Frankfurt?
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Jan 20th, 2019, 04:43 PM
  #37  
 
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Personally, I would much rather come 'home' each evening to Mainz, than to Frankfurt (I have stayed in Frankfurt, Bacharach and St. Goar on the Rhine). Frankfurt is a big metropolis. There are somewhat dicey areas with a number of sex shops and seemingly unemployed men hanging about during the daylight hours.
The two are just 20 minutes apart by rail. So NO major inconvenience in making rail connections for day trips!
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Jan 20th, 2019, 06:24 PM
  #38  
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mokka4,

Good points.

I think I'm going to review the possible locations to visit and see how much of an inconvenience it is. But I'm back leaning towards Mainz.

Thanks.
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Jan 21st, 2019, 06:59 AM
  #39  
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I noticed there are two train stations in/around the Frankfurt. When I have to move from Mainz to Amsterdam the train appears to go from Mainz to one of the airport stations and then we have to walk to the other airport station for the train to Amsterdam. There's 22 minutes between train and they've listed it as a 15 minute walk. It doesn't look that long on their map. Is it longer than it looks or are they just being cautious?

The other question.

I'm trying to put together some of the day trips.

I'm grouping a few that look convenient. Any comments on Speyer, Worms, Darmstadt. Is Heidelberg on it's own enough to fill a day or should I add one of the above for a couple of hours?
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Jan 21st, 2019, 08:22 AM
  #40  
 
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Regionalbahnhof and Fernbahnhof are not far away from each other (about 300 metres), but you will have to use a long moving staircase (or a escalator) from Regionalbahnhof up to the "square" (way to airport Hilton hotel), walk a few steps and go then down (again staircase/escalator) to the Fernbahnhof.
Deutsche Bahn recommends to count about 15 minutes.

But frankly: I would never take a ICE train from Frankfurt Fernbf to Amsterdam, because the high speed line doesn't go along the Rhine river and you will see almost nothing but noise protection walls.
If you take a IC train from Mainz directly to Cologne, you will follow the Rhine Valley. You can then change to the ICE at Cologne or Dusseldorf.
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