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Back for some Christmas adventuring--Check my itinerary, please?

Back for some Christmas adventuring--Check my itinerary, please?

Aug 14th, 2019, 09:06 PM
  #1  
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Back for some Christmas adventuring--Check my itinerary, please?

I'd really appreciate it if y'all could tell me if I'm being overly ambitious. Also, food/culture/holiday recommendations are definitely welcome!
Flying into Berlin

Fly into Frankfurt, spend two nights either here or in Leipzig. Or elsewhere, Leipzig is of interest because I didn't make it there last time. But generally, I just need somewhere I can take it easy, preferably a pretty old town. I get jet lag badly, and I'm pretty low key for the first two days.

4 nights Berlin
4 nights Prague
5 nights Vienna
4 nights Budapest
Fly back to Frankfurt, 2 nights?

I plan to book the plane tickets tonight, and I started second guessing myself on Berlin. I could fly in two nights early, and add two nights to Berlin. Or I can add one night to Berlin and one night to Prague. Or I could leave it as it is. WWYD? It's mostly museums that I'm interested in.

I was trying to fly open jaw, but there just wasn't any good option out of Budapest. I don't really want to skip Budapest! Vienna/Prague/Budapest have been on my wishlist for a few years. I added Berlin because of the museums, and because I didn't go there last time either.

Thanks ahead of time!

marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 14th, 2019, 10:57 PM
  #2  
 
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A little surprised you don't have Dresden in the itinerary unless you've already been there. If not, I would take one night from Prague and put a night in Dresden on the list (actually, I would stay longer in Dresden...we've been there over the holidays multiple times; our stays have ranged from four days to five weeks and we didn't get bored). Dresden is more or less in the middle of the train journey between Berlin and Prague and has some excellent museums.
WeisserTee is online now  
Aug 14th, 2019, 11:12 PM
  #3  
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Yup, I’ve been to Dresden. That’s one of the things I keep going back and forth on. I got to see the old green vault, but I’d like to go back for the New. Thing is, finite time. Tried to limit itinerary to places I haven’t been before.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 12:25 AM
  #4  
 
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What I personally would not like in this itinerary is that it has only big cities in it. I (not everyone, I know) enjoy the beautiful smaller (mountain) towns with their charming and less crowded Christmas markets more.
Ingo is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 12:33 AM
  #5  
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Ingo, I remember that you were very helpful when I planned my last trip. Thanks again!

i suspect I have too many cities. Do you have any suggestions for smaller places that would make sense itinerary wise? Usually my favorite parts of trips are the small charming places, but I’m having trouble this time. It needs to be accessible by transit, and have stuff to do besides skiing. I enjoy some snow sports, but I’m not an avid skier.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 03:30 AM
  #6  
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Also—I remember wanting to go to Seiffen last time. Do you consider it worth an overnight? Can it be done entirely by transit?
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 03:30 AM
  #7  
 
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I have been buying drip drops from amazon. You add to water and rehydrate. I drink one on plane and one after landing. Seems to really help but winter travel is another story. I sleep with the blind opened a bit for that sun to wake me and December is not helpful. We slept late in December and cut into our daylight hours.
Macross is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 06:02 AM
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We visited Seiffen as a day trip from Annaberg –Buchholtz.

That trip report is here, should you be interested:

December in Deutschland
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 06:26 AM
  #9  
 
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If you like small charming old towns, you could either do a day trip from Prague or spend the night in Cesky Krumlov - it's one of the most picturesque medieval towns in the Czech Republic, and has a Christmas market. Highly recommend!
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Aug 15th, 2019, 10:30 AM
  #10  
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Thanks, Mel! I knew there was a trip report I’d read before, I just couldn’t remember the name of it. Indian food, yum! Wonderful TR! Doesn’t make my life easier, I always want to see it all.

I think Seiffen may have to be crossed off, though. It’s just as time consuming as I remember.

thank you, fleur! Much appreciated.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 10:41 AM
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Museums is slightly vague ... art? historic? nature? technical?
Lubitsch is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Lubitsch View Post
Museums is slightly vague ... art? historic? nature? technical?
anything, everything? I just really enjoy an excellent museum

but I love medical/science museums, decorative art museums (sculpture, porcelain), antiquities, folk art. I think Ingo is the person who suggested the museum of Saxon folk art last time and I adored it. House museums, depending on the furnishings/architecture.

I don’t enjoy most “fake” museums (a la Sherlock Holmes. Modern art is not really my thing, nor film, but I’ll go if there’s a special exhibit that is exceptionally interesting/provocative. Limited appetite for “tragic” museums—for example, I might go to one Holocaust museum, but I couldn’t do a trip themed around that.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 11:55 AM
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In my opinion Berlin is a great museum city. Our first visit was 5 nights and we bought the museum pass--a great value . https://www.visitberlin.de/en/museum-pass-berlin We visited again two years ago in December and saw more museums that we hadn't managed to get to on our first visit. We love house museums as well--one lesser known museum that we both loved was the Knoblauchaus which was free (by donation). https://www.en.stadtmuseum.de/ Personally I'd add more time to Berlin.
outwest is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 12:27 PM
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Right. You know that all told Western Europe has the more impressive museums than Eastern Europe. Hence there is lots of stuff in Vienna and Berlin and less in Prague and Budapest. The main museum cities in Germany are Berlin, Munich and Dresden. Frankfurt however has also a pretty strong collection as do unsurprisingly given their size Cologne and Hamburg or some slightly smaller places like Nuremberg.
As for decorative arts Berlin has two museums. The one at Kulturforum is ugly as sin but has some great pieces. The dependance in Köpenick is charmingly situated in its palace and a very lovely visit (it's not a good idea in hot summers but that is not your travel time). As for your arrival area Frankfurt's sculpture museum, the Liebieghaus, got as a gift the most precious private collection of baroque ivory works. And Wiesbaden's museum got the largest private art nouveau collection which is now beautifully displayed (and hopefully stays that way).
Dresden is as you know a work in progress with restoration works finally coming to an end. On 7th december the sculptures and paintings will finally be fully accessible again. The palace is supposed to be finished in 2021. If you return now to Dresden you'll find more to see than at your last visit. If you can retun after 2021 maybe push it back until then (also have an eye for that on the Pergamonmuseum which is partly closed until 2023).
As for a pretty old town I think you are aware that in winter a pretty old town can be supremely unromantic when the weather is terrible. There are many day trip options from Frankfurt or from Leipzig and potential base towns between those places as well. You'd have to decide if you want to stay in a large city or relocate to a small place upon your arrival.
Lubitsch is offline  
Aug 15th, 2019, 12:51 PM
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Yes, the weather is certainly a factor. I prefer small towns but I also like to play it safe, in case of bad weather. And short days mean I’m less likely to day trip as well.

I’m debating on flying straight to Budapest and working my way north. Mostly because the baths sound glorious after a long haul flight, and a lot of the the Christmas markets in Germany don’t start until nov 26 and on. (I arrive Nov 17).

Thank you for the information about the Palace—I actually didn’t realized that project was opening so soon.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 15th, 2019, 11:34 PM
  #16  
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Running plan:

fly into berlin nov 18
18-night in Berlin
fly to Budapest the 19th: 19, 20, 21, 22 Budapest
train to Vienna, nov 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 Vienna
28 night in czesky Kremlov
29, 30, 1, 2 prague
3, 4, 5 Dresden
6, 7—where???
8,9, 10, 11, 12– berlin

mostly booked. What’s stumping me now is the 6/7. My idea was to stay somewhere small with a neat Christmas market. Quedlinburg was suggested to me, and I got really excited...only to find out that it’s pretty much booked solid. So. Is there a town that would make some kind of sense between Dresden and Berlin? I don’t want to spend a massive amount of time in transit

I’ve considered Weimar, but I’m not sure if it’s what I’m looking for. I’d love something atmospheric. I just want to roam around and admire the buildings, if you know what I mean. I know also that there tend to be smaller markets on the weekends. Or special events at the markets. So maybe I need rearrange something somewhere.

alternatively I could book more nights in Dresden or Berlin. Not a huge deal. I just wanted a smaller place.

Please tell me if something stands out to you as not making sense. I think I’m seeing double at this point🤣
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 12:17 AM
  #17  
 
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If you like smaller then check if you want to stay in Pirna instead of Dresden or stay the 6/7 there (although it is not between Dresden and Berlin). The train ride between the two is only 21 minutes (commuter trains, six times per hour in mornings/late afternoons, otherwise four times per hour.) Very charming, historic old town, nice Christmas market, pleasant ambience and cheaper hotels with charm, often in historic buildings, not crowded. It is a good base for exploring, too. On the 7th you could visit the historic Christmas market on fortress Königstein in Saxon Switzerland - highly recommended.

Another option is Freiberg - remarkable historic town a half hour from Dresden. From there Seiffen is easily doable as day trip on 7th. 8.42 am dep, back at 4 pm - direct bus, takes an hour. Freiberg has lots to see and do. Check Terra Mineralia, the town's historic and mining museum, famous cathedral. And it has a wonderful Christmas market, too.

Yet another option - Görlitz. One of Germany's most beautiful towns with one of the most beautiful Christmas markets, opens on 6 Dec 2019, website here
Good train connections to Berlin, too.
Ingo is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 12:24 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Ingo View Post
If you like smaller then check if you want to stay in Pirna instead of Dresden or stay the 6/7 there (although it is not between Dresden and Berlin). The train ride between the two is only 21 minutes (commuter trains, six times per hour in mornings/late afternoons, otherwise four times per hour.) Very charming, historic old town, nice Christmas market, pleasant ambience and cheaper hotels with charm, often in historic buildings, not crowded. It is a good base for exploring, too. On the 7th you could visit the historic Christmas market on fortress Königstein in Saxon Switzerland - highly recommended.

Another option is Freiberg - remarkable historic town a half hour from Dresden. From there Seiffen is easily doable as day trip on 7th. 8.42 am dep, back at 4 pm - direct bus, takes an hour. Freiberg has lots to see and do. Check Terra Mineralia, the town's historic and mining museum, famous cathedral. And it has a wonderful Christmas market, too.

Yet another option - Görlitz. One of Germany's most beautiful towns with one of the most beautiful Christmas markets, opens on 6 Dec 2019, website here
Good train connections to Berlin, too.
great timing, Ingo, because I was just looking at Konigstein, and wondering if it was worth a trip.

If you’ve been—how are the crowds in Gorlitz? It gets so much hype online that I was wondering if it was one of those very crowded markets.

I was looking at pictures of Green Vault exhibits and I am SO EXCITED to return to Dresden
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 02:20 AM
  #19  
 
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No, Görlitz is not crowded. It is lively ;-) Of course for the opening ceremony on Friday and the first full day on Saturday you must expect many people showing up, but it is mostly locals, not hords of tourists coming here in coaches.

Oh yeah, Dresden changes constantly. The Picture Gallery Old Masters reopens completely restored in December. Should be the same weekend you are departing ... bad timing! The Neumarkt square is completed now, the block on the western side was finished just a few weeks ago. So with the construction site gone, the Christmas market there will be even more charming this year. Pictures taken on Wednesday below:


Neumarkt, western side


The freshly planted trees on Neumarkt square's western side.
Ingo is online now  
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