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Berlin and Munich end of November, with stops in Dresden, Leipzig, alpine villages

Berlin and Munich end of November, with stops in Dresden, Leipzig, alpine villages

Old Oct 8th, 2023, 09:08 AM
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Berlin and Munich end of November, with stops in Dresden, Leipzig, alpine villages

We are heading to Germany for the last two weeks of November (12-13 nights/days when you take out the flight days). November 16/17 to November 28.

We plan to fly in to Berlin and out of Munich, with time in both cities. We want to add on Dresden, maybe Leipzig, and time in the Alps (maybe Mittenwald..) with potential visit to Schloss Neuschwanstein. We'd rent a car from Dresden to Munich so we could stop along the way to see Nuremburg (or Regensbug as I noticed that they have an early Christmas market). We like the idea of a German Alps experience for a couple of days as well. We know the weather will be iffy in late November. The car will enable us to travel around in the Alps too which gives us flexibility (maybe even Innsbruck or Salzburg?).

We are interested in the museums, galleries, and history in Berlin and Munich. Dresden just looks very beautiful and interesting. Leipzig looks very interesting, though I'm not sure if we can fit in both places. I'd like to see a Christmas Market, though I think most of them start later in the month or December, but I think we'd be in Munich at the time of the market opening there.

We'd like to go to a show at an opera house and it looks like we can do that in multiple cities. We would do a football game if we were able to fit that in.

I guess the big decision for us is how much movement we want, what we want to prioritize (Alpine village or more time in Dresden and/or Leipzig).

Thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks



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Old Oct 8th, 2023, 09:18 AM
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I would choose Dresden over Leipzig

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Old Oct 8th, 2023, 01:16 PM
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I think this sounds like a wonderful trip, whichever variant you choose. I guess one of the differences you will find between choosing Dresden and Leipzig or more time in the Alps is that the Christmas markets in the east may be less religious than the Bavarian markets - so perhaps no nativity scenes, but instead a tableau of fairy tales or similar. The Nuremberg market is even called the Christ child market, because in their culture usually a curly-haired blonde girl (the 'Christ child') brings the presents. But I don't know how much time you will spend in the east. The main Leipzig market starts on 28 November so you may not even get there. But if you are interested in museums and galleries (wise idea in winter), I'd spend more time in Leipzig and Dresden. If you have bad weather driving in the mountains you won't see much and it could be a driving hazard. Either way, good luck!

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Old Oct 9th, 2023, 06:33 AM
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Thanks for the pictures Michael and thanks for the advice lavandula . The advice about the weather in the Alps has gotten me thinking about changing things up to include Prague instead. Prague (2 nights) to Dresden (2 nights) to Berlin (3 nights) to Munich (3-4 nights). With maybe a day trip up to the Alps or the castles from Munich, depending on the weather.

I know that we'd catch the beginning of the Christmas markets in Munich, but I'm wondering, if we reversed the order, if we would catch them in Prague before we head home. Not even just the markets, really, just to see Prague decorated I think would be lovely.
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Old Oct 9th, 2023, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by JSG
Thanks for the pictures Michael and thanks for the advice lavandula . The advice about the weather in the Alps has gotten me thinking about changing things up to include Prague instead. Prague (2 nights) to Dresden (2 nights) to Berlin (3 nights) to Munich (3-4 nights). With maybe a day trip up to the Alps or the castles from Munich, depending on the weather.

I know that we'd catch the beginning of the Christmas markets in Munich, but I'm wondering, if we reversed the order, if we would catch them in Prague before we head home. Not even just the markets, really, just to see Prague decorated I think would be lovely.
Have you looked up travel times with this plan? Giving yourself 2 nights in a place equals only 1 full day of sightseeing. So, getting all the way to Prague just to see the lights seems to not be worth it, IMHO. That is also if you also want to sightsee IN Prague, not just for Xmas markets. YMMV.
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Old Oct 9th, 2023, 10:13 AM
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Dresden and Leipzig both have Christmas markets. In Dresden there are several. I used to frequently travel to Dresden for work and recall these 2 highlights.

1. absolutely the BEST Stollen anywhere - with numerous vendors selling locally made product in a range of flavors and styles.
2. Loudspeakers endlessly looping all of those old time German christmas songs - including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Feliz Navidad.... go figure.

Of all the markets I've been to the one in Leipzig stands out as the most unique -with food booths selling a lot more local product such as boar... foods you don't normally see elsewhere....

For the most part Christmas markets across Germany have become somewhat of a commodity and it can be hard to tell one from another after a while, and there is only so much of them I can handle on one trip - ymmv.

Last edited by J62; Oct 9th, 2023 at 10:21 AM.
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Old Oct 9th, 2023, 12:29 PM
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Christmas markets in Germany open quite late this year and you'll be too early for those in Saxony (Dresden, Leipzig) anyway.

I did not find Prague to be particularly christmassy, at least not comparable to Germany.

The only option for you to experience some Christmas atmosphere is IMO a detour to Seiffen in the Erzgebirge (Ore) mountains between Prague and Dresden (driving.) Although their Christmas market won't be open yet, but the whole town breathes Christmas all year through. The wooden Christmas items like nutcrackers, pyramids, smokers, candle arches etc. are manufactured here and you can visit private workshops, showrooms (Wendt & Kühn) and shop till you drop.
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Old Oct 9th, 2023, 05:29 PM
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If you're interested in museums three days in Berlin sounds very short. Even if the Pergamonmuseum will be closed. Museum island can occupy quite a bit of your time and there are other museums off the island.
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Old Oct 12th, 2023, 07:46 AM
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Thank you everyone, this is all good advice. We will probably skip Prague and stick with Berlin, Dresden, Munich. thank you.
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Old Oct 12th, 2023, 06:28 PM
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Would be interested in suggestions for areas to stay in each city. We like to be able to walk and explore, close to restaurants, cafes, etc.

Also, to fly to Berlin, we have to have a stop-over possibly in Frankfurt. This makes me wonder if it makes sense to add Frankfurt as a place to visit, and then take the train from there to Berlin? Knowing that it would take some time away from the other places. I haven't looked in to Frankfurt too much so it wasn't on our radar.
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Old Oct 12th, 2023, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by JSG
Would be interested in suggestions for areas to stay in each city. We like to be able to walk and explore, close to restaurants, cafes, etc.

Also, to fly to Berlin, we have to have a stop-over possibly in Frankfurt. This makes me wonder if it makes sense to add Frankfurt as a place to visit, and then take the train from there to Berlin? Knowing that it would take some time away from the other places. I haven't looked in to Frankfurt too much so it wasn't on our radar.
Frankfurt is probably the most boring city in Germany, imho. Skip it and focus on your other destinations. You already have a lot on your plate for a fairly short trip.

I can't offer suggestions without knowing more about your interests - which I guess is museums (what kind?) and Xmas markets, which do not appeal to me. Perhaps you might consider some time perusing some guidebooks to see which interests you about each of these cities.
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Old Oct 13th, 2023, 09:42 AM
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Thanks Travel_Nerd We'd just like to see one Christmas market since we're there at that time of year, but not building the trip around that. We like history and art so we will visit museums and galleries and historical sites, maybe walking tours. We like to walk and explore old towns and interesting neighbourhoods and stop in for coffee or a drink along the way. We like to walk to dinner, but are open to taking transit or taxis too. A nice view is always nice but generally want to stay somewhere cozy and safe with a bit of activity near by. We will try to take in some live music performances or operas in at least one of the destinations. We enjoy easy to moderate hiking and walking in nature (without hard-core gear - just regular warm boots etc). Some of the driving experiences look interesting (eg/ Porshe) but I don't know if we can make that work. Same with football games -- would be nice but not going to build the trip around it.
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Old Oct 13th, 2023, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by JSG
Would be interested in suggestions for areas to stay in each city. We like to be able to walk and explore, close to restaurants, cafes, etc.
.
In Dresden, we stayed in the area around the Frauenkirche, the Hilton to be precise, but there are several places close by, and we enjoyed it very much.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Oct 13th, 2023, 12:06 PM
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Thanks Trophywife007 We will take a look at the area around Frauenkirche. We're really looking forward to Dresden.
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Old Oct 13th, 2023, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JSG
Would be interested in suggestions for areas to stay in each city. We like to be able to walk and explore, close to restaurants, cafes, etc.

Also, to fly to Berlin, we have to have a stop-over possibly in Frankfurt. This makes me wonder if it makes sense to add Frankfurt as a place to visit, and then take the train from there to Berlin? Knowing that it would take some time away from the other places. I haven't looked in to Frankfurt too much so it wasn't on our radar.
I know Frankfurt quite well as I lived in Wiesbaden and over the years have had friends in Frankfurt. There is a tourist core that will keep you going for a day or two, and there will be a Christmas market in the Römer, which is the rebuilt town square. I would also look into the Museumsufer (museum riverbank), which is just across the river Main from the city (the Städel is particularly good), and perhaps have a meal in Fressgass, the 'eat street', or at Dauth-Schneider, one of the applewine pubs in Sachsenhausen. There are also a lot of really old churches in Frankfurt - Alte Nikolai, dating from 1290, and St Leonhards (1219), the Jörg Rathgeb frescoes in the Karmeliter Cloister (1519). If you like food markets, the Kleinmarkthalle. At sunset you can visit the Main Tower. The of course there are old staples such as the Alte Oper and Eschenheimer Turm (1425). This is the tip of the iceberg. You don't have to go into the built-up city part of Frankfurt, which is what I think puts most people off. And if you like to shop, the Zeil provides ample opportunity for retail therapy. And if you prefer, use Frankfurt as a base for a trip up the middle Rhine gorge, which is just a train ride away. So you could build an entire trip around Frankfurt with both the city and things to do in the area, but you already have plans in other places in Germany. You would have to make a tough decision!

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Old Oct 14th, 2023, 06:58 AM
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Thanks lavandula That's definitely worth looking at, since we can fly directly there. I don't know what I'd want to give up though. Tough decisions indeed, with limited time for a visit.
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Old Oct 14th, 2023, 09:57 AM
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Thinking about Frankfurt got me looking at the flight options and our best bet might be to fly direct to Frankfurt and home direct from Munich. I know we don't have time for it all, so I think we would drop Berlin. Spend a short amount of time in Frankfurt, then more days in Dresden and Munich. With some time to explore a few places as day trips from Dresden and/or Munich, or on the way as we drive between them.
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Old Oct 14th, 2023, 02:27 PM
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OK, well perhaps you could spend the first day getting acquainted with Frankfurt before you need to rest from jetlag, and your second day on the Rhine, as you will want a bit more energy then. Then you could leave for Dresden - there is a road across after Fulda and Bad Herzfeld which takes you through Erfurt. You could then do Leipzig and Dresden. The road back to Munich could be via Bayreuth.

You will love the Rhine for sure, it ticks all the boxes, and if you have specific things you want to see in Frankfurt, you will have a good time there too. It's not a walk-around-and-soak-up-the-beauty sort of city - most German cities were badly damaged in WWII and were rebuilt in a variety of styles, and Frankfurt had been the largest city of Fachwerk houses in Europe before the bombings and fire damage, which they did not try to reconstruct. Instead it became the business and banking hub of West Germany, and under American influence the skyscrapers flourished (Frankfurt was in the American sector). There is Fachwerk in the Römer and in Alt-Sachsenhausen still, and in Sachsenhausen gorgeous 19th century architecture. So that's why Frankfurt is not popular - but it is is interesting and has good pockets of charm, if you know where to look. I will give you a warning though, and that's about the main train station (Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof) - it has been cleaned up considerably, but it is gritty (mostly drugs). People don't tote guns here, it's not dangerous in that way but it's mildly unpleasant. It doesn't stop thousands of locals from accessing it every day. Just in the interests of full disclosure.

If you haven't yet looked at a hotel in Frankfurt, I like the Adina chain. I was in one in Wiesbaden in January. It's a chain of aparthotels and you will find eating nooks and washer/dryers in the rooms. Highly recommend.

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Old Oct 14th, 2023, 02:53 PM
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Just checked and the Christmas market in the Römer doesn't start until 27 November so you will probably miss out here, but the Römer is an attraction in itself. It may be that you don't see any Christmas markets until Munich but that is not a bad thing, Munich will have several. Good luck!

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Old Oct 15th, 2023, 08:49 AM
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Thanks lavandula This all sounds great! I appreciate your suggestions.
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