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Berlin plus Dresden Saxon or Munich Bavaria?


Nov 16th, 2014, 08:12 AM
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Berlin plus Dresden Saxon or Munich Bavaria?

I am planning a holiday for 2 weeks next august flying to and from Berlin with my husband and 3 sons aged 14, 17 and 21. This is our first visit to Germany and Berlin seemed like a city we could easily base ourselves for a week with lots of sights, activities and day trip potential. My sons are interested in science and technology I have seen a few activities around crystal maze type challenge which will definitely appeal. We are also quite interested in the history of Berlin and WWII. I like hiking although it can't be too strenuous with the family and steam train / boat trips will also appeal. So my question for you is any suggestions for a second base(s) for a week? Saxony Switzerland has been suggested and we could stay somewhere in the region perhaps in Dresden but I have also thought Bavaria may be staying in and around Munich. I am a bit hesitant about 2 weeks around cities as any previous city breaks have been very active. However I am open to any suggestions but my preference would be public transport as I am not keen on driving.

I would appreciate any advice which would help us to narrow our options.

thanks in advance for any help
mmis is offline  
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Nov 16th, 2014, 08:43 AM
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Whichever you choose, Dresden or Munich, I would fly into Berlin and home from the other city. Why spend time and money (for 5 train or bus tickets) to return to Berlin.

I was recently in Berlin and Dresden. Dresden was great but I didn't take any trips outside the town as the weather was not conducive to countryside sightseeing (gray & rainy much of the time). With children and young adults I think some rural activities are mandatory and you can find these in either Munich or Dresden areas.

The bus between Dresden and Berlin is cheaper than the train and probably true of Munich and Berlin.
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Nov 16th, 2014, 08:59 AM
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The Saxon Switzerland area south of Dresden would be the perfect area for the second week. Lots of outdoor activities in the area. If you think another city stay for the second week is not a good idea, why not staying in the countryside? One of the small towns in Saxon Switzerland along the railway line in the Elbe river valley? Commuter trains run every half hour to/from Dresden. Travel time Dresden - Pirna is 20 minutes, Dresden - Bad Schandau is 40 minutes, other, smaller towns like Kurort Rathen and Stadt Wehlen inbetween. Which means you could also stay in the beautiful, quieter 19th century residential areas in Dresden and do excursions to Saxon Switzerland (and other destinations in the countryside around Dresden) and not have the 'big city' feeling.

For the bus Dresden - Berlin and vice versa you can get tickets as cheap as 6 Euro per person at the moment (meinfernbus.de) but prices are expected to go up in the next months.

Munich as a base for outdoor activities means longer daily travels - the Alps are more than an hour away e.g. Garmisch 1:22 h, Lenggries and Tegernsee a bit more than an hour.
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Nov 17th, 2014, 09:09 AM
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Berlin will keep you and your family occupied for a week. There are spectacular museums which will fascinate your sons - e.g. the Pergamon Museum with the Gate of Babylon, the Natural History Museum with the world's largest dinosaur skeleton, the Technical Museum or the Helmut Newton Museum (which is especially appealing for teen boys). Do a boat trip on the Spree river.

You should include a daytrip to Potsdam (you might include the film studios in Babelsberg) and maybe a daytrip to Schwerin (gorgeous castle).

For the second week, I strongly recommend Bavaria. Saxon Switzerland is fine, but, hey, the Alps are something different. Stay a couple of days in München (Deutsches Museum - a technology museum - will fascinate your boys, also a visit to the BMW factory) and a few days in the Alps, either Garmisch or Berchtesgaden. Think about renting a car for one or two days in Upper Bavaria - driving the scenic roads is very rewarding (although you can do a lot with public transport).
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