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Best Germany Travel Guide Recommendations Please...

Best Germany Travel Guide Recommendations Please...

Jan 6th, 2009, 07:51 PM
  #1  
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Best Germany Travel Guide Recommendations Please...

Hi,

I would love to hear everyone's best loved travel books for travelling in Germany. I am going for my Honeymoon in early April and have yet to find a book that has it all. Your opinions are greatly appreciated.
silver52900 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 02:25 AM
  #2  
 
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I know what a bad guide book is:

Rick Steves - he ignores two thirds of the country

Lonely Planet looks good and also this one:

Daytrips Germany: 60 One Day Adventures by Rail or by Car in Bavaria, the Rhineland, the North and the East by Earl Steinbicker
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 04:44 AM
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Hello Silver:

IMO the best travel information on Germany may be found on this board. With the likes of Ingo, PalenQ, Quokka, HSV and many others, there is a wealth of information available and, importantly, it is based on personal experience. Just ask. Good Luck. Gradyghost
gradyghost is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 04:50 AM
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With Rick Steves, keep in mind that part of his approach has been to cover only places he has personally visited. It's not a matter of ignoring parts of any particular country, but of giving only first-hand information. The approach has advantages and disadvantages.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 04:57 AM
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Rough guide is superb, I still use my West German one (no really). Then I use the Main German web site (not as good as the french but they try and will send publicity through the post, then local web sites (often in English)
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 04:58 AM
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If you are looking for a guide book, we like Michelin Green.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 05:18 AM
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For picking out a route and selecting sights, I also like the Michelin Green Guide.

Rick Steves works for me for hotels if he has covered the city that I am visiting.

I take Lonely Planet with me as it has both the sights and useful tourist information like bookshops and laudramats.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 05:20 AM
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*blushes* Thanks Gradyghost!

Anyway, the question here probably can't be settled with just this forum. If I understand correctly, silver wants to do a little reading first to get a general overview of the country and then decide where to go and what to see (IMHO a very wise approach). I'm afraid we locals won't be of much help simply because we don't use guide books in English... I have no idea if, for example, Baedecker is available in an English translation - the German series is quite good. (Just checked Amazon, seems an English edition exists.)

There is so much to do and see in all parts of this country that you can blindfold your eyes, take a map and a pin and then tell us where the pin landed - and to find enough options for a two-week holiday in a circle of 100 kms around this spot. That would be a fun experiment...
Seriously: you'll have to pick a region or two, the whole country cannot be seen in one trip.

Let me start with a general link to Germany's national tourist board: http://www.germany-tourism.de/index_ENG.htm
As a rule of thumb, the best source for individual locations and reigions are the local tourist offices, also for finding accommodation. Their websites can be found by googling "name of location" and "tourist information". They also send out, usually for free, leaflets and information and maps if you contact them.
quokka is online now  
Jan 8th, 2009, 07:19 AM
  #9  
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Let me add some info that might be helpful in helping me out. We have already booked our plane tickets and hotels. Here is our itinerary: 3 Nights in Berlin, 5 Nights in Munich with day trips to Fussen and Dachau,1 Night in Rothenburg ODT, 2 Nights Trier, 1 Night in Frankfurt. We are also renting a car in Berlin and driving to Munich and everywhere else for the trip (my fiance loves to drive). We are looking for a book that can be kept in our little messenger bag that has much information including: maps, restaurants, ideas for last minute sights, etc. We have looked at Fodors, but it is not exactly what we are looking for. I hope this extra info helps!
silver52900 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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Fodor's of course.
Bird is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 08:49 AM
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According to what I heard from a friend, the Fodor's Germany guide is full of errors, some of them rather vital... He said he wrote to the editors and notified them but they weren't interested in corrections. Sorry guys, not recommended.
quokka is online now  
Jan 8th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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>>>We are looking for a book that can be kept in our little messenger bag that has much information including: maps, restaurants, ideas for last minute sights, etc.<<<

The Daytrips Germany will probably be the best choice.

I like quokka's remark:

>>>There is so much to do and see in all parts of this country that you can blindfold your eyes, take a map and a pin and then tell us where the pin landed - and to find enough options for a two-week holiday in a circle of 100 kms around this spot.<<<

It is so true - but all the Americans just want to see Rothenburg (we have better medieval towns, e.g. Wernigerode and Quedlinburg), Neuschwanstein (we have better castles) and München (as if this were the only German city). I really suspect that this is all Rick Steves' fault whose knowledge of Germany seems, according to RufusTFirefly, very limited but who is brazen enough to write a guidebook about a country which he does not know.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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I'd love to try that pin experiment... Any volunteers?



quokka is online now  
Jan 8th, 2009, 02:08 PM
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Since you're travelling by car, I would recommend the Michelin Green Guide, which is geared towards the motoring tourist. It covers many of the smaller cities/towns which often aren't featured in other guide books. You can also purchase the corresponding road maps to the guide book.

I use several different sources when planning a trip. I like to peruse the DK Eyewitness Guides, mostly for their color pictures, and so I can visually decide if something appeals to me to visit. But, I also resource Michelin, Fodors, Time Out and Rick Steves.

However, I must agree with gradyghost, that the best information on Germany can be found right here on this board. I received help with my Germany trip planning from everyone that he mentioned, and many more (Russ, Rufus, Ira, hausfrau, just to name a few). Quokka was exceptionally helpful, answering many of my questions. (Thank you to everyone!)

Have a fun time in Germany, silver52900. And congratulations on your upcoming nuptial.

Robyn >-
artstuff is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 10:39 PM
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I have to agree that Rick Steves not only leaves out a good portion of Germany, he also does a bad job of writing about some of it. From his guidebook - "just don't go to Heidelberg", he runs on and on about the Eros hotels in Frankfurt and doesn't even mention the Holocaust Memorial Wall there (really odd if you ask me), he says that the Insider Tours guides in Berlin work for tips only which is not true (where does he get this info?), Rüdesheim is too full of tourists, so don't go there either. But I guess the Oktoberfest isnt? Hamburg is completely ignored as is Hannover. Munich and Bavaria are just a small part of what Germany is.

ok, ranting done, he has gotten a lot of people over to Europe that might not have gone before. Using all the different forums, and websites and various books will help you plan your trip. Perhaps taking a small laptop or notebook with you with all your favorite sites downloaded will work well. If I had to drive, that is what I would do. There are enough "hotspots" in Germany to make having a laptop here worthwhile.

Mainhattengirl is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 04:16 AM
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I didn't actually say that Rick Steve's knowledge of Germany is limited--he might be the world expert on Germany or know practically nothing about the country for all I know.

What I did say is that it's been his policy to only write about places he has personally visited. Again, this approach has advantages and disadvantages, as all approaches do.

An advantage is that you know when he writes something, he has experienced it. A disadvantage is that he hasn't been to every spot in Europe, so you might not find info on a place you are interested in.

I'm not sure that he still maintains this policy of only writing about places he's experienced as I haven't seen any of his recent guidebook editions, but some people like the approach while others don't.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 04:54 AM
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I've personally had good luck with Rick Steve's books but haven't seen the Germany one. I know the Spain one also leaves off much of the country but is comprehensive for certain areas. Do not buy his books as an all-encompassing country-guide. His maps with a plasticised coating are a great deal at $5-6.
jumbonav is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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quokka...I'm currently torn between a trip to Germany or a trip to Portugal.

I did your pin on a map suggestion...I landed on/near Hildesheim. So experiment away! Chances are I would be going solo in the fall, after Oktoberfest but before Thanksgiving. Unlikely to rent a car, and limited to trains and public transportation.

Anyway to help Silver52900, I've used Steinbicker's day trip guide from London and found it interesting and useful, so I would expect the Germany one to be equally good.
whoknew is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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Hildesheim... LOL, that's near my old home, I spent the first 22 years of my life in Braunschweig. I've just been in the area for the holidays. Ok I'm taking the challenge!

This region is a bit off the beaten path, though the Harz is quite popular among Scandinavian tourists. It is a region with a lot of history.

A 100 km circle round Hildesheim includes
- the whole Harz mountains. Hiking. Narrow-gauge steam railways starting from Wernigerode up the Brocken and in two lines across the Harz. Old-town jewels like Goslar, Wernigerode, Quedlinburg, Einbeck, Duderstadt... The western part of the Harz has mostly fir and pine forests so autumn colours will be more beautiful in the eastern, the former GDR half.
- Cities: Hannover, Kassel, Braunschweig, Magdeburg, Göttingen, Hildesheim, Wolfenbüttel, all with their sights and museums. Wolfsburg with the VW factory and Autostadt if you are into cars.
- Lüneburger Heide - more outdoor activities. Watch a shepherd with his Heidschnucken herd, a local race of sheep. Explore the old town of Celle. The heather blooms in August, so that is the most beautiful month to visit.
- Steinhuder Meer (lake)
- Weserbergland and the Weser valley, great bike tours, renaissance architecture, old towns like Hameln, Höxter, Rinteln, Minden, elegant spa town of Bad Pyrmont. A bit further west, Paderborn and Detmold. There you also hit a part of Deutsche Märchenstraße, the Fairytale road.
- Heaps of Romanesque architecture n- some of the best are Königslutter, Gernrode (near Quedlinburg), Goslar, not to forget Hildesheim itself
- Castles and palaces: Hannover-Herrenhausen with its famous baroque garden, Celle, Wolfenbüttel, Wernigerode

This is a brief summary...

Typical for this area are old towns full of half-timbered houses. In the larger cities like Braunschweig, such old towns existed but have been reduced to rubble and ashes in World War II. If you want to see them you have to visit smaller places like Goslar, Wernigerode, Wolfenbüttel, Duderstadt, Celle, Stolberg, Einbeck...

Most of the places mentioned can be reached by train. To explore Lüneburger Heide and the Harz mountains, renting a car for a day or two each might be useful. If you don't want to drive at all your options in these areas are limited to local train and bus routes but still, there are options.

In late autumn it's best to keep the itinerary flexible, staying several days in one place and adjusting activities to current weather conditions.

I'd keep you busy there! ;-)
quokka is online now  
Jan 15th, 2009, 07:05 AM
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Thanks quokka! I've got my map out now and will be working out an itinerary.
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