Christmas trip to Germany, what city?

Old Aug 17th, 2014, 06:26 PM
  #21  
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Hi jojoblais -

We spent last Christmas Day in Munich - while most places were understandably closed, we had no issues finding enough to keep us busy for the day.

We stayed in Munich Ost, which worked very well for us. On Christmas Day we took the train to Marienplatz, watched the vendors pack up their Christmas stalls and restore the streets to their pre-Christmas state. We had coffee, explored St Johann church, and explored the Englischer Garten.

We watched the surfers at the Eisbach, had lunch at a beer garden and found a very small Christmas market still in progress near the Chinese Tower (Englischer Garten).

We circled the lake and eventually returned to the Marienplatz where we watched some sort of procession with a Cardinal and boys choir, wandered the streets and had drinks in dessert at a restaurant.

It was a full day of just poking around and we were surprised how many people were out doing the same.

With a little imagination, you'll find plenty to do.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 07:01 PM
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I am following this thread with great interest - and your Switzerland one too Melnq8, as we try and decide if we will head off in December for a few weeks.

Of late I seem to be bothered by cold weather and this is most unusual for me so the prospect of cold and damp is a bit of a challenge - and of course if we go it has to be somewhere either snowing or close to snow.
As well our eldest wants to return to Paris for a few days: he spent some months over Christmas in France as a young 16 year old student quite a few years ago and wants to re experience some of his visit.

I realise some writers on this board are amazed at those of us wanting to experience and see snow - especially at Christmas time - but it simply reflects the Christmas images we grew up with and don't have here in Australia!
And of course the markets are very tempting.

You will,have some idea of where I am coming from Mel as I grew up in Perth!

So we will continues to research and follow the responses here and make a decision very soon: as yes we are aware of how busy places get and possible limitations or restrictions on bookings and availability at Christmas.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 07:28 PM
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love_travel_Aus -

Funny you mention the cold, as we spent nine nights in your neck of the woods last month (Limestone Coast) and I was shocked at how cold it felt. It was 4c, which in my world isn't cold at all unless accompanied by wind. There's just something about that damp cold that settles into one's bones.

I'd laughed when sartoric told me it'd be cold in South Australia, but I had to eat crow on that one.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 10:23 PM
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For jojoblais,

I've lived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for almost 6 years, and I've seen most folks go out for a walk on Christams day. The mountain trails and walking lanes in town are pretty packed! Also, the transport into the mountains will be running, and the mountaintop restaurants will also be open because it's prime tourist season. So, I would say that either staying in the city (as explained by Melnq8) or in the country would work for you.

For love_travel-Aus,

Yes, I know how many folks want that white Christmas -- I do too! When I lived in the south in the USA, I always travelled to Europe in the winter just to get that crunch of ice under my shoes.

Unfortunately, due to Global Climate Change, the chances for a white Christmas are getting less and less certain at lower altitudes. That's unfortunate but true.

s
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 11:06 PM
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Thanks for understanding about the cold Melnq8!
When it was below 1C a couple of nights I started to get very tired of running the heating.

I am sorry I did not catch up with the fact that you were planning a visit to SA as it would have been great to meet up.
We spent 14 fantastic nights in NYC late May and then returned to builders in our house (they are still here), family with flu and lots of catch up work so I was not reading Fodor's as much.

And thank you swandav2000 for being so understanding.
Good to hear that a lot is open and or available - I guess we just have to make a decision.
Perhaps if the weather here warms up here in the next couple of days I might be a little more amenable to the whole idea.

We are lucky that this is what we are concerned with...
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 11:27 AM
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THank you all, this is making me feel better about traveling over christmas.

but melnq8 -- you watched SURFERS?? I'm confused......

We were thinking of doing christmas in Munich. I'm feeling better about it now.

anyone else want to weigh i on this, I'd appreciate the feedback!
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 04:31 PM
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Yep, surfers. Weird huh?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTTct6xBIc8
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 01:47 AM
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Throwing in a few thoughts.
There is a German webpage: http://www.weihnachtsmarkt-deutschland.de/
that lists many Christmas Markets and the dates that they open. In almost all larger cities the christmas markets will be open throughout December, closing either on the 24th or some (very few) will stay open until the 31st or even Jan 6th.
What you could consider is going for a location that has multiple markets (often with own unique styles).
For example Regensburg would have markets spread around old town (its a nice historic old town) and then on the castle grounds there is a cozy, special one, that you have to pay entrance fee (worth it I think).
Similar in Bamberg. They had the normal one, and then a medieval one, that was an entrance fee.
There is also Christmas markets in Castles or Fortresses that are usually a bit more unique (these often only open on a weekend or two).
Also if you wanted something different you could consider Christmas markets by the sea e.g. in Luebeck and Warnemuende.
The one thing that I will throw in on the popular markets like Nuernberg or Dresden: Tourists are brought there by the bus load (literally) and the main market in Nuernberg (Christkindl Markt) is optimized for that. Not much variety, hords of tourists, very busy and pushy - lets say it was not my favourite market, so if you like it a bit more "seasonally" mellow you could consider a slightly less popular one, but depending on the weather, a lot of the markets will be quite busy with locals ...
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 04:42 PM
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You're speaking my language Kirkesgaard, mellow is much more my cuppa.

I found the site you posted earlier, and that's where I started my research, and where all the options began to boggle my mind.

Bamberg appeals due to it's world heritage status and manageable size. I also read that it's situated on seven hills?

I'd read something about Ettal (Monastery) which very much falls into the unique category, but I can't find the dates for their market, which I assume will be held one weekend only.

We're not really city people and we found the crowds at the Munich markets overwhelming last year. While we appreciate what a city offers, smaller is just better for us.

Regensburg is on my short list, I'll take a closer look.

Coming from Australia, we'll be absolutely fried by the time we reach Zurich, so I need to sit down and work out the logistics, see what makes sense.

Thank you all for the great ideas.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 09:45 PM
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Hi again,

Apparently, the Ettal Kloster didn't have a Christmas Market in 2013 due to construction, but they will have one in 2014. I can't see the dates on their website; indeed, it looks like it hasn't been updated since 2013. Here's the website:

http://www.ettaler-klosterweihnacht.de/home.html

The webpage has contact information, so you can email them and see if they've set a date yet.

What fun preparations!

s
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 11:55 PM
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Thanks swandav. BTW, Garmisch is still in the running. From a logistics standpoint though, Freiburg makes a lot of sense.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 12:23 AM
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Yeah, I have read the seven hills bit Well, there is definetely uphill and downhill walking ... whether it was seven - sure, why not
Bamberg is famous for its smoked beer. There is a couple of breweries in town that brew and serve it. My advice: order the smallest glass possible first and see if you like it, then go for the "normal" size. They do have "normal" or (personal point of view) good tasting beer too ... Also if you travel here on a weekend I strongly recommend making reservations for dinner. Having said that, it is definetely a compact old town and you can do things walking (same is true for Regensburg, the city center is relatively compact.
We have been to Ettal in the summer and it is a nice monastery and there is a Bavarian castle nearby that you may not have seen yet (Linderhof). There is not much around the monestary but probably quite a few people driving out there just for the Christmas market. So consider whether you want to stay there or maybe in Garmisch and just drive out there for the market. Garmisch might give you a few more options to do when you are done with the Christmas market.
But you are right, from a logistics perspective coming from Zurich Freiburg is a good choice. You could combine it with
http://www.veranstaltung-baden-wuert...sp?IVE=2622391
Its a market in the a gorge in the black forest. But just on the 6th and 7th and (I have not been there yet) but it very popular (because it is quite unique) and therefore it will be fairly full - they even recommend to make buy a parking ticket online before ... but it would be something special I think, I have it on my to-do list for a while now - so maybe we'll see you there
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 03:00 AM
  #33  
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Thanks again Kirkesgaard. We've been to Linderhof.

We'll be traveling by train.

The thought of another flight AND multiple trains after three airports and 19 hours in the air makes that 1:45 train journey to Freiburg (Breisgau) more and more attractive. And who knew there were so many Freiburgs?

We visited Freiburg years ago as a side trip from somewhere, but those brain cells are long gone; I can't remember the details.

Must sleep on this.
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Old Sep 25th, 2014, 04:48 PM
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Have decided on Freiburg im Breisgau for five nights, as it makes the most logistic sense.

I've narrowed hotel options down to Hotel Minerva and Hotel Barbara.

How do I obtain the Konus Card? I see it's given at check in at Hotel Minerva, but I'm leaning towards Hotel Barbara, which doesn't mention the card on their website.

Have sent an e-mail to the tourist office, but thought one of you might know - Bokhara?
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Old Sep 25th, 2014, 09:09 PM
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Have stayed at the Minerva (quite some years ago) and loved it.
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Old Sep 25th, 2014, 11:06 PM
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Good to know, Ingo, it seems I'm on the right path.
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Old Jul 5th, 2015, 04:39 PM
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I'm in the early stages of planning another visit to Germany over Christmas, so it seemed only fitting to re-read this thread first.

Last year's trip was a resounding success...five nights in Freiburg, then two weeks in Switerland, one week each in Scuol and Blankenburg.

This year we're considering spending the entire time (three weeks) in Germany. We're hoping to met up with friends from the UK over the weekend of 19 December, and are trying to plan the trip accordingly.

We're no longer living in Australia, so we'll be flying in from the US; at this point, it appears that flying into Frankfurt makes the most sense.

I've taken the advice of Ingo and Swandav to heart and am seriously considering spending a week in Dresden (flying from Frankfurt and return), then moving on to Munich to meet up with friends (perhaps spending a few nights en route in Nuremburg?) then spending the actual Christmas holiday plus a few days in Garmisch, eventually departing from Munich.

Travel via train, except for Frankfurt-Dresden-Frankfurt.

Ingo suggested staying in residential areas or a village near Dresden...just wondering if you had any specific accommodation suggestions? Would prefer an apartment.

Could also use suggestions regarding best way to tackle the rail portion - point-to-point? Pass?
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Old Jul 5th, 2015, 04:52 PM
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So follow the advice you got previously, and visit Germany's real "Christmas Country" now - Dresden and the Ore Mountains. If your time permits you may also want to include Görlitz and Bautzen.

Ingo has linked some of his very informative pages over on Virtualtourist further above. You may also want to have a look at some of mine:
Dresden: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/f86bd/1091e/
Freiberg: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/f86bd/f6d5/
Görlitz: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/f86bd/eb77/
Bautzen: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/f86bd/129da/
Meißen: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/f86bd/9743/
Seiffen: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/f86bd/ab23/
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Old Jul 5th, 2015, 08:52 PM
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Hi again!

Lol, Garmisch finally made the cut!!

Well, you need to remember how small Garmisch is -- the Christmas market is really just a few stalls on both sides of one aisle. And you know how everything closes around Christmas; this year Christmas falls on a Friday, so everything will be closed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, all in a row. It might cause some problems though there will always be a few restaurants and cafes open. Of course, everything (restaurants) will be open on the mountaintops, which get a LOT of traffic over Christmas.

You'll be fine if you plan to do what most locals do -- take a walk! The trains and busses will be operating on a Sunday/holiday schedule, so you'll be able to get around fine. There are some trails that are maintained and kept clear of snow, if we do get snow, but usually that's not a problem (sadly).

You can also take some trips to nearby towns like Augsburg (which I personally like far more than Munich), Landsberg (Lech), Murnau, Oberammergau (if you didn't already see it when you visited Linderhof), Seefeld in Austria, Reutte in Austria, etc.

Ooooo, what fun! I love seeing your interesting trips take shape . . . and love your TR when the trip is over.

BTW, I am thinking of taking a German class at the Goethe in Freiburg next summer. . .

Have fun!!

s
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Old Jul 6th, 2015, 12:02 AM
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Is it already time to plan Christmas trips again? Oh my!

Yes, as quokka said and I mentioned earlier, do visit the Erzgebirge (Ore mountains). Schwarzenberg has a Christmas market from 2nd to 3rd Advent - a must. Annaberg's Christmas market is also not to miss (until 4th Advent), Seiffen ditto - but during the week, please, not on weekends.

My suggestion is to split your time between Dresden and a town in the Erzgebirge (Annaberg-Buchholz is most centrally located).

In Dresden I like the residential areas Loschwitz, Blasewitz, Striesen the best. Of course, to get to the old town you need to ride the tram or bus for about 15 - 20 minutes. But you get more local ambience, it's quieter and less expensive in general. Groceries, bakeries etc. are in close distance. There are many apartments available in those districts. You might want to have a look at this website for a selection: www.dresden-pension.de (in German)

I had a quick look and thought these are nice:
http://www.villa-elsa-dresden.de/ (Fewos, not Gästehaus)
http://www.elbvilla-dresden.de (more expensive, but what a lovely villa!)
http://www.ferienwohnung-dresden-striesen.de/
http://www.kulturhaus-loschwitz.de/_vermiet_w.htm (and the romantic local Christmas market right in front of your door!)
http://www.dresden-pension.de/01324-...ramablick.html (the view!)
http://www.gottfried-schuster.de

I am wondering why you need to backtrack to Frankfurt instead of going directly to Bavaria after Dresden.

For rail - point-to-point tickets, preferably saver tickets booked in advance. Or, if traveling on weekends, Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (for regional trains). Or Ländertickets (within Saxony, within Bavaria ...)
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