Critique my German Adventure

Jul 9th, 2015, 06:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 193
Critique my German Adventure

Plan to Travel in late Sept/early Oct.
Fly into Amsterdam. 3 nights to see city/day trip to Delft
Train to Bruges. 2 nights
Train to Cologne or Heidelberg. 2 nights. Would like to take a day cruise on Rhine to see castles
Train to Munich. 3 nights. Day trips to Dachau,Neuschwanstein, Salzburg?

Primary interests are history, architecture, scenery

I have 2 more nights I can add & feel like we'd like to get out of the city & stay somewhere with a great view (lake or mountains)

2idocs is offline  
Jul 9th, 2015, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 968
"Train to Cologne or Heidelberg. 2 nights. Would like to take a day cruise on Rhine to see castles"

It's probably best to make a stop of several hours in Cologne to see the sights that interest you - and to then move on to a village in the Middle Rhine Valley for the night. Braubach might be a good choice. Take your cruise the next morning... first catch a train south (8:07) to Rüdesheim (8:51) and catch the 9:15 boat north. Make a stop in Bacharach (10:15) for an hour to check out the fine half-timbered buildings:

Move north (11:15) to St. Goar (11:55) to finish the cruise. Now that you've seen the best part walk up to Rheinfels Castle for a quick look around. Have lunch. Then catch the ferry that runs all day across to St. Goarshausen and the northbound train (14:32)from there back to Braubach (14:53) and get a tour of never-destroyed Marksburg before it closes.

Have a nice traditional meal at the zum Goldenen Schlüssel in Braubach's old town center:

Leave early the next morning for Munich.

I'd skip Heidelberg. Spend more time in Bavaria and Salzburg areas but skip Neuschwanstein - not worth nearly 5 hours round trip for a 30-min. tour - it's not a real castle either.
Fussgaenger is offline  
Jul 9th, 2015, 09:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,812
Hi 2idocs,

I live in Garmisch, so I may be able to help you find a nice place for a few days out of a city --

One choice would be the 4-star Eibsee Hotel right at the Eibsee at the foot of the Zugspitze. There's not a lot of activity there outside of hiking or ascending the Zugspitze, but it's a gorgeous place, of course, framed by mountains. The Eibsee bus bus stop is right at the hotel, so you can get to Grainau to explore a bit and to eat when you don't want to eat at the hotel's restaurants.

In Garmisch, there is the 4-star Riessersee Hotel, which sits on a small lake also framed by mountains, but there isn't a bus stop nearby -- you'd probably have to take a taxi for arrival and departure.

One of my favorite small towns here is Mittenwald, where you're never more than a few minutes from a hiking trail. There are two lakes outside of Mittenwald, but I'm not sure if there are hotels on them.

You may also want to investigate Prien am Chiemsee or Berchtesgaden near the Königsee -- I haven't been there, but hopefully others will give you some leads.

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2015, 05:15 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 193
Thanks for the replies. Both seem to be good options.
We chose Cologne as a possible base since it seems to be a good rail hub & definitely want to visit the cathedral there.

Is Braubach large enough to offer some good lodging/dining options?

Eibsee was one of our possible choices, but concerned that it may be too small/harder to get to by rail.

Would staying on Lake Constance be an option?

We've done multiple trips into the American & Canadian Rockies. How will this compare?
2idocs is offline  
Jul 10th, 2015, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Dec 2014
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"We chose Cologne as a possible base since it seems to be a good rail hub..."

Day tripping to the Middle Rhine from Cologne is possible but it lengthens your day unnecessarily. Cologne is a hub for Aachen, Düsseldorf, etc. but inconvenient if you want to spend one day seeing a few things the Middle Rhine Valley and taking a cruise. Taking the train to the south end of the scenic part (Bingen) to begin your day cruise takes 1.5 - 2.0 hours from Cologne. If you end your day in Braubach (northernmost village in the scenic area) you will still have to take two trains and spend 1.25 - 1.5 hours to get back to Cologne.

"...definitely want to visit the cathedral there."

Yes, it's an absolute "must" IMO too.... From Cologne station's main entrance you can reach the cathedral in a couple of minutes - it's right next door. So if that's your main goal in Cologne, it's terribly easy to drop off your bags at the station's luggage facility and walk over to see the cathedral. All you really need is a couple of hours in Cologne for that, maybe 3-4 if you want a meal as well.

"Is Braubach large enough to offer some good lodging/dining options?"

Cologne is very large with dozens and dozens of mostly modern hotel options. Braubach is an adorable village with lots of character and very small - not a lot of options but still a lot of variety because every place is unique. Hotel options in a town like Braubach are a complete change from the big-city operations of Cologne. Look into the zum Weissen Schwanen, the Pension Felsenkeller, or the Hotel Garni Maaß:

For dining, the zum Goldenen Schlüssel offers traditional German food:

Zum Weissen Schwanen and Treibgut get good marks too:

If these or the other options aren't what you're seeking, you have other choices, of course. Boppard is a great town to stay in. St. Goar is terrific too. Most people adore the Ohm Patt in Boppard and the Rheinhotel St. Goar, but there are many other options as well. Both towns are on the west bank of the river and either one would allow you to get around the Rhine Valley easily and have a cruise. Koblenz is a train hub with dozens of hotel options too but hotels near the station will offer a mostly uninspiring neighborhood and atmosphere.
Fussgaenger is offline  
Jul 10th, 2015, 12:03 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,351
Ditto the advice on Cologne - hit the Dom during a short stay over from an onward rail journey. This once lovely city holds very few charms today and is poorly situated for visiting the best parts of the Rhine.

Staying on lake Constance is a terrific idea but it has virtually nothing to offer in comparison with the Rockies. On a good day, with no humidity you might be able to see the Alps way off to the south.

Look up Meersburg, Lindau, and Mainau and see if they tickle your fancy; beautiful old towns with lakeside promenades.
Aramis is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 11:20 AM
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Posts: 193
Would travelling from Bruges to St Goar, with a stop in Cologne to see the cathedral be too ambitious to do in a day?

How many train changes would it take? Travel time?
Is there a site that lets me plan rail travel between multiple countries?
2idocs is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 968
Sample schedule:

Bruges(B) 8:08, change in Brussels
Cologne 12:15
lv. Cologne 14:56
St. Goar 17:19

You can find a schedule that suits you at the same site I found this schedule -

Use the stopover feature to schedule some time in Cologne.
Fussgaenger is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 968
The above schedule looks alright to me. You may want to leave Bruges earlier or later, or have more time in Cologne, I don't know. Leave your bags at the automated luggage storage facility in Cologne station.
Fussgaenger is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 09:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,812
Hi again,

Yes, a stay on Lake Constance is a good option. I once spent four nights in Lindau and just loved the little town. There is great biking available there (I didn't do any) plus visiting other towns and some hiking. Very pretty little town.

The big mountains are rather far away though. If you want a dramatic landscape of big mountains reflecting into the waters, you'll need to stay somewhere closer.

Sorry but I've never been to the US Rockies, so I can't compare them.

Have fun!

swandav2000 is offline  
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