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First trip to Germany - HELP!

Old Apr 19th, 2010, 04:55 PM
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First trip to Germany - HELP!

I am planning a trip to Germany the first week of Oct. Me and my better half will be in Ireland for the first week of our trip and would be arriving from Cork or Dublin.
We are looking for a picturesque (you know the postcard) town on the small side.
Castles, beer, ruins... Munich is out because of Oktoberfest - I think it is still quite busy the first week of Oct. I have researched the internet and in particular this site
until I have driven myself nuts with trying to decide. We have a week to ten days to spend in Germany and since we are already going to be in Ireland, the travel options are also open if anyone has some ideas. We like to stay at nice (3-4 star)
hotels and want to have a base to make day trips from. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Someplace that you could hang out for a week with great cafes and
sites if we decide to only take one or two day outings. I 'll just say thanks now.

CC
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 05:17 PM
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The Rhine and Mosel River area should be perfect for what you want. Spend about 2-3 days on the Mosel and 2-3 days on the Rhine, then any time you have left over could be spent in Wurzburg or Bamberg.

On the Mosel, you would probably enjoy Cochem which is one of the larger towns on the river but still small. There are many smaller wine towns along the river that would make for great day trips as well as Burg Eltz, one of the finest castles in the area.

On the Rhine River, the Castle Hotel Auf Schoenburg is a lovely hotel sitting up above the Rhine River in Oberwesel. Again, there are many small towns and castle ruins along this stretch of the Rhine River.

There are many Fodorites who travel to Germany and I'm sure they will be chiming in with their suggestions as well. It is one of our favorite places in Europe.
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 05:18 PM
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Where are you flying into, or is that still open? Four years ago my husband and I spent just over a week in Germany. We flew into Frankfurt, caught the train to a beautiful town, Rudesheim, on the bank of the Rhine. We stayed at a great B&B, did some hiking, ferried back and forth to other towns on that part of the river, and finally took the cruise up to Koblenz. At one point you can actually see 7 castle/ruins. We then took the train and spent a few days in Oberdorf, in the Bavarian Alps. Again good hiking, beautiful country, wonderful people. And the food! Good thing we did so much hiking!
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 05:39 PM
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I agree with the Mosel/Rhine suggestion - postcard-perfect towns, castles, incredible vineyard scenery, and fabulous food and wine. October is a beautiful time to visit this area of Germany, and 7-10 days is an ideal amount of time to really explore it. We have enjoyed staying in Cochem on the Mosel (Hotel Alte Thorschenke - not super fancy, but loads of charm). The Hotel Auf Schoenburg in Oberwesel on the Rhine (mentioned by bettyk above) is unforgettable. This area can be explored with or without a car - you don't mention if you are planning a rental. If you have a car you can venture a little further afield and get out into the countryside to visit places like Burg Eltz (a must-see!). Both rivers can also be explored by boat cruise - I have not done this myself but plenty of people on this board have and I imagine that it's a lovely way to see the castles.
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Old Apr 19th, 2010, 09:49 PM
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While Munich proper is indeed a zoo re. hotel room prices and availability during Oktoberfest, the "rest" of Bavaria is not affected.
For both the Mosel region or the Allgäu (Neuschwanstein etc.), the secondary airports Ryanair serves from Ireland could be an ideal starting point. For Mosel it would be Frankfurt-Hahn (located in the Hunsrück area, closer to the Mosel river and towns than Frankfurt Rhein-Main airport) or Memmingen (100km west of Munich, at the A7/A96 interchange, with easy access to the mountains).
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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As everybody else suggested, the Rhein-Mosel-area would be the best choice for you. You find many picturesque villages there. Do not miss the cities Trier (Roman heritage), Aachen (magnificent cathedral) and Köln (lots of historic buildings and museums). Near Aachen, you find Germany's cutest town, Monschau. And if you are in the area, a trip to Maastricht is very rewarding.

If you travel Ryanair, you may either choose Hahn or Weeze (north of Düsseldorf). If you fly another airline, Düsseldorf, Köln, Frankfurt, even Luxembourg are convenient. I would rent a car in Germany to see something of the scenery.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 07:47 AM
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We are looking for a picturesque (you know the postcard) town on the small side>

Well for the Mosel and Rhine Cochem more than fits this desire and is a great base for the Rhine Gorge and upriver Trier and Luxembourg, two really interesting places often overlooked by tourists.

Are you going by train or car? Unlike Ireland German trains are fantastic and go everywhere - you would not need a car and on the Mosel and Rhine you have boats. Anyways for loads on train travel in Germany here are some fantastic sites: www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com - download the latter's free (and superb IMO) European Planning & Rail Guide that has a chapter on Germany with lots of itinerary suggestions. www.bahn.de is the German Railways web site with schedules for all the zillions of daily trains scotting about the country. And consider the German Rail Pass if you are traveling enough and there is also a German Rail & Drive pass where you take the trains between cities and then have a car waiting for you at stations to get into the country - you can return the car at any other train station in Europe.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 08:02 AM
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Here some pictures from Monschau:

http://www.monschau.de/tourist-infor...hp?bereich=Rur

Also select "Altstadt".
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 08:08 AM
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Thanks to everyone for the input - I am leaning heavily now to the
Mosel area for a river trip. Would Koblenz make a good base? We are not adverse to hiring a driver so that we can both catch the sites.
As always, the Fodorites come through.

My best, and all comments welcome!
CC
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 09:58 AM
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Koblenz is a good base logistically as it lies at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine rivers - close to the fabled Rhine Gorge (Lorelei Cliff) and best of the Mosel (Cochem and upriver)

Yet Koblenz is a largish modern city whilst Cochem, 20 mins from Koblenz by train, is the storybook picture-postcard smaller city of your dreams - situated at one of the prettiest parts of the deep sinuous Mosel Valley - vineyards swirl around Cochem and the castle of your dreams peaks out of them in the town centre. There are many cozy guesthouses which you just do not find in larger cities.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 11:00 AM
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Agree w/Palenque - Koblenz is not nearly as picturesque as, say, Cochem. You might want to pick one base on the Rhine and another on the Mosel rather than trying to reach them both from one town.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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Good suggestions, bookmarking.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Mosel,Germany Photo Gallery by Hans Meerbeek at pbase.com
I lived in Cochem from 1979-1983 and loved it! Your photos really bring back the ... You capture the atmosphere of this region of Germany very well indeed! ...
www.pbase.com/hansmb/mosel
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Cochem makes a good base for the Mosel, which i and many have said they find more scenic than the nearby Rhine (both are great and very different, however - the Germans call the Rhine the Father Rhine -mighty - powerful rushing river and the Mosel the Mother Mosel - languid and constantly twisting)

but from Cochem you can easily visit nearby Burg Eltz, one of the most famous and picturesque castles in Germany - it's about ten miles downstream towards Koblenz from Cochem - hovering high above the Mosel Valley protruding from a dense forest- you can either drive or take the train to Moselkern, from where a path goes about two miles UP to Burg Eltz, thru woods or catch a mini-bus or taxi to take the more round-about road route up there (parking available)

Burg Eltz Castle
www.burg-eltz.de/e_index.html

Rick Steves' Europe: O'er the Ramparts
Burg Eltz, on the neighboring Mosel River, has my favorite castle .... Thanks to smart diplomacy and clever marriages, Burg Eltz was never destroyed. ...
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/desti...many/rhine.htm
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Old Apr 22nd, 2010, 12:18 PM
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The Mosel Valley is one of Europe's primo bicycle venues - folks from all over flock here to ply the bike paths, mainly flat, that hug the river nearly the whole way from Trier to Koblenz - and from Cochem a lovely ride would go downstream to Moselkern and then, hiking or mini-busing up to Burg Eltz unless you want to climb a long long hill by cycle to the castle.

So put a different aspect into your trip - rent a bike at Cochem's train station - or other outlet in town - putz down to Moselkern and Burg Eltz and then if tired put your bike on a train at Moselkern and effortlessly return to Cochem - trains here will take bikes IME.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2010, 05:39 PM
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I too am planning for a trip to Germany in October although not necessarily the first week. I understand that the dates of Oktoberfest this year are Sept 18-Oct 3. How soon after Oktoberfest does Munich return back to normal (e.g., clean up, prices back to normal, drunken revelers out of town)?
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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right away i'd think and even during Oktoberfest the party is pretty much limited to the special grounds where it is held - though you do see marauding folks in the charateristic high Oktoberfest felt hats around town - but the crowds for usual tourist sights i think may not be as much as in summer or peak seasons.

The problem with visiting Munich during Oktoberfest seems mainly to get a hotel - i have day tripped into Munich from nearby towns like Garmisch.

the problem IME with waiting till Oktoberfest is done is that a cool rainy weather often sets in so i would go earlier rather than later - and days get quite dark as well.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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We've traveled in Germany a couple of times from mid-September to early October, usually with very good weather. In the higher elevations, you can sometimes get a shower or two but overall, we've been very pleased with the weather conditions.

In fact, we are taking another trip this year from 15-29 September to Germany and Austria.
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