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Germany -- Advice needed -- Berlin-Munich-Cologne

Germany -- Advice needed -- Berlin-Munich-Cologne

Jul 19th, 2010, 01:42 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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Germany -- Advice needed -- Berlin-Munich-Cologne

I am working on a tentative schedule for a 10 day mother-daughter (a well-travelled 24 year old) trip to Germany. We arrive on August 12th mid-day by plane and plan to spend 3 nights in Berlin. My daughter is used to backpacks and hostels but I was thinking about a hotel close to the Brandenburg Gate, maybe the Westin Grand. During our time in Berlin, we plan to take a walking tour, tour the Reichstag, Pergamonmuseum, and Jewish Museum and just generally walk around. Then we are debating how we get to Munich -- fly Air Berlin, take the night train to Munich and get a sleeping berth, or a day train to view scenery. We plan 2 days in Munich including a visit to Dachau. Then I am debating renting a car for 3 days. I thought we could drive to Neuschwanstein to see the castle and then on to Rotenburger where we would overnight. The next day after touring Rotenburger we could drive to Bonn. In Bonn, we would like to tour some Beethoven sites. From there it would be on to Cologne. We would like to tour the Schokoladenmuseum and see the cathedral and other sites. We plan to take the train from Cologne to Paris where we will spend 3 days before flying home. We have both been to Paris a couple of times so just plan some walking time. Please let me know if you think this schedule is reasonable (or too crammed!). Are there other or different things we should include? Any advice is welcome. The only thing I have booked is our airplane reservations into Berlin and out of Paris. Thank-you
soo38 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 07:20 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 518
Just to summarize (very roughly):

Day 1 - Berlin
Day 2 - Berlin
Day 3 - Berlin
Day 4 - Munich
Day 5 - Munich
Day 6 - Neuschwanstein (sleep in Rothenburg ob der Tauber)
Day 7 - Bonn
Day 8 - Cologne
Day 9 - Paris
Day 10 - Paris
Day 11 - Paris
Woyzeck is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 07:28 PM
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marking for later comment
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 07:32 PM
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I think it is too crammed. You're covering too much ground and even within each stop, you're trying to see a little too much.

Here's my advice:

Skip Munich and southern Germany.

Spend 3 - 4 days in Berlin, rent a car and drive West to the Rhine region, where you can see Bonn/Cologne, but also tour the Rhine Valley. You will find quaint villages and many great castles along the Rhine. It may not be Rothenburg or Neuschwanstein, but I am certain you will enjoy it and you will be able to nestle into your trip much more comfortably.

The Munich part of your plan calls for transporting yourself to Munich, seeing the city in 1 or 1.5 days, seeing Dachau in .5 days, and then (in one day!) driving to Neuschwanstein, seeing the castle, driving to Rothenburg, overnighting, and then departing sometime the next day to Bonn?

I would add that if you are interested in visiting a concentration camp, there are others that you could see along the way instead of Dachau: Sachsenhausen in Berlin or Buchenwald (near Weimar) on the way to the Rhine Valley.

It might be hard to drop anything from your trip, but with only 10 days, I think it is simply too ambitious to try and cover 4 major metropolitan areas plus other sites like Neuschwanstein or Rothenburg.

The other alternative would be to skip Cologne/Bonn/Rhine and just fly from Munich to Paris.
Woyzeck is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 05:39 AM
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Sorry, but driving from Berlin to Cologne with a rental car is not so exciting. And Weimar/Buchenwald is not on the way to Cologne, but a substantial detour from Berlin.

Night train vs flying is up to your preferences and a comparison of costs. You save one night in a hotel, but you should know that you are able to sleep in a moving train, or you'll be a wreck when you arrive in Munich.

Driving Munich-Neuschwanstein-Rothenburg is no big deal. The first leg takes 1 1/2 hrs, the last 2hrs. It's not that much driving in one day. But you will need to skip several sights that are on the way, like Linderhof palace. Maybe you will have time to see the Wieskirche. But not much more. You will have to decide whether Neuschwanstein is worth it. And if you are willing to forego all other sights because of it.

One nasty leg of your road trip will be Rothenburg - Bonn - Cologne. While the route planners will say that you can do it in 3hrs, you can almost certainly expect to hit heavy traffic on your way to Frankfurt, and especially in the greater Frankfurt area. Your driving time can easily rise to 4hrs or more.

You definetely don't plan to stay one night in Bonn and one in Cologne. Choose one for both nights, they are really close. You will have many trains and trams connecting Bonn and Cologne, so you drop your car already in Bonn if you like.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2010, 10:46 AM
  #6  
 
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If you are doing Berlin-Munich-Cologne by train then investigate the German Twin Railpass - for two people traveling together - if paying full fare it will save you lots and you can hop on any train anytime - for the overnight train, which i have taken and can attest to being one of the more modern night trains out of the zillions i have taken, you would have to pay a supplement for the type of sleeping accommodation you want and the railpass would only pay for the actual train fare not sleeping options, which run from a few euros for a reclining Pullman-type seat to say $50 or so p.p. for a private double with couchettes - 4- or 6- people in a unisex compartment costing about $25-35 p.p.

Now the altnerative to a pass is to go to www.bahn.de - The German Railways web site and score one of the deep discounted tickets that you must book far in advance often to secure as they are sold in limited numbers - however these are not changeable nor refundable so you cannot just get to the station and hop any of the often twice-hourly trains between major cities. But for three trips that would probably be cheaper than a pass - but if wanting sponteneity and flexibility to hop any train then the pass will save you tons - you can see the regular fares at bahn.de.

For loads on rail travel in Germany and passes i always spotlight these info-laden sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com
PalenQ is offline  
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