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Germany, for the Second Time, Need Help Please.

Germany, for the Second Time, Need Help Please.

Feb 22nd, 2013, 11:23 AM
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Germany, for the Second Time, Need Help Please.

We are going to go to Germany for 2 weeks sometime in September.
We have been to Munich, Bamberg, Rothenburg and Nuremburg and LOVED them.

We really want to see Berlin for at least 5 days.
Would also like to tour the Rhine (Bacharach, St Goar ?)area and include Dresden.
How would you plan this trip?
I LOVE castles, ruins, scenery, museums etc.
We could do open jaw with Frankfurt and Berlin (I hope).

I have skimmed through quite a few guide books and am starting to get an idea of what's what.
I was thinking about renting a car when leaving Berlin, or should we train it?

So my very dear Fodorite Germany experts, please help me plan this trip?

I have to be honest, I was reluctant to go to Germany, as I wanted to go back to the UK ( ;-)), but my DH wanted to go to Germany...so what could I say.
Judyrem is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 11:42 AM
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Dresden is about a two hour train ride from Berlin and about a five hour trip to Frankfurt, and going by car would be longer. You might consider training it to Dresden and then looking for an inexpensive flight from there to Frankfurt. Of course, then you've got to get to the Rhine from there. Alternatively, you might do Dresden as a day trip from Berlin and then fly from there to Frankfurt. Or, eliminate Dresden and have an extra day someplace else.
tom18 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Thanks Tom, nothing is final now...
just considering possibilities.
We don't HAVE to do Dresden....but Berlin is a must see for me me.
Judyrem is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Berlin certainly deserves all the time you assigned. We have visited four times and going again in July.

Potsdam is a good day trip....take the Sbahn to Potsdam and ( I would strongly suggest)
a tour of attractions in the vicinity of the charming town.
Dresden is also worth a visit...if it fits your itinerary.
danon is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 01:37 PM
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I was thinking about renting a car when leaving Berlin, or should we train it?>

For all the places you mention it is easy to get to them by train and in the Rhine/Mosel region boats ply the rivers as well - the K-D boats on The Rhine and on The Mosel (a river valley which me and others think is even more beautiful than the Rhine and a wine town like Cochem makes a great base for both the Mosel and the Rhine - Cochem having good train service - a town ,many many rave about - it has the castle of your dreams popping right out vineyards from the town itself.

Dresden has at its door step Saxon Switzerland, a very pretty stretch of the Elbe River and again trains ply the valley as do boats.

If taking trains from Berlin to Dresden to Rhine and Frankfurt then by all means investigate the German Railpass - Twin pass if two people traveling together - it allows you full flexibility to hop any train anytime with very very few exceptions and is also valid in full for K-D boats (www.k-d.com) - if you travel say 4 days then the cost of the pass will be about equal to 4 online discounted tickets - tickets which must be ordered weeks in advance to guarantee and which cannot be changed nor refunded.

I have used passes in Germany for years - I prefer first class as there are always IME lots of empty seats whereas 2nd class can alwauys possibly be chock full - first class seats are much bigger and you can order food or beverages to be served at your seat, etc.

For lots of great info on German trains I always spotlight these superb IMO sites - www.bahn.de/en - official site of German Railways - schedules and fares; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.

If expenses are a factor I am sure the train passes would be far cheaper than renting a car and cars in cities just are not practical anymore.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 02:28 PM
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Thanks Pal, you are THE BEST.
That is just what I needed. I prefer the trains.,,esp German trains(no really all Europe's trains.

I was looking at Cochem BTW Pal.

Danon, I have the Fodor's Germany and saw your name in it...I was impressed!
Judyrem is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 02:48 PM
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thanks , Judy
I am hardly an expert on Germany having visited only Berlin( Potsdam), Hamburg, Dresden and Munich( Dachau).
I love big cities with many museums galleries and historical sites.( and cool in the summer!) so
Berlin has been my choice destination every summer since 2009.
The public transit in the city is superb, four star hotels are less than half price of what you
pay in Paris or Rome, and the beer and cakes are fantastic.
Have a great time.
danon is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2013, 03:59 PM
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Hi Judy,

I love Berlin and hope to go back soon. I would skip Frankfurt and just fly in/out of Berlin.

From Berlin you could include a visit to Dresden and Leipzig, or go the other direction and see Hamburg and Lubeck. Don't bother with a car as it is a headache in Berlin.
Dutch is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 01:53 AM
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You can easily find the castles, ruins, palaces, gardens in the Dresden area and don't have to go to the Rhine for that. The scenery is even more spectacular in the Dresden area (National Park Saxon Switzerland, as PalenQ mentioned). For museums in Dresden see www.skd.museum
Ingo is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 05:19 AM
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Thanks Ingo for the info.

Dutch, I think we will do take the trains.
We were with our friends last night, and they were in Berlin(no car) Dresden and Bavaria with a mini van because they had 8 people.
They said they would have preferred to take trains, but it was not affordable for 8 people.
Judyrem is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 05:39 AM
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"How would you plan this trip?"

Agree w/ Palenque and others that trains are your best bet.

6 nights for Berlin, including a daytrip to Potsdam and maybe a daytrip to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

Dresden: Don't know how long you'll need. I was there right after the Iron Curtain fell - fascinating - but lots of changes since then. I suspect 2-3 nights.

Rhine/Mosel area: 5 nights. Agree with Palenque that the Mosel is great and Cochem is a great town and a good base for outings to Burg Eltz and to Trier (and other upriver towns.) Do go there. But I take issue with the idea that Cochem is a convenient base for the Rhine. Maybe if you're only visiting the Rhine near Koblenz. But not for the rest... it's nearly 2 hours by train from Cochem to Bingen, the Rhine town at the southern end of the Middle Rhine Valley where the great scenery begins and the place you'll want to begin a river cruise (if that's on your agenda) or at least have a look at. So... 2-3 nights in Cochem and 2-3 on the Rhine would probably be best, probably in St. Goar, the town with the best scenery and the best base for train travelers - it's only 5-10 train minutes from St. Goar to the west bank villages of Boppard, Oberwesel and Bacharach, and you can use the St. Goar ferry to access the east bank rail line (for Marksburg Castle, Kaub, and Rüdesheim.)

Tickets: You will probably not be traveling enough to justify railpasses. You can work out the exact numbers yourself, but I'll sketch out some approximate figures for you.

DB Advance-sale savings fares cover your 2 major legs for very little €; lowest ticket prices for two adults...

Berlin-Dresden: 29€
Dresden-Koblenz: 49€

Other transport:

Daypasses (no advance-purchase needed) for 5 days of train outings on the Rhine/Mosel and transport to FRA: about 100€

Total for two: about 200€ or $263

(I have not included the outings to Potsdam and Sachsenhausen - figure 25€ total for round trip tickets on local transport.)

Total for a 7-day cheapest German rail twinpass: $560

You ride the same trains in both cases, but the railpass convenience comes with a price tag of an additional $300.

Advance-sale tickets do lock you in to specific trains at specific times - but you only have 2 trains to catch. The lowest prices are had if you get them 92 days in advance when they first go on sale - if you wait to purchase, the price will no doubt go up incrementally.

But even if you just walked up to the ticket counter in Germany and paid the absolute full price for individual tickets for your 2 major legs, your total cost, with the Rhine/Mosel daypasses, would be about $500 - still less than the twinpass option.
Russ is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 06:20 AM
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If you prefer trains, do not mind a couple of days by car and want a different experience, I suggest an alternative to the Rhein area. I do think the Rhein area is wonderful as we have visited 4 times, but you might want to explore Dresden, Leipzig and make your way to the Harz mountain area, easily reachable by car from Leipzig.

Goslar is there as is the HSB (a narrow guage steam train) which connects the towns of Nordhausen, Wernigerode and Quedlinburg to the Brocken, one of the highest points in that area. The East Germans had a listening post directed at the west from here. You can do a half day trip from Wernigerode. We stayed at the Romantik Hotel Zur Tanne, great food, especially the duck.

You could then return to Berlin to fly home.
Huggy is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 08:08 AM
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Cochem to Dresden (or Berlin - same result) takes about 7 hours with 2 changes - those are the fastest simplest routes.

Are you planning on doing that in one leg or stopping somewhere in between?
Aramis is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 08:36 AM
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Well here is my two cents on fabulous Berlin!
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 10:37 AM
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Pal, that is great report and I have bookmarked it.
Who needs guide books when you have info like that!

Russ that is a very thoughtful and helpful reply.
I really appreciate it.
I am going to book my Avios miles from BA, so I will see what I can figure out as far as airports go.

Aramis, I ahve not figured that out yet....I would not mind visiting Koln or Dusseldorf...so I will think on it.

Huggy that is something to consider, thanks for the info.
Judyrem is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 10:45 AM
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If you like castles, Burg Eltz, just above the Mosel, is one of the best I've seen. It has been continuously inhabited and is furnished from different eras. And the approach through the woods is fab.

I'm another fan of the Mosel. It's lined with vineyards and the cutest small towns, less commercial than the Rhine.
Mimar is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 05:59 PM
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Thanks Mimar, I saw that in the Rick Steves guide book. He said it was his favorite castle!
Judyrem is offline  
Feb 25th, 2013, 12:55 PM
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ah yeh Burg Eltz about the only castle on the Mosel or Rhine not to have been leveled by marauding armies throughout the ages in this militarily strategic area.

And Burg EWltz is fantastic IMO - and was considered enough of a national treasure to have it grace the old 500 mark banknote (or some high denomination one before the euro.

From Cochem take a train or drive to Moselkern - then hop a mini-bus or taxi or drive up the serpentine-like road to the castel or do a lovely few-mile trek thru forests right from Moselkern to the castle. The hike leaves from right near the Cochem train station.
PalenQ is offline  
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