Notices

Germany Home Base

Old May 27th, 2007, 08:39 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 34
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Germany Home Base

I am planning a trip to Germany in the Fall (Aug/Sept) and wondering where the best city is for a home base. We plan to stay only for a week and flying from Honolulu. So, I believe the most direct city with the least stops is to Frankfurt.

The "must do" things for us on this trip is visit both the BMW and Porsche museums/factory. We are willing to rent a car and drive to various cities, unless you think taking trains would be easier.

So, I guess my questions are 1) where are the best locations for us to stay, 2) how difficult is it for a visitor to drive around in Germany and 3) is there any other "must do" scenic or historical sites that is near the area you are suggesting as a home base, given our relatively short trip?

reneea is offline  
Old May 28th, 2007, 12:00 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 135
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you will be having a car, why not take wonderful drive all thru the Scenic Routes - Romantic Road, that would be around 800Kms taking stops at Würzburg and Rothenburg and taking long stop at the Austrian border German town of “Fussen”, which is a nice place to stay and visit the castle and drive just a few km over to the Austrian Border for some gorgeous scenary.
yildy is offline  
Old May 28th, 2007, 01:26 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 34
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the great advice Yildy! I didn't realize that we could drive into other countries. I was in Vienna several years ago and remember it was very beautiful. Unfortunately it was for work and only for 2 days, so I didn't see much.

So, taking your advice, maybe we'll stay a couple of days in the "city" - one close to the museums, maybe. Then, another few nights in a more scenic city.

I'll check out the city of Fussen and see if it's something we could do. Or, at least somewhere close by.
reneea is offline  
Old May 28th, 2007, 03:04 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi reneea, I think you may need to rethink your plans slightly, because both the BMW and Porsche museums are currently undergoing major renovations. The existing Porsche museum (located just outside of Stuttgart) is a single small showroom containing only about 30 cars and is really not worth designing a trip around - even for a big Porsche fan. Porsche is building a gorgeous new facility, but my understanding is that it will not open until 2008. Last I knew, the BMW museum (in Munich) is closed altogether for renovations.

If you are big automotive fans, you could still coordinate a car-themed trip around Stuttgart and Munich. Might I suggest the gorgeous new Mercedes museum in Stuttgart (Mercedes also offers factory tours) and the smaller but excellent Audi muesum in Ingolstadt (just north of Munich).

While it is possible to drive from Stuttgart to Munich and back again (or vice versa) in one day, I would advise that you move from one city to the next instead of choosing only one as a home base. There are some lovely small towns outside of Stuttgart if you don't want to stay in the city (e.g. Tuebingen, a lively college town just to the south).

I agree with yildy that the Romantic Road is a lovely route, but I think going from Frankfurt to Stuttgart to Munich (and back to Frankfurt I presume), in the space of one week is plenty! You are going to be seriously jet-lagged coming from Honolulu, so it is best not to bite off more than you can chew for such a short trip. There is plenty to keep you occupied in the Stuttgart and Munich areas for several days in each location.

As for driving versus train travel - it really depends on your personal preference. We live in Stuttgart and prefer to drive in this area, as we like to get lost on country roads and explore the little towns we come across. You will find most routes are well-signed and the drive from Stuttgart to Munich is pretty easy. A navigation unit would come in handy if you choose to rent a car; otherwise bring the best map you can find and pick up a good road atlas once you arrive in Germany (any good-sized bookstore should have them).

If you need ideas about things to do around Stuttgart, check out this thread:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34969918
hausfrau is offline  
Old May 28th, 2007, 04:03 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,000
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

Assuming you land in Frankfurt you might want to spend your first night in Aschaffenburg, about half an hour from the airport. It is home to the Rosso-Bianco auto museum. However this site http://tinyurl.com/27huuc reports that it has closed. Check on it.

The Aschaffenburger Hof hotel is very pleasant, is near the train station, and has on site parking. See http://tinyurl.com/2b83wa
hopscotch is offline  
Old May 28th, 2007, 06:23 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,206
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are travelling between towns (say Frankfurt to Stuttgart for the Porsche and Mercedes museums) then the train will be more convenient than a car. If your plan is to explore castles, monasteries and little villages in the countryside, then a car will be better. I would say you will better make a mixture of both depending on your schedules.
altamiro is offline  
Old May 28th, 2007, 07:15 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 480
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello reneea:

Last Fall we flew into Frankfurt, hopped on a long distance train at the airport, and travelled less than 2 hours to the delightful university city of Freiburg. We rented a car there and over the next week toured the surrounding towns (Staufen, Titisee, etc.)and took train day trips to Heidelberg and Stuttgart (visited the Porsche Museum --Mercedes closed on Mondays, the day we were there). We found Freiburg to be a wonderful place to explore and dine, and a great headquarters because of the ease of road and train travel. If you stay at the Hotel Columbi, its porter will meet you at the train station with the hotel car. Gradyghost
gradyghost is offline  
Old May 28th, 2007, 11:32 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 34
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I looked briefly only, but couldn't find any information on the BMW museum being closed. We are bummed! My boyfriend has always wanted to go to Germany for that reason! That, and to drive on the autobahn. (Seems scary to me!)

He also wants to visit the Ring Taxi. I believe it's a race track that you actually get to ride in a M5 with a professional driver.

I've been to Europe before for work, but only very short trips (as a courier). But, he has never been out of the country and always dreamed of visiting Germany.

After hearing all of your suggestions, it is making me want to visit as well!

Hausfrau, I agree we will be jetlagged after the long journey. Would it be a "do-able" trip to fly into Munich (assuming I can get there fairly easily from Hawaii - I haven't checked that out yet). Stay in Munich for a couple of days. Then, travel (by train?) to Stuttgart and rent a car to drive around over there. Seems that would be more convenient than flying into Frankfurt?

Where does the Romantic Road start? (Sorry to not know much about these things...I guess that's why I need your advice!)

reneea is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 01:52 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,229
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry to say that but both the BMW World as well as the BMW Museum are currently closed.
These are 2 seperate things:
The BMW Museum is.. well a museum that will focus more on the company's history. While the new place still being built in Munich, they have a small exhibition nearby still open.
I haven't been there myself, but judging from the size of that interim exhibition, it may not be worth a huge detour.
The BMW World will be more a showcase for their current models - also for people who want to pick up their new car right were they are built.

The Ring Taxi is a ride you can take both at the race tracks of Hockenheimring (close to Frankfurt) and Nurburgring (west of Frankfurt, longer drive, but maybe a bit more famous and exciting than Hockenheim) -- depends on your schedule and/or your boyfriend's preferences, I guess.

If your boyfriend wants to do the 120mph or more himself, just make sure that he remembers a few things:
NEVER EVER pass on the right.
You may use the left (passing) lane(s) to pass only.
And watch for speed limits (yeah, lotsa freeways have them, especially in metro areas) because your rental car company will bill your credit card for any ticket you get here. Speed limit and tailgating are checked by automatic cameras - and the driver (in your case: the rental car company) will get it by mail. So just because no cop has stopped you on the Autobahn (which they never do but for reckless driving or safety issues), it does not mean that you are off the hook if a camera got you.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 02:31 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,206
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>If your boyfriend wants to do the 120mph or more himself, just make sure that he remembers a few things:
NEVER EVER pass on the right.

And don´t forget that not only the overall speed is higher on German roads than on the US ones, but also the traffic density is much higher.
altamiro is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 11:58 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 34
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
120 mph!!! yikes! In Hawaii, our top speed limits are between 50-60 mph. I think he went to a driving school somewhere in the U.S. a few years ago, so he's pretty excited to drive at higher speeds. (still scary to me)

I was considering picking up a car in Germany since my lease expires soon. I wonder if that won't be possible anymore due to the fact that the factory is closed.

He wants to do the Nurburgring.

I just want to do sightseeing and shopping. So, we're going to have to compromise.

Gradyhost, when you went to various cities for day trips, how did you decide where to go and how did you navigate? GPS or road map?

I guess getting lost is half the fun, but I don't want to get TOO lost. : )
reneea is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 12:03 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
reneea,
For what you want to do, yes, flying in and out of Munich would be more convenient and it would make sense to split your week between Munich and Stuttgart. But keep in mind that Frankfurt is only about a 2-hour drive or 90-minute train ride from Stuttgart, so if you have to fly in and out of Frankfurt, it's not the end of the world.

You may already be aware of this, but the "Autobahn" refers to the entire German highway system (a lot of Americans seem to have the impression that it is only one particular stretch of highway). So if you end up renting a car, sooner or later you will end up on the Autobahn. Do be aware that much of the Autobahn (particularly close to large cities) does have a speed limit (usually 120 kph). The indication for no speed limit is shown at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Zeichen_282.svg You should definitely familiarize yourself with European road signs and traffic rules before you go, and heed the tips that other posters have mentioned regarding driving on the Autobahn. German drivers tend to be reasonably civil and take driving quite seriously (and expect you to do the same).

I believe the Ring Taxi you are referring to is at the Nordschleife, the legendary 21-km road course at the Nuerburgring, which is about a 3 hours' drive north of Stuttgart. I have driven the Nuerburgring twice, most recently two weeks ago. If your boyfriend is really into cars, it is a pretty amazing experience. The Nuerburgring is perhaps the most famous (and most dangerous) road course in the world. It is now officially a "public toll road" with no speed limit (you gotta love Germany). Please do understand that unless your boyfriend has previous track experience he should not under ANY circumstances consider driving a car himself on this track. (There are various "rent-a-racecar" outfits that might tempt him.) I am deathly serious about this - we typically see at least one accident per lap and rumors are that somewhere between 10 and 20 people die on the Ring every year. My husband and I both have track experience and are fully aware of the risks when we go out on the Nuerburgring.

With that said, the M5 Ring Taxi is certainly an experience to consider, but it will cost you. I believe it is 270 Euro for ONE lap of the 21-km track (the cost can be shared by up to 3 passengers). The track is not always open, as they still hold race events and trainings there, so be sure to check the schedule. Here's the page that I found for the Ring Taxi (it appears to only be in German):
http://ring-taxi.bmw-motorsport.com

The main page for the Nuerburgring is:
http://www.nuerburgring.de/home/index.html?L=1
Then look for information about the Nordschleife.

Finally, the Romantic Road runs roughly from Wuerzburg to Fuessen. Here is a good website:
https://www.romantischestrasse.de/?lang=uk

hausfrau is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 12:11 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's 120 KPH (not MPH), so that's only about 75 MPH.

I am positive that you can still do European delivery on a BMW (but I am pretty sure it is only offered for purchases, not leases). Check with your dealership for info.

We did see the small BMW World exhibit in Munich when we were there last summer - it is pretty cool; worth a stop while you are in the city.
hausfrau is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 03:51 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We didn't find driving in Germany much different than in California, except that the general skill level of the other drivers seemed higher. We didn't see many idiot drivers, which was refreshing - LOL. Driving in Germany was not scary. The only slightly unnerving part was the way people pass on non-divided highways. They are a lot more bold than we are used to.

We drove on some highways without speedlimits, but not everybody was going fast. Most people were going about 75 mph, and the left-most lane was open for those going faster.
J_Correa is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 04:24 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,198
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think they were saying the museum is closed but the factory is still open and cranking out BMWs if you have an interest in picking one up at the factory. Also while you are in Munich go the the Deutches Museum. It is a delightful hands on science museum and they have a nice transportation exhibit the features some early Merceces etc.
AisleSeat is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 04:25 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 480
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello reneea:

To answer your specific question, we had a car (Mercedes) with a built in GPS, but I also had my portable Garmin unit. Both served us well in our day trips by car.
gradyghost is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 04:33 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 480
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello reneea:

Sorry, I hit the wrong button. To continue: As for destinations for road day trips around Freiburg, we relied a lot on this board for suggestions as well as our own reading. That part should be easy and enjoyable. I think the selection of an HQ is the critical issue, and you have lots of suggestions about that already. I just found that getting "out of Dodge" and getting back by car was the deciding factor, and Freiburg was ideal for that purpose. I probably would not select Stuttgart or Munich as an HQ if I wanted to take day trips by auto. Hope this helps in some way. Gradyghost
gradyghost is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2007, 10:05 AM
  #18  
schuba
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
hausfrau, i got several pointers from your thread that u post above. if u have additional info on the neurburgring track, will appreciate it.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=35010260
 
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mistp
Europe
3
Jul 2nd, 2012 07:33 PM
cchri24311
Europe
10
May 20th, 2008 07:36 PM
Cindywho
Europe
8
Sep 9th, 2007 04:07 PM
liesel
Europe
5
Mar 21st, 2005 07:07 AM
emcninch
Europe
11
Sep 23rd, 2003 03:27 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO