Germany in Summer - advice?

Feb 19th, 2008, 03:12 PM
  #1  
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Germany in Summer - advice?

This is probably one of many postings on this subject. I just started researching, not necessarily looking for specific detailed information, but anything will help.

Scenerio
two guys travelling on the cheap. Two weeks in germany in july ending up in Wacken (for a music fest, near Hamburg) Without a car, hostels etc...

I def want to do Munich possibly buying a rail pass and working my way north.

I'm interested in castles, medieval sites, beer, hiking, scenery, etc... I'm not into night clubs, trendy culture or any of that and not really into modern city settings (although I love museums)I'm also interested in WWII stuff, but not sure if I should include Berlin.

I'm thinking of the including some time in the Rhine Valley, Bacharach sounds pretty interesting and I realize their are many castles there too.

Does anyone have any suggestions, based on what I said, should I include more? if so what? or do you think train travel so far will limit my time? are there any other places I should include besides germany?

I'm really looking for dramatic views, traditional culture (history, music)

like I said I've just started research, so i'm just looking for opinions and ideas.

Also, i'm trying to learn basic german phrases but not sure how good i'll be by summer - does the majority of the population speak english? Where would I find the most difficult language barriers?
insidethefall is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 04:48 PM
  #2  
 
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Germany is one of our favorite countries. We have visited there 5 times in the last 9 yrs and I still want to go back for more.

You will find that a lot of people do speak English, especially in the tourist/service industries and especially the younger people because they are required to take English in school.

July will certainly be more crowded than what we have experienced in May and September.

My favorite places in Germany:

Rhine/Mosel River area. The Mosel is prettier I think, with less traffic. We've stayed in Beilstein (very small and quiet) and Bernkastel-Kues (much livelier but still smallish). We have also stayed in Bacharach which we really liked also. Lots of castle ruins along the Rhine. We also enjoyed the Chairlift in Boppard with all the great views across the river.

Berchtesgaden (German Alps) - Gorgeous scenery. You would enjoy seeing Hitler's Eagles Nest and the amazing views from way up there. Also, from here you can take a boat ride on Koenigsee, day trip to St. Gilgen on Wolfgangsee in Austria or Salzburg.

The area around Garmisch/Partenkirken is always recommended on Fodors as well as Ludwig's castles. We did these many years ago on our first trip to Germany and tend to avoid them now because of the crowds.

You would probably also enjoy Heidelberg since it's a University town and there is a great castle ruin to explore. We stayed about an hour away in Bad Wimpfen on the Neckar River. It's an amazing little place with palace ruins and medievel fortifications and towers to explore.

There are so many wonderful little towns in Germany it is hard to recommend just a few.

You might find our trip reports of interest:

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34625250

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34813676

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=35079647

Our photo albums are available to view on www.webshots.com. Do a search for dkubiak.
bettyk is offline  
Feb 20th, 2008, 05:48 AM
  #3  
 
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Ha, one of my sons will be in Wacken, too.

You can reach Wacken by train. There will be special trains, too.

Given you interests, I would suggest the following itinerary which is doable by train:

München.
Nürnberg: old town, castle, museums.
Würzburg: fantastic palace (UNESCO World Heritage), old town.
Eisenach: the Wartburg (where Luther translated the bible), UNESCO World Heritage.
Erfurt: old town.
Weimar: classic town, UNESCO World Heritage.
Potsdam: Palaces, gardens (doable from Berlin).
Berlin.
Wernigerode/Quedlinburg (Harz): medieval towns, castles, hiking in the mountains, historic railroads.
Hamburg.
Lübeck: Medieval town.
Wacken.

If you want to include the Rhein valley, do this:

München.
Nürnberg.
Würzburg.
Rhein (several small towns).
Köln: Cathedral, fantastic museums.
Berlin
etc.

You will find hiking trails practically everywhere if you leave the cities. The Germans are hiking people.
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 08:28 PM
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Nürnberg would be excellent for some of the WW2 stuff, Berln maybe not so much. The historic art bunker and the party rally grounds are very interesting as well as the castle, churches, and the old walled city. I know there are at least 2 hostels within the old walled city, one next to the castle and the other just across from the train station inside the wall.

MvK
MarkvonKramer is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2008, 08:06 AM
  #5  
DAX
 
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And if you like baroque architecture, then Dresden is a must.

Bamberg is a nice picturesque town that's well known for its beers.
DAX is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2008, 05:32 PM
  #6  
 
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The Rhine: great hiking and scenery around St. Goar and generally between Koblenz and Bingen. St. Goar has a good and cheap hostel, easy to reach, just below the Rheinfels castle ruins; get a double room for a bit more. Click on "Rheinland Palatinate" on the map and see the hostels in the area:

www.jugendherberge.de/en/

Nice cliffside hike begins just next to the St. Goar train station on the right as you face the station. Take the steps up to the top and the trail south along the cliffs (goes to Oberwesel.)

Bacharach's (south of St. Goar) hostel is in a medieval castle.

Marksburg Castle can be toured - a must see. Ferry across at St. Goar and take the train north to Braubach. Or south from Koblenz:

www.marksburg.de

The WW II museum in Remagen is excellent. See the movie "Bridge at Remagen" before you leave for background:

www.bruecke-remagen.de
Russ is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2008, 08:01 PM
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Among my favorite WWII sights/experiences has been the tour of the Obersalzburg by an American-run company in Berchtesgaden. The tour takes you through the Eagle's Nest and the bunker system that ran underneath it. There's also a museum dedicated to exhibits related to WWII.It's been several years since I was there, so I'm a bit vague about the content of the museum.

The tour of various Nürnberg WWII sites was also interesting. It takes you to the stadium where Hitler held his rallies and past the Hall of Justice where the war crimes trials were held. I found a tour to be much more rewarding than when I just saw them on my own.

Other posters have given you great ideas. I think Germans--and anyone else--always appreciate it if you make the effort to speak their language, but many Germans speak very good English, especially younger people.

Another film worth seeing--but definitely not an American film--is "Triumph of the Will," the German propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It was shot at Nürnberg at the Nazi party rally at the stadium mentioned above.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 01:03 PM
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