Notices

Germany May 2013

Reply

Jan 23rd, 2013, 06:58 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Germany May 2013

Hello! Well, I am traveling to Germany with my cousin from Texas! We only have 2 weeks as we have to get back to work and school.

I am visiting Germany because I will *hopefully* be studying at a university in 2014! There are many universities that have programs.. So, I thought.. and please, correct my itinerary if I have fooled myself.,.. I thought these would be the cities I would like to visit..

We are not renting a car... we are doing everything by public transportation.
Fly into Berlin on Thursday the 9th of May (landing the 10th) So, we will be in Berlin on the 10th, Friday. I would like to stay for at least 3-4 days. In no way am I going for a history lesson, but I would like to enjoy my stay while I am there and see a few sites. We have been looking into places to stay and have had some luck in finding accommodations that are not too crazily over priced for our budget. (under 70 EU per night)

Next, we thought we would train into Hamburg.. As I have a few acquaintances there.. They have provided nice information on places to stay and things to do.. We are planning to stay in Hamburg for at least 5 days, taking us to about 9 days on ground.

After Hamburg.. I get a little confused.. I do want to visit Leipzig and Köln as they are both on my list of to do.. But we will be flying out of München on Thursday 23rd. Not sure if there would be enough time for both and the last... So, what do you all think?

Also, are the trains easy enough to coordinate.. I've read yes and no.. and they can be extremely costly..

THANKS!!!
Jaadain is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2013, 07:19 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,391
Why are you flying out of Munich?

The trains are easy enough to coordinate. Go to www.bahn.de.

It may be a good idea to consult a map. Leipzig is closer to Berlin and well, run this through google maps.
LSky is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:23 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,261
Hi Jaadain,

Trains are not costly if you buy your tickets in advance. The discounted fares go on sale about 90 days early, and they run around 29 Euro per person per trip. They do sell out, so it's worthwhile to get the tickets as soon as your itinerary is set.

You can buy your tickets at the German rail site

www.bahn.com

and print them on your own computer.

The disadvantage of buying the tickets in advance is that you will be committed to a specific train at a specific time.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jan 24th, 2013, 07:48 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
If under 26 and doing everything by public transit - meaning trains in Germany between cities then by all means investigate getting a German Youth Railpass that allows you to hop any train anytime - just show up - such fully flexible tickets often cost a ton - a few long trips can make the pass pay off.

For loads of great info on German trains and passes I always spotlight these IMO Wunderbar sites - www.bahn.de - the official German Railways web site with schedules and actual fares; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id9.html; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Passes are also valid in full on K-D boats on The Rhine between Mainz and Koblenz - a very popular float that takes you thru the fabled Rhine Gorge - just flash you pass when boarding. (www.k-d.com for schedules - something a little different from trains.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 24th, 2013, 08:45 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,565
Check the following sites for more-affordable lodging:

www.booking.com

www.hrs.com

and

www.berlin-pensionen.de

I came up wth several options on the outskirts of the city (okay, maybe you get a bus/trolly pass) for $160-$269 for the whole five days!
You already know that Hostels are a cheaper way to travel (EVO HOSTEL BERLIN) , Touristenhaus Grunau
or, that Pensionen are typically like a B&B, sometimes with a shared bath, sometimes with your own.
Of course look up Gasthauser or Gasthofe for less expensive lodgings..IMO much more personal tha a hotel anyway!
mokka4 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 24th, 2013, 11:13 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
Trains are not costly if you buy your tickets in advance. The discounted fares go on sale about 90 days early, and they run around 29 Euro per person per trip>

Well it seems you have about five long distance train rides between cities like Berlin, hamburg, Cologne, Munich, etc.

In that case a German Railpass will be even cheaper than the 29 euro tickets - tickets which must be booked weeks in advance to get as, like swandaav says sell out early, and these tickets are also non-changeable (train-specific) and non-refundable - a railpass again lets you hop on any train anytime with very very few exceptions.

For example a German Twin pass in 2nd class for five days of unlimited travel throughout Germany to be used anytime you want over a one-month period (flexipass) costs $212 or about $42 a day - in euros that is about 30 euros a day - just about the same as the 29 euro tickets that are severely restricted and which must be booked in stone weeks in advance - to me for your kind of trip a German Railpass is a no-brainer - hop any train anytime and on days you use the pass it is also good on S-Bahns within cities.

For example use the pass to get to Munich and then for the rest of the day the pass is also valid on the S-bahn lines that lace downtown Munich - an added bonus the 29 euro fares do not give you.

Fodor's mantra is that railpasses are always a bad deal but this is simply not always true and is certainly not true when talking about Germany (folks who tout the 29 euro tickets for several train trips just do not know about the pass I think and automatically think the 29 euro discounts are the only way to go but this is simply not true if traveling on more than a few trains).

So IMO in your case a German Railpass is the ticket to ride, given what you say you will be likely doing and the best thing about a pass is that you have complete flexibility to chose which trains to hop once there - full flexibility and those type of tickets can easily cost 100 euros or more for long distance trains.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 24th, 2013, 02:01 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
There are also overnight trains between several German cities - sleep on the train (railpasses valid for train fare but you must pay at least a few euros for a reclining seat or more for a regular berth or bed in a compartment - save on a hotel or hostel night's cost and travel time - possibles Berlin to Munich;
Cologne to Munich; Berlin to Cologne, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 24th, 2013, 06:10 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,735
After my almost 3 weeks in Germany last year in which I used a Railpass for day trips from Frankfurt, I can highly recommend such a pass. If you worked really hard and planned really well and ahead, you might be able to save a little by buying discount tickets ahead, but the total flexibility of the Railpass is worth every euro to me!

I found the German trains to be fairly easy to navigate/figure out (and I speak practically no German and never ride trains in the US) and found them about 90% reliable/on time. They were always comfortable and usually (but not always) not very crowded. But you may find trains traveling from city to city as you will need to be a bit more busy at certain times.

For the ease of use and the freedom and peace of mind, I'd figure out how many days you need train transport and buy Passes for that many. (If you need more, then you can buy a ticket there.)

The DB website is most helpful and pretty easy to navigate. And on-site the DB employees are helpful, and in larger stations speak English, always enough to help anyway.
texasbookworm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 24th, 2013, 07:01 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Hey all.. Thank you for the responses! We have decided to fly into Munich, I want to visit the area and especially the Welt Museum. Then we are going to Colonge, Hamburg and leave from Berlin. The site you all have listed are now book marked.. I don't mind preplanning the trains, as that will keep us on a schedule and allow us to see what we can in the time we have! Of course, as things go.. we may change.. Again, I thank you for your input!!
Jaadain is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2013, 12:34 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
http://www.bmw-welt.com/en/

For others like me who did not know what the Welt Museum was - here is what it is - and I'm putting it on my bucket list as well. Thanks for posting about that.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2013, 01:17 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
Also, are the trains easy enough to coordinate.. I've read yes and no.. and they can be extremely costly..>

Yes but only if you walk up and buy a ticket - then those fully flexible tickets that can be used on any of the same type of trains (ICEs for example with the same fares - other trains may be cheaper) can cost a ton of money. But 29 euro fares can be had if you book way in advance. And again the Germany Railpass for 4 days of train travel in a 1-month period would be about 30 euros a day - the same practically as 29 euro fares and you could hop any train anytime - I have rarely seen any German train that was too full to board and if so there are 2-4 trains an hour between many key cities like you are going to.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2013, 05:55 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7
So, as things happen.. We were looking at some things to do preplanned.. I know that Germany in May can be either nice or rainy.. Depending on the day.. We do not want to stay strictly in the cities all the time.. Say, for instance, when we visit Munich.. We are only going to be there for a few days- I would like to visit the surrounding areas.. but am unfamiliar with towns and possible hotels to stay in.. So, any recommendation would be welcomed.. We are flying into Munich on the 10th(well, land the 10th) and I know we will probably spend that day catching up on zzz's and jetlag.. So, the following day.. which is Saturday we'd like to visit Welt museum.. then the next day we would like to visit Neuschwanstein and stay a night or two..
So, a hotel recommendation in that area would be lovely. Would we need to book a tour for this or would we be fine taking some sort of public transportation? We'd spend a day and night there and be on our way to Cologne afterwards.

Once in Cologne, we would like to visit some of the churches and what not.. I do have a friend that lives here and we will be visiting just for a day or two.. A hotel recommendation would also be nice..

So, as of now. we have 2 cities down.. and a castle.. with spattering of churches.. On the 15th.. we are planning to leave Cologne and head to Hamburg where we will spend until Sunday 19th... We have a few friends in this city that we will be seeing and hotels for this area .. we are good on.. We will be staying at the Park Hyatt Hamburg.. as my cousin is a manager here in the US and gets a very nice discount. We will be on our own during most of the days as our friends work.. So recommendations would be great in the city... We weren't going for a history lesson.. but... things change...

Then on the 19th, we will head to Berlin where we will spend the remainder of our time until we go home on the 23rd.. So, Berlin.. we know now one.. so will be nice to have some ideas..


Ok, so.. From what I have been reading in other post.. some say it is a good idea to wait until arrival to buy tickets for the rail.. others say book ahead.. I am confused on what we should do..
Jaadain is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 07:18 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
Ok, so.. From what I have been reading in other post.. some say it is a good idea to wait until arrival to buy tickets for the rail.. others say book ahead.. I am confused on what we should do..>

No you pay top dollar if you wait until buying at stations in Germany - if you are traveling three times or less try to get the 29 euro online discounted tickets - they are non-changeable non-refundable however - and if taking 4 longish train trips then as I have been showing above a 4-day German Twin Railpass would be about 30 euros a day - about the same as 29 euros a day and you can hop on any train anytime once there - if taking 4 longish train rides the German Railpass is a no-brainer and then you can decide which trains to take when there. For three or less you will save some money by doing the 29 euro fares (they are not always available however) but must book weeks in advance. If you wait to buy tickets once there you will pay a few hundred bucks from what your plans are more than the railpass or discounted tickets.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 30th, 2013, 04:31 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
Germany has several overnight trains that you could hop - Berlin and Munich; Berlin and Frankfurt, etc. - save a night cost in a hotel or hostel and arrive bright and early the next morning - young folk especially can have a great time in a couchette with other young folk - often mainly younger folks doing the couchette or reclining chair way - if you have a railpass the pass pays for the train fare but not the optional sleeping accommodations - from a few euros for a reclining seat.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 31st, 2013, 10:15 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
We will be on our own during most of the days as our friends work.. So recommendations would be great in the city... We weren't going for a history lesson.. but... things change.>

The Reeperbahn (a k a Reeferbahn to some) is a totally unique entertainment center in Europe - both for its red-light district and active nightlife for younger folk. Something to see anyway.

http://english.hamburg.de/museums-at...b-english.html
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 2nd, 2013, 03:50 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Thank you PalenQ ! We will purchase the tickets before arrival, about 90 days...
Jaadain is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 2nd, 2013, 04:47 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,262
A trip to Neuschwanstein does not require an overnight there. It's a typical day trip from Munich.
You don't waste time to pack/unpack, check in and out of hotels. And I assume that many rail connections from Füssen (which is the next railway station for Neuschwanstein) to Cologne will route you through Munich anyway.
You can see the castle with a cheap day pass for all regional trains and local public transport in Bavaria, i.e. the Bayern Ticket.

The BMW Welt is not exactly a museum but more like a big showroom which you can visit for free. The BMW Museum has an entrance fee and is right next door to the BMW Welt. The museum is quite nice, but IMO nothing that will leave you in awe - unless you are into somewhat seriously into cars and that brand. If you are more into transport history in general, the transport branch of the Deutsches Museum will show more - from cars to trains and trams and subways.

Pentecost weekend (May 18-20) is usually quite busy as also Monday 20th is a public holiday. So you can expect more crowds at the sights you want to see in Berlin. Or avoid the big ones like Pergamon museum or Reichstag cupola those days.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 3rd, 2013, 10:25 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
And I assume that many rail connections from Füssen (which is the next railway station for Neuschwanstein) to Cologne will route you through Munich anyway.>

No - you go up to Augsburg from Fussen to join the main train line to Cologne via Stuttgart - Munich would be a way backtrack and you'd come back thru Augsburg - use www.bahn.de to see the best routing.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 4th, 2013, 01:01 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
From Fussen the quickest route to Frankfurt and Colgone goes via either a change of train in Buchloe or Augsburg - then direct to Cologne from there. To go via Munich would take about an extra hour so no need to backtrack to Munich. (Schedules from www.bahn.de).
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 18th, 2013, 09:44 AM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Hey all.. as time is getting closer.. We are now booking our rail passes.. I am confused though.. So, as of right now for the next 10 days, http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/germany.cfm has a spring special and it is a discounted price. With our travel plans being Munich-Cologne-Hamburg-Berlin... The 5 day pass is a great deal.. but does that include the ICE as well? I can not tell. I am trying to figure out.. if we should leave Munich early enough to get into Cologne before it gets late.. or take an overnight train.. if available with reservation. We have decided to only do a day trip to Fussen while we stay in Munich instead of training it to there and then to Cologne.
Jaadain is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
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



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:00 AM.