Help Please - Germany/ Switzerland

Old May 19th, 2022, 07:27 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Help Please - Germany/ Switzerland

Hello Everyone - Please Help Us

We just found out that our travel dates and itinerary has to change last minute due to my son's school. We really need help and guidance.
We are going to see family in Darmestadt Germany for 3 days and then family in Chexbres, Switzerland for 5 days.

We have 4 days for another City by our selves- This is our 2nd trip to Europe -and will be our last trip for at least 5 years - possibly our last Europe trip ever so we want to see something iconic or go somewhere nice. It has to be close to Switzerland or Darmestadt and easy to get to.

Our plan was to spend these 3-4 days somewhere before Darmestadt Germany, but because of this last minute change we may have to go somewhere after Switzerland before coming home.

Question -so we need a pre Darmestadt option or a post Chexbres option or another option.
Pre Darmestadt --We thought of Berlin (as my son is 15 and will be taking European history next year), but other than the wall nothing interests us and it seem like a regular American city? I feel like we are wasting our precious 3 European days, when we can't even go back. I couldn't find a fast train between Berlin and Darmestadt.
Can anyone suggest anything else ?
Anything within a 4 hour mx fast train ride or boat ride ? Darmestadt doesn't have much to see.

Post Switzerland/ Chexbres - if we have 4 days - any suggestions for another country/ city?
We would be flying home from there US/ Toronto.

We will have 2 large suit cases, prefer easy transportation as I am injured from an accident and not very mobile, somewhat handicapped - Should we rent a car ?
my husband loves history and anything to do with WWI/ WWII, Hitler, European history and iconic landmarks,
My son loves soccer and music and fishing
I love Art and culture
We all love cultural food and experiences

Any information would be soooo helpful - Please help. Thanks so much.
Lilly2016 is offline  
Old May 19th, 2022, 07:36 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,197
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Ulm has a lovely old centre
Wurzburg is pleasant with some good wine
Freiburg?
bilboburgler is offline  
Old May 19th, 2022, 02:24 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,544
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you could reconsider Berlin. It's not like any American city I've ever been to (do your buildings still have bullet holes from WWII?). Even the rebuilding is interesting and innovative. But if it doesn't float your boat that's OK. It does take a bit of pre-reading on your part to understand why it's the most significant city in Germany of the 20th century, but not everyone cares to be a tourist in that way.

Near Darmstadt is Heidelberg, just pretty and worth a day trip. I think your relatives would have to take you out in the Rhein-Main region, maybe you will go to Frankfurt with them. Don't laugh, it could occupy you for a few days (museum river bank, applewine pubs in Sachsenhausen, Fressgass (eat street), shopping in the Zeil, a visit to the opera, a visit to the Römer). Other than that maybe Mainz (gateway to the middle Rhine gorge so a good base for a river cruise and itself full of worthwhile museums, churches and an engaging old town) or Nuremberg (destroyed but completely rebuilt after WWII in the original style, full of medieval charm but also home to some serious WWII sites). They are both cities that can keep you going for a few days and are nearby.

Lavandula



lavandula is online now  
Old May 19th, 2022, 06:26 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 10,938
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With so many Tgv trains, there are many places under four hours from Frankfurt, and, of course, short flights all over Europe.
Where did you go on your prior trip to Europe?
When is the trip?
Any possibility of putting your four days in between Germany and Switzerland?
Would hilly walking be a problem for you or do you need fairly flat cities?
Sassafrass is online now  
Old May 20th, 2022, 01:14 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lavandula thank you so much, any information you share is helpful. Honestly the history stuff does not appeal to me, BUT what you have shared seems like would really help my son who will be studying about European history next year. My favorite part of Europe on the one trip has been Tuscany. That's my style and city charm, not busy and bustling city, But I think Berlin is a great option. If we have to go after Switzerland it will be harder but would that work ? should we fly then because I assume there is no fast train between Geneva (where my family lives) and Berlin.

We have visited Frankfurt before and I did not like it at all, neither did my family. We did go to Hannover where I was born and we loved it there.

I would LOVE to do a river cruise but we only have 3.5 days and I could not find anything for that long.

Nuremberg is close to Berlin or Frankfurt ?

Please let me know --

For After Switzerland - I can do either the above locations or somewhere in Italy (Milan seems close but not that interesting / Iconic), Venice ? or Austria or France ?

I do have mobility issues so I worry about that... and we are going IN July

I have to fix this itinerary asap so I can book flights bc I lost the original ones I had. Please help, thanks sooo much
Lilly2016 is offline  
Old May 20th, 2022, 01:17 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sassafrass - So we need a place 4 hours from Darmestadt if we get approval to go before Darmestadt or a place that is 4-5 hours from Switzerland if we go at the end of of trip. Either way it's 3.5 days only. We prefer to see an iconic city because we will not have a chance to come back to Europe.

Last trip we did Darmestadt and Paris and London. Trip is In JULY and I lost my flights due to this unexpected change.. I am very worried about the flights.

No possibility to put a few days between German and Switzerland - that would have been perfect.. but if we can -- what do you suggest?

Yes, hilly walking would be hard for me, but I was going to look at renting a scooter. Not sure if they offer that in Europe?

Please see my response above and please help thanks sooo much
Lilly2016 is offline  
Old May 20th, 2022, 04:27 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,544
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Lilly, *Nuremberg is south-east of Darmstadt, on the way to Munich.

*Yes, you can easily fly between Geneva and Berlin, there is an airport in Berlin. Trains are possible but will take a bit longer, about 10 hrs and with changes depending on which station you start at: check your journey at www.bahn.com . But all of you, please do some reading first to get what Berlin is all about.

*A river cruise on the middle Rhine gorge - not with a cruise ship from Amsterdam to Basel but just the ordinary boats that take day-trippers up and down the river between Mainz and Koblenz.

https://www.k-d.com/en/cruises/sched...s-on-the-rhine

If you just stay on the boat the cruise upstream is about an hour. Then you can get a Rheinland-Pfalz Länder-Ticket (several people can share the one pass) and get on and off the trains running up the left or right bank at any towns that take your fancy.

*If you prefer pretty over interesting/challenging, you would probably get more out of 3 days on the Rhine (or Rhine and Mosel), which is both pretty and has heaps to do for tourists. But check with your family in Darmstadt first. Since they are part of the same conurbation (the same network of cities that makes up the Rhein-Main district), they may think of taking you there themselves, and you will give them a chance to plan some different excursions (Michelstadt might be one of those).

Lavandula
lavandula is online now  
Old May 20th, 2022, 05:19 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,766
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I love the Lauterbrunnen Valley - the scenery is just beautiful. That would likely be easiest to reach by car. Venice might be a bit challenging with mobility issues.

Are you flying in and out of Frankfurt? If so, you could take a quick flight to many places. Have you considered Amsterdam? You would experience a different culture, the city is quite flat with good transportation and it has great museums and a fascinating history.
KTtravel is offline  
Old May 21st, 2022, 09:05 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,397
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wouldn't recommend Berlin to you, it's way too far away from your other places. It's pleasant enough for a visit if you are in that area but it very big and spread out. It does have a couple very nice museums, the one on German history was my favorite. It is very modern, of course, and rebuilt. Lots of buildings have bullet holes in them in Europe due to WWII although generally they are preserved for a display (as in Berlin) or have been repaired. There are buildings like that in Poland ,France, Italy, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria, etc and any place there was war. Paris has buildings showing bullet holes due to both WWI and WWII. Buildings were I live in the US do have some bullet holes from war in them, actually (Civil War).

I really liked Leipzig a lot and it's only about a 3 hr direct ICE train trip from Frankfurt. It has great classical music connections but perhaps that isn't what you meant about your son's interest. It has composer home museums of some who lived there (Bach of course, but also Schumann and Mendelssohn. It also has a musical instrument museum. It has a neat old quarter with one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe and a coffee museum and other areas of interest also. It's train station is the best I've seen in Europe. There is also a local history museum in the city town hall near the coffee museum.

Leipzig was damaged a lot in WWII also being bombarded a lot, but it did avoid total destruction, unlike Dresden. It was the intellectual center of East Germany and was important in the events leading to the fall of the GDR. It's much smaller than Bertlin, of course, less than a million, so manageable. It think it has managed to avoid some of the hyper-gentrification that Berlin has seen. There is also a history museum about the divided Germany there. This article seems a good summary
https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-rea...g-iron-curtain
more info
https://www.dw.com/en/how-east-germa...own/a-50743302

Of course one disadvantage is no big major airport where you can get a flight to the US. I couldn't get a nonstop flight home from Berlin, anyway, though, to Washington DC.

interestjng article on Berlin
ewyorker.com/news/dispatch/the-causes-and-consequences-of-berlins-rapid-gentrification
Christina is offline  
Old May 21st, 2022, 10:16 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow this is so helpful, and actually my son as been playing classical guitar since he was 4 years old including many pieces by the composers you mentioned. But because we are only in Europe on this trip and probably not back for many years, we preferred to see iconic cities. For example we have had all the iconic places on our bucket list but have not been able to go to Europe over the years.

Darmestadt and Switzerland are in the middle and thats the issue. If we could see something between the two locations it would have been easier.

So at this point we need a location to fly into that is close to Darmestadt (If we do these 3 days Before Darmestadt) AND a location to go to After Switzerland (Geneva area) if we do 3 days after Switzerland.

For Pre Darmestadt we were thinking Munich or Berlin then train to Darmestadt

For Post Switzerland we were thinking Venice, or Rome, or somewhere in France or Austria ... or we could go back to Germany. But it would be nice to see a different country. Although my husband thinks it will be easier in the same country. Lastly, Rome seems to have the most history, but I hear it is packed in July more than the other locations and that it is extremely hot more than the other locations ? I'm so overwhelmed because we don't know if we have these 3 days before or after the trip still (waiting for scheduling ) and we don't know what would be the best in our situation and my mobility issues but also the once in a lifetime opportunity that we have to go to Europe. Please let me know your thoughts... anyone else too .. thanks so much
Lilly2016 is offline  
Old May 21st, 2022, 11:04 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 10,938
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With domestic flights being short (one to two hours), I would not limit your trip to Germany! I do not see that it makes one bit of difference which country (unless there are Covid restrictions), only the total travel time. Luggage is the only extra to think about.

At end of trip, in spite of heat and crowds, given your interests, I would very strongly consider flying to Rome after Switzerland. Easy to get flights home afterwards.
I would choose Rome for the combination of Art, History, Architecture and great food, plus much of it is flat and you could even rent a city golf cart for getting around if need be. Taxis are also an easy option in Rome. You would get that great, iconic city you desire and come home feeling you had seen something really special. You would not feel you had settled for second or third choices just to do something. In other words, this is one time, IMHO, “go for the gold” does apply. Make the time and money count to get the most exciting, memorable experience possible.

At beginning, I would consider flying into Amsterdam for three days, one hour flight to Frankfurt, train to Darmstadt. There are a ton of small towns nearby. You could even stay in Haarlem, not far from the airport. The Netherlands is super pretty, ultra flat, filled with fabulous museums and interesting architecture and has excellent food.

A third option, either at the beginning or end of trip is Barcelona. Absolutely stunning architecture, completely different culture, open, easy, flat walking in city center, beautiful, leafy streets, plentiful taxis (cheap and great solution to getting around), good music venues, and interesting food.

Venice has so many steps on bridges, it might prove daunting and nothing would help much.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old May 21st, 2022, 11:46 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10,583
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
You will be very disappointed with Berlin if you are only going to see the wall. The wall itself is almost an anti-climax but if you explore the history of the city, that's where the magic is. But that magic is only for those who are interested in history.

Switzerland offers so much and I find it a pity to leave the country for only four more days. You are doing a disservice to Switzerland and your time, since, when flying, you waste a lot of time at the airport and transportation. Stay in Switzerland and explore the many beautiful areas it has to offer.

I've lived in Switzerland for over 35 years and am still dumbfounded by its beauty.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2022, 10:36 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow this information is so helpful and I have saved it for next time if this time does not work out. I appreciate it so much.
OH my family are elders and we are just going to see them outside (due to covid risks) for a few hours each day. Not doing much in Darmestadt, no sight seeing.

Last edited by Lilly2016; May 22nd, 2022 at 11:24 AM.
Lilly2016 is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2022, 01:14 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,544
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are not doing sightseeing that opens up the possibility of the Rhine again, especially if you are only seeing family a few hours a day. I certainly think you could sneak in some Mainz and Wiesbaden over that time. You could even stay in one of those cities and commute to Darmstadt, it's all part of the same region. Ask your family what they recommend.

Lavandula
lavandula is online now  
Old May 23rd, 2022, 01:29 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7,445
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Darmstadt is less than 1 hr by train from Frankfurt airport.
Chexbres is less than 1 hr by train from Geneva airport and 3 hrs by train from Zurich airport; there are also some train connections to Milan Malpensa airport (4 hrs)..
A vist of Mainz, followed by a boat ride from Ruedesheim to Koblenz might be a good solution.
If you like high mountains, go from Chexbres to Chamonix (3 1/4 hrs by train), Zermatt (3 1/4 hrs by train) or Riederalp/Aletsch Glacier (2 3/4 hrs by train).
If you like Italian lakes with subtropical vegetation, tons of ferries across the lake and tons of view points (funiculars or gondolas) around the lake, go from Chexbres to Locarno (4 3/4 hrs by train or Stresa (3 hrs by train).
neckervd is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2022, 02:15 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@Sassafrass Thank you sooo much for all this information, You read my mind and my heart.. I was thinking since everything is a flight why not just go for the gold.. with our limited opportunity to travel to Europe.. It will be after our Switzerland trip for 3 days. I was thinking Rome or Florence or Austria or Amserdam..

Now We picked Italy and were deciding between Florence and Rome.. when all I hear from my family and online groups is that it is VERY hot and humid now and it will be much worse in July when we are going . We live in a very Cold climate and aren't that heat intolerant but IDK how bad it will be really ? Obviously it would be nicer in the Spring but we can never go then. Can you please help me.. also between Florence and Rome which would you say? I have been to Rome for a day myself and saw the Vatican and Colleseum which is what I would take my 15 yo too and the Caesar tomb (he just read Caesar). I have to Florence only for the art museum with David. I loved the Tuscany area.. but again I want to show my son history too. I don't know if we have direct flights from Geneva to Florence .. and my cousin is suggesting we go to Austria instead for better weather rand not as crowded.. Please help .. any suggestion / recommendation is appreciated I have to book TONIGHT
Lilly2016 is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2022, 02:19 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@lavandula thank you so much
Lilly2016 is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2022, 02:21 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@Kleeblatt
what areas do you suggest ? we are already there 5 days and was thinking since we don't get a chance and will not get a chance to go to Europe we should hit one of the iconic cities ? we were thinking Florence or Rome.. my cousin suggested Austria but we thought it's similar to Switzerland.. not sure. I have to book tickets tonight, no time to research and very overwhelmed.
Lilly2016 is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2022, 02:25 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,544
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, if you are now looking at Austria, what about Vienna (amazing city, will keep you busy for a week) or Innsbruck (former Winter Olympics site, very picturesque, lots of walking trails). You can fly into either one of those. Not sure if you can fly into Innsbruck from Frankfurt am Main, I have never looked at this routing myself, but there is an airport there. Maybe from Munich...?

Lavandula
lavandula is online now  
Old May 23rd, 2022, 02:50 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,766
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Italy is hot in July. It looks like (checking one weather website) Florence highs are 88 - 90 degrees F and humidity is 57%. Rome looks about the same.

Why not enlist your son to research several cities that you are interested in and have him help decide? That way he'll be more invested in the trip.

Last edited by KTtravel; May 23rd, 2022 at 02:54 PM.
KTtravel is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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